Every year over three million animals are used in British
medical research. This is claimed to be necessary for the
benefit of medical science and human health. However, a growing
number of doctors and scientists worldwide are pointing out
the fact that animal research is totally useless and that
its misleading results frequently prove counter-productive
and damaging to human health.
Drug manufacturers claim that new drugs must be tested on
animals to ensure human safety before they are given to patients;
but the evidence shows that animal tests are not only worthless,
they are dangerously unpredictable.
Testing a drug or chemical on an animal provides no evidence
that it is safe for humans. This is because of species differences:
animals do not react in the same way to drugs and other substances
as we do, due to differences in their absorption, distribution,
metabolism, response to and elimination of drugs. Diseases
which are induced artificially in the laboratory in order
to evaluate drugs can never be compared to those arising spontaneously
in humans. Here are just a few of the drugs which have caused
horrific damage to people, even though they had all been 'safety
tested' on animals:
OPREN: Anti-arthritic drug. Withdrawn in
1982 after more than 70 deaths in Britain and 3,500 other
serious side effects, including damage to skin, eyes, circulation,
CLIOQUINOL: Anti-diarrhoeal drug. Caused
30,000 cases of blindness and/or paralysis in Japan alone
and thousands of deaths worldwide. The drug caused a new disease
OSMOSIN: Anti-inflammatory drug. Withdrawn
in 1983 after 650 reported serious side effects and 20 deaths.
ERALDIN: Heart drug, given to patients for
four years before horrific side effects were identified, including
blindness, stomach problems, pains in joints and growths.
THALIDOMIDE: A sedative given to pregnant
women, caused approx 10,000 birth defects worldwide.
FLOSINT: Anti-inflammatory drug. Use resulted
in reports of 217 adverse effects including 7 deaths.
THE DAMAGE TO HEALTH
Drugs prescribed in Britain are suspected of causing over
19,000 adverse effects annually - probably only one tenth
of the true figure (BMJ, 1988, 296: 761-764) - all of which
are 'tested' on animals. There could not be a more unscientific
method. A frightening 8% of children born in America now have
some form of birth defect. Most of these can be traced back
to the use of medical drugs, food additives, cosmetics and
other chemicals in the environment - all 'safety-tested' on
animals. Clearly, as animal 'tests' provide no protection
for us, it is we who are the real guinea pigs when we are
prescribed a new drug.
"Dangerous substances would not be marketed if the
smokescreen of animal research data were ruled unacceptable
Dr Peter Mansfield. Founder-President. Doctors in Britain
against Animal Experiments.
WHY DOES ANIMAL RESEARCH CONTINUE?
- Vested interests: the animal breeders, the manufacturers
of cages, restraining devices, animal feed and surgical
- Animal 'testing' provides legal defence for drug manufacturers
in court when suits for damages are instituted after adverse
effects can no longer be ignored. The company can always
claim in its defence that "all the required tests had
been done", leaving the victims without adequate compensation.
- Researchers receive funding by way of grants, running
into billions of pounds, obtained from taxpayers and fundraising
- Many scientists base their entire careers on animal experiments.
- Animal research is convenient and flexible it can be used
to 'prove' almost anything. All you have to do is select
the appropriate species. For example, depending on who funds
the research, it can be 'proved' that cigarettes cause cancer,
or do not cause cancer:
"...there are endless possibilities for producing
irrefutable evidence in support of any theory through
the use of various animal species."
Prof Pietro Croce, MD, Hon President DLRM, Author of
Vivisection or Science
Animal-based research delays and hampers advances in medicine.
Real advances have come from clinical, epidemiological (population)
and post mortem studies. For instance, corneal transplants
were delayed for nearly 90 years because of the results of
animal studies, the breakthrough coming from clinical work.
Where animal-based medicine has been helpful, this is despite
animal experiments and not because of them, their safety only
having been 'proved' through use in humans.
THE WAY FORWARD
Truly scientific methods of biological and medical research
already exist: epidemiology, computers for the construction
of mathematical models, cell and tissue cultures in vitro
and many others "which awaken a new hope: the hope that
biomedical research may a/ready be on the way to a radical
renewal." (Prof Pietro Croce, MD)
We need to pay more attention to: social conditions, malnutrition,
unemployment, poverty, pollution, diet, health education,
complementary medicine - Homoeopathy, acupuncture and other
forms of healing.
There is a growing movement, worldwide, of thousands of doctors,
scientists, nurses, disabled and millions of other people
working to end this unscientific method of medical research.
"Freed from the error of vivisection, future researchers
will be able to base medical research on a genuinely scientific
foundation ... gradually restoring to medicine that scientific
quality that is today usurped by vivisectionist error."
Prof Pietro Croce, MD, 'Vivisection or Science?'
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Be informed, discuss, inform others, send us a donation.
Join DLRM and support its work,
for total abolition of animal experiments.