When I first applied to take part in I’m a Scientist, I was not really sure what to expect and because my role in caring for animals is very embedded within animal research in laboratories I was unsure of how students would react towards me. I really wanted to highlight the care and thought which went into selecting environments for laboratory animals and the behavioural studies I have been and continue to be involved in to ensure we give them the highest care and welfare we possibly can.
My first chat room was so much fun and the questions were really excellent, both challenging and interesting, and I enjoyed it so much, the chat rooms were the best part of the event because I got to talk directly to the students as I started to get to know them in the chat rooms I started to recognise their names on the questions and the more I got to know the people the more enjoyment I got from the event. The questions on the wall were also great and I have learnt so much from researching answers to some questions. I also got a little thrill when I saw a question that had been asked and missed in a chat room as it meant I was able to answer it.
I have always wanted to write a book about refinements and people who work in the laboratories but I have never known how people would feel about such a book and this event has made me realise that a book of this type is something that would be valued for people. While it may not change your minds about animals in research I hope it will reassure you all that the animals are looked after by people who are passionate about welfare and animals.
After I won I spoke to several people about the book I want to write and I have had a great deal of support and I know it will be a lovely book which will include the topics I talked about in the chat rooms, it will cover the refinements we make to improve the welfare and well being of the animals, what research is carried out on them and why, the similarities between the animals and us and also some quotes from the people who work with the animals in science explaining why they do it and what we do to give the animals the highest welfare and most enriched life we can. Not only in the UK but across the world. The book will also have lots of pictures and be free for schools and students. I am looking into how it could be a download on ITunes.
I enjoyed taking part in the event because it gave me a chance to do something I have never done before and answer questions from students that may have been at the back of their minds for a long time but they have not had a chance to ask someone. I enjoyed the whole experience and think more of us should take part in this. Meeting all of you guys electronically was so amazing I cannot express how much I have enjoyed this. As for winning well you made me feel on top of the world and I can honestly say that this has been one of the best experiences of my life.
I am very willing and able to come to your schools in person and give a presentation and discussion about my work.