Bioethics Blogs

A Response to Our Post on Environmental Enrichment

by Elisa A. Hurley, PhD, Executive Director
Recently, PRIM&R received a letter from Allyson J. Bennett, PhD, chair of the Committee on Animal Research and Ethics at the American Psychological Association (APA), and Sangeeta Panicker, PhD, director of research ethics at the APA, in response to a post on Ampersand. The post, “40 Years of Research Ethics: Environmental Enrichment,” was intended to highlight the development of environmental enrichment practices in animal research, and referenced a 2005 article published in the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research Journal.
PRIM&R is committed to transparency and respectful dialogue and, to that end, we would like to use this opportunity to share with you the letter from Drs. Bennett and Panicker:
“We are writing to express our strong disapproval of the messages endorsed in a recent PRIM&R blog post titled “40 Years of Research Ethics: Environmental Enrichment”. Contrary to well established facts, the post implicitly maligned a distinguished member of the psychological science community (involved in the ‘Silver Spring Monkey case’), and lauded the less than honorable tactics of the individual associated with a group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), that is publicly opposed to research with nonhuman animals. Furthermore, based on scant, if any, credible evidence, the blog post credited PETA for almost singlehandedly achieving changes to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) that led to environmental enrichment requirements for research animals.
We are disappointed that PRIM&R has used this forum to contribute to and perpetuate substantial misrepresentation of the history of laboratory animal welfare regulations in the US, and the role of various entities in effecting regulatory change.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.