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From 26 December 2004 Issue

Powerful New Scientific Evidence Against Vivisection
From Andrew Knight - ethicalvet@yahoo.com 

The just-published paper below is the first of a series of papers attacking key foundations of vivisection from a scientific angle, to be published in international scientific journals and presented at scientific conferences; namely, that animal 'models' are predictive for humans, and that the animals used do not suffer unduly. The papers are damning in their results and once published will represent some of the most valuable scientific evidence against vivisection gathered to date. The 1st paper below demonstrates conclusively that animals subject to routine laboratory procedures such as handling, blood draws and orogastric gavaging in all cases and the wide range of species examined suffer marked physiological stress likely to cause psychological distress and distort experimental results (decreasing their reliability), and further, that the animals do not readily habituate to these stressors over time. People wishing a copy of this 1st published paper are welcome to email me privately. The editorial referred to raises points that were all addressed in the paper and merely reflect the lack of rigour and bias of the editors. Andrew Knight

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A new report published in Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science finds that mice, rats, rabbits, beagles, geese, and other animals all show measurable physiological stress responses to routine laboratory procedures that have been up until now viewed as relatively benign. The review focused on three commonly performed procedures: handling, blood collection and force-feeding. Independent of the invasive experiments themselves, these daily routines can cause an animal to experience elevated bloodstream concentrations of corticosterone, prolactin, glucose, and epinephrine, all indicators of stress.

The paper generated considerable controversy in the vivisection community during its peer review. After the editor had accepted it for publication, the AALAS (American Association for Laboratory Animal Science—which publishes the journal) executive committee intervened, resulting in the editor’s resignation in protest, and a publication delay of five months. An editorial from the committee published in the same issue insinuates that the paper is biased and that it lacks rigor.

Balcombe JP, Barnard N, Sandusky C. 2004 Laboratory routines cause animal stress. Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science. 43(6): 42-51.

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