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All News Updates & Public Comment => Live Export News Updates => : WA Export News January 19, 2013, 12:47:03 AM

: Animal welfare research greatly influenced by their funding agency.
: WA Export News January 19, 2013, 12:47:03 AM
Science funds affect results.

A STUDY into how scientists report animal welfare research has found strong evidence that they are greatly influenced by their funding agency.

An investigation by the University of Queensland's Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics found authors of industry-funded research tended to be more negative about the welfare of animals in experiments.

     ( Outcomes differ: Animal welfare reports by scientists are being probed.

Conversely, authors of charity-funded research were more positive about the welfare of animals in new methods, compared with authors of government-funded research.

The study, by Professor Clive Phillips and Agnes van der Schott found scientists working on animal industry-funded studies were more likely to report that new methods to improve welfare did not work.

Prof Phillips said this was presumably "because the new methods could increase costs" for livestock producers.

In contrast, scientists working on studies funded by animal advocacy groups were more likely to report welfare benefits, he said. "It is of some concern if scientists are putting a spin on and manipulating the results."

Such bias had been found to occur in pharmaceutical sciences, he said, but had not been tested in other areas such as climate science.

Prof Phillips called for all scientists to undergo ethical training and for organisations to prevent scientists from accepting grants that come with conditions about reporting results that were favourable to the funding agency. In separate work, Prof Phillips also found that small farmers were keenly concerned about their animals' welfare.

Victorian Farmers Federation livestock president and former Sheepmeat Council of Australia president Ian Feldtmann said he had not read the University of Queensland study but he remained confident "there is not bias in the animal welfare research that our levies help fund".

Kate Dowler |  January 17, 2013
: Re: Animal welfare research greatly influenced by their funding agency.
: LES_forum January 19, 2013, 10:33:42 AM
I can think of a number of 'scientific studies' whose results were a foregone conclusion.
The Dairy industry wanted to extend the period of time that newborn calves could be kept off water or nutrition on the way to slaughter. The 'science' was reported as a summary only, for public consultation by which time it had not been published or importantly - peer reviewed.
Paid for by government and industry; the conclusion was their study of a small sample size under ideal conditions, without testing for cortisol steroidal markers (stress hormones) demonstrated that there was no suffering significant enough to require shorter journeys.
Interestingly, the 'science' wasn't necessarily going to be published - which is odd considering the professional pressure to publish 'good science'.