Carmen M. McLeod
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Assuaging fears of monstrousness
UK and Swiss initiatives to open up animal laboratory research
in Science and the politics of openness

A key message that has emerged over the past five years from the animal research community is the importance of greater transparency in order to allay public fears and concerns about animal experiments. In the UK and Switzerland two significant initiatives have emerged. The Swiss Basel Declaration was announced in 2011, calling for animal researchers to sign up to greater trust, transparency, and communication in their work. In the UK, a Concordat on Openness in Animal Research was launched in 2012, which now includes over 80 signatories from research institutions and funding organisations. This chapter explores the hoped for benefits of these two transparency initiatives to move beyond the mistrustful relationship of the past, and considers whether greater openness in relation to animal research might assuage public concerns, or whether different ‘monsters’ could potentially be brought to light. It is argued that while there have been improvements in terms of readily available information, ongoing fears about what other information is hidden, and a lack of public involvement in decision-making, continue to challenge the trust between science and society in the context of animal laboratory research.

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