Put Animal Testing to Sleep

Medical research using animals such as monkeys, dogs, cats, and mice can and should be replaced with other methods. Pro or con?

Pro: Misleading Conclusions, Wasted Money

What if you tried to start your car and realized you had the wrong key? Would you keep trying to make it fit the ignition, or would you find the right key?

It seems a silly question, but this is the situation for researchers who use animals to study human diseases and develop drugs. Scientific knowledge gained in recent decades and the dismal performance of the animal research paradigm prove that we must use more accurate, human-based research methods if we wish to succeed against human diseases and produce safe and effective medicines.

The Food & Drug Administration tells us that 92% of drugs tested safe and effective in animals fail in human trials, even as the cost of bringing a drug to market has reached $1 billion and validated nonanimal alternatives are ignored. The blockbuster arthritis drug Vioxx from Merck killed more Americans than died in the Vietnam War, yet it was deemed safe in eight studies using six animal species. Many drugs have had severe and even lethal effects in people after demonstrating safety in animal tests. Conversely, safe and effective drugs such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and penicillin cause severe toxicities in animal tests.

A quarter-century of primate research has failed to produce an HIV/AIDS vaccine—more than 80 vaccines that worked in monkeys have failed in humans. About 150 stroke treatments, two dozen diabetes cures, two dozen paralysis treatments, and many therapeutic cancer vaccines successful in animal experiments have all failed in people. Thousands of treatments for many debilitating diseases have worked in animal experiments, yet there are no cures for these diseases after decades of trying. And what potential cures have been discarded because they failed animal testing?

These consistent and unrelenting failures should condemn the animal research paradigm to the historical dustbin. It’s time to find the right key.

Con: Crucial Method, Proven History

One cannot assert in good faith that all use of animals in medical research and drug experimentation can be replaced by other methods. To date, there is no comprehensive substitute for animal models in research. Certainly, computer models and cell cultures as well as other adjunct research methods provide excellent avenues for reducing the number of animals used. But the pathway to fully duplicating a whole, living system does not yet exist. Therefore, the research community must conduct humane and responsible animal research to uncover, find, and develop new cures for diseases.

Virtually every medical breakthrough in the past century has involved some animal research. Each day, dedicated scientists are using animal models to find cures for the diseases and conditions that ravage all cultures. From antibiotics to blood transfusions, dialysis to organ transplantation, vaccinations to chemotherapy, bypass surgery, and joint replacement, practically every present-day protocol for the prevention, treatment, cure, and control of disease, pain, and suffering is based on knowledge attained through research with laboratory animals. Animal research is saving both human and animal lives every day.

Animal research is expensive, time-consuming, and subject to strict federal regulations. In vitro methods are faster and less expensive. Why wouldn’t we want to use other methods, if they worked? Over the past 10 years, the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) has evaluated more than 185 nonanimal methodologies and has approved several research alternatives, particularly in the realm of toxicity testing. When additional nonanimal alternatives are developed, science will naturally reduce the number and use of animal models. This progression will happen only when viable alternatives are validated, and it cannot be forced. It is exciting to dream of the day when no animal research is needed and no human lives are ended by disease. Until that day comes, we need to continue using the method that works.

Opinions and conclusions expressed in the BusinessWeek.com Debate Room do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessWeek, BusinessWeek.com, or The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Reader Comments

George Lundskow

Even if the research produces valid information, are we willing to inflict pain and suffering on animals in order to extract information? As any dog or cat owner knows, these species have emotions, and they definitely feel pain and fear. Some knowledge comes at too high a price.

John Franklin

The U.S. is far behind in the global move to approve and implement superior methods to animal testing. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, a scientific/governmental panel in Europe has approved 34 alternatives to animal tests and has another 170 in its pipeline. Over the past decade, a similar panel in the U.S. has approved just four alternatives. Meanwhile, our drugs and products kill people on a regular basis because they are unsafe--a fact that is not revealed by misleading animal tests. Consumers must demand effective alternatives.

