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Public openness in laboratory research : a survey study Kwok, Eugenia


The objectives of this study were to model a system that makes animal protocols available for public comment, and identify key factors that affect public acceptance of animal research. Participants (n=247) completed an online survey where five different research scenarios were presented: a) Parkinson’s Disease with chimpanzees, b) organ transplant research with pigs, c) smoking research with mice, d) cancer research with zebrafish, and e) chronic pain research with mice. Participants were asked “Are you willing to support this use of animals in research?” They could choose “yes,” “neutral,” or “no.” Participants were also asked to provide a reason for their choice. Willingness to support the proposed use of animals varied with scenario. The proposal to use mice for smoking research received the lowest level of support (26% of participants voted “yes”). Reasons provided for not supporting this research were framed around a belief that science is well informed on the negative effects of smoking, and that the research is therefore unnecessary. This study illustrates one way in which research protocols could be open to public scrutiny and comment, providing institutions a better sense of how their practices meet public expectations, and which practices are the most contentious

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