Published in: Seattle Post-Intelligence
Regarding your series "Animals and Research," some believe animal research is humane. Anyone reading your series should attend Animal Care Committee meetings at the University of Washington to see what's being done to animals behind laboratory doors. You'll hear of head-smashing experiments on everything from ducks to rabbits - supposedly to learn about head injury in humans.
The Animal Welfare Act does not protect animals in National Institutes of Health funded experiments. Anesthetics aren't required. The ACC is just a bunch of researchers who put the stamp of approval on one another's experiments.
What about the harm animal research has done? Thalidomide tested safe on thousands of pregnant animals, yet caused women to give birth to deformed children. Humans were undergoing surgery without anesthetic long after chloroform had been discovered because it excited rather than sedated dogs. Morphine causes maniacal excitement in mice and cats.
We might not have penicillin if animal tests had been used because it's toxic to many species. Humans have gall bladders; rats don't. Rats can synthesize their own vitamin C; humans can't. In England, doctors are not allowed to practice on animals because it leads to erroneous data. Here grants through government agencies make this a multibillion-dollar business.
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