Vivisection (Animal Experimentation)
Table of Contents
“Scientists should be on tap but not on top” – Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)
Throughout the world, every day, millions of animals are in laboratories, undergoing fear and painful and invasive experimentation. Much of this is for medical research, funded by large and popular charities. A large proportion is for the testing of cosmetics and household reagents, which serve only a commercial need. The procedures are licensed by veterinary surgeons in the employ of the Home Office.
None of this is science. Each species is an island, in terms of biology and reaction to procedures. No species can give meaningful results for another and, even within species, there can be very confusing variation.
There are no animal models for many of the human diseases being studied in modern medical research (e.g. cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s etc.). Despite this incontrovertible fact, animals are used in such research on a massive scale.
Retrospectively, the overall results from laboratory animal experiments cannot be extrapolated to apply to humans in more than 50% of cases. That makes it like tossing a coin, since no one knows which are likely to be at all relevant. Only in retrospect can we ever learn which were useful and which led to human injury and death. For many people, that realisation comes too late. This seems to be a very cavalier attitude to the value of human life and welfare, let alone animal welfare.
Humans are suffering and dying in their thousands, as a result of animal experiments. Despite the obvious scientific flaws and the field evidence against the practice, it still goes on. Adherence to animal experimentation as a research tool is holding up medical advance. The massive financial rewards maintain the practice. Objection to animal experimentation is not an emotive or extremist activity, to remain the preserve of ‘zaney leftists’ and ‘cranks’ (as I have heard objectors called), it is an objective and scientific position.
‘Scientific’ papers can be published more quickly and more cheaply, using animals. This helps ‘scientific’ careers. There is a huge industry involved and therefore massive vested interest. The breeding, genetic modification, cage manufacture, food supplies, laboratory technicians and scientists that revolve around the industry represent a large body of employment and source of fiscal revenue. Large and popular emotive charities support and even promote animal experiments, despite the scientific evidence to the contrary. They are dealing with an emotive set of human diseases, which command large donations and legacies from the community. It is a tragedy that this money is being squandered on such futility, while the highly charitable benefactors are unaware of the true situation.
Willing charity volunteers spend hours in inclement weathers, parading the streets with collecting tins. Would they perform this thankless and anonymous task so willingly, if they only realised that they were collecting for animal experimentation (vivisection)? They are not told. They do not know. I have asked every collector I meet, only to receive the same answer that they had no idea. Why the secrecy? If the activity is one to be proud of, the charity should be telling everyone about it. We believe that collectors should be told by the charities, openly and unequivocally, exactly how the money is being used. They could then make an informed decision whether to volunteer for the work. We also believe that the practice should be declared on headed notepaper and all other literature, so that the public is in no confusion.
Companies like Procter and Gamble are massive animal experimenters. They make many household products, with household names. They make Eukanuba and Iams animal foods. Much of this manufacture involves animal experiments. Other animal food manufacturers also perform animal experiments.
Despite various ‘codes of practice’, many animal experiments are being repeated worldwide, however poor their scientific value, for lack of communication between companies and because companies wish to preserve commercial secrecy.
The AVMC calls for a total ban on animal experiments, whether for armaments, space exploration, car manufacture, medicine, cosmetics, household chemicals or any other field. They are not scientific. They are clearly not humane; they are cruel and inhumane. They serve no purpose. The world would not be poorer without them and would even spiritually be the richer if they ceased forthwith.The RCVS oath requires all vets to uphold the welfare of animals under their care, yet veterinary surgeons are an essential part of the licensing process, for animal experimentation. If their services were to be withdrawn, animal experiments in the UK would have to cease.
An often-repeated response to criticism is that welfare is a ‘top priority'. How can it be, to incarcerate animals and commit them to distressing and painful procedures? If those who make such remarks were honest, they would have to admit that welfare has at least to be secondary to the experimental objective.
The AVMC will attempt to help any organisation or individual to understand these issues, on request.
Here are a few pithy sentences, to summarise points:
- All charities that fund vivisection should be compelled by law to declare it on all their literature and at all collecting points. In that way, potential contributors can make an informed choice whether to donate.
- Do those who experiment on animals really believe and trust their own results?
- Using animals in medical experiments is like Russian Roulette. Animals are not a valid predictor for the effects of new procedures or new substances in the human body.
- The issue of vivisection does not revolve around whether a human relative is worth more than 1,000 mice. It is about good and bad science. One might as well be arguing the merits of a submarine for space travel or a fork for eating soup.
- Animal experiments in the UK would have to stop tomorrow, if veterinary surgeons refused to co-operate (RCVS oath).
- Homeopathy, acupuncture, herbal medicine (herbs) and other natural medicine techniques require no animal experiments or vivisection.
The AVMC cannot support animal experimentation (vivisection), not least because it conflicts with the veterinary oath to ensure the welfare of animals.
Visit: www.uncaged.co.uk who have some vital campaigns. While we enthusiastically support their aversion to animal experimenting pet food manufacturers (http://www.uncaged.co.uk/petfood.htm) we are unable to recommend feeding ANY manufactured pet food.
We are unable to support the Animal Health Trust (Newmarket), on account of its animal experimentation culture.