Discussions about animal research often tend towards polarising debate between pro- or anti-animal research positions. Throughout the Animal Research Nexus programme we have developed a set of public engagement activities, including the Mouse Exchange, to change the culture of communication around animal research, to foster peoples’ curiosity about animal research,
We focus on inviting participants to consider where laboratory animals come from, rather than the acceptability or otherwise of animal research. Doing so provides an opportunity to expand understandings of the ‘landscape’ of animal research, bringing the care and responsibilities of animal technicians and commercial breeders into the picture, and exploring the social and economic organisation of science.
We seek to offer a safe space for participants to connect to each other’s’ perspectives through curiosity. Our overall aim is not to educate or inform people, but rather to have a personal experience of relating to animal research through crafting a research mouse. By making space for curiosity-led conversations, we have unique encounters with people who share and reflect on their existing perspectives and experiences relating to animal research and mice more broadly.
With the Mouse Exchange, our goal is to create a safe, care-full space where participants and researchers can exchange questions, perspectives and experience with curiosity and empathy for people and animals alike.