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Commentaries on changing and implementing regulation

This chapter offers an overview and three-part response to the first section of the book, which looks at the changing relationships between regulation and animal research. Opening the conversation is a commentary from Liz Tyson, an academic and animal advocate currently working within the animal protection and conservation not-for-profit sector. She offers an insightful critical analysis identifying the limitations of our work on the ‘Animal Research Nexus’ contained within this volume, which has been imposed by choices made in structuring research activity. Tyson invites reflection on how the structuring of research includes some perspectives and excludes others, prompting readers to consider not only what had been said but what had been left unsaid, and why. Amy Hinterberger, academic and social scientist, similarly highlights how the Animal Research Nexus productively focuses attention on the institutional lives of animals but in doing so may leave little space for considering other approaches to animal research. In closing, Robert G. W. Kirk, academic and historian, considers the Animal Research Nexus as a historically constituted object, reflecting how past trends may inform future change whilse inviting speculation on how the lay public may be better engaged with the ever-evolving relationship of regulation to animal research.

This chapter offers an overview and three-part response to the first section of the book, and looks at the changing relationships between regulation and animal research. Opening the conversation is a commentary from Liz Tyson, an academic and animal advocate currently working within the animal protection and conservation not-for-profit sector. She offers an insightful critical analysis identifying the limitations of our work on the ‘Animal Research Nexus’, limits which result from our choices made in structuring research activity. Tyson invites reflection on how the structuring of research includes some perspectives and excludes others, prompting readers to consider not only what had been said but what had been left unsaid, and why. Amy Hinterberger, academic and social scientist, similarly highlights how the Animal Research Nexus productively focuses attention on the institutional lives of animals but in doing so may leave little space for considering other approaches to animal research. In closing, Robert G. W. Kirk, academic and historian, considers the Animal Research Nexus as a historically constituted object, reflecting how past trends may inform future change while inviting speculation on how the lay public may be better engaged with the ever-evolving relationship of regulation to animal research.

Accentuate the positive … silence the negative

Liz Tyson

The three authors in this section provide insights into various parts of the animal experiment process – from the origination of the current legislation governing animal testing in England and Wales (Myelnikov, Chapter 1), to the experiences of some of the animals subjected to testing (or used in associated intrusive procedures) (Gorman, Chapter 2), and finally to the few animals who may be rehomed once they are no longer of use to the laboratories (Skidmore, Chapter 3).

I define myself as an animal rights activist and scholar. As part of my day-to-day work as Director of one of the largest primate sanctuaries in the US, I care for monkeys formerly used in animal experimentation. My position on animal testing comes then, not from direct experience of working in laboratories, but from my overall ethical opposition to the use of animals for human benefit and my experience of supporting some of the very few animals who make it out of laboratories alive as they work to overcome the trauma of animals exploited in this way.

What struck me throughout the three articles was the way in which the carefully constructed narratives of animal protection within the ‘vivisection’ industry begin to unravel when we scratch beneath the surface. Constructed narratives, such as that around the use of horseshoe crabs, pay lip service to the popular ideals of replacement, reduction, and refinement (the 3Rs) while the reality of using horseshoe crabs for blood extraction fails in both reduction and replacement of animals in procedures. Gorman notes that this makes the horseshoe crabs ‘invisible’; their exploitation not only hidden from statistics on animal testing, but the entire invasive process to which they are subjected and, as a result of which a significant percentage of these animals die, being referred to as an ‘alternative’ to animal testing. In this, they become non-animals. They fall through the gaps left by lack of regulatory protection, and are, in effect, erased.

Horseshoe crabs become non-animals because the legal parameters within which the use of animals is regulated were constructed not (only) to mitigate harm to animals based on animal welfare science or ethics, but also as Myelnikov references: ‘to enable scientists to get on with their work in peace’ and to ‘clip the wings of the increasingly violent extreme anti-vivisectionist movement by isolating them from moderate opinion’ (p. 45). As Myelnikov clearly demonstrates, political manoeuvring played a significant role in the development of ASPA, arguably to the detriment of the animals themselves.

