Attitudes Toward Animal Research Among Medical Students in the United States

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Prior to use in patients in the clinical setting, the safety, mechanism of action, and efficacy of new treatments must beestablished. This often requires testing new treatments in animals. Public attitudes toward animal research have been investigated,but less is known about the attitudes of physicians. To begin to address this, we examined attitudes of medical students regarding animal research, and whether these attitudes were rigidly held. We surveyed US-based student members of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Students were questioned regarding agreement or disagreement with a set of 14 positively- or negatively-biased statements regarding animal research. To determine if these attitudes were rigidly held, students viewed an educational video regarding animals used in research and repeated the survey immediately afterthe video. One hundred sixty-eight students completed the initial survey. A group attitude score was calculated based onagreement with 14 statements. Males and those with previous research experience had a significantly more positive attitude toward animal research, but other variables had no effect. After viewing the video, 108 students repeated the survey. The overall attitude of respondents changed to be significantly more positive toward animal research. Of the 14 statements, attitudes toward 7 individual statements became significantly more positive after viewing the video. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine attitudes toward animal research among medical students. Overall, the group’s attitude towardanimal research was more positive than negative. However, these negative attitudes do not appear to be rigidly held. Thesefindings should be considered in the future of medical education curriculum development.

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Animal experiments in biomedical research are debated in public, within the scientific community and among students. Despite increased efforts to reduce, refine and replace animal experiments, they remain integral components of the job of a biomedical scientist. In Germany, persons must have a university degree and adequate education and training to perform and direct animal experiments. Therefore, training courses such as FELASA (Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations) courses are provided. However, in our experience, students become aware of this very late in their studies when decisions about their future careers have already been made. We initiated this study to have a better understanding of when and how animal experiments should be discussed during university education. We evaluated the knowledge, self-evaluation and attitudes of biology and medical students of different semesters regarding animal experiments at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany. An online survey was conducted to assess demographic information, knowledge about animal experiments, self-evaluation and attitudes towards animal experiments. Students of both fields showed limited knowledge of animal experiments. Biology students showed significantly better knowledge and self-evaluated their knowledge higher than medical students. The field of the study correlated with their knowledge and self-evaluation but did not predict participants’ attitudes towards animal experiments. In conclusion, the current study showed that there is still room for improvement to raise awareness about laboratory animal science in the biomedical research field.
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This book presents a history of animal rights. It brings a novel, sociological perspective to an area that has been addressed largely from a philosophical perspective, or from the entrenched positions of highly committed advocates of a particular position in the debate. This book is about the people who would speak for animals in laboratories. On the one hand, people vie to speak on animals' behalf in the policy arena, to advocate for them in a forum in which they have no direct voice. Animal protectionists are immediately obvious in this role, but so are veterinarians, other animal care professionals, and many scientists. On the other hand, speaking for animals means interpreting them, translating their animal minds into human language; it's a claim of expertise and knowledge rather than commitment and advocacy. But the two are intimately intertwined, and many of the policy debates examined in this book are about these two ways of speaking for animals. This book is offered to those who are hoping for some sort of balance that promotes animal welfare and biomedical progress, not platitudes or irrelevant rules with no real impact in animals' lives.
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A traditional approach to teaching medical ethics aims to provide knowledge about ethics. This is in line with an epistemological view on ethics in which moral expertise is assumed to be located in theoretical knowledge and not in the moral experience of healthcare professionals. The aim of this paper is to present an alternative, contextual approach to teaching ethics, which is grounded in a pragmatic-hermeneutical and dialogical ethics. This approach is called moral case deliberation. Within moral case deliberation, healthcare professionals bring in their actual moral questions during a structured dialogue. The ethicist facilitates the learning process by using various conversation methods in order to find answers to the case and to develop moral competencies. The case deliberations are not unique events, but are a structural part of the professional training on the work floor within healthcare institutions. This article presents the underlying theory on (teaching) ethics and illustrates this approach with an example of a moral case deliberation project in a Dutch psychiatric hospital. The project was evaluated using the method of responsive evaluation. This method provided us with rich information about the implementation process and effects the research process itself also lent support to the process of implementation.
This thoughtful and surprising book analyzes the effect of animal extremism on the world's scientists, their institutions, and professional societies. The Animal Research War traces the evolution of the animal rights movement, profiles its leadership, and reveals the truth behind university animal research. © P. Michael Conn and James V. Parker, 2008. All rights reserved.
