Vasu Murti

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“Isn't man an amazing animal? He kills wildlife - birds, kangaroos, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice, foxes and dingoes - by the million in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed. Then he kills domestic animals by the billion and eats them.

"This in turn kills man by the millions, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer.

"So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

"Meanwhile, some people are dying of sad laughter at the absurdity of man, who kills so easily and so violently, and once a year, sends out cards praying for Peace on Earth.”

--David Coats

In his 1984 book, The Philosophy of Vegetarianism, professor Daniel Dombrowski similarly writes that the philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome (the Pythagoreans and the Platonists) might similarly wonder about modern man inflicting all kinds of degenerative diseases upon himself through diet and lifestyle, and then torturing and killing animals through medical research (vivisection) to find cures for these diseases!"

"Well, yeah," said my friend John Antypas, a biology major in 1986, who felt vivisection was medically necessary, but admitted eating meat isn't. "If you want a cure for lung cancer, stop smoking!"

On a local San Diego talk show, Third Thursday, in 1990, on the issue of vivisection, a teenage girl similarly asked a panel of "experts": since we already know that nearly all of the degenerative diseases plaguing modern man are caused by diet and lifestyle, why should animals be made to suffer unnecessarily?

My friend Dave Browning (1959 - 2007), a conservative pro-life Republican in San Diego, responded years later that America is all about freedom.

Including the freedom to unnecessarily harm or kill animals?

A lot of people justify abortion as "freedom of choice," too!


As renowned pathologist Dr Bruno Fedi points out, "The abolition of vivisection would in no way halt medical progress, just the opposite is the case... No surgeon can gain the least knowledge from experiments on animals, and all the great surgeons of the past and of the present day are in agreement on that."

"Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are like us.' Ask the experimenters why it is morally acceptable to experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are not like us.' Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction."

---Charles R. Magel, professor of philosophy

Opposition to animal experimentation has a long history. The American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) was founded by Caroline Earle White in 1883...long before People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which was founded in 1980, and even longer than before the current debate over stem-cell research!

An editorial in the now-defunct Animals' Agenda from the early '00s, noted that animal research goes on unquestioned, while debate rages over stem-cell research, for no other reason than the stem-cells have human chromosomes. This is speciesism--discrimination on the basis of species...a term which has not caught on or become part of the American vernacular, even among progressives, the way words like "Ms." or "homophobia" have become part of the American lexicon.

"The women we recognize today as the founders of AAVS," writes Lily Santoro, "were pioneers in the world of animal welfare but not in the sphere of reform movements. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw a rise in reform movements known as the Progressive Era.

"Inspired by the new science of sociology and cultural movements like the social gospel, middle and upper class Americans increasingly engaged in reform movements aimed at uplifting the downtrodden and improving society.

"Women were central to the Progressive era reforms. In the late nineteenth century, women made great strides in reform movements like Temperance, Sunday Schools, food and drug regulation, women's suffrage, and child-labor laws.

"In a world where women were supposed to be relegated to their own 'separate sphere,' many women joined reform movements wherein they acted as the 'moral compass' of American society. Caring for the weak and voiceless in society was the focus of progressive era reforms. Animal welfare met this category perfectly."

The Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) reports that the following advances in medicine were all made without animal research:

1. Discovery of the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease -- America's No. 1 killer.

2. Discovery of the relationship between smoking and lung cancer and between nutrition and cancer -- the second biggest killer of Americans.

3. Discovery of the relationship between hypertension and stroke -- the No. 3 killer of Americans.

4. Discovery of the causes of trauma, the fourth largest killer of Americans, and the measures to prevent it.

5. Elucidation of the causes of many forms of respiratory disease, America's No. 5 cause of death.

6. Isolation of the AIDS virus.

7. Discovery of the mechanism of AIDS transmission.

8. Discovery of penicillin and its curative effect on various infectious diseases.

9. Development of X-rays.

10. Development of anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs.

The PCRM further reports that the use of animals in education, consumer product testing and medical research is ineffective and obsolete. In vitro research, epidemiologic studies, clinical research and computer modeling yield more accurate results.

John J. Pippin writes:

"There are many things wrong with the use of intimidation and violence in the critical debate over animal research. In addition to being anathema in our society, such tactics obscure important issues regarding animal experiments and human health.

"I am a cardiologist and a former animal researcher. I stopped experimenting on animals after I came to doubt the medical value of such research. Today, a growing number of physicians, scientists and scientific agencies believe that moving to non-animal research and testing methods is critical to advancing human health.

"Numerous reports confirm very poor correlations between animal research results and human results, and the research breakthroughs so optimistically reported in the media almost always fail in humans.

"Examples abound. Every one of 197 human trials using 85 HIV/AIDS vaccines tested in animals has failed. More than 150 human stroke trials using treatments successful in animals have failed, as have at least two dozen animal diabetes cures.

"Vioxx was tested successfully in eight studies using six animal species, yet this anti-inflammatory medication may have caused the deaths of more Americans than the Vietnam War.

"The monoclonal antibody TGN 1412 was safe in monkeys at 500 times the dose tested in humans, yet all six British volunteers who received the drug in 2006 nearly died.

"Conversely, simple aspirin produces birth defects in at least seven animal species, yet is safe in human pregnancy. When even identical human twins have different disease susceptibilities, how can we think answers will be found in mice or monkeys?

"The National Cancer Institute now uses panels of human cells and tissues to test treatments for cancer and HIV/AIDS, and to detect drug toxicities. And the National Research Council now recommends replacing animal toxicity testing with in vitro methods.

"I can attest that animal research is inherently cruel. Animal protection laws do not mitigate this reality. Whether the debate involves humane issues or human benefits, the evidence confirms the need to replace animal experiments with more accurate human-specific methods. That's the best way to make progress and improve health."

---John J. Pippin is a senior medical and research adviser with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

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