• Question: do you haem any animals in your resherch

    Asked by dogs to Alastair, Emma, Hywel, Keith, Vicki on 15 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Emma Carter

      Emma Carter answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      No I don’t use animals at all. I don’t think I could – I have 2 cats that I adore and couldn’t imagine hurting an animal.

    • Photo: Hywel Vaughan

      Hywel Vaughan answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      I am proud to say that we don’t. All of our research is done virtually – i.e on computer. This means no physical testing until we have the car, and even then it is a continuous experiment.

    • Photo: Keith Brain

      Keith Brain answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      We do use animals our research and I think that this is still vitally important. We still use animals because there are many questions on science and medicine which can be answered by studying cells on a dish or by other methods.

      The Uk has the strictest regulations in the world for carrying out experiments involving animals, including the requirement for ethical review, peer review, licensing and random laboratory inspections. So, we do everything possible to minimise harm. For example, our experiments don’t involve the use of live animals because the questions we’re addressing can be investigated by studying organs outside the body. Sometimes we use tissues taken during operations on people, with their consent of course! However, we also do work involving computer simulations and cell lines- these are cancer cells that have been taken out of a person and can be grown for a very long time in a dish.

    • Photo: Vicki Stevenson

      Vicki Stevenson answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      Hi, I don’t use any animals in my research at work. However, I keep bees in my garden and I’m very interested in varroa mites which arrived in the UK about 15 years ago and which have become a big problem for bees. I’ve been stung by bees a few times, which unfortunately means they die, and I’ve also carried out treatments on the bees which kill the varroa mites. This counts as an experiment as I’ve started counting the varroa mites at the bottom of the hive to work out which treatments are most effective for the bees.

    • Photo: Alastair Sloan

      Alastair Sloan answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      Hi Dogs

      Excellent question. The answer is no. I have never performed experiments on animals, although such experiments are necessary for testing new drugs and treatments. However all scientists must work harder to create non-animals testing models.

      I have had my research funded by a government research organisation called the NC3Rs which work towards better care for animals used in research and development of non animal systems. I do use some animal tissue for my work but now try to use more human tissue and I have developed models to study how disease and inflammation causes damage to bone which means we could reduce the numbers of animals used in this area of research. Alot of scientists are now trying to develop alternative methods to using animals. and the NC3Rs is advising scientists that still use animals on how to provide better care of the animals and reduce to a minimum any discomfort they feel.

      I am very active within the NC3Rs and have supported various meetings and Parliamentary events about this topic