In the consideration of ASPA, the theoretically neutral civil servants explicitly excluded those who were calling for an end to vivisection. The use of terms such as ‘radical’ to describe those who oppose animal testing pitches them against the ‘moderate’ animal welfare advocates and the scientists, combined with mention of lab workers’ fears of ‘terrorist’ attacks by ‘animal rights’ activists, serves to paint the civil servants as the rational mediators seeking to come to a conclusion that works for everyone. But by excluding the voices who question the ethical, welfare, and scientific foundations of animal testing on the basis that these views are too radical is to erase an essential part of the conversation. In silencing these voices, who seek to speak on behalf of the animals, like the horseshoe crabs, the constructed narrative that animal welfare, animal testing, and science, can coexist and thrive together is perpetuated without challenge.

Finally, Skidmore’s discussion of rehoming animals after the lab provides a perfect example of constructed narrative in the description of the lab that invited journalists to see the ‘cute puppies’. In this arguably cynical public relations exercise, the suffering of the other dogs exploited in labs is invisible while the puppies who are ‘very, very cute’ (p. 86) are put front and centre for the world to see. There is reference made to primates being rehomed by laboratories in some of the interview commentaries in Skidmore’s piece, but no stats are provided that compare the number of animals who find homes, and those who live and die in the lab.

While a handful of dogs, and an even smaller number of primates, may be rehomed when they are no longer of use to the lab, the vast, vast majority of animals used in labs will be killed by the lab; either as part of the experiment itself, or once they are no longer deemed of use. And, as someone who runs one of the largest primate sanctuaries in the US, I can confidently say that the rehoming of primates, at least, does not represent the ‘happily ever after’ that members of the public might think it does. While a dog may be able to acclimatise to life in someone’s home and – to a greater or lesser extent, dependent on the individual – overcome some of their past trauma, when it comes to primates, those who are not killed outright carry the trauma of the laboratory with them for the rest of their lives. One of the workers in Skidmore’s chapter on rehoming refers to decisions on rehoming being made ‘at the end of [the animal’s] working life’. But we must remember that this is not ‘work’ for the individuals used in this way. No animal chooses this; they are non-consenting innocents, not consenting workers. This is not retirement with the proverbial gold watch. My concern here, as I will elaborate in the case studies that follow, is that we must guard against believing – and perpetuating the associated narratives – that the harms of the lab are reversed or remedied by the provision of post-lab care for the animals involved. One cannot justify the other.

Of the many individuals used in labs previously who are now cared for at the sanctuary I work at, there are a few whose stories demonstrate the ongoing harm that vivisection causes, even to those who are given the chance of life after the laboratory. There was Theo – a Rhesus macaque who was used in a lab for years. He developed conjunctivitis, which was not resolved by standard treatment, so he was taken to an eye specialist. Under anaesthetic, several inches of conductive wire was found in his skull, behind his eye, and was removed. It had been left in there from whatever experiment was conducted on him previously. He was almost blinded by this negligence. Notwithstanding the unnecessary pain he was subjected to, he struggled socially, too. His aggression was so severe that the sanctuary he was housed at before ours removed his canines in a desperate attempt to prevent him injuring others, and himself. When he came to us, we worked with him for years before we were able to see him settle into a social group that worked for him. He passed away peacefully in 2020. I am proud of the care we gave him, but I don’t pretend he lived a happy life, either in the lab or after.

Dawkins (see Figure 4.1), another Rhesus macaque, arrived with us on a regimen of sertraline – an anti-depressant. In the three years that he has lived with us, he has struggled to socialise with other monkeys – something that would have come naturally to a monkey who has been raised in his familial troop and in his natural environment. Instead, Dawkins has spent limited time with other monkeys and, when he is able to cope with the company of others, he soon becomes stressed and aggressive. Due to his large size, when he becomes aggressive and begins to show stereotypical behaviour – often self-biting or grabbing fur – this puts both him and other monkeys at risk. As a result, he has spent a large part of his years with us alone.

Theo and Dawkins are two of dozens of monkeys who have passed through our doors, but their stories are representative. For wild animals, such as monkeys, life after the lab can never be a completely fulfilling life – even with the highest standard of care. Skidmore’s point that public perception believes that dogs belong in the home is an important one. Rightly or wrongly, because we have subjected dogs to tens of thousands of years of domestication, they have the potential to go on to have a ‘good’ life after the lab (though this does not negate the trauma they have been subjected to). For non-human primates, whose captivity is a fundamental part of their suffering, even the best sanctuary cannot provide them with the life that they deserve. They will continue to live caged; they will continue to live in unnatural social groups (as even the best sanctuaries cannot safely recreate the complex social hierarchies that exist in primate troops in the wild), they live in the wrong country, the wrong climate, and are fed a diet that may be nutritionally complete but will be unlikely to properly resemble their diet in their natural home. Importantly, their worlds are so small and without the challenges of their natural environment. Their lives, even with the best care, are a shadow of the lives that they would live in freedom.

