History behind Students for Ethical Science
- Many years ago Students for Ethical Science (SES) sent the Science Faculty a book and video on alternatives to animal experiments in education. These were never acknowledged.
- Also some years ago we sent them specific details of a plant-based alternative to the rat liver experiment in S203, which has been carried over to SXR 270. This too was never acknowledged.
- For many years we asked for details of the numbers of animals used in OU research. After the first time, when the OU complied with the request, these details have been withheld.
- We sent the Science Administrator the results of a survey of our members' views and experiences in relation to animal experimentation, and commented on the Science Faculty's own survey.
- We requested sight of an Animal Ethical Committee report on the ethical issues in undergraduate teaching in biology courses. This was refused.
- In late 2001 we sent relevant extracts from the 1999 report by EU advisory body ECVAM on alternatives in higher education to the Dean of Science. From past experience we were not surprised to find that this was apparently the first that the Science Faculty had heard of the report.
- More recently we sent the Dean information about EURCA, a European resource of information about alternatives for biology teachers.
- Also recently, we have pointed out certain and possible inaccuracies in the annual Biology Department report to the Animal Ethical Committee. Several changes have now been made in line with our comments.
- We have also pointed out important omissions in the Course Descriptions Guide. Again, some changes have resulted.
- Very recently we sent information on animal-free alternatives to psychology experiments which were featured in the discontinued course SD206, with a view to their being used in the replacement course.
- Many, many communications have been ignored, for example letters asking for clarification regarding the censorship of our Sesame ads. The consequences of this included lost publicity and the need to hire a lawyer to progress the issue.
- We have posted information about OU animal use and alternatives on FirstClass conferences which are likely to be visited by people who would appreciate it.
- We have proposed and defended motions to OUSA Conference, many of which have been passed. We have also, for many years, attempted to discover what, if any, action OUSA has taken to implement the consequent policies. Our correspondence has been ignored and misinterpreted, despite being clearly worded.
- In 2002 we produced a 4-page submission to OUSA, about animal experimentation and alternatives, at short notice.
- We have produced a range of literature which is displayed on our stalls at OUSA Conference and OU Open Days.
- We exchange information, news and ideas with InterNICHE, the International Network of Campaigns and Individuals for Humane Education. SES Committee member Vivien Pomfrey is on their e-mail list, through which she keeps abreast of developments in humane education around the world and lets other participants know what is happening at the OU.
- We enable members to contact each other via our optional Networking scheme.
- We produce a newsletter for members, and provide more frequent updates to members in our e-mail group. Pressure of work means that we have only managed two newsletters a year for the past few years.
- Vivien became interested in the psychological effects of mandatory educational animal experimentation on the field of biology, and wrote an article on the subject, which was published in the June issue of the OU's Psychological Society newsletter.
As you can see, we campaign on a range of fronts - a holistic approach for a complex issue. Much of the work requires lengthy and extensive research, and this summary is obviously not comprehensive.