Greetings, and a very warm welcome to you all. First of
all, I would like to point out that I am neither a doctor
nor a lawyer, simply a member of the general public who, as
I shall be saying later, have a duty, and a right, to share
in the responsibility for putting truly scientific medicine
on the map. But, I assure you that our speakers are distinguished
members of their respective professions.
On behalf of Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine
(DLRM), I would like to thank you for joining us in this important
conference, at which our eminent speakers from the medical
and legal professions will place before you facts of vital
significance for the future of life on this planet. The theme
today is Xenotransplantation, which is an aspect of the practice
of vivisection. The conference will discuss why we should
be deeply concerned about animal experiments, with particular
emphasis today on animal to human organ transplants.
DLRM believes that medicine based on animal experiments is
unscientific, because of the insuperable barriers of species
differences. Laboratory animals (so-called models for man)
do not reflect human physiology, psychology, life-style or
diseases. These differences inevitably lead medicine astray,
resulting in harmful side-effects from drugs, misdiagnoses
of existing diseases and the loss of potential cures for current
health problems, as well as the creation of new diseases.
This only adds to and causes further horrific suffering, both
to humans and to animals.
For over a century, thousands of doctors and scientists have
condemned, on both ethical and scientific grounds, the practice
of animal experiments for human medicine, recognizing and
acknowledging, that the differences between species render
such a method misleading, and therefore invalid. Despite the
sacrifice of hundreds of millions of animals, at the cost
of billions of dollars, we are still no nearer finding cures
for major diseases, such as: cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy,
Alzheimer's disease, (even the common cold), and cancer. Why?
(We are now being told that one person in four is actually
dying of cancer, whereas it used to be that one in three was
contracting the disease). And many new diseases arising from
possible medical mistakes as well as from environmental problems,
have come to plague us still further.
DLRM started out in 1990 as Doctors in Britain against Animal
Experiments, on medical and scientific grounds (DBAE).Its
membership included doctors, scientists in medical fields,
veterinary surgeons, dental surgeons, and associate membership
of other medical personnel, as well as members of the general
public. Its aim was the total and immediate abolition of animal
experiments - as it still is.
After its second international scientific congress DBAE became
international and, following its third international congress
in 1995, at which it was joined by lawyers, changed its name
to Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine.
DLRM's decision to acquire medico-legal status grew out of
a recognition of the increasing number of links between the
medical and legal professions. We believe in the basic right
to health, so that there should be a legal right to go to
law if a medical procedure or substance is introduced which
carries with it a potential risk of endangering health. This
right can only be gained by legislation.
Though there is a strong body of pro-vivisectors against us,
we are making great inroads into their defences. In their
vain attempts to dismiss the rising tide of qualified professionals
who can see the folly and the tragedy of inter-species research
for human medicine, the proponents of vivisection persist
in underestimating our strength. They try to minimise our
influence by quoting the fact that we are in a minority compared
with those who support animal experimentation as the saviour
of human health.
Our answer to that is: Yes, we are in a minority, so far,
mainly due to the fallacious education and brainwashing of
the majority (who are not necessarily evil but who are often
merely misguided by misinformation). In the medical world,
there also exists a fear of victimisation of one kind or another
- lower exam assessments, loss of promotion, the power of
vested interests and so on. There are many who feel that they
would have to throwaway much of their years of study and also
lose face if they were to accept abolition of animal experimentation,
and join us. But there are many brave souls who stand out
against such opposition, and history has proved that all great
changes and movements start from minority groups. We know,
too, that there are thousands of medical and scientific workers
who would like to declare their support, and it is through
strengthening our influence, and thereby our ability to encourage
such sympathies, that we can earn their membership.
I would like to point out here that we are not against doctors
per se. There are, of course, many excellent, kind and caring
doctors, who often perform near-miracles in saving life and
health - I can testify to this from personal experience (of
orthodox and holistic practitioners), as well as from my observations
of other patients. But great and serious errors do occur,
causing further needless pain and even loss of life, because
of the unscientific methodology of inter-species testing.
Patients are increasingly turning away from orthodox medicine.
They have lost faith and confidence. Note how popular are
the exhibitions of Natural Holistic Medicine.
