Shining a light on the dark issues in science

This week Kings College London did the unthinkable, something with the potential to stir emotions and set tempers rising….they allowed a tabloid journalist access to the University’s animal testing laboratory.

The move, albeit risky, marks a huge step forward for science communication around animal research. It’s a topic that has been shrouded by mystery for many years – having worked in a lab myself, the stereotype rings true. These facilities often hidden away in the darkest corner of the university, normally in a basement, with tight security measures. This has only led to fuel the opposition from animal rights protesters who publish horrific images of animals abuse (usually from unregulated countries and dating back many years).

The brave move from Kings coincides with a recent pledge from companies and academic institutes to be more transparent about the nature of their experiments that use animal research. The result has been a balanced article in The Mirror which assesses the issue objectively, adding context, along with images portraying the true conditions the animals are kept in – humane yet clinical.

What Kings has done has opened up the issue with a sensible discussion that sets context and rationale to an area of science that has the potential to save many lives. And whilst I’m not here to debate the pros and cons of animal testing, I must applaud Kings to addressing the issue in a transparent and honest fashion.

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