The relationship between animals and humans is more complex today than ever before. Animal-human interaction has engendered a bitter enmity between animal rights activists and the biomedical researchers whose work depends on the use (and oftentimes the killing) of laboratory animals. This book-which argues that humane animal use in biomedical research is an indispensable tool of medical science, and that efforts to halt such use constitute a grave threat to human health and wellbeing- is the culmination of the author's years spent negotiating the treacherous divide between a legitimate concern for animals and the importance of biomedical research. Drawing on the disciplines of philosophy, history, biology, and animal behavior, he crafts a multi-faceted argument in favor of using animals humanely in research, the center of which is his staunch belief that human interests must be the primary concern of science and society. Along the way, he delves into other human uses of animals in domains such as agriculture, hunting, and education, examining each use along with its philosophical, moral, and ecological implications. The result is a thought-provoking, intelligent and fair-minded discussion of a charged subject-of the past and present of animals' relationships with humans, and how and why we should be able to use them as we do.
In 1995, Landau et al.(1) documented the prevailing threats to animal research in Neuroreality I, which emphasized the importance of incorporating an understanding of biomedical research within the educational system. Two decades later, the threat against research involving animals has not receded but rather has escalated. It is therefore time to revisit these important issues. According to the Foundation for Biomedical Research, illegal incidents against researchers using animals rose from 6-27 events per year (1993-1997) to 76-103 per year (2003-2006).(2) This has occurred against the backdrop of exponential growth in neuroscience research and understanding of neurologic disease pathogenesis leading to innovative treatment strategies. These advances have occurred as a direct outgrowth of the seminal contributions of animal investigations. Therefore, the alarming trend of these direct attacks requires an appropriate response.
When evaluating the ethical status of an action that harms a nonhuman animal (henceforth animal), one might weigh the benefit to humankind against the cost of the harm done to the animal. To the extent that one does not like humans (is misanthropic), one will not be likely to think that benefits to humans can justify doing harm to animals. We hypothesized that misanthropy would be less strongly related to support for animal rights among idealists (who tend not to do cost-benefit analysis) than among nonidealists. College students (n=154) completed a questionnaire which included questions designed to measure their ethical idealism (ten items), misanthropy (five items), and attitudes towards animal rights and animal research (28 items). Respondents were classified as being idealistic if their score on the idealism scale was greater than the median score. The regression lines for predicting attitudes towards animals from misanthropy differed significantly between idealists and nonidealists. Among nonidealists there was a significant positive relationship between misanthropy and support for animal rights, but among idealists the regression line was flat.
Since important legal victories against racial discrimination and other forms of discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s, many legal scholars and lawyers have been increasingly attracted to the "romance of rights." For these scholars and lawyers, analogies to the civil rights movement seem especially appealing as vehicles for achieving societal change in new fields. Animal Law is perhaps the fastest growing field of study in American legal education and scholarship, and calls for legal rights for some or all animals are rapidly expanding. This Article critiques comparisons between rights sought for animals and rights assigned to infant humans, mentally incapable adult humans, and corporations. It argues that legal and societal reforms regarding animals are better suited to social contract - contractualist - ideals than to creation of new rights. Contrary to the increasingly frequent assertions of some animal rights theorists, appropriate treatment of animals in a manner that benefits society's overall interests is attainable through focusing on human responsibility for animal welfare under social contract principles. Developing an artificial construct of formal rights for animals would be harmful both to humans and, ultimately, to animals.
### Introduction The disgraceful, illegal, and immoral tactics used by animal rights activists to forward their agenda have led to the federal government labeling them as domestic terrorists, a very well deserved categorical name. The types of terrorism engendered by these groups are varied, but
Anonymized reflection was employed as an innovative way of teaching ethics in order to enhance students' ability in ethical decision making during a Care of the Dying Patient and Family' module. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected from the first two student cohorts who experienced anonymized reflection ( n = 24). The themes identified were the richness and relevance of scenarios, small-group work and a team approach to teaching. Students indicated that they preferred this style of teaching. This finding was verified by a postal questionnaire conducted four months later. The conclusions drawn from this study suggest that using anonymized reflection is an effective method for teaching ethics to nurses and indicates that learning about ethical issues in this way reduces uncertainties.
The scalpel and the butterfly: The conflict between animal research and animal protection
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Rudacillle D. 2000. The scalpel and the butterfly: The conflict between animal research and animal protection. New York (NY): University of California Press.
Society for Neuroscience: Best Practices for Protecting Researchers and Research
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Speaking for research: US statistics
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