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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 11:20 EDT

New Grant Supports Hastings Work On Ethics Of Medical Research With Animals

July 18, 2011

The Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund awarded The Hastings Center a $159,000 grant to explore the ethical, scientific, and legal issues on using animals in medical research and on the prospects for using alternatives to animal models.

The project comes at a time when arguments about animal experimentation are changing in fundamental and profound ways. Scientific journals and some biomedical researchers are calling for increased public engagement and education about animal research. The longstanding view that one is either pro-medical progress or pro-animal welfare is giving way to more nuanced thinking, which upholds the values of both medical progress and animal welfare and seeks to greatly increase the use of alternatives to animals. For example, new initiatives in the United States, such as in vitro toxicology testing and neuroimaging studies, are designed as alternatives to animal testing.

“We are very pleased to support The Hastings Center’s work on these important questions, which go to the heart of who we are as humans and how we should relate to animals in the context of medical research,” said John Klingenstein, president of the Fund.

The Hastings Center is coordinating the project and will use the resources of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy, a partnership of the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics and Hastings. A multidisciplinary workshop will bring together people with different points of view and different areas of expertise to share their knowledge and exchange ideas and insights, which will inform a set of print and online educational resources, produced by Hastings Center scholars and editors. Those resources will capture the best current thinking on ethical issues in the use of animals in biomedical research, with an emphasis on alternatives to animal models and the science and values that underlie their use.

“Viewpoints on the use of animals in biomedical research are all too often highly polarized,” said Tom Murray, president of The Hastings Center. “We will provide a forum where researchers and others with interest and involvement in animal research can have a civil discussion about ethical issues ““ and where their views can be shared and respected. The educational materials that come out of the forum, have the potential to be significant resources for scientists, scholars, students, and policy makers who want to understand the ethical issues and policy alternatives for research with animals.”

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