If you are interested in how scientists are currently viewing animal-based research, there is a free online course available, taught by employees of Johns Hopkins University (one of the big animal research “players”), Alan Goldberg and James Owiny. The course is called Enhancing Humane Science – Improving Animal Research. It is sponsored by the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, which sounds great until you realize it’s also part of Johns Hopkins. This course is absolutely not in any way unbiased. Johns Hopkins has a lot of big stakes in animal-based research.
I’ll admit I haven’t listened to the whole course yet, but it reeks of the stuff I had to read while working in animal research. It appears to be a pretty accurate picture of the scientists’ point of view concerning animal welfare.
I’m not defending or attacking anybody here. This mess, and my opinion of it, is too huge and complicated for me to summarize it in one journal post. But if you were looking for a good introduction to how scientists look at animal research, and where they are coming from when they say, “But we are doing everything we can for the animals in our care,” this is where a lot of them are standing right now. The jargon and the general attitudes are appropriate and seem pretty representative.
They aren’t cackling and rubbing their hands together, drooling over the prospect of thousands of dead mice. On the other hand, these animals routinely undergo experiences we would not inflict on our pets.