Vivisectionists accused of glossing over suffering

October 25, 1996

Scientists using animals in experiments are blatantly fudging the issue of pain and suffering in material submitted for publication, a leading British academic told delegates at a major international conference on vivisection.

David Morton, professor in biomedical science and ethics at Birmingham University, was one of many academics at this week's Second World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, in Utrecht, Holland who called for journals to stop glossing over the less appealing details of animal research.

"We want more space to be given to saying what people did in their work, to stop people repeating experiments that caused a lot of suffering and didn't work the first time," he said. "The editors of some journals say they haven't got the space, but is there not a moral obligation to make space?" The Utrecht conference, attended by 1,000 scientists, regulators, industry representatives and animal protection activists, focused on the three "R"s of animal experiments: replacement, reduction and refinement.

Professor Morton hopes delegates left with fresh ideas on acceptable pain thresholds for animal suffering, after his presentation on a score-sheet that he designed which lists symptoms of animal pain.

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