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Patients’ attitudes towards  animal testing: “To conduct research on animals is, I suppose, a necessary evil”
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Health Services Research. (Hälso- och sjukvårdsforskning)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics.
University of Copenhagen. (Dept. of Pharmacy, Social and Clinical Pharmacy)
2014 (English)In: BioSocieties, ISSN 1745-8552, E-ISSN 1745-8560, Vol. 9, no 1, 24-41 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A strong argument for the practice of animal testing in medical research is the potential benefit to patients in getting improved pain relief, minimising morbidity and mortality. However, patients’ opinions on the ethics of animal testing are seldom sought, despite their role as principal stakeholders. This study compared the attitudes of patients and researchers on animal testing. Focus-group interviews were held with patients suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases, resulting in a questionnaire that was distributed January–May 2011. The questionnaire was posted to patient members of the Swedish Rheumatism Association (n=1195) and to all scientific experts serving on Ethical Review Boards in Sweden (n=364), with response rates of 65 per cent and 60 per cent, respectively. Results show that patients hold a positive stance towards animal testing, but with many caveats, and the level of support is comparable to those held by the general public found in national surveys. A clear majority of researchers were positive towards animal testing, and large statistical differences between patients and researchers were found regarding their attitudes towards testing animals commonly held as pets (P<0.001). Women were more critical than men regarding which species are used for what purposes (P<0.001). Researchers need to be aware that their more positive attitude towards animal testing is not shared to an equal degree with patients, who are the intended end-users and beneficiaries of medical research. The moral basis for using animals in research needs to be further discussed by all stakeholders.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 9, no 1, 24-41 p.
Keyword [en]
research ethics, animal welfare, animal ethics, patient perspective, attitudes towards research, 3Rs, animal rights, animal experiment, animal research
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-206839DOI: 10.1057/biosoc.2013.39ISI: 000333151000003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-206839DiVA: diva2:645642
Available from: 2013-09-05 Created: 2013-09-05 Last updated: 2014-12-03Bibliographically approved

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