The editorial in today's Financial Times about responding to the appalling animal rights extremist attacks in Switzerland is spot on.
In essence, it says that the authorities must respond swiftly and firmly to violence and intimidation, which seems to be escalating in contintental Europe and the USA. This may be an unfortunate consequence of successful action to crack down on extremism in the UK. The FT recipe for success mirrors the strategy that the UK government put in place four years ago:
- Make vigorous efforts to track down and prosecute those involved in the attacks.
- Strengthen cross-border co-operation to limit the spread of extremism
- Engage with the public on the continued need for animal research for medical progress
The leader article concludes:
'Governments, academics and pharmaceutical executives alike must stress more vocally and frequently the continued need for animal testing in the development of new, life-saving medicines. The message needs to reach the general public, and especially school children, to counterbalance the ill-founded rhetoric of the radicals.
There is a legitimate discussion to be held about how to minimise the suffering caused to animals used in drug-testing. This should also cover the overall number of animals required as the industry focuses on safety and efficacy. But those who advocate and propagate violence and intimidation have no place in such a debate.'
This is of course the main role of Understanding Animal Research in the UK, although we cover all animal research carried out by the bioscience sector, including more basic research. If you haven't aleady signed up, do it now! If you would like to be involved in our engagement and education activities, please email us.