Vivisection is bad for animals and is poor science. Animals will never be human because their metabolism and physiology differs greatly from ours. Many studies have shown that animals predict correctly for humans only 5-25% of the time: far worse than tossing a coin! That's not science, that's gambling. An animal dies in an EU laboratory every three seconds. In the laboratory an animal may be poisoned; deprived of food, water or sleep; applied with skin and eye irritants; subjected to psychological stress; deliberately infected with disease; brain damaged; paralysed; surgically mutilated; irradiated; burned; gassed; force fed; electrocuted and killed. Animal testing has delayed medical progress and even dangerously mislead our understanding of disease. Our understanding of polio transmission, heart disease and diabetes, for example, was delayed because we studied them in another species. 92% of new drugs fail in clinical trials, after they have passed all the safety tests in animals. More than 10,000 people are killed every year in the UK by side effects of prescription medicines - now the fourth biggest killer in the western world. The US figure is over 100,000. Animal testing failed to predict these tragedies. This is a serious wake up call that we need to look at animal testing critically, and not just blindly accept what people who make money off animal testing tell us. It is time to switch to humane, modern, non-animal methods that are available and that predict accurately for humans, not rats.
The animal rights movement is based on non-violence; non-violence to all beings, whether they stand on two legs or four. The blanket labelling of animal rights protesters as anything other than peaceful in order to deflect attention away from the real issue of cruelty to animals in the lab, and to use this labelling as an excuse to hide the facts from the public, is totally unacceptable. Casually throwing around serious words like "violence" by vivisectors is ironic, considering the real violence that is happening behind the closed doors of laboratories. It is the fundamental right of any person to express their views on any particular subject. Attempts to silence legitimate protest will do nothing but strengthen the resolve of compassionate and concerned people everywhere. Campaigns will increase in their intensity to bring to light the wasteful, outdated and hideously cruel methods of torture currently being employed by the vivisectors.
Animal testing is cruel and fatally misleading. The word 'alternative' implies that there is some positive merit to animal tests and there is not. Computer modelling is now very sophisticated, with virtual human organs and virtual metabolism programmes which predict drug effects in humans far more accurately than animals can. Researchers can study human neurology in an ethical manner. Many clinical centers use imaging and neurophysiologic tools to map and monitor the human and other neurological systems. Centers such as Princeton University, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, and Minnesota State University use functional MRIs, PET scans, and evoked potentials (which record the brain's electrical patterns) to collect relevant data on human neural processing and anatomy. With these and many more wonderful tools available for non-invasive study of the human brain, we can most effectively help patients who suffer from neurological diseases. The government puts about 1-2% of funding into development of non-animal test methods than the cost of building one new animal lab.
STRINGENT ANIMAL WELFARE LEGISLATION?
The government always points to the UK as having the most stringent animal welfare legislation in the world. Yet in the UK there are only 28 Home Office inspectors employed to supposedly enforce legislation - that is one inspector for every 103,435 procedures!
In a 2003 poll, 86% of the public were against primate experiments that caused them pain, distress or lasting harm.
A recent survey done by Newsnight saw that 57% of people surveyed believed that taxpayer's money should not be used to help build more laboratories to carry out tests on animals for medical research and 58% of people surveyed wanted their tax money being spent on alternative viable ways of testing.
82% of general practitioners are concerned that animal data can be misleading when applied to humans and that 83% would support an independent scientific evaluation of the clinical relevance of animal experimentation. A paper published in 2004 in the British Medical Journal asked, "Where is the evidence that animal research benefits humans?" Speaking of which, shockingly and disturbingly, the government has never actually commissioned or evaluated any formal research on the efficacy of animal experiments, and has no plans to do so. Through an EDM currently in parliament, over 200 MPs are calling upon the government to facilitate an independent and transparent scientific evaluation of the use of animals as surrogate humans in drug safety testing and medical research. This EDM comes about after news of one drug disaster after another, all of which were deemed safe from animal tests.
An Early Day Motion in parliament calling on an independent scientific evaluation into the validity of animal testing has gained the support of over 200 MPs and countless GPs. People want modern medicine, NOT irresponsible and outdated animal testing methods.
WHY DOES IT STILL HAPPEN?
The biggest reason is money. Animal breeders and cage and equipmant manufacturers are multi-billion £ industries, but the biggest beneficiary is the pharmaceutical industry. Animal tests help them speed new drugs onto the market and, most significantly, give them a legal defence against public allegations of inadequate safety testing. Pharmaceutical companies use animal tests to provide liability protection when ther drugs kill or injure people. Juries are easily swayed by volumes of safety data from rats, mice, dogs and monkeys - even though it is meaningless for humans.
Attempts to silence protesters or 'blanket label' legitimate animal rights protests as anything otherwise does absolutley nothing to address the root of the issue which is unnacceptable torture of animals in the laboratory and a real need to move toward modern, non-animal methods. Until the government and industry gets to the root of the issue, the resolve of concerned people will only be strengthened.
Overwhelming evidence shows that most animal experiments have nothing to do with curing diseases - and they certainly don't help in unlocking the causes and cures of a uniquely human phenomenon like drug abuse. We don't need more animal experiments, we need to switch to humane, modern, non-animal methods that are available and that predict accurately for humans, not animals.
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