On… Being against Animal Testing

Animals around the world are locked up in tiny cages, submitted to testing, poking and injecting with horrific diseases and illnesses, forcefully impregnated and sliced open. Sometimes for the sake of beauty and cleaning products, other times for pet food and very often for drug/disease testing.

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Some of those people who are opposed to the testing on animals for beauty products will still defend the right to test on animals for medical/drug purposes. Why? To save the human race? To save their loved ones? I have to ask the question – why do we deem ourselves as a species more important than any other animal on this Earth? Why do I have to be given shameful looks from some people because I don’t support cancer charities or other charities who test on animals for their research.

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So, today I’m going to focus on animal testing for medical research purposes. Animal Aid share the view with many, that animal research for medical purposes is cruel and a waste of the public’s money, as the results cannot be reliably applied to human patients. Animal Aid have compiled a new report, Victims of Charity, in which they focus on four of the main charities who conduct animal research. Here is a little summary I compiled after having read the report myself, with some of the main points:

1) There have been a number of failures including TGN1412 and Vioxx which caused harm to large numbers of people – these results were not predicted from the animal tests. You can read about these in full within the report.

2) Sometimes humans and animals do have similar reactions to drugs/treatments, but many times they do not.  Valued research is supposed to produce reliably predictive results – not haphazard chances.

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3) There are major differences between humans and other animals – anatomy, metabolism, genetics and so forth.

4) Successful test results on genetically modified mice have shown failures in human clinical trials for cancer, heart failure and other diseases. Cancer Research are still funding dozens of studies on such mice across the UK and overseas, yet it is difficult to find evidence of how human patients have benefited from this costly and time consuming activity.

‘An obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed in cancer research is that mouse models do not mimic human disease well and are essentially worthless for drug development.’ Azra Raza, Professor of Medicine at Columbia University.*

5) Some drugs, including tamoxifen (breast cancer) were nearly lost because they caused damage to animals in the early stages of testing.

A recent article in the British Medical Journal by Pound & Bracken has voiced a scientific case against animal testing. They have noted how systematic reviews have exposed fundamental weakness in the animal model, and argue that the benefits of animal testing remain un-proved.

 Despite of this, the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) have recently announced a requirement that all its members must support vivesection on their websites. Animal Aid have started a petition to overturn this requirement, and have also asked the AMRC to hold a debate about the validity of scientific experiments on animals.

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If you wish to speak up for animals, you can start by signing this petition.

Currently, there are a huge number of medical research charities who do not test on animals. These include Bath Cancer Research, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support, Scope, The Dr Hadwen Trust and many more. You can see the full list on page 41 of the report.

The Dr Hadwen Trust is the UK’s leading non animal medical research charity. They fund and promote the development of techniques and procedures to replace the use of animals in biomedical research. They are worth supporting, as I strongly believe that they will ultimately help to find solutions that animal research cannot provide. It’s good to know that I’m not alone – patrons of the Dr Hadwen Trust include Brian May, Dame Judi Dench and Joanna Lumley.

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I agree with the view of Animal Aid, that these are the charities who deserve our support, rather than those who torture and kill numerous animals in the name of something which shows no benefit to those humans who are ill, and in whose name the cruelty is being committed.

So, if this post has reached out to you, please consider signing the petition to stop charities being forced to support vivisection. It’s only a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful day.

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Brockman J (2014). What scientific idea is ready for retirement? The Observer, 12 January 2014.

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