BBC Radio 5 live from a lab
BBC Radio 5 Live visited the Mary Lyon Centre, a Medical Research Council facility south of Oxford. The programme was part documentary, and part phone-in, with a representative of Animal Aid present in addition to the scientists and lab technicians at the facility.
The programme was balanced with the host, Victoria Derbyshire, correcting the Animal Aid representative’s claims. The only matter of concern was one caller falsely claiming to be a geneticist and claiming that animal research could tell us nothing useful about gene function.
The show pulled no punches, featuring a cervical dislocation live on air, complete with an explanation of how, although the body was kicking, the animal had experienced an instant death. It was followed by a further phone-in, which revealed a range of views.
The MRC is to be congratulated for not only giving access to their facilities but also providing so much staff time to the BBC production. It was clear from the range of voices we heard that the staff at the Mary Lyon Centre were not only enthusiastic about their work but also really knew how to put their points across to a general audience.
What emerged was an honest and balanced portrayal of animal research, accurately articulating how and why research is done, allowing the public an opportunity to determine the value to them of this research.The BBC felt that the programme was a great success – and UAR would agree! The MRC communications team ensured the programme makers had everything they needed to make a balanced and informative programme, promoting the benefits of animal research at the MRC and beyond.
Download a podcast of the programme from our website here.