Dr. Aysha Akhtar on the End of Animal Testing
An Alternatives to Animal Testing, Experimentation and Dissection Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM SentientMedia.org
December 2021

Did you know 90-95 percent of drug and vaccine experiments on animals fail when they reach humans? Why are we still using outdated methods that hinder medical research and cause unnecessary suffering?

Cancer research
Image from National Cancer Institute - Unsplash

Did you know 90-95 percent of drug and vaccine experiments on animals fail when they reach humans? Why are we still using outdated methods that hinder medical research and cause unnecessary suffering?

This episode of a Sentient Media Podcast explores the dark world of animal testing with the incredible Dr. Aysha Akhtar.

Transcript

Ana Bradley: Welcome to the Sentient Media Podcast, where we meet the people who are changing the way we think about and interact with animals and the world around us. Today, weíre covering a topic thatís actually very close to my heart. And weíre going to be speaking with an incredible person, Dr. Aysha Akhtar, and weíre going to look at animal testing. So I say this is an issue thatís close to my heart, because it was actually an image of a kitten being tested on in a lab that I saw when I was six years old that sparked my journey into questioning how we treat nonhuman animals. In fact, I made it my mission as a kid to end animal testing. And I used to write letters to laboratories that tested on mice and rats and say, please stop doing it, I will offer myself up instead, Iím a six year old, you can use me. Nobody ever took me up on the offer. And Iíve stopped writing to them. But anyway, at Sentient Media, we tend to focus on farmed animals. But something that not a lot of people consider is that the test subjects the animals that are used in laboratories are also farmed in really huge numbers, but just not for food. Thereís a massive industry here in animal testing, many stakeholders and beneficiaries who have it in their interests to keep animal testing very much alive, something that Aysha is very aware of as cofounder, president, and CEO of the Centre for Contemporary Sciences, which is pioneering the transition to replace the use of animals in experimentation with superior human based testing methods. So a little bit more about Aysha, she is a US veteran and a double board certified neurologist, and preventative medicine specialist with a background in public health. Previously, she served as the Deputy Director of the US Army traumatic brain injury programme, developing the Armyís brain injury prevention and treatment strategies for soldiers. And as if that wasnít enough for a decade, she was the medical officer of the Food and Drug Administration, and most recently, the Office of Counterterrorism and emerging threats, implementing the studies on vaccine effectiveness and safety, using top secret security clearance to develop national preparedness strategies for public health threats. Which gets me giddy because of the top secretness, but Iím sure it was very serious. Sheís also a fellow of the Oxford Center for animal ethics and author of two books, Our Symphony with Animals and Animals and Public Health, and has written a few pieces for Sentient Media as well. Welcome, Aysha, thank you so much for being here today.

Dr. Aysha Akhtar: Thank you so much, Ana. And I have to say you sound like you must have been such a lovely little girl.

Ana: Yeah, I donít know what happened.

Aysha: No, I didnít mean that you changed. But just I love stories of kids who care and so passionately care about whatís happening to other animals that they do things like you writing those letters, offering yourself I mean, thatís so sweet.

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Read the ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE (PDF).


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