Frank L. Hoffman Interviewed by Julian Huibonhoa about Testing on Animals


Our subjects cover: animals, religion (Christian, Jewish and others); diet and lifestyle (vegan and vegetarian); and other miscellaneous subjects.

Frank L. Hoffman Interviewed by Julian Huibonhoa about Testing on Animals - 14 Oct 2007

Greetings! I am currently an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor in Science degree in Biology. I have read your site's content and am analyzing some of the content there. I have found some of the assertions valid.

One such case would be your argument on animal models and human models. It is true that the transition from animal model to book back to animal or human model is quite inaccurate at times.

In interest of further comprehension of your ideas may I ask the following questions:

1. You seem to be focusing on medical research as a template for your argument. What about veterinary research? Do you think it is possible for us to find cures for animal diseases without animal testing?

[FLH] Many of our human surgical innovation came from working on wounded soldiers during wartime, and the same can be accomplished with animals. All schools of veterinary medicine have clinics. If these clinics where expanded to provide more humane emergency care and treatment on actual cases, most of the search for answers would be found.

2. In the field of Biology, animal models are studied for the sake of animal models. Today our knowledge of animal anatomy and physiology has very much increased thanks to the practice of dissection. Biology courses feature the subject of Comparative Anatomy which helps students understand animal structure, but of course this requires the dissection of animals.

[FLH] Actually, dissection isn't 'necessary', because there are great computer models available today.

Given that actual hands-on experiences of animal structures (uhm, approximating the internal structure of animals from pictures is somewhat difficult and theoretical, it's hard to perform animal surgery without seeing the real deal) is an advantage for students who wish to study animal structure, is it still possible to do away with the practice of dissection?

[FLH] This brings us back to your first question, where students could learn by working in actual clinics to help sick and injured animals. By first seeing a video of a procedure and the animals anatomy, and them to work on a living animal is probably the best way to really learn.

3. Medical practice and science is highly dependent on Biology. Do you think that if we stop animal dissection, we would halt the advance of Biology thus halting medical advancements? My premise is, of course, based on how the Cell Theory as well as other studies in Biology are applied in medicine.

[FLH] Cell experiments can be done without the animal. We just have to start thinking outside the box.

4. Is it really safe to say that animal experimentation was completely unnecessary in scientific advancement? Louis Pasteur, I believe, discovered the Germ Theory by inoculating sheep with Anthrax. Of course, during this time, Electron Microscopes or advanced practices on cell cultures were unavailable. I personally believe that animal testing and experimentation and research was necessary before (especially at that time) and perhaps is necessary now, as we can only understand the physiological constructs of the animals up close.

[FLH] If we really want to find non-animal experiment ways of doing our research, we can, and we believe the answers will be even more accurate, because they will be used on actual cases and not on highly stressed animals in laboratory conditions.

5. About your article concerning the Rhesus monkeys and aids, I infer that the discovery about how AIDS only develops in human beings and not in Rhesus monkeys was because of experiments on Rhesus monkeys. The inferences drawn on this are perhaps valuable in themselves because they allow us to further understand the mechanism of the disease. In this light, do you think the experiments on Rhesus monkeys were still unnecessary?

[FLH] This is not our article, we republished it since it reflects our similar understandings and positions, but if you give us the url of the article, we'd be happy to discuss the point further.

Thank you for your time. I will study your responses. And thank you, your website has been very informative. On a side note, please do not take this message as an aggressive attack on your ideals, there are simply what they are, analytic questions. Once again, thank you.