There is a tendency to believe that those who fundamentally oppose animal experiments do so from a position of ignorance. There is a narrative that has been perpetuated by industries that exploit animals, and by governments, that those who oppose animal testing are radical, anti-science, uninformed, and that their demands are unrealistic. But when those voices are excluded from the conversation altogether – and those voices belong to the people charged with caring for the victims of vivisection – not just in the laboratories themselves, but in the years that follow, a vital part of the conversation is missing. When we have no one speaking for the animals, and only for the animals, we have a system that was deliberately designed to make invisible those who are harmed the most.

So, while I agree that horseshoe crabs should not be made non-animals by virtue of their exclusion from legal protection, and while rehoming more dogs, or more monkeys, from labs is generally a ‘good’ thing, these details seem to be distracting from the bigger issue. If horseshoe crabs were included within ASPA, it is likely that the procedures that they are submitted to would be the same, their suffering the same, their deaths the same. If more dogs or monkeys were rehomed, it still would not even scratch the surface when we consider the millions of animals who suffer and are killed each year in labs. Those who do get out would still go into their new lives traumatised – sometimes irrevocably so. Small changes and minor reforms may play out well in the public domain, much like the PR exercise of inviting journalists to meet cute puppies, but if we are truly concerned about the welfare of animals in labs, then conversations that make visible the individual animals and their lived experiences, and that allow space at the table for those who seek to speak up for their interests, are essential.

The institutional life of animals

Amy Hinterberger

When we study the institutional and legal life of animals, what do we study? The history of twentieth-century science and policy shows us that controversies about the use of animals in research are conduits for reassessing the relationship between humans and other animals. Within arguments about animal care, welfare, husbandry practices, reductions, and bans lie new imaginings for the political, economic, and social management of animal life in our societies. When I reflect on these new imaginings, however, I am also led to consider how, as social researchers, we actually study the institutional life of animals in a practical sense. In my own research, I have explored how cell-based biotechnologies are influencing and changing our ideas of human health and wellbeing. The goal of cutting-edge biomedical research is targeted at improving human lives, but animals are often the objects of research before it reaches the clinical stage (indeed if it ever does). To study biomedicine as a social and cultural practice means to also study the institutional treatment and management of animals. In tracing out how cell biology may be transforming human health, I have encountered the institutional management of animal life in many places: from primate research centres in Europe, to committee meeting room, to the 8th floor of a tower block in a busy North American town which housed genetically altered pigs. Accessing these sites as a social scientist is not easy, and researchers have been more excited to show me a dish of reprogrammed human heart cells that beat under the microscope than the animals housed down the hall, or in a nearby facility, who will be receiving these cells in experimental procedures.

So what about these many different animals and institutional processes that often remain hidden from view, unable to gain traction, not only in the social studies of biomedicine, but also in public or alternative visions of our relationship with animals? As these chapters make clear, our understanding and appreciation of animals in research requires expanded attention and vision. From these chapters we learn that there is much to be discovered about the institutional life of animals. By institutional life, I mean the forms of governance that are part of the general ecosystem of activities, laws and regulations relating to the use of animals in research involving both state-led proscriptions for actions, along with forms of governance that are initiated by actors and groups beyond the state.

From the politics of horseshoe crab blood to rehoming lab animals after experiments have finished, to the tracing out of the UK’s legislative history of animal use, these chapters illuminate the lesser-known species and spaces of animal life. What can we glean from these chapters, then, about the evolution of our institutional and legal relationship with animals? The following are some lines of thought initiated by the many revelations and insights that cut across this section.

The institution’s animal

A striking leading theme of the chapters in this section is that what counts as an animal in law is not self-evident, nor are the processes that shape institutional definitions of animal life. When it comes to the institutional management of animal life, animals are classified in numerous ways with some receiving forms of protection and others not. What we may consider to be an animal in everyday life, does not necessarily count as an animal under the law. These chapters lay bare many of the qualifications and technical complexities that accompany animals as they become the subjects of bureaucratic management. Gorman (Chapter 2) shows us how the horseshoe crab, an invertebrate whose blood forms part of the supply chains of contemporary biomedicine, does not count as an animal within formal animal welfare legislation. Animals that do not have a backbone have traditionally not counted as animals in welfare regulation, whereas animals that do have a backbone are viewed as sentient and entitled to some forms of protection. Recent changes in UK law, for example, granting sentient status to invertebrates such as crabs, octopuses, and lobsters, highlight how becoming animal in the law is a political and social process, subject to change. Indeed, in the US, for the purposes of the Animal Welfare Act, mice are not considered animals.

To this end, the institution’s animal is specific and prescribed. Yet we also learn from these chapters about the arbitrariness of institutional animal regulation, along with in Skidmore’s account of rehoming policies for lab animals (Chapter 3), how social and cultural relations to animals shape research practices. Myelnikov (Chapter 1) writes an illuminating history of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in the UK and the bureaucratic Codes of Practice that accompanied it. He explains how some regulations around husbandry practices such as temperature and humidity were drawn from ethological knowledge, but others, such as pen size for dogs were enshrined simply by measuring the pens that dogs were already kept in.

Institutional personality

A great variety of animal species are put into motion, within different domains, across the chapters. Here it is useful to read across the section to learn about the significance of species when considering the ways in which our institutions care, control, create, and destroy animal life. A theme that emerges from doing this is that animals often require specific forms of personality to qualify for institutional protection. In an examination of rehoming practices for animals used in research, Skidmore explains how an animal higher on the species hierarchy is more likely to be considered an individual and receive care practices beyond required welfare legislation. Animals used in research, she explains, are not just ordered in relation to their proximity to humans but also in relation to each other, with monkeys, dogs, and cats often being viewed as individuals with personalities in need of care, as opposed to mice and rats.

The accounts of institutional animal life here point to a problem of care – if we can’t connect, we can’t care. This perhaps says less about animals and more about our relationship to the concept of care itself. Where care is not warm and fuzzy, but more troublesome, cold and quiet, we struggle to cultivate care. Gorman’s horseshoe crab is beset by a number of challenges, and for those who want to reduce the half a million bled each year, how to cultivate care is a top priority. However, Gorman also shows us that a focus on care can obscure the significance of the technical infrastructures that shape the use of horseshoe crab blood – how it is seen in the research community as an in vitro procedure, how it is viewed as an alternative to using other animals. These are dilemmas that need attention to advance the care of horseshoe crabs. Such dilemmas about how to intervene or transform the long-standing research infrastructures that shape biomedical research and experimentation require understanding of our historical present. This is one reason why the kind of analysis provided by Myelnikov, in a detailed historical reconstruction of how the Thatcher government came to revise the UK’s one-hundred-year-old animal laws, is so crucial. We may exhibit social care to some animals used in biomedical research we attach personality to, or connect culturally to some of the famous animals produced by bioscience (for instance, Dolly the cloned sheep), but meaningful change requires understanding the research infrastructures that shape current practice.

Institutional habitats

Finally, these chapters are significant because they ask us to consider: what is the proper place of animals within our institutions? What kind of institutional habitats should we be cultivating for animals used in research? The slogan discussed by Myelnikov, ‘Put Animals into Politics!’ used by animal welfare campaigners in the 1970s highlights the role and influence of animal advocacy movements. The message here is clear: formal regulation through legislation is needed. Though as we can see in both Gorman and Skidmore’s studies, formal regulation covers only a small portion of animals used in research – the ecosystem is complex with a variety of governance structures both formal and informal.

For me, these questions of proximity and space should lead us also to look at where the regulation of animal life sits in relation to human life. Existing regulatory structures have been set up over the years to govern research on humans or animals through separate mechanisms and forms of oversight in bioscience. In most countries there exist two separate ethical and regulatory streams, one for biomedical research on humans and one for animals. These regulatory structures are part of deeper and underlying logics that have shaped assumptions about how to divide and organise research on human health between human beings and the animals that are used as substitutes or proxies for human subjects.

However, such regulatory structures come under strain as the techniques and materials of bioscience change and transform. For example, developments in stem cell science and gene editing techniques enable researchers to integrate human cells more accurately and comprehensively into non-human animals at different stages of development. These new forms of biomedical research require social scientists and humanities scholars to work across human and animal boundaries in biomedicine and ethics.

Biomedical researchers have historically had limited options to create models of human disease and development in laboratory settings. Animal models are commonly used but are subject to both experimental and ethical problems. However, new kinds of research tools that are made of human cells have significantly increased the ability researchers have to study and model human disease. New cell-based technologies are opening up and transforming the pursuit of human-specific models of disease and development. We do not yet know the outcome of what these changes mean for animals in research. However, what is clear is that assessing the place of animal use in bioscience will require engaging with our changing understandings of not only animal, but also human biology.


