How to Discuss Animal Research With the Public
Talking about the importance of animal research with the public is something that every neuroscientist can and should do. After all, about half of the Americans polled about animal research are convinced that it’s unregulated — which is untrue — and many more don’t know how it’s conducted.
To effectively communicate with the public about animal research, consider these tips*:
People to approach in your community
- Schools and universities
- Friends, neighbors, and colleagues
Ways to discuss your research
- Think very carefully about how you can get a point across in a clear way.
- Speak in simple, clear terms.
- Describe your research in ways that can be understood by anyone.
- Speak to everyone.
- Word responses carefully.
- Avoid medical jargon and technical terms.
- Stress the comfort and care that animals receive, and how much we try to alleviate pain if there is any.
- Stick to the message, don’t respond to accusations.
- Speak truthfully, don’t raise false expectations.
- Discuss the presence of laws, regulations, and guidelines
How to prepare
- Plan what you are going to say ahead of time.
- Have some facts at hand.
- Create your own sound bites.
And remember, we should be very proud of our biomedical research and be glad to explain what we do with pride and dignity.
*Thank you to the National Association for Biomedical Research for some of these ideas.
Adapted from the webinar “The Care of Animals in Research,” featuring Sharon Juliano, PhD and supported by NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke under award number R25NS089462, Grass Foundation, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Latin American Regional Committee of the International Brain Research Organization, and SfN.