Reflecting on Animal Research
The seventh annual Animal Celebration and Reflection Ceremony was held on Sept. 18 as part of NIH Research Festival 2023 to honor the contributions research animals have made to biomedical research advances at NIH. The event was hosted by Dr. Mark Hoon of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, vice chair of the animal research advisory committee, and featured remarks from NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research Dr. Nina Schor and Rev. Diana Gomez de Molina of the Clinical Center’s spiritual care department.
The ceremony, held virtually for the past two years, was celebrated in person on the south lawn of the CC on a sunny fall afternoon. More than 50 individuals attended.
Schor began by acknowledging the purpose and importance of the event.
“I think of this ceremony, first and foremost, as paying tribute to the animals whose lives were given to the conduct of the studies that are so critical both for human health and for veterinary health,” she said. Schor also recognized individuals who support animal research at NIH and who “make it possible, not only for us to utilize animals as subjects in our research, but for those animals to be cared for in a way that looks after their physical wellbeing, their mental health and their use in appropriate numbers to make their use worthwhile.”
Gomez de Molina shared a phrase from the Lakota tradition, “Mitákuye Oyás’in,” which means, “all my relations.” She invited everyone to “look at seeing not just humans as being related to each other, but at all the created order as being related to us.”
With that perspective, the event concluded as 23 flowers were laid at the commemorative plaque, symbolizing the 23 institutes and centers that comprise the NIH animal research program.
The plaque, originally dedicated in 2016, is located on the CC’s south lawn. Visitors are encouraged to visit the plaque and reflect with gratitude.
To watch a videocast of the event, go to https://videocast.nih.gov/watch=52571.