Author Archives: Alasdair Hill

Opinion: Why I’m supporting all women shortlists

three_women_standing_togetherAs the dust begins to settle from the Rennard affair we must now reflect on how our party can stand up to liberal values when it comes to gender equality. It is welcome that, following a review of the procedures of the case, the party now no longer needs a criminal burden of proof in internal disputes of this kind. We can, and should, be proud of the fact that we have changed protocol in light of the failures that have occurred; not every party is so open and willing to change when things go wrong. However more still needs to be done on the wider issue of how we improve the engagement of women in the party.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 35 Comments

Opinion: Why a ban on animal testing is short-sighted and bad for our knowledge-based economy

University of the West of England, laboratory, science. Some rights reserved by JiscLast week the BBC reported on a piece of potential Lib Dem policy that was picked up by Lib Dem Voice yesterday; Norman Baker’s desire to ban all animal testing. Now the spurious use of animals with scant regard for animal welfare is of course wrong but an outright ban on this practise shows a lack of understanding of the use of animals in the first place.

Medical research needs animal testing. Norman Baker MP is absolutely correct in that we should be using alternative techniques where they exist and develop them so they can be used in the future. However when testing new drugs there is no way round testing the toxicity and efficacy in animals. Cell-based techniques cannot be used as a complete substitute because we need to see the effects of medicine against a whole organism; the success and dangers of drugs depends on a whole suite of systems and complex biological relationships that can only be seen using whole-organism models. I certainly wouldn’t want to give an experimental drug to human volunteers before it has been tested in animals.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 22 Comments
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