Alison Van EenennaamShould I start a blog? I have been thinking about this question for a while. I certainly have plenty of other things to keep me occupied – students, grants, research, presentations to prepare, reports to write, oh and my own kids and husband (Happy Valentine’s day BTW) and family duties.

What really spurred me to actually bite the bullet and start a site was a couple of recent interactions with work colleagues. One was an email asking me if I had ever interacted with a particular journalist. The question was whether this journalist had a history of misrepresenting the science around animal breeding methods. The default assumption seemed to be that it was most likely that the scientifically-accurate information that was being freely given by this public sector scientist to the journalist would be spun to misrepresent what the scientist said or distort the facts.

And then there was a discussion with some faculty members in my department about correcting some misinformation regarding the consumption of animal products. There was a collective sigh that yes the information was incorrect, but was it worth our while to challenge it? Such things take time and energy, and often such challenges fall of deaf ears. And everyone has plenty of other pressing work to do with their own students, teaching, research etc. to more than occupy the day.

So who then is left to stand up for science, especially around agriculture, and speak out to challenge incorrect information which is often used as the basis of public policy? If not public sector scientists and researchers working in the field, then who? Unfortunately I think we all know the answer to that question.

I know as a researcher working in the field of animal biotechnology (my current research projects are listed on my faculty website – and are publicly funded), I deal with controversial topics. My interest is to use this blog to try to interject scientific nuance into these controversial and often politicized scientific topics.

Science is rarely black and white, and agriculture never is. I know you should never say never, but in this case I think never is warranted. I also remember thinking to myself  I would never write a blog. That is the beauty of science – you are allowed to change your mind based on new information.