Alternatives to animal use – part 6

Finally, the Freudian slip. Or maybe the last-speech-before-lunch effect. 
This lecture (all lectures now available here) was given by Gianni Dal Nigro, veterinarian and toxicologist from GlaxoSmithKline. He reported from the EPAA workshop Combining excellence in science and animal welfare, held in October this year, which gave a number of recommendations for the future activity of the EPAA.
Images borrowed from the EPAA website
Typing and listening at the same time, I understood the first of these recommendations (which reads “keeping Replacement as the ultimate goal”) as “skipping Replacement as the ultimate goal”.  I found this really interesting, definitively daring but rather coherent with Richard Fosse’s lecture. So, when  the time for post-lecture questions came, I took the chance to ask more or less the following:
Thank you for a very interesting presentation. I find it interesting that you have decided to skip Replacement as the ultimate goal, and I wanted to ask you if the workshop took this decision because it is not possible to reach replacement in the foreseeable time, or because it is not considered a relevant aim. I will explain why I’m asking the question. As has already been commented on by others, the animal use we are talking about in this conference is only about 10-15% of the total numbers of animals used in experimentation. And if we look at the overall use of animals, it is an even smaller fraction. Interestingly, we never discuss Replacement or even Reduction as regards animal production for human consumption, although the nuimbers are much larger and the amount of suffering is often considerable. Why is it, then, that it’s so important to replace the use of animals in testing? Are we really investing the efforts where they are best needed?
The answer was not very clear, which I now fully well understand, as what I asked must have made no sense whatsoever to the speaker, who had said something completely different. But the question remains. Why is it that using animals in research is such a questionable activity that we ought to make every effort to avoid it, when using animals for food production is reasonably accepted? 
One can turn the question around: why don’t we discuss the 3Rs for animal production? 

Author: Anna Olsson

Animal welfare scientist.

One thought on “Alternatives to animal use – part 6”

  1. Para responder à tua pergunta central: devemos, sem dúvida, e acho que o fazemos, ainda que não satisfatoriamente. O Refinamento é muito abordado hoje em dia, no seguimento do que agora se chama \”carne ética\” (ou qualquer coisa do género), que visa a produção e abate dos animais do modo mais ético possível. Evidentemente, há questões de índole essencialmente pragmática uma vez que o stress ou lesões nos momentos que antecedem o abate podem fazer diminuir uma grande percentagem do volume aproveitável, por formação do que se chamam as carnes PSE (Pale, Soft, Exudative) e DFD (Dark, Firm, Dry). Os esforços no sentido de manipular geneticamente os animais de modo a não manifestarem este \”empobrecimento\” da qualidade da carne pode fazer reverter os esforços no sentido de proporcionar as melhores condições de transporte e abate. O Refinamento não pode passar somente pelo abate, e é aqui que os consumidores têm a palavra mais importante, pois podem pressionar, através das suas opções de compra, os produtores a obter produtos de origem animal de animais nas melhores condições de bem-estar. Um produtor nacional tem liderado esta nova vaga (a título de exemplo, temos este anúncio: A Redução e Substituição tem estado mais entregues aos defensores do vegetarianismo ou veganismo. Mas a ciência não dorme e há já resultados promissores no sentido de substituir carne proveniente de animais por carne produzida artificialmente. Há, claro, vários factores de cariz ético, social, prático e de segurança a debater. Não resisto a partilhar este vídeo do Daily Show, de John Stewart:—-artificial-meat


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: