Ethics & Policy Lab managers Dr. Caroline Brall and Dr. Caroline Schlaufer successfully secured SNSF NRP 79 “Advancing 3R” funding for their project entitled “A public policy and ethical analysis of the debate on research with animals in Switzerland”. The overall objective of the project is to analyse policy narratives and ethical arguments used in the public debate on research with animals in Switzerland and to contribute to raising the quality of public debate.
Research with animals has been subject to intense societal debate and changing public perceptions in Switzerland. Since the 1980s, several popular initiatives have been launched to introduce stricter regulations such as a complete ban on animal experimentation. Each related vote was accompanied by an intense public debate on research with animals that included different ethical arguments and reflected diverging and changing public perceptions. In two interrelated components, the research aims to analyse the following:
- The public policy component aims to analyse the policy debate to identify the narratives used in public discourse on research with animals. The analysis intends to reveal how public perception on animal testing has evolved, what role 3R plays in public discourse and to test the influence of different policy narratives.
- The ethics component aims to analyse the underlying ethical arguments used in the societal debate and by different stakeholder groups on research with animals and 3R. In addition, it aims to critically assess the 3R approach and to develop a more granular ethical framework to guide research with animals.
The practical application of this research will result in tools and outreach measures to raise societal awareness and dialogue on research with animals, 3R, and the underlying ethical arguments. By this, it seeks to foster public exchange and dialogue on this topic in Switzerland. The practical application measures are expected to provide a better understanding of the policy narratives and ethical arguments about research with animals and the role of 3R and to contribute to raising the quality of public debate.