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MISCELLANEOUS - common misconceptions about animal testing

(You can't fool all the people all the time)

Fiction: Medicines need to be tested on animals.


UNTRUE! Animal tests are misleading because of the differences between species, eg. morphine sedates people but stimulates cats; aspirin causes birth defects in monkeys, mice and dogs, but not in people. Even minimal dissimilarities can spell disaster. Animal tests are performed to free the regulatory authorities from legal accountability in the event of death or disability.
Fiction: Medicines are safe, thanks to animal testing.


UNTRUE! Despite massive animal testing and research, adverse drug reactions are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and Europe.
Fiction: Using animals is the accurate way to test medicines.


UNTRUE! Animals and people react differently to medicines - human cell, in vitro, tissue and organ cultures, clinical investigations and observations of patients, epidemiology and computer and mathematical models are the appropriate, accurate and scientific methods for valid medical research.

Animal tests are scientific... or are they? Judge for yourself...

  1. The common aspirin causes birth defects in rats, mice, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, and even monkeys ... but not in man!
  2. The injectable contraceptive Depo-provera causes uterine cancer in baboons and mammary cancer in dogs. Based on these "compelling" animal tests, the American FDA (Food and Drug Administration) banned the drug in humans.
    However, 20 years' human experience in countries, which ignored the animal tests, subsequently convinced the FDA that the drug was safe for humans.
  3. The artificial sweetener, saccharine, causes bladder cancer in rats, yet it is freely sold in supermarkets.
  4. Cyclosporin, the wonder drug given to human transplant patients to help prevent organ rejection, is highly toxic to the human kidney, the liver and the nervous system. This problem has not been observed in the dog or the cat.
  5. The drug Tamoxifen, given to women to prevent breast cancer, actually causes liver cancer in rats.


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