Countless rats, mice, amphibians, non-human primates, dogs, birds and other animals are used for painful and invasive research at Queen’s. Some of these animals are kidnapped from the wild; others are bred into captivity, or shipped from breeding facilities around the world. While at Queen’s they may be fed and housed, they spend almost all of their time in cages, in conditions of extreme social isolation and environmental deprivation. Most of these animals are killed during the course of, or upon completion of, an experiment.
Our goal at QAD is to shine light on these practices, to prompt discussion about the goals, value and ethics of this research, and to promote the use of alternatives. We believe that research involving animal subjects should follow the same general guidelines and oversight requirements as for research involving human subjects (young children unable to give informed consent are an appropriate comparison group). In other words, animals should not be held captive for the purposes of research, nor should they be subject to harmful or invasive procedures. Some forms of research involving animals have benign or beneficial impacts on animal subjects (observational field studies, for example). At QAD we are pro ethical science, but opposed to science which harms animals in order to benefit humans.
Our interim goals include:
- Full transparency regarding current use of animals for research at Queen’s.
- Replacement of the Animal Care Committee with an independent body charged with evaluating all animal research at Queen’s involving harm and/or captivity.
- A comprehensive required course in alternatives to animal research for students in biological and medical sciences. (This could be adapted from a course offered at Johns Hopkins.)
- A university fund to support researchers in making the transition from captive or invasive animal use, and in developing alternative practices.
- A sanctuary retirement program for animals used in research at Queen’s. (Most animals at Queen’s are killed at the end of experiments, but a few, such as Darla, a macaque who was starved for anorexia experiments, have gone to sanctuaries like Fauna.)