VICTIM

Studies -- laugh out loud. What does it matter when you have companies like Merck that hide and lie about the facts while people keep on dying from their poison product?

DJ Holt

I say we test on death row and lifer prisoners and leave the poor dogs, cats, monkeys, and rats alone. If we need to know what a drug does to humans, we need to test it on humans, and the only expendable humans are death row and lifer inmates.

Rose

Animal testing is not only inhumane, especially since animals are often more intelligent than people, but it's also an added monetary cost in drug development. The additional testing seems to be pointless as recent drug developments have not only not resulted in any wonder drugs but, regardless of safety, the company will be sued. So why kill the innocents? Pharma senior management should be tested in a radial maze with rats and whoever solves it first gets to run the company, and losers get tested on. My money is on the rats.

random

I was always neutral on animal testing, but I'm swayed by Dr. Pippin's arguments. It really does seem that tests on animals are not a predictor of how well new drugs will work on a human and in this case, we might as well not waste billions of dollars and animal lives on something prolonging dead-end research.

"If we need to know what a drug does to humans, we need to test it on humans, and the only expendable humans are death row and lifer inmates."

Ah and because of attitudes like these, we have the 8th Amendment, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment. Sure, a whole lot of people on death row or serving a life sentence did things we found morally repulsive enough to warrant such drastic punishment. But it doesn't give us the license to turn jails into the equivalent of Nazi death camps.

Just because some humans choose to kill or rob or rape, doesn't give us the license to become monsters ourselves.

ashley

"Just because some humans choose to kill or rob or rape, doesn't give us the license to become monsters ourselves."

And what did animals like cats and dogs do to deserve it? If you are speaking for inmates who may have possibly killed another human being, what about those innocent animals?

Michael Hughes

Both arguments have some good points. As with many contentious issues, however, one can find a middle road between the opposition. That middle road exists, and scientists, regulators, and animal welfare advocates have come together and accomplished a great deal in the past 25 years.

Animal testing is an important and effective way to improve not only human but also animal health. But many organizations around the world are pioneering animal testing alternatives. In the U.S., the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (where I work) has led the drive to validate and implement alternatives since the early 80s. You can read more here: http://caat.jhsph.edu

While the extreme viewpoints on both sides make for good debates, real progress is being made by those willing to engage in dialogue and do the real science. And the real science is proving that humane science is truly the best science.

Jenica Mallari

I agree with DJ Holt. Things intended for humans should be tested on humans. All we do is pay ridiculous amounts of tax to benefit those on death row, and they do nothing good for society. I completely oppose testing on animals. I think humans take advantage only because they are defenseless creatures.

Dave

The Food & Drug Administration tells us that 92% of drugs tested safe and effective in animals fail in human trials

Important questions:
1. What percentage of drugs fail in animals trials?
2. What percentage of drugs that fail in animals actually work in humans?

The answer to the first question probably exists. The answer to the second probably does not. But the point is that if only drugs that work in other animals work in humans, then it does make sense to continue testing on animals first to keep the failure rate in humans down to 92%. If we tested all drugs on humans first, that failure rate might be more than 99%, with no more successful drugs brought to market.

random

"And what did animals like cats and dogs do to deserve it? If you are speaking for inmates who may have possibly killed another human being, what about those innocent animals?"

What exactly are the animals innocent of? And what did they deserve? Animal testing is not a punishment for a crime. Jail and death row are.

I have no intention of speaking for inmates. I'm speaking as a human. And I also don't remember ever saying that animal testing was more humane or less cruel. My comment concerned only using humans for testing experimental compounds based on the idea that because they're criminals, their lives are worthless.

Righteous indignation works best when pointed to commentary that defends or supports the object of the fury.

