RAISING VOICES, SAVING LIVES
One of the most important ways to show your commitment to research is to become an advocate. You can help build the public's understanding and trust in animal research - a key component of scientists' search for new treatments and cures.
The most basic element of advocacy is speaking out, drawing on your own personal experience to demonstrate the vital importance of animal research. “Raising Voices, Saving Lives” offers you the opportunity to share your story with others who seek information about the responsible and humane use of laboratory animals.
Steps to Research Advocacy
Above all, you must know the facts and be prepared to counter the myths people have heard about the use of laboratory animals.
Step 1: Know The Issue
Acquire an in-depth understanding of why and how animals are used in medicine by using the information available on the AMP website. Learn about the various phases of scientific research, the distinction between animal welfare and animal rights and the essential role animals have played in the evolution of modern medicine. Become familiar with the laws and governing bodies that regulate animal research and gain an understanding of the commitment made by researchers to implement and maintain the highest level of ethics and care in their work with animals.
Download the information available in our Advocacy Tool Kit and share these materials with family, friends, colleagues, and whenever the occasion permits. Choose from a selection of handouts (e.g.“Why Animal Research?” or “The Challenges of Animal Research”) to support your presentation and order our DVD series.
Find specific information about the cures, preventive measures and therapies developed in part through animal research. Learn how your life and the lives of your loved ones are enhanced today because of advancements made through scientists’ work with laboratory animals. Prepare to tell your personal story.
Talk to your doctor or your pet’s veterinarian to learn how the procedures they use and the medicines they prescribe were made possible through biomedical research.
Step 2: Know Your Audience
Understand the people in your audience - their interests and their expectations – so you can develop relevant and effective ways to reach them. Informing others about the importance of scientists’ continued use of laboratory animals in their research is a highly-charged topic. Use questions to gauge what people already know or think about the issue and draw on their experiences and responses for further points to raise about the valuable role laboratory animals play in medicine.
Step 3: Know Your Opposition
Be aware of the views and beliefs of those opposed to biomedical research and what they tell the public. This will prepare you to respond to honest questions and concerns about the use of laboratory animals. Use our site to learn about the leading animal rights organizations, their philosophy and the tactics they employ to deter scientists’ work with animals. Become acquainted with the most frequently asked questions about animal research and learn how to respond to those who have a different view.
Ways To Support Research
Speak openly and honestly about animal-based research using the knowledge and resources you've acquired from AMP’s website. Through casual conversation, speak with your family and friends about ways research improves the lives of humans and animals. Listen to others’ responses, and when delivering your message make critical connections between their lives and the treatments that have been made possible because of animal research. As in every situation, support your comments with facts and always be sure to respect the opinion of others.
Reach out to your community by offering to speak at conferences, schools, seminars, community meetings, panels or retreats about the benefits of animal research. Blend personal testimonies about research benefits with factual information to effectively illustrate how animal research has played a crucial role in the advancement of medical progress. Print and copy the materials offered in our Advocacy Tool Kit to distribute to your audience.
Share information with a broad audience by submitting opinion editorials (op-eds) and letters to the editor to your local and state newspapers. Respond to recent news articles or simply share your opinion on the vital and necessary role of animals in biomedical research. Be sure to clearly express your opinion, acknowledge the opposing side of the issue and use facts to support your statements. The North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research offers some excellent suggestions about working with the news media.
You can also reach a large audience by participating in radio talk shows. Check with your local radio station to see if they have any open forums and find out what upcoming issues are going to be discussed. Voice your opinion and use the facts and resources available on the AMP website to support your statements.
If you participate on an e-mail list dedicated to a relevant topic (such as those focused on pets or specific diseases), or if you have a blog, consider raising the issue on the Internet. You are bound to engender some reaction. Keep the dialogue civil and informed.
Contact your elected officials by writing, calling or visiting their offices to express your interest in legislation that affects biomedical research. First be sure that you are up-to-date and armed with the facts about pending legislation that may affect research. Discover tips for effectively communicating with lawmakers, and find the officials who represent you. FASEB offers a good starting point.
Become Part of the Process:
Support the work of a local Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Whether or not you have a scientific background, as a member of the public you can participate by joining a local IACUC and assisting in the oversight of research programs. Your contribution of time and wisdom can help ensure the highest quality of animal care and put in place the most effective and efficient research methods as researchers and IACUC members work to improve the health and welfare of both humans and animals. For more information about the work of IACUCs, visit IACUC.org.
Encouraging others to get involved in research advocacy is one of the greatest contributions you can make to medical progress. Share your passion by directing others to the AMP website (www.amprogress.org) and have them take the journey from knowing the basics to raising their voices and saving lives.