Deborah C. Runkle on how animal research ignorance is bliss

"The public no more wants to know the details about how their medicines made it to the pharmacy than they want to know how their roasting chicken made it to the grocery store."

- Deborah C. Runkle, writing in Science magazine

In her book review of The Animal Research War by P. Michael Conn and James Parker, Runkle deems "overly optimistic" the authors view that if scientists were more proactive in highlighting the positive benefits of animal research to society, the "climate of fear" that currently breeds virulent protest might be mitigated. Most people, she thinks, really don't want to know.

Runkle, a biomedical researcher-turned-lawyer and the founder of Court Appointed Scientific Experts (CASE), did find the book useful nonetheless, especially the way it highlights the recent shift in anti-vivisectionist tactics. As academic institutions and industry have beefed up their security, the "extremists' crosshairs are now squarely on individual scientists." The book describes the horrific ordeals that many scientists, including one of the authors, have endured for their professional activities, and reveals how some have even given in to protect their families.

You can read the entire book review with a subscription to Science.