Dante

To all you mealy-mouthed pro-animal rights advocates: Put your actions where your mouth is. Stop using animal-tested products. Stop using medicine. Stop using makeup (use a paper bag, so we don't throw up). Note, even makeups that claims no animal testing are based on compounds already tested on animals in prior products. Stop buying food with preservatives (all tested on animals). Just stop. For once in your loud-mouthed useless lives, actually do what you say.

Bud

I say leave the poor animals alone. They have no voice in what happens to them. Can they say yes, or no, that they want to do this? Leave it to the humans. At least they have a choice. As far as the inmates, if they want to, that's fine, but they have a choice.

David Nicholson

Why do you say putting test animals "to sleep"? Face the truth. You mean killing them. Dodging the truth with euphemisms doesn't change the reality.

Further, it is not just killing lab animals, it is the abhorrent treatment of tens of millions of animals in factory farms, which society is chooses to ignore.

We are the most unethical species on Earth.

Leone

In response to Dante, I am one of the "mealy-mouthed pro-animal rights advocates" you are preaching to. For the record, here's what I've done:

1. I don't use medicines. Period. I used to use doctor-subscribed Prilosec to control terrible acid problems in my stomach. Then another "mealy-mouthed pro-animal rights advocate" directed me to a holistic practitioner who suggested a dietary change (no more coffee), which completely eradicated the problem for me. If I have a headache, I drink water and lie down in a quiet place. It works. My toothpaste is all-natural, and my breath is just fine, thank you very much. Even my dental floss is purchased from a company that uses sustainable packaging and non-animal-tested materials. No Johnson & Johnson or Procter & Gamble necessary. This applies to my house cleaning products as well. Have you tried vinegar? It works better than anything I've tried for a tidy house!

2. I also changed my diet and completely omitted animal meat and byproducts. I am a vegan and have never looked or felt better.

3. Gasp, I don't wear make up. Guess what? I'm prettier now than before. My skin looks great, because I wash it with an organic cleanser that contains no chemicals, and my body has responded beautifully to veganism, giving me a healthy glow. My eyes are bright. My nails are strong and my hair is shiny. And P.S. I'm also thinner. So I don't need a paper bag or a gunny sack to save anyone from any "pro-animal-rights ugliness."

4. I don't buy leather or any other animal products so I can look fashionable, but guess what? I am the envy of my friends with my couture boots from Beyond Skin and slick sandals from Neuaura. My handbags are a constant source of conversation. I buy them from Matt & Nat, which uses a variety of both natural and synthetic materials to create cruelty free fashion. When I purchased a new car, I asked for the deluxe package without the leather seats. Yeah, I had to wait a few weeks, but my car looks great, and 20 cows didn't have to die so I can sit my vegan ass on their skin.

5. I actually take care of my body by working out and utilizing holistic and organic health care. It's called preventative medicine, and guess what? It works. I'm healthier now than I've ever been. It's called yoga, my friend. You might want to try it as it also relieves stress and might cause you not to be so angry.

6. I rescue domesticated animals that need homes and currently care for five dogs and one cat, all the while keeping a job at a film studio where I make more than $175,000 per year marketing movies.

7. I take 10% of that income and donate it to organizations like PCRM, which helps illuminate the fraudulent results of research for the masses that don't typically think about such matters.

8. I also try to find ways to associate my marketing efforts with charities of all kinds that not only help animals but also help people. Charities that are endorsed by "pro-animal rights organizations" and care deeply not only about animals but also about human health and wellbeing.

I heard someone say recently that compassion doesn't need to be compartmentalized. It's not a pie that has to be divided up: "I care for animals, therefore I don't have enough time or money to care for humans." Quite to the contrary--my compassion is for all living beings, even you, who would so angrily and ignorantly lash out at people who are doing their part.

