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Forums to focus on ethics of animal research

February 11, 2011 By David Tenenbaum

Three forums on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus will highlight the ethics of animal research, Eric Sandgren, an associate professor of pathobiological sciences, announced today.

“We want these talks to be discussions with the community on the costs, benefits and ethics of animal research,” says Sandgren, who directs the Research Animal Resource Center. “More transparency, more communication and better information help everyone involved in this emotional debate.”

The forums, in response to interest in the ethics of animal research among some members of the Dane County Board, were proposed last year by UW–Madison Provost Paul M. DeLuca Jr. and Graduate School Dean Martin Cadwallader. The goal is to increase public discussion and understanding of issues surrounding animal research.

Each presentation will be followed by an extensive question-and-answer session involving the audience. Speakers were selected by a planning group, which included a diverse range of opinions on the validity and benefits of animal research. All sessions are free and open to the public.

Here is the schedule for the events:

  • Thursday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m.: Lawrence A. Hansen, a neuroscientist at the University of California-San Diego, will give a presentation on “Ethics and Efficacy of Experimentation on Animals: Common Ground, or No Man’s Land?” Hansen, who has argued that the use of animals in research is not effective, will speak at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St.
  • Tuesday, March 29, 7 p.m.: Charles Snowdon, UW–Madison professor of psychology, will discuss his studies with cotton-top tamarins, at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. This presentation will be in 1100 Grainger Hall, 975 University Ave.
  • Monday, April 4: Gary Varner, a philosopher at Texas A&M University, will discuss the basis of moral status, personhood, and near-personhood, in relation to animal research, at a time and location to be announced.

Parking for the first talk is available in campus Lot 17, west of Engineering Hall, and Lot 20, west of the Medical Science Center on University Avenue.