Some bullfighters in Spain routinely shave the horns of the bulls they face -sometimes by as much as 2.5 cm - to reduce their risk of injury, as it impairs the weapons, vision, and balance of the bull. It is well known this occurs, and it is regarded as wrong, but when the Spanish government proposed a system of examinations to detect irregularities, the bullfighters went on strike, saying that they should be trusted to regulate themselves.22 We should all like our professions to behave in a way that to most of us would define professionalism, that is, to regulate ourselves effectively, but our experience with scientific misconduct in the US, and the experience with physicians in the UK, shows us that, as with bullfighters in Spain, there must be some higher body to force regulation upon them. We can expect that nothing much will happen in the UK until that fact is absorbed by all concerned, and this will not occur until the pain and shame of bad publicity becomes unbearable.
Meanwhile, no one can expect to draw up regulations in a couple of days, and full of holes as it is, the Edinburgh Statement is a start. Now, using the Ryan Report and the US Federal Regulations, and paying attention to the long and carefully examined experience gathered in the US, as well as to the experience gleaned from other countries (for example, the Scandinavians), we would suggest that the UK begin the hard, contentious but necessary work of framing their own rules. We wish them luck.
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