Huntingdon Life Sciences Group , Europe's biggest contract research organization using animal testing, has been the target of controversy since 1997, when a technician was caught on film mistreating a dog. Since then, the company has appointed new management and adheres closely to the UK's vigorous laws surrounding animal testing. But protests against it continue, and recently several UK financiers almost withdrew a loan from the company. HLS's problems represent a wider issue surrounding public support and understanding of scientific research in the UK. Much of Britain's public remains skeptical about scientific research, and the intentions of scientists and despite some efforts to form a cohesive statement supporting HLS, Britain's big pharma companies seem reluctant to publicly come to its aid, even some of those that use its services.
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Efforts to improve trial diversity predate COVID-19, but the pandemic’s disproportionate effects on minority communities have brought the issue to the forefront.