There are understandably many who oppose or disagree with
vivisection purely on the grounds of animal welfare, which
is certainly reasonable in view of the horrific misery and
pain endured by laboratory animals - and senselessly endured
at that, since the results of such work are, in fact, spurious.
Such wanton cruelty is a strong ethical argument against vivisection,
but this argument detracts from the fact that results from
animal experimentation do not work and should be stopped NOW
for that very reason, whether or not one sympathizes with
the animals, which many do not. So also the call for reduction
of animal experiments, the so-called "3 Rs" (Reduce,
Refine, Replace), much loved by those who profess to oppose
animal experimentation ostensibly on animal welfare grounds,
but claim it is necessary to continue until alternatives are
found. There are, again, those who genuinely wish to end vivisection
(also on grounds of animal welfare) and mistakenly believe
reduction to be at least a step on the way. Firstly, this
is small comfort for the millions of animals still being subjected
to the laboratory experiments. Secondly, it would imply that
those animal experiments remaining are valid and useful, which
they are not, as already explained. What is the point in continuing
any such research when it is unreliable and harmful to those
it is supposedly intended to help, namely humans! DLRM does
not accept the "3 Rs" principle.
A further frequent argument states that it is simply a question
of finding alternatives to the unacceptable use of animals;
but this gives false credence to vivisection, since the word
"alternative" implies a simple choice from equally
valid options, and vivisection can never be scientifically
valid. This argument also disregards the fact that medicine
researched by such a false method, even when effective and
apparently safe, is so despite, and not because of animal
The case for banning animal tests for cosmetics - incidentally,
less than one per cent of the total of animal experiments
- is similarly flawed. It is mistakenly justified on the sole
grounds that cosmetics are not essential in the way that medicine
is - which again confuses the issue, as animal tests are not
valid in either field. But this argument is welcomed by those
who wish to sustain and perpetuate the practice of animal
experiments, since it may well serve to appease anti-vivisectionists
to some degree and so act as a delaying tactic and diversion
from the wider issues.
It is important to understand that it is not only qualified
doctors and lawyers who are, in ever-greater numbers, taking
on board the responsibility of abolishing vivisection, on
scientific grounds: this responsibility is also being increasingly
accepted by society at large. We must always remember the
fact that all sections of the public are capable of recognising
and understanding the flaws and dangers of such research.
They therefore have as much right, and indeed duty, to be
involved in this campaign as have the professionals. We all
have a share in the responsibility - though our detractors
would have us believe that the lay-person hasn't the wit or
the knowledge to understand what is going on!
We now have seriously to ponder on what is being allowed to
happen all over the world - and what we are bequeathing to
our children. Unfortunately, this is not just scaremongering.
It is a fact. We already have genetic engineering and the
imminence of xenotransplantation, with their inherent dangers
and potential horrors. And now we have cloning, too! Where
will it all end? And what will it end -life on this earth?
Are we going to continue on this obviously wrong path, thus
wasting the talents of great present and future doctors and
scientists? We should also bear in mind the enormous waste
of resources behind what has become a multi-national industry
- which is a huge profit-spinner, instead of what it should
be: the source of genuine cures for current illnesses and
of research into preventive medicine.
What, then, are we going to do? What can we do? We cannot
afford to be complacent - it is not simply a question of pursuing
a hobby which one can take up or leave at a whim. We need
to step up our endeavours, to be prepared to make real sacrifices.
We have to double and redouble our efforts NOW. There is no
time to lose. As Dr. Fadali said, we must inform ourselves,
and then others on the facts of this vital issue. Throughout
history, it has tended to be the concerned few who have brought
about great changes in civilisation. We cannot leave this
one to chance or to "other" people -the gamble would
be too great. It is late. We all of us have a share in the
burden of this responsibility.
At our conference today, we shall have the opportunity and
privilege of hearing from concerned and aware experts, who
will present us with evidence of mistakes which have already
been made, as well as the enormous increasing risks with which
we are now being faced - but which we still have the potential
to avert if we choose. We are asking you to listen and to
consider what they have to say. You will then be able to judge
for yourselves the validity of the arguments put before you
- and to assess society's imprudence and irresponsibility,
if we fail to act.
This, then, is our challenge - to work urgently and wholeheartedly
towards achieving our goal, for the sake of all life, born
and as yet unborn.
It is my great pleasure to declare this conference open.
Return to top
Back to list of speeches