Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Speaking out

Just a quick follow-up:  The other day in my post on the use of animals in scientific research, I mentioned that most of my colleagues thought that scientists should speak out, do more to educate the public about the importance of animal research and how seriously we take it.  Well, recently I've seen some billboards here in Baltimore that do just that.  The one that I've seen says, "Ever had leprosy?  Thanks to animal research, you won't."  The boards seem to be sponsored by ResearchSaves.org.  I don't know if there's some larger sponsor behind the organization, but the premise is certainly a good one.

Side note:  The animal model for leprosy is an interesting one.  Apparently armadillos are the subject of choice when doing animal research with leprosy.  We once had a lecturer come to our school whose work was on this.  Since you can't breed armadillos in a lab setting (though not for a lack of trying), they have to catch them in the wild as needed.  The researcher assured us there were many amusing tales of the local universities paying undergrads to go catch armadillos.  It's fun to imagine so.

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