What are you doing to make the world a better place? My motto is: Brighten your little corner, my friend.
Sincerely,
Leone

Clyde

I love animals, and of course they were put here for us to use and consume in a responsible way. I feel that as I sit down to a steak or chicken dinner, I cannot fuss if an animal is used to test potential life-saving drugs. I would guess that early man fed questionable foods to his animals before he consumed wild fruit, berries, and other items. This is just my opinion, and I know there are others who would not permit this or other things such as fighting a war to defend their country or drilling for oil in a remote area or building nuke-type power plants. However, just let the lights go out, or the national fuel supply run dry, or find their supermarket shelves empty.

Mobius

I actually agree with Dante. Animal testing is just wrong.

John

I commend the Animal Liberation Front for their recent rescue of several beagles from a research lab. My dog is a beagle, and you can imagine how it feels to learn other beagles are being abused by one of our state universities.

Leone

Clyde,
If you love animals, I question why you think it's fine to "use and consume" them in a "responsible way." What do you deem responsible? Most "food" animals are factory farmed, and you only need log on to youtube and watch a video of how your steak and chicken are treated in our nation's "farms" to know it's not responsible or humane. If you watched real footage of how it's produced, you might change your mind about sitting down for that steak or chicken dinner. Maybe not--but don't you think you should have all the facts while making decisions such as what you will be putting in your body? Factory farming is the norm--by the way--not the exception, and it's brutal. And let's not even talk about the kind of torture endured my millions upon millions of animals each year with little or no regard to their "care."

The fact that you can't fuss if animals are tortured in labs or factory farms is troubling. But I don't think you're unlike most people who don't care to think about things until they affect them directly--it's not necessarily being selfish, but it is a bit thoughtless. Caring about the world around you and thoughtfully examining all of the issues that affect us is a right of passage for the evolved. We, as humans, have the ability to literally change the world for the better or for the worse. It's not just about whether or not we have food on the grocery stores' shelves or fuel to drive to the mall or electricity to power our televisions--it's about having the many benefits, conveniences and technologies that we do and using them for the good of mankind and the other species that inhabit the planet with us. To simply "not fuss" over the well being of a living being is the kind of willful ignorance that shatters a society's chances of growing into something even better than we already are.

Your remarks indicate the kind of person who boxes all people who love animals as "liberals." No nukes, stop the war, save the whales--it's all the same to you. But more than being a cry for justice, for compassion, for action--these slogans and movements are about something even more important: thinking. Utilizing the human mind's incredible power to make the world a better place. I hope you reconsider and start using yours.

zirik

This is a complex question, and the following points have to be considered.

1. If an alternative to animal testing is available, then animal testing must not be used for the concerned drugs.

2. If no alternatives are available, then animal testing can be done by highly qualified scientists on the lowest number of animals required and minimizing pain and discomfort to the animals as much as possible.

3. All unessential and frivolous tests on animals such as cosmetics must be banned immediately.

random

"We are the most unethical species on Earth."

Actually, we're the only species that has ethics. Male lions have no qualms about killing cubs fathered by their competitors. Chimpanzees carry out wars. Polar bears are not above hunting down and killing baby seals for food. They don't think about the ethical or moral implications of their actions. Only we stop to think about whether we should or shouldn't carry out wars or slaughter livestock.

"To simply 'not fuss' over the well being of a living being is the kind of willful ignorance that shatters a society’s chances of growing into something even better than we already are."

Better is one of those nebulous, disingenuous terms thrown out to support different and often contradicting personal dogmas. What's "better" to you isn't necessarily better or important to others because those others have very different concerns. You're a vegan with a passion for animals, so for you the definition of better is other people becoming as passionate about animals as you. Omnivores with a passion for space exploration think of the world becoming a better place when we dedicate our attention to Mars, Europa, and the Moon.

Dante

To Leone:
Now, you're not a "mealy-mouthed pro-animal rights advocates," are you? You actually do what you preach. I'm targeting the two-faced hypocrites who make up most of the population--say one thing, do another.

But I would take a look at the insulation in your house if I were you. Most are tested on animals to make sure that they don't have asbestos-like side effects. Same thing with the paint.