Euro-American culture is not disinterested in animals – quite the opposite. If you walk into any bookshop and survey the new titles section, you will no doubt find an abundance of books about animals. Far from the old Cartesian idea of animals as unfeeling machines, our current orientation to animals demonstrates an insatiable fascination with the social life of animals. There is a magnetic attraction of the human imagination to find alliances with animal life but how might our understanding of animal life be enriched if we turned this curiosity towards the institutional life of animals? Or towards the ways our own institutions manage and classify animal life? The chapters in this section, and this collection as whole, open up the meaningful possibilities offered by such investigations. Charting the institutional life of animals offers an opportunity to reassess how we approach animals, along with the political, cultural, and ethical stakes of contemporary biomedical research.

Regulatory connections and challenges

Robert G. W. Kirk

Writing as a historian and a member of the Animal Research Nexus Programme, if I was asked to identify a single theme that characterises this volume, I would choose connections. How different elements relate, become entangled, and reshape each other to drive historical change in what we refer to as the ‘animal research nexus’. Tracing connections focuses attention upon the complex processes that simultaneously create, connect, and transform the very elements that make up our object of study: the scientific use of animals. From this perspective, animal research is approached as a historically constituted object, a moving object, made up of many parts, each changing the other and the whole over time. But what holds the whole together? What gives form to the animal research nexus? Many answers are possible, but perhaps the most prominent is regulation. Today, regulation is one of the primary functions of the modern state. The way regulatory authority is applied and administered creates and governs connections between state, industry and other stakeholders, and the public. Regulation is therefore a political arena and unsurprisingly humanities and social sciences research has much to say on the subject. Conventionally framed as the state operationalising an obligation to protect the public, regulation is nonetheless vulnerable to ‘regulatory capture’ where the work of regulation gradually becomes inverted toward protecting industry, stakeholders and other interests against those of the public.1 Various social, political, and economic arguments lend themselves toward processes of ‘deregulation’. Regulation can be construed to place unwarranted limits upon innovation and productivity, while a tendency toward centralising power within an unelected, invisible, and seemingly unaccountable administration – as well as the alternative approach that diminishes centralised authority in favour of cooperative structures of public-private governance – might each be perceived as exhibiting a ‘democratic deficit’ that falls short of the expectations of a modern liberal democracy.2

Within animal research, regulation is neither a simple nor a stable object. Nevertheless, examining regulation reveals the most prominent and influential concerns that make up the ‘animal research nexus’ upon which most of society might be thought to agree upon. In Britain, the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 was introduced to reassure the ‘public’ that animals were not subjected to unnecessary suffering in the pursuit of science. As Myelnikov (Chapter 1) shows, the push toward public reassurance made ‘consensus’ the guiding strategy of the reforms that produced its successor the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA). Inevitably, such an approach empowered some voices over others. In pursuing consensus, arguments at the polar end of debate lost influence and in this example those who favoured abolition (such as ‘anti-vivisectionists’) were gradually excluded from shaping reform. Nevertheless, building consensus on issues such as pain (where the interests of animal welfare gave ground), and recognition of the value of veterinary expertise on laboratory animals (where, eventually, historical resistance to veterinary involvement in regulation gave way), among many others, was far from simple. Yet deals could be done on the basis of the need to diffuse public concern. The resultant regulation gave shape to the animal research nexus and that in turn shaped the scope of the research that makes up the content of this volume. Yet, as Tyson’s commentary (Chapter 4) makes clear, our work has not done as much as it might have to make visible the interests and arguments of those that are excluded from regulation. In a similar critique later in this volume, Giraud (Chapter 8) argues that the form of animal welfare and care examined here is specific to and operates through the logic of a situated institution: the laboratory. Hinterberger’s commentary (Chapter 4), too, recognises that this volume is tightly focused on the ‘institutional life of animals’, recognising the value of such work in revealing the political, cultural, and ethical stakes of contemporary biomedical research. As useful as this may be, given that the laws of the laboratory are determined primarily (though not exclusively) by regulation, Tyson and Giraud make a cautionary and necessary point in drawing attention to the limits of our analysis of the animal research nexus. Gorman’s (Chapter 2) provocative exploration of the horseshoe crab reveals regulation to be central to contemporary biomedical practice, broadly invisible to the public imagination and almost impossible to locate within regulatory concern as it straddles animal research, ecology, and conservation while transcending national boundaries. Through the horseshoe crab Gorman reveals the limits of regulatory imagination. Yet, as Tyson suggests, the inclusion of the horseshoe crab within regulation (however that might be achieved) would do little to assuage the concerns of those who believe that no level of animal welfare can justify the practice of animal research. How, then, might we better include those interests and voices that hitherto have marginal influence upon animal research?

