There was another flurry articles appearing in student media this past week over UBC’s animal use.
UBC publication The Ubyssey published an article and a well written opinion piece, remarking on the difficult nature of the debate. Indeed, they echo many of my own sentiments when they remark that “moderate, progressive voices” are needed in this debate. Mud slinging and fear mongering on both sides does nothing for animal welfare. Until people are willing to talk rationally about the issues, no real progress can be made for either side.
It’s gotten to the point where being concerned about animal welfare is enough to send people into a frenzy of recrimination and accusations, while being a biomedical researcher arouses suspicion and distrust. No doubt this blog will get passed around in numerous clandestine emails where I will be alternately skewered or praised by people too afraid to talk about their own opinions. And why are people afraid? Part of it is because we have not done a good enough job of educating our researchers and technicians about ethics and educating our public about science.
That’s one of the reasons I found my university ethics classes to be so insightful – it taught you to leave the emotion aside, think critically about an issue, and look at the scientific, ethical and philosophical arguments on both sides of a debate. This is an important skill that I feel a lot of people are lacking.
Unsurprisingly, I was the only science-oriented researcher present in a 40-person class on biomedical ethics. 😛