To pledge greater transparency about animal experimentation is not enough; the general public need to know the facts (“Animal testing agreement aims at more transparency”, News, www.timeshighereducation.co.uk, 14 May).
Michelle Thew, chief executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, is to be applauded for saying that the details of the experiments should be disclosed and that Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 should be removed.
It would be useful if the full experimental protocol, complete with the ethics committee report, reasons for carrying out the research, results and conclusions, were made available under the Freedom of Information Act. It would be useful if all animal experiments were videotaped, complete with sound, and released into the public domain. It would be useful if details of the housing, breeding and maintenance of the animals were made public, too. It would be useful if the failures of animal experimentation were made public. It would be useful if critical appraisals of each procedure were carried out by an independent body, and those appraisals released into the public domain.
For too long, animal experimentation has been going on, mostly as a covert operation. The public have no idea of the raw facts, particularly of the futility of animal experimentation’s having any bearing on human health. Perhaps once they knew, they would be better informed and would be able to take an educated stance against animal experimentation.
There’s a saying that if abattoirs had glass walls, more people would give up eating flesh. The same principle applies here.