Perhaps greater attention to perceptions of the public. The horseshoe crab is a marvellously interesting animal, but can hardly be said to possess what Lorimer describes as a ‘non-human charisma’ in the contemporary imagination.3 In 1876 dogs, cats, and equines received privileged regulatory status due to a perception that the presence of these species in human society made them of most concern to the public and, at least some believed, a heightened capacity for suffering. These species continued to be privileged in ASPA, no doubt in part because of the conservative nature of reform but also, as Myelnikov describes, in light of controversy about the use of dogs in tobacco research that can only have emphasised their prominence within public concern. Perception of charisma in animals, as Skidmore (Chapter 3) demonstrates, can shape not just what is included within regulation but how regulation is enacted. But such perceptions are malleable, shaped by experience and by the accumulation of knowledge about a species (thus animal technicians who work with rats develop a different understanding of the species to that of ‘vermin’, which tends to dominate public imagination). In this way, animal research itself can be seen to drive shifts in how society perceives non-human animal charisma. The reforms of 1986 extended privileged protection to non-human primates, but neglected to extend regulatory scope to include octopus vulgaris despite a clear consensus that this species had near equivalent sentience to higher vertebrates. A significant difference between non-human primates and octopus vulgaris was their location within the public imagination. Popular science, ethological study, and environmental concerns had propelled the non-human primate to the forefront of public concern whereas octopus vulgaris had enjoyed no comparable transformation and so had to wait until 1993 before recognition as a regulated species and perhaps as late as My Octopus Teacher (Netflix, 2020) before public imagination fully embraced the species.4 If regulation changes in lockstep with scientific knowledge and public concern, what steps could we take to facilitate and systematise this process? What might bring forward recognition of the non-human charisma of the horseshoe crab and make visible further excluded voices, interests, and species?

Animal research regulation has, historically, served to reassure the lay public without involving lay persons within its governance structure. The Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 made no provision for lay involvement, although having a non-scientist chair of the Advisory Committee served a bureaucratic purpose in that it encouraged scientists to render the discussion and conclusions in language more easily understood by the Home Office.5 Under ASPA, lay involvement was slightly expanded in the reformed Animal Procedures Committee, though it was not until the late 1990s and the development of the Animal Welfare Ethical Review Board that a role for lay opinion was gradually institutionalised. The involvement of lay persons can be understood as a response to the democratic deficit within regulatory decision-making but it is also more than this in that it brings diverse perspectives to a problem that is at once scientific and societal. Perhaps we can build on that through a mechanism that would allow more systematic, and regular, public participation in the making as well as the application of regulation. This mechanism could include those voices and interests that are as yet too frequently excluded from the consensus upon which regulation and the animal research nexus rest. One possibility might be to adapt the model of the citizen assembly.6 Consisting of a representative group of randomly selected citizens, the model of the assembly is specifically intended to address divisive and complex issues by providing time for engaged discussion and informed decisions to serve long-term societal interests. Given that perceptions of public concern appear to play a significant role in shaping regulation, a mechanism like a citizen assembly may facilitate more accurate tracking of the former through the latter, by including presently excluded interests such as abolitionist arguments. It would also empower a representative group of citizens to deliberate and inform the future direction or regulatory change within animal research.


1 Science and knowledge production can play a role in regulatory capture; see for instance, Andrea Saltelli et al., ‘Science, the Endless Frontier of Regulatory Capture’, Futures, 135 (2022), 102860, DOI: 10.1016/j.futures.2021.102860.
2 Victor Bekkers et al., Governance and the Democratic Deficit: Assessing the Democratic Legitimacy of Governance Practices (Aldershot: Ashgate 2007); David Levi-Faur, Handbook on the Politics of Regulation (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011).
3 J. Lorimer, ‘Nonhuman Charisma’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 25.5 (2007), 911–932, DOI: 10.1068/d71j.
4 See also Peter Godfrey-Smith, Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (London: William Collins, 2017).
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Researching animal research

What the humanities and social sciences can contribute to laboratory animal science and welfare


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