Animal research

How to Explain Animal Research on Your Institution’s Website – Let’s Talk Research

Exactly three years ago, Speaking of Research published a page listing one hundred statements on animal research from research institutions, universities, medical research charities, pharmaceutical companies, scientific societies, and more. . After a year of developing this list, we have introduced a rating system that allows organizations to know the quality of their declaration. We gave them scores based on how informative the basic statement was, if there was other detailed information, if they included case studies, and if there were pictures or videos. on the website. Ten establishments obtained the best scores in November 2015. Today, two years later, we have 350 declarations, of which 29 obtained the maximum score.

Not only has the number of statements increased over the years, but also the number of organizations tracking them. This includes Americans for Medical Progress, the Foundation for Biomedical Research, and the Concordat website on openness (to sign the Concordat, organizations must first have a clear statement on their website). What makes the Speaking of Research list special is both its breadth (only we cover multiple countries) and its rating system.

So what are we looking for in an organization’s animal research pages? Let’s take the example of an institution that recently revamped its website into a site that received the maximum score:

The Babraham Institute is a UK government research institution run by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC; which also has an excellent website) with the stated aim of undertaking “cutting-edge research into the understanding of the biology of the functioning of our body”. Animal research web pages are easy to find and clearly stated in the web address:

https://www.babraham.ac.uk/our-research/animal-research

Consequently, if you to look for on the website for “animal research” or “animal experimentation”, the web page appears. Similarly, googling the name of the organization and “animal research/testing” brings up the website in the first link.

The opening statement is short but gives a clear indication of why animals are being used. This statement also ensures that the website appears on our list of statements.

Babraham Institute scientists study the fundamental processes of our cells: how they grow, survive, function, age and die. This fundamental biology underpins future medical advances, just as past research has led to the treatments we receive today. The benefits will be felt in generations of our children and grandchildren, but without the basic science of today, there will be no foundation for medical research tomorrow.

Mammals differ greatly in size and shape, but their cells and genes are broadly similar. For this reason, information from studies in mice or rats may be relevant to other mammals, including humans, pets, and farm animals.

Between this and the policy page, there is enough of a a clear explanation of why the organization conducts animal research to give it the first note ✓ for “More information”.

There are many ways to get the second rating ✓ for “Detailed Information”. Babraham manages it by providing additional information on their ethical review policies, implementation of the 3Rs (each R has its own detailed page including case studies) and an FAQ section which provides information not only on the use , but also the limits, of animals. to research.

The Examples page offers six case studies of how animal studies have helped research at the Babraham Institute. Other 3R case studies are also available in the corresponding section. This gives the website the brand “Case Studies” ✓.

Finally, the website shows high resolution images of animals in the facility. This gets them a ✓ rating for “Images/Videos”, although in the future we would like to see videos showing how and why the animals are used.

Image Credit: The Babraham Institute

There we have it – a handful of ideas to improve your website. To make a summary.

  1. Make sure your organization has a clear online statement explaining why animal research is conducted. (✓)
  2. Put the statement on an easy-to-find page on the website, preferably with the phrase “animal research” in the URL. Try to avoid putting the statement in a PDF file.
  3. Make sure the statement can be found when people search your website or a search engine. Remember that some people will search for “animal testing” or “testing on animals” as well as “research on animals”.
  4. Provide additional information on how the research is conducted and how it is regulated. This can be found in FAQs or on pages about regulations, ethics, statistics, animal welfare or research areas. (✓)
  5. Provide clear case studies that explain why animals were needed to answer a research question and what happened to the animal. If possible, provide information on how animal welfare has been maintained. (✓)
  6. Put images and videos on your website to give readers an idea of ​​the high levels of care you provide for your animals. Make sure these images are large, clear images of the animals in your facility – not just images of small animals. (✓)
  7. Add a link to the Speaking of Research website – this helps readers of your website find more information about animal research and helps our Google rankings so we can continue to educate the public. Maybe something like:
    For more information on the role of animals in research, we recommend that you visit the Speaking of Research website.
  8. Make sure your website appears on our list. If not, contact us using the form below.

We are also happy to provide free advice and recommendations on how to improve your animal research pages. So do not hesitate to contact us via the form below. This contributes to our overall goal of providing accurate information about the role of animals in medical, veterinary and scientific research.

We hope this resource helps you

Speaking of research