The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which represents 24 professional societies and over 100,000 members, is holding a conference in the Washington, D.C. area at which international representatives of the biomedical community will develop approaches to prepare for and mitigate acts of animal rights extremism. The targeting of researchers, laboratories, and companies associated with animal research by animal rights extremists has become a worldwide concern, with incidents of harassment and violence now being reported in Asia, North and South America, and throughout Europe. The United States and United Kingdom have had a long history of animal rights related crimes and have more experience responding to such events, although improvement in responses are needed. While each nation faces a unique set of issues, many commonalities indicate that we can learn from each others'experiences. The overarching goal of this effort is to improve the climate for animal research on an international scale. We will achieve this goal by addressing the following aims: 1) exchanging information within the international scientific community about the targeting of biomedical researchers and laboratories by animal rights extremists;2) sharing experiences and information for preventing and responding to animal rights extremism, including informing the public about the value of research involving animals;3) developing broad-based, best practices applicable to the global scientific community;and 4) fostering international scientific networks to address this and related issues of concern. These goals will be accomplished through plenary sessions, panel discussions, breakout sessions, and dialogue amongst the approximately 100 invited guests and expert speakers at the summit. Following the conference, steering committee members will work with FASEB staff to develop a best practices guide, which will draw on the information presented at the summit and gathered by the committee. The guidance document will be translated into seven languages and distributed internationally via direct mailing, webinar presentations, social media, and presentations at international scientific meetings.
(provided by applicant): Virtually all research-based advances in human health have relied on studies that were initially performed in animals. One goal of animal rights extremists is to eliminate permanently the use of animals in biomedical research. These extremists employ many methods to accomplish this goal, including harassment and violence towards students, researchers, and entities providing support services. If extremists prevent scientists and research institutions from embarking upon or conducting essential biomedical research with animals, discovery of new diagnostics, treatments, and cures for human and animal diseases will be inhibited.