A random survey was performed by ORC International Telephone CARAVAN®, on 24–27 March 2016, by trained interviewers. The aim of this survey was to gain further understanding of public perceptions in the United States of laboratory animal use, specifically for the purposes of medical training. Five statements were read in random order to the participants, who were then asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement. Survey responses were obtained from 1011 participants. For the combined statements: “If effective non-animal methods are available to train a) medical students and physicians, b) emergency physicians and paramedics, and c) paediatricians, those methods should be used instead of live animals”, most respondents (82–83%) agreed. For the statement: “You want your doctor to be trained by using methods that replicate human anatomy instead of live animals”, most respondents (84%) agreed. For the statement: “If effective non-animal methods are available, it is morally wrong or unethical to use live animals to train medical students, physicians and paramedics”, 67% of respondents agreed. Responses were similar among the 15 pre-specified demographic subgroups. Given that effective non-animal training methods are readily available, the survey suggests that a substantial majority of the public wants the use of animals in medical training to cease.
Expectations for the Methodology and Translation of Animal Research: A Survey of the General Public, Medical Students and Animal Researchers in North America
Ari R. Joffe, Meredith Bara, Natalie Anton and Nathan Nobis
To determine what are considered acceptable standards for animal research (AR) methodology and translation rate to humans, a validated survey was sent to: a) a sample of the general public, via Sampling Survey International (SSI; Canada), Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT; USA), a Canadian city festival (CF) and a Canadian children's hospital (CH); b) a sample of medical students (two first-year classes); and c) a sample of scientists (corresponding authors and academic paediatricians). There were 1379 responses from the general public sample (SSI, n = 557; AMT, n = 590; CF, n = 195; CH, n = 102), 205/330 (62%) medical student responses, and 23/323 (7%, too few to report) scientist responses. Asked about methodological quality, most of the general public and medical student respondents expect that: AR is of high quality (e.g. anaesthesia and analgesia are monitored, even overnight, and 'humane' euthanasia, optimal statistical design, comprehensive literature review, randomisation and blinding, are performed), and costs and difficulty are not acceptable justifications for lower quality (e.g. costs of expert consultation, or more laboratory staff). Asked about their expectations of translation to humans (of toxicity, carcinogenicity, teratogenicity and treatment findings), most expect translation more than 60% of the time. If translation occurred less than 20% of the time, a minority disagreed that this would "significantly reduce your support for AR". Medical students were more supportive of AR, even if translation occurred less than 20% of the time. Expectations for AR are much higher than empirical data show to have been achieved.
A Training Course on Laboratory Animal Science: An Initiative to Implement the Three Rs of Animal Research in India
Kunal Pratap and Vijay Pal Singh
There is a current need for a change in the attitudes of researchers toward the care and use of experimental animals in India. This could be achieved through improvements in the provision of training, to further the integration of the Three Rs concept into scientific research and into the regulations of the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA). A survey was performed after participants undertook the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA) Category C-based course on Laboratory Animal Science (in 2013 and 2015). It revealed that the participants subsequently employed, in their future research, the practical and theoretical Three Rs approaches that they had learned. This is of great importance in terms of animal welfare, and also serves to benefit their research outcomes extensively. All the lectures, hands-on practical sessions and supplementary elements of the courses, which also involved the handling of small animals and procedures with live animals, were well appreciated by the participants. Insight into developments in practical handling and welfare procedures, norms, directives, and ethical use of laboratory animals in research, was also provided, through the comparison of results from the 2013 and 2015 post-course surveys.
The Use of Animals in Behavioural Science Education in the USA: Finding Alternatives that Address Personal Concerns and Ethical Dilemmas
Perrin S. Cohen
Gareth Davey and Zhihui Wu
Public support is a strong impetus for the adoption of alternatives to laboratory animals. It is therefore important to find out what a society thinks about ethical animal use. In the case of China, a useful line of enquiry was to survey Chinese people’s views, as their country is renowned for the deplorable conditions under which animals are kept. This report concerns an investigation into the attitudes of Chinese university students toward the use of animals in laboratory research. The survey revealed a moderate concern amongst students; for example, they agreed that the use of animals for testing cosmetics and household products is unnecessary and should be stopped, and disagreed that humans have the right to use animals as they see fit. This finding is very encouraging. Further research is needed, in order to understand Chinese views about the justification of using animals in research.
Lise Houde, Claude Dumas and Thérèse Leroux
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) members were interviewed on various ethical matters, including ethics, animal ethics, science and ethics, and the use of animals in research, in order to explore their implicit ethical framework. The results revealed that IACUC members entertain rich and diverse beliefs about ethics, that are part of an implicit ethical framework which relates to different domains of knowledge, such as biology (differences between human and animals), psychology (e.g. affective relationships with pets), and so on. The results also revealed that IACUC members hold quite a restrictive view on both animal ethics and animal use in research, and that they apply implicit ethical notions, such as respect and justice, to some elements (e.g. ethical rules) of the explicit ethical framework they are provided with when performing ethical evaluations of animal use. The study suggests that IACUC members should be provided with more up-to-date information on topics such as animal ethics and animal use in research.