Public and Guardian Involvement and Engagement (PGIE) group

Help Us Give Animals a Voice  - “FAIR DEAL FOR ALL ANIMALS”

Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) is now a well developed concept in human clinical research. It has been evolving for the past 20 or so years, initially met with some resistance and misunderstanding, but an essential movement that ensures consensus working and relevance of innovation to those at whom it is targeted. It brings together patients, public and professionals to develop priorities for diseases specific research, ensures that individual research projects are addressing the needs of real patients and real people, not just science for science's sake.

We are aiming to translate this concept to the world of One Medicine and veterinary research. Our patients are represented by their guardians, they provide the voice for non-human animals. As such our group is being launched as Public Guardian Involvement & Engagement (PGIE). Following a successful call for new members, we’re pleased to have received applications from wide range of people, members of the public, professionals, engineers and guardians. Our inaugural meeting took place at the end of 2023.

The first major task of the group will be developing One Medicine Ethical Framework that will incorporate the development of good practice for the conduct of veterinary clinical trials/studies and also set up principles for closer collaboration between human and veterinary medical professionals, scientists and engineers. Essentially, we are creating a framework, which will further assist in operationalising One Medicine. The group, as well as the points to be discussed, is fairly revolutionary as currently there are no consensus groups of this kind that are working on developing principles that will help drive innovation of this sort. Any current guidance that focuses on research with animals is focused on experimental animals held in various research facilities. A practice, which we hope will soon be replaced with other alternatives. Our focus is on enabling companion animals and other animals to take part in clinical trials, which may help their conditions in the same way that human patients can. In order to enable this, we must ensure there is a strong framework that supports the best interest of the patient, where non-maleficence, autonomy and self-determination can be considered. In the same way that parents act as guardians for healthcare decisions for their child, or where guardian is named for an individual unable to make a decision.

We believe developing such framework via consensus of different people who are engaged in different roles (guardian, clinician etc.) can help move One Medicine forward, and help us drive the aims of Humanimal Trust.