By Mickey Z. (vegan)
If animal experimentation is both indefensible cruelty and unsound science, why is it still in such widespread use? Dr. Gundersheimer has an answer: “In reality (animal) tests do not provide protection for consumers from unsafe products, but rather they are used to protect corporations from legal liability.”
Millions of dollars have been raised and tens of thousands of humans have been mobilized to assail animal experimentation almost exclusively on moral grounds.
n a sane and compassionate society, of course, a principled appeal should be adequate to end such barbarism. However, within the dominant culture, moral stances are effortlessly quashed by those seeking to justify the laboratory torture of animals on well…”moral” grounds.
“What’s more important,” they reflexively ask, ”your child or some nameless rodent?”
A more persuasive tack for activists might be establish that such experiments are not only ethically vacant, but are scientifically specious as well.
“The reason why I am against animal research is because it doesn’t work,” explains Robert Mendelsohn, M.D. “It has no scientific value and every good scientist knows that.”
Aysha Z Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H., a senior medical advisor and Jarrod Bailey, Ph.D., a senior research consultant for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, concur.
“The more we study the relevance of animal tests, the more apparent their shortcomings become,” Akhtar and Bailey wrote in a 2007 letter published in the British Medical Journal. “Even subtle physiological differences between humans and animals can manifest as profound differences in disease physiology and treatment effectiveness and safety. For example, numerous differences in spinal cord physiology and reaction to injury exist between species and even strains within a species. These differences likely contribute to the repeated failure of spinal cord treatments that have tested safe and effective in animals to translate into human benefit.”
In addition, say Akhtar and Bailey, “tests in rodents for predicting human carcinogenicity with a false negative rate approaching two-thirds, potentially caus(ed) widespread human exposure to carcinogens.”
They also point at wonder drugs like Vioxx, which failed to show adverse reactions in animal tests but ended up to be potentially deadly for humans.
“A major shift in our research paradigm is long overdue,” declare Akhtar and Bailey. “The move away from animal experiments toward more accurate methods of studying disease and intervention is scientifically superior and more ethical for humanity, as well as for animals.”
“Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are like us,’” says Professor Charles R. Magel. “Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are not like us.’ Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.”
If animal experimentation is both indefensible cruelty and unsound science, why is it still in such widespread use?
Dr. Gundersheimer has an answer: “In reality (animal) tests do not provide protection for consumers from unsafe products, but rather they are used to protect corporations from legal liability.”
I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.
Return to Animal Rights Articles