November 17, 2004

APA Condemns Vandalism at University of Iowa Lab Facility

WASHINGTON - The American Psychological Association (APA) and its Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE) strongly condemn the act of vandalism perpetrated at the University of Iowa, Department of Psychology, on November 13/14 and reiterate the Association's longstanding commitment to research with animals as a critical foundation for advancing our understanding of human behavior and health. Stealing and/or releasing laboratory animals imperils them and disrupts years of invaluable research that could benefit humans as well as other animals.

Based on the conviction that research with animals is an integral component in understanding the science of behavior, APA has strongly supported the ethical and humane care and use of nonhuman animals in research and education. The value of research and teaching with nonhuman animals is a critical component of science learning. The Committee believes that such research is furthermore an integral part of the training of future scientists. Being exposed to laboratory animals in an academic setting provides students with an educational experience that cannot be duplicated on a computer. In the laboratory, students learn not only about research methods and experimental design, but they also learn about ethics, evolution, and, above all, respect for all living beings and a sense of responsibility towards them. This experience is instrumental to the students' future success in a wide range of graduate and/or professional programs.

"Hundreds of animals were stolen," according to Mark Blumberg, a professor of psychology and a researcher in the attacked facility. "Despite this set-back, and despite the ferocity of the attack on offices and labs, we are already preparing to return to work and put this behind us. These acts are senseless in that they only strengthen our resolve to continue our work, even if that work someday benefits the criminals that were involved in this attack."

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 53 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.