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Animals play a key role in biomedical research and other areas of scientific inquiry. But public opinion plays a key role in influencing how this area of science is regulated and funded. Nevertheless, scientists have historically been reticent to speak openly about their animal research or to open their animal facilities to the public in any way. Consequently, most of the available information has come from those opposed to animal research. This imbalance has led to suspicion and lagging public support for this work. To reverse this effect, efforts are now being made in many parts of the world to increase openness and transparency in this sector. The authors firmly believe that encouraging more institutions to join this movement, focused on better and greater communication, is essential to preserve the research community's "permission" to perform justifiable studies involving animals. For the purposes of this article, we consider "the public" to include that cross-section of society who may be asked their views in opinion poll studies and who may vote in elections. It also includes other influential groups such as the media, scientists working in other disciplines, animal welfare groups, and politicians who may shape regulatory frameworks. Public opinion on this issue matters. The majority of funding for biomedical research comes, either directly or indirectly, from the public purse. In the case of pharmaceutical research, funding derives from selling medicines to consumers. We therefore all have a vested interest in this funding. Furthermore, legislation that covers the use of animals in research is permissive-it allows scientists to do things that might otherwise contravene animal welfare laws. But this permission is normally contingent on complying with strict protective measures designed to ensure the work stays within the ethical framework that public opinion has deemed appropriate. Open and transparent communication is the best way to promote public understanding. There is thus a responsibility on all those involved in animal research, whether scientists, animal care staff, physicians, veterinarians, members of ethics committees, or managers and leaders, to support and promote public awareness and trust in this work. Circumstantial evidence shows that, with such open dialogue, there is decreased targeting and harassment of individuals and job pride and satisfaction for all involved is improved.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: ILAR journal
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Institutional committees established to protect the welfare of animals used in research and education. The 1971 NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals introduced the policy that institutions using warm-blooded animals in projects supported by NIH grants either be accredited by a recognized professional laboratory animal accrediting body or establish its own committee to evaluate animal care; the Public Health Service adopted a policy in 1979 requiring such committees; and the 1985 amendments to the Animal Welfare Act mandate review and approval of federally funded research with animals by a formally designated Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
An agency of the PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE established in 1990 to "provide indexing, abstracting, translating, publishing, and other services leading to a more effective and timely dissemination of information on research, demonstration projects, and evaluations with respect to health care to public and private entities and individuals engaged in the improvement of health care delivery..." It supersedes the National Center for Health Services Research. The United States Agency for Health Care Policy and Research was renamed Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) under the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999.
A field of study that examines the organization, financing, and delivery of public health services within communities, and the impact of these services on public health.
The systematic application of information and computer sciences to public health practice, research, and learning.
An office of the UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE organized in June 1992 to promote research integrity and investigate misconduct in research supported by the Public Health Service. It consolidates the Office of Scientific Integrity of the National Institutes of Health and the Office of Scientific Integrity Review in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.
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