Letters re animal research/human welfare (6)
hello_itz_me at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 9 07:24:55 EDT 2003
THE FUR (MOSTLY) FLIES
The Scientist, June 3, 2003
Volume 17 | Issue 11 | 21
Letters in response to: "Animal research is for human welfare," The
Scientist, 17:16, R. Gallagher, May 5, 2003:
I am writing to congratulate you on an excellent editorial on "Animal
Research is for Human Welfare." I was born and bred in the countryside but
have lived and worked in an around several major cities, including London,
since 1965. Over the years I have seen the disconnection between city and
countryside that you mention grow and grow. Fewer and fewer of our students,
for example, have any sort of rural background, and there is no easy answer
to their ignorance. My belief is that if you grow up in a small country
village you can learn city ways, but to do vice versa is much more
difficult. Employment patterns mean that few need to attempt it anyway.
City folk are unaware of this disconnection, but at least it will help if
they start to become aware of it, and your editorial will be a good start
for the scientific community to start to see the divide.
Dr. W.E. Lindup
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
University of Liverpool, UK
wel at liverpool.ac.uk
At one time I did experiments involving animals, and I do understand where
my leather briefcase came from; however, my thoughts regarding the use of
animals has evolved, and I now firmly believe that it is wrong to use these
thinking, feeling animals for experimentation. Unlike you, I am not so
arrogant as to think that I am a superior being. All of us are here to share
I am not one of the public ignorants that you refer to in your letter. I
know exactly what the animals are going through. Two wrongs never make a
right, and animal experimentation in the name of science is simply not
justified. Although I understand that vivisection will not stop in one
single day, I certainly hope that we humans will aim for the ideal--a world
in which animals are treated with the respect that they deserve, and one in
which humans will have compassion for their fellow beings.
The number (in absolutes and percentages) of scientists who are refusing to
use animal models increases every day. Apparently, you are out of touch with
what is happening in the scientific community! Thanks for the letter--I will
send in my contribution to the antivivisection movement today.
Technology Transfer Office
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
sheryl at tto.utah.edu
How much more human welfare do we need, having six billion already? So the
asked-for "unequivocal support for experiments on animals" sounds really
like a regression in time. Would it not be better to join forces and adopt
the three R's: reduce, refine, replace? Speaking as a veterinarian I must
consider the rights of all beings, not just of our species.
São Paulo, Brazil
emscheichl at uol.com.br
We found "Animal Research is for Human Welfare" by Richard Gallagher
representative of why scientists are held in low esteem by many in society.
Using the "your dog or child" argument instead of examining scientific facts
is the modus operandi of those with a vested interest in the animal model.
If the vested-interest groups cannot convince the taxpaying public of the
importance of the animal model, then do what has been done for
decades--appeal to the government to force society to do their bidding.
Appealing to the government is exactly what Richard Gallagher and others
like him recommend.
We suggest an open, honest, transparent, public debate on the issue of the
scientific validity of the animal model of human disease in biomedical
research in the 21st century. If the vested-interest groups have nothing to
hide, there should be no objection to furthering the public's understanding
Ray Greek, MD
National Anti-Vivisection Society
Americans For Medical Advancement
Europeans For Medical Advancement
Jean Greek, DVM
National Anti-Vivisection Society
Los Angeles, Calif.
AFMA at curedisease.com
You write "Experiments are conducted on animals for human (and animal)
welfare. They are an absolute necessity ..." Even "an absolute necessity"
needs to be proven--or disproven. Would you please consider the following
argument: A given species is defined by its reproductive isolation, due to
its unique genetic make-up. The latter determines all biological activities
of individuals of that species. Therefore, individuals of two different
species have different genetic make-ups and consequently different
This simple syllogism is a rigorous proof that no species can stand as a
reliable biological model for another species, however close both species
may be in evolutionary terms. Sometimes, two species may display comparable
biological reactions, but sometimes also different, even opposite reactions.
To the best of our knowledge, the issue is fully unpredictable. Therefore,
trusting the animal model for human health issues amounts to gambling with
human life, a smoking gun which kills many. In UK, 20,000 persons a year die
because of adverse drug effects, and one drug out of three barely matches
the medical benefit of a placebo, despite--or rather because--these drugs
were extensively tested in animals. Responsible doctors are tired of seeing
their prescriptions harm and even kill their patients. To them, there is an
"absolute necessity" for the animal model to go, and to go now! Biomedical
progress is a matter of science, not of empiricism.
Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine
cjreiss at yahoo.com
Your editorial, "Animal Research is for Human Welfare," is right on. In my
48 years of pharmaceutical R&D, I have seen many drug candidates
administered to human beings and at least 20 new drugs enter the market. We
absolutely need leadership not only in government but in science as well.
The animal activists simply repeat, over and over again, that animals are
not needed and may actually slow down the drug discovery process. These
people should be challenged to tell us exactly how they would discover a new
therapeutic without animals. How will they choose the dose to give to a
patient based on a test-tube experiment? How will they decide the route of
administration, the probable safety of the new compound in man (without
animal-toxicity info), tolerance of the vein if the treatment is to be
intravenous, etc. Nobody challenges these zealots to defend their misguided
position with an actual proposal of how to discover a new medicament without
the use of animals. In lectures I give on this subject, I outline the steps
we now use to discover a drug and then ask for student participation on how
to move forward using only in vitro tests. The audience usually just laughs
at the suggestions made!
Charles G. Smith
Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
cgsmithsr at cox.net
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