On Tuesday 8th December, we attended the All Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) meeting at the House of Commons on the subject of the use of dogs and cats in scientific research. Speakers at the meeting included representatives from Understanding Animal Research, RSPCA, IAT, Cruelty Free International and the Run Free Alliance. Although views on dog use varied considerably amongst the panel, it was widely agreed that it is important to continue to invest in the Replacement and Reduction of dog use, and that it is necessary to have discussion across all stakeholders in dog use.
Although there was a limited scope for discussion within the meeting, we hope that there will be future meetings with opportunities to have a balanced discussion on dog use, including the recognition of the collaborative research which is underway (including projects such as Refining Dog Care), and a recognition that the welfare of dogs needs to be amongst our primary concerns, particularly the need to Refine dog use for as long as it occurs.
One of our aims with the Refining Dog Care project is to increase public engagement with the issues surrounding dog use, providing information to the public to promote an open, fact-based discussion as we believe this is necessary for the advancement of dog welfare and the promotion of good scientific practice. We hope that events such as this meeting will contribute to this environment of openness.