The Use Of Animals In Medical Research
This survey is a follow up to a 1999 research project conducted by MORI on behalf of the Medical Research Council (United Kingdom), which examined public attitudes toward the use of animals in medical and scientific research. Since this previous survey, increased pressure on Huntingdon Life Sciences and publicity surrounding the completion of the human genome may have caused public opinion to change, as identified in this study.
The results of this study showed that the public in the United Kingdom (UK)is not well informed on the use of animals in medical research, and that most of the information that people receive comes from the media.
About three in five people are interested in the use of animals in science, though the remainder have little or no interest. 7% say they are “very” interested or concerned about the issue, which could represent as many as 3.2 million UK adults in total.
Those who are concerned with animal research cite potential suffering of the animals as the main reason, and there is some concern that some or all of the experiments performed on animals is unnecessary.
It was also found that respondents tend to place a hierarchal value on various species, although there is still general concern for all animals that the pain be minimized or eliminated and that animal welfare regulations be followed.
People tend to make a trade-off when considering this issue. They accept that animals may be needed in certain situations that may lead to widespread medical benefits for either humans or other animals; there is less acceptance of the use in consumer products, although respondents acknowledge there may still be inherent health implications.
In comparison to the 1999 survey, fewer people now agree that they lack trust in the UK research animal regulatory system, although only a small proportion of respondents have any knowledge of the specific rules and regulations that apply to animal research.