About the Future of Laboratory Animal Science in Europe
During its short history of 50 years beginning after the Second Great War in the middle of this century it took more than 20 years until the concern about the welfare of laboratory animals had been worked out into a science for laboratory animals. After a short period of confirmation in the later seventies the new science was questioned under the rising opposition to the use of animals as a method for biomedical research by animal protectionists, antiviviseetionists and moralists. During the eighties the unexpected dogmatic opposition caused much confusion and uncertainty that called for a reflection on the significance and scope of LAS. The science began to question its own identity. Some scientists diverted from their former tasks and engaged themselves in animal replacement methods or turned to animal protection. These conflicts within LAS culminated during the late eighties and have not yet ceased. The future of LAS is determined by the controversial views of supporters and of opponents of biomedical research. LAS can fulfil its area of responsibilities satisfactorily only as long as it maintains its involvement and interests in biomedical research. A splitting of responsibilities with diversion to animal protection will be the same as moving into two opposite directions. Sincere support and sympathy with animal protection and antiviviseetion will make LAS obsolete and, in fact, unnecessary. The future depends on the demands of the society for health and welfare ofthe individual, public opinion, and legislation.