Leone

Actually, Random, I'm not suggesting that the world would be a better place if everyone immediately switched to becoming a vegan. I'm suggesting that the world would be a better place if citizens of the world believed in the importance of "fussing" over issues (fussing = thinking). I'm only asking that people think and actually study an issue before making sweeping statements. And I'm hoping that since humans do have the ability to think cognitively that they will use that gift to make informed opinions and decisions.

Your comparisons about animals and their "ethics" is not an apples to apples comparison. As human beings, we are the most evolved species. A male lion kills a cub out of instinct. Humans don't go to war out of instinct. Humans go to war over many complex issues that animals can't consider. Their "wars" are instinctual, territorial--there's no negotiating. I think it's not only necessary but also mandatory that humans consider their options of going to war or slaughtering livestock. We have an obligation to the world as its most evolved species to put great thought into all of our actions.

So what I'm asking for is just a little thought, a little examination of the issues, healthy debate between people who actually read and consider and listen to each other rather than persecute based on stereotypes or labels--"liberal" "conservative," "tree hugger," etc. If you read back to Dante's attack, I think you'll understand what I mean.

Pharma Scientist

From the mostly uneducated comments I have seen here, I guess you are not pharmaceutical scientists. I am a pharmaceutical scientist who has worked in the industry for a decade, and I can tell you that animal testing is absolutely critical for developing new drugs. Despite all the testing, some of the the drugs fail to be safe. Think of the safety issues we could have without this very important tools. To all pet lovers, I am sorry that we have to do this, but for the larger good (remember pets also need drugs when they are sick), animal testing is imperative. Alternative in-silico (computer) prediction tools are unavailable or unreliable at best, hence this situation.

David

Why is the pro section written by a member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine? It is widely known that this group is a PeTA mouthpiece, and PeTA is very irrational, to the point of endangering human lives, when it comes to animal-based biomedical research.

John J. Pippin

Author Dr. John J. Pippin responds to reader comments:

I am the author of the "pro" argument in this debate. I wish to commend those who have commented, and I think the sum of the comments is even better than the restricted (300) word comments allowed to Frankie Trull and me.

Regarding Frankie's commentary, it is telling that she now states: "Virtually every medical breakthrough in the past century has involved some animal research." She used to claim that such advances were directly produced by animal research, but it seems she now admits that the fact that animal testing is often done is far from the conclusion that it contributes in any significant way.

The point that always seems to divide most is the issue of "needing" animal experimentation until we have something better. Though there was not sufficient space to describe the situation completely in the commentary, PCRM's view as doctors and scientists is that the scientific basis for animal experimentation, whether to study human diseases or test drugs, is fatally flawed because of immutable biological differences.

The evidence for this is abundant, and a recent flurry of government and independent agency reports criticize the accuracy of animal testing and recommend replacement with a variety of methods specific for humans.

We have progressed a bit in the U.S., but the EU is far ahead of us--more than 30 validated drug and chemical non-animal alternatives compared to just four by the U.S. validation agency (ICCVAM).

As a cardiologist, program director, medical educator, and former animal researcher, my conclusion is that shifting away from a traditional but failed paradigm (animal experimentation), thus expediting implementation of the many alternatives that are more accurate and more humane, is the big step that must be taken.

Occasionally there is a convergence of humane science and human benefit. This is such an occasion, and we should embrace it. An important component is an informed public, and your comments give me optimism as we continue the campaign.

random

"Actually, Random, I’m not suggesting that the world would be a better place if everyone immediately switched to becoming a vegan."

I was just using an example for a comparison that wasn't meant to authoritatively put you in some sort of ideological camp.

"I’m suggesting that the world would be a better place if citizens of the world believed in the importance of 'fussing' over issues (fussing = thinking)."

Fussing isn't necessarily thinking and it's not just the thinking; it's the facts and figures that factor in the final conclusions of all the thinking. We can fuss about