The Big Animal Research Debate now less than a month away

After half a year of planning and preparation The Big Animal Research Debate- an ambitious new project organised by IDEA UK- will begin in less than a month’s time. Between 14th and 17th October this year, more than 30 university debating societies from across Ireland and the UK will host public debates on the motion “This House would ban all forms of animal research”.

Timed to coincide with National Biology Week, The Big Animal Research Debate is set to be one of the biggest public events ever attempted by the UK and Irish debating community.

Since June, debaters, students and members of the public have been able to read and comment on the issues surrounding the use of animals in research via the project’s official website, IDEA UK will stay connected to the universities and young people taking part through social networks including Twitter and Facebook during the debates themselves.

Many of the debates that make up the Big Animal Research Debate will be streamed live or uploaded to YouTube and other video sharing sites. Some Big Animal Research Debates will feature guest speakers from high profile research and campaigning organisations.

Every Big Animal Research Debate will finish with an audience vote, and the number of votes supporting and opposing the motion will be reported by on Friday 18th October, when the week’s debates will be reviewed and analysed.

Top universities due to take part
The debating societies of some of the world’s top universities will be taking part in the Big Animal Research Debate, including the Oxford and Cambridge Union Societies, The University of Manchester’s Debating Union, the Durham Union Society, University College London’s Debating Society and both the Philosophical and Historical societies of Trinity College Dublin.

The Big Animal Research Debate will be one of the first concerted attempts to harness the skills, enthusiasm and insight of the debating community to create a snapshot of a major public controversy, and to address the misconceptions that continue to surround an important scientific topic.

Find a Big Animal Research Debate near you
With only 30 days to go until the first Big Animal Research Debate starts, several new features have been added to These include a debate locator app, which can be accessed at The app displays the location of each Big Animal Research Debate on a Google Maps overlay, and incorporates search features that allow users to find Big Animal Research Debates taking place in their area. The app is also used to access live video streams and recordings of select Big Animal Research Debate events.

The website contains profiles of all of the debating societies taking part. New profiles are added every day as universities finalise plans for their own Big Animal Research Debate.

The site also hosts a list of the organisations that have supported and endorsed the Big Animal Research Debate. To date, the project has drawn praise from members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and some of Europe’s largest research organisations and charities, including the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council.

Get in touch
All university debating societies from across the UK, Ireland and continental Europe are welcome to take part in the Big Animal Research Debate. To get involved, send an email to or telephone IDEA UK on 0044 020 3393 7223.

IDEA UK welcomes the involvement of experienced academics, campaigners and opinion formers in the Big Animal Research Debate. If you are involved in the on-going discussion surrounding the role of animal research in society, visit our contact pages or call 0044 020 3393 7223 to find out how you can volunteer to speak in a debate.

Schools who want to watch a Big Animal Research Debate or who want to stage a debate of their own should visit our school resources page.

Journalists and press officers seeking more information about the Big Animal Research Debate should send an email to