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Journal Article

Pro-Test Deutschland, a grassroots organization spreading awareness of animal research


Hartig,  R
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Hartig, R. (2016). Pro-Test Deutschland, a grassroots organization spreading awareness of animal research. Neuromag.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-ADB6-9
Pro-Test Deutschland e.V. started out as a small grassroots organization, fueled by the disinclination of scientists to speak openly about the use of animals in research. It was the reluctance to open up about science to the general public, whether because of poor communication strategies or fear of rebuke by anti-animal research organizations. The founders of Pro-Test Deutschland were entirely willing to speak about animal research and earn a public face in the debate. Before ‘coming out’ about animal research to the public, I thought my personal safety might be jeopardized by expressing my own opinions. You heard it all before, that crazy anti-animal rights group planting a bomb underneath someone’s car, well, what if that turned out to be your car one day? I guess anything is possible. Admittedly, I have seen protesters demonstrating outside of my workplace and outside the homes of renowned scientists. Nevertheless, I think that in this day in age, protest organizations are getting smarter with their strategies, understanding that violent actions may actually ricochet and do more harm than good for all parties involved. When the opposition is peaceful and poses thoughtful questions, rather than smear campaigns, the politics of this controversial debate become less violent and more thoughtful about finding a middle ground that both parties may agree on. Going public for the cause, I found that hardly were people ever violent, only in some cases verbal exchanges were less than pleasant. Never had I witnessed, after all the times I’ve gone out to speak about animal research, a reaction that I did not understand. There will always be someone strongly positioned against animal research, and it is highly improbable that anything you could say would change their mind, but that is the point where we can agree to disagree. Sometimes that’s an effective strategy. Honestly, Pro-Test Deutschland was not started to change the positions of anti-animal research proponents, rather the group was initiated to provide factual and credible information to a public that has been receiving polarized information for a very long time.