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The Proof That Opinion Moves 29 May 2006

Posted by David in Uncategorized.
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An interesting article and poll in the Telegraph today showing public support for animal testing at an all time high. After the side effects felt by 6 human test subjects earlier this year, and violent protests including grave robbery and death threats, 70% now say it is "acceptable to test new medical treatments on animals before human trials". Some 72% now say testing on animals is sometimes essential, and 77% agree those activists recently sentenced could be termed "terrorists".

This poll, more than anything, is proof that public opinion is liquid and moves. In the Civitas publication Conspiciuous Compassion, author Patrick West says the public had adopted a "sentimental, hypocritical and mushy headed attitude to living things". This was based on the poll then showing 64% against animal testing – something very much needed for medical progress – yet only 2% against eating animals as meat.

This poll should do two things. First it should send a signal that we do not like animal testing, but accept it for medical progress – this should get the protesters to calm down and researchers to limit their experiments wherever possible. Whether it will or not, I do not know.

Secondly, it should send the message to politicians not to rely on focus groups and the latest polls. People make their minds up over time, based on information and ideas. If new ideas aren't formulated and articulated, we'll never get anywhere.

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