Model Organisms in Biomedical Research

September 8, 2011

We have recently published the latest of our videos on bioethics. The subject this time is the use of model organisms in biomedical research (it last six and a half minutes). I am particularly please about this one as it is the first of two main films that have been at the core of a project supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (the other film, due for completion shortly, is on Comparative Genomics).

For reasons I needn’t go into these videos have had longer gestation than a baby elephant but we are very pleased with the outcome and hope you will agree that they have been worth the wait. In the fullness of time there will also be some structured suggestions for how to use these videos in a teaching context.

Production of the two main videos has resulted in the release of seven further films as side-product of the project. These have been previously mentioned on this site, see here for a list.


The vivisection debate: Animals (More4)

October 16, 2007

Part of a season of programmes about aspects of animal use in research, this drama/documentary was first broadcast in December 2005. In the fictional story we are introduced to a research scientist involved in animal testing and to an animal rights activist intent on stop him.  The narrative develops from about 1997, when a TV documentary exposed genuine mistreatment of some animals at Britain’s largest animal research facility, Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), see 00:16:07 – 00:17:31. Throughout the programme, Animals examines real life actions taken by animal rights activists and incorporates them in the plot of the story. A series of interviews with people who were directly involved in these events is also interspersed, and provides interesting insights into their personal experiences. Read the rest of this entry »


Animal Research – Monkeys, Rats and Me

October 8, 2007

In the spring of 2004, work started on the new Oxford University Biomedical research laboratory, which would be partially used for animal experimentation. From the very first day of construction, the site was bombarded with verbal abuse and relentless physical damage to machinery, offices and supplies by animal rights protestors. This subsequently forced the building work to be halted for 18 months. Monkeys, Rats and Me, a documentary commissioned by the BBC, joins the story when construction is restarted in November 2005, and follows the activities of those who campaign for and against the use of animals in medical experimentations. The site of the new facility had become the epicentre for a grand battle between the two polar views of experiments on animals. On the one side you have those who wish for total abolishment of vivisection and on the other there are those who see animal experimentation as an essential tool for advancing science and developing new cures. The narrator suggests that this dispute revolves around the central ethical question of whether “the benefits to patients justify the harms to the animals”. To address this, the documentary attempts to see if animal experimentation works and even, if it does, “is it ethical?” Read the rest of this entry »


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