A new, national organization will take a closer look at the ethics and use of animals in teaching, research and testing – the Animals in Science Policy Institute. With a new website just launched, the non-profit institute will provide education on ethics and non-animal alternatives for the millions of animals used in science, in Canada, every year.
“When Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy moved to Canada from the United Kingdom in 2006, she was struck by how little advocacy work was being done on behalf of animals used in science,” says BC SPCA chief scientific officer Dr. Sara Dubois. “The BC SPCA hired Dr. Ormandy to work on a project exploring the use of animals in undergraduate teaching at the University of British Columbia, which helped lead her toward developing the first non-profit organization of its kind in Canada.”
Ormandy, Dubois and certified humane education specialist Lesley Fox formed the new institute together, with the hope of addressing the need for more critical and constructive dialogue about the use of animals in research, teaching and testing in Canada.
“Millions of animals are used for scientific purposes in Canada each year,” says Dubois. “The Animals in Science Policy Institute aims to provide meaningful, evidence-based discussion about the need to use animals in science, to highlight where non-animal alternatives can be better implemented, and to encourage deeper ethical reflection about animal use in the scientific community.”
Funding from LUSH Cosmetics has just come through for the new institute, to work towards a student choice policy in all B.C. high schools; such a policy would mean that all students across the province would not only have the right to opt out of performing dissection as part of their science curriculum, but also, that meaningful, non-animal alternatives will be offered that enhance student learning.
“If this project is successful, then (the institute’s) strategy can be used as a template in other provinces as well,” Dubois says.
Both Dubois and BC SPCA senior manager of stakeholder relations Geoff Urton serve on the Institute’s board of directors. Find out more at www.animalsinscience.org and follow the institute on Facebook and Twitter.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.