“Silence from the research community will mean lost access to research animals.”
Nature comments in its March 22 issue:
Picture a crowd of scientists waving placards plastered with photographs of stroke victims and sufferers of Parkinson’s disease. They are demonstrating outside the corporate headquarters
of British Airways, Lufthansa and Delta, demanding that the airlines stop impeding the biomedical research that could deliver big advances against these and other diseases.
Seem far-fetched? Maybe. But if scientists want continued access to animals as research models, they will have to appear on the front line with every bit as much visibility, determination, organization and persistence as animal-rights activists now muster.
In a renewed campaign targeting transportation companies, pro- testors have found a public pressure point so effective that only a few major airlines still agree to transport non-human primates bound for research labs (see page 381). Nor is the focus confined to primate transportation: earlier this year, the last ferry company that was willing to carry research rodents into the United Kingdom stopped doing so. Such blocks, scientists warn, could shift much animal work to coun- tries where regulations are more lax.
But there is a silent majority for whom the activists do not speak…