Animal tests 'upsetting but important'

March 19, 2004

A final-year undergraduate was one of a line-up of young scientists speaking out for the first time in defence of animal research in a documentary film launched this week.

Rawaa, who researched schizophrenia using rats for a company in Belgium, was the youngest participant in a film screened on the internet this week.

The film was produced by the Coalition for Medical Progress, a campaign group supported by major medical research funders.

Along with other scientists, most of whom were under 35 and had never spoken out before, she explains why animal research is essential for medical advances. She said: "When I came back from Belgium I had to constantly explain to friends why I had done this sort of research, or how I had done it and still gone to sleep at night. Doing this [film] with the CMP was just an extension of that."

In the film, Rawaa stresses that using animals is not an easy option.

"There were a couple of weeks when I could barely eat because it was so upsetting knowing that I had ended the lives of so many animals. But you calculate the good it will do and so you carry on. It is important work."

She hopes more scientists will engage in the animal testing debate. "A lot of the time activists argue that they don't know what we are doing. There has to be some kind of openness."

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