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FASEB Joins Partners to Support Biomedical Animal Research

Thursday, March 23, 2023

A new report released by FASEB, Americans for Medical Progress, the National Association for Biomedical Research, and the Foundation for Biomedical Research recommends strategies and tactics to mitigate animal rights activism. The report, Animal Research Activism: Update and Recommendations to Promote Communication, Transparency, and Public Outreach About Animal Research, is designed to educate the animal research community about the evolving threat of animal rights activism and encourage stakeholders to improve communication and outreach efforts.

Using a variety of tactics, animal rights groups continually pressure funding agencies and institutions, as well as individual investigators who conduct biomedical research with animals, often garnering viral news coverage that mischaracterizes important scientific work. Their tactics not only disrupt critical research progress, but also distress researchers and animal care staff. In response, this report provides broad recommendations for the research community to use to mitigate activists’ legislative, policy, media, and grassroots campaigns.

The public trusts the research community to conduct studies in an ethical manner for the good of society. For decades, FASEB has upheld that trust and remains committed to the proper care and humane treatment of animals in biomedical research. This latest report, Animal Research Activism, continues that commitment. 

“This new report continues FASEB’s decades-long work to support and advocate for biomedical animal research,” says Kevin C. Kregel, PhD, Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Iowa and FASEB President. “Working with our partners—Americans for Medical Progress, the National Association for Biomedical Research, and the Foundation for Biomedical Research—the report provides a framework for the biomedical research community that demonstrates how outreach, education, and advocacy for animal research can effectively counter animal rights groups’ tactics.”

Minimizing Animal Rights Actions
“One of the most effective strategies that we can use to ensure continued scientific progress and limit the impacts of animal rights activism is to increase public education and communication about our institutions’ research programs. This report provides a roadmap for entities that conduct animal research to follow,” says Kregel. 

Animal Research Activism shares strategies that animal rights groups use to shift public opinion, prohibit funding for animal studies, and impede research progress. It also provides broad recommendations for federal agencies, institutions, and individual scientists to protect against the growing threat of animal rights campaigns.

The information and guidance contained in the report is organized into three main categories: 

  • Examination of tactics used by animal rights groups. Animal rights groups use a variety of tactics to discourage public support for animal research, intimidate scientists, and prevent federal investments in scientific research with animals. The report discusses many of these strategies and tactics, which range from nonviolent and legal to illegal and extremist.
  • Suggested proactive strategies to minimize targeted action. The report emphasizes how the biomedical research community can take concerted, collaborative steps to minimize targeted action from animal rights groups while fostering a more open and inclusive environment that recognizes the value of animal research. For example, the report provides recommendations for funding agencies to enhance communication efforts and outlines how research facilities should develop organizational crisis management plans to minimize the risk of animal rights action.  
  • Recommendations to promote communication, openness, and public outreach about animal research. To enhance communications in support of animal research, the report also details how the animal research community can communicate with lawmakers, nonscientists, local law enforcement officials, and others.  

The recommendations listed in Animal Research Activism are meant to be best practices and serve as a framework for organizations, researchers, and animal care and use program staff to adapt and develop individual policies and best practices.

For more information about the use of animals in biomedical research, view FASEB’s Animals in Research and Education resources