UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The use of animals in science : trends and public attitudes Ormandy, Elisabeth Helen


Given the recent shift towards democratization of science, public engagement (including exploration of public attitudes) on issues related to animal research is important. This thesis explores public attitudes to changing practices in the use of animals in research. Chapter 1 provides a critical review of the existing research related to this topic. Chapter 2 presents a bibliometric analysis of changing patterns in animal use, and documents the increasing use of genetically modified (GM) animals, especially mice and zebrafish. Chapters 3 and 4 describe two online engagement experiments investigating how acceptance of animal-based research is affected by genetic modification, regulation, invasiveness, and the species used. Chapter 3 shows that support for the use of pigs in research decreased when the research involved an invasive procedure or GM animals. Support for invasive research increased when regulation was in place, but regulation had little effect on acceptance of GM animal use. Chapter 4 shows that participants who were willing to support biomedical research on zebrafish were equally willing to support the same research on mice. Participants expressed low levels of support for research involving ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) mutagenesis. Some participants expressed a preference for the use of GM animal models over ENU mutagenesis based on the belief that the former causes less pain, and improves accuracy and efficiency when creating the animal model. Chapter 5 describes an interview study that examined the views of researchers, research technicians, and members of public toward the creation and use of genetically modified animals in biomedical science. The creation and use of GM animals for biomedical research purposes was generally well supported provided that this was associated with tangible human health benefits. However, it was recognized there are obstacles to Three Rs (replacement, reduction, refinement) implementation, and that there should be more effort placed on engaging the public on animal research. Chapter 6 concludes with key policy recommendations: 1) improve scientific reporting, 2) improve data and animal sharing, 3) improve recording of national animal statistics, 4) improve animal welfare assessment, and 5) supplement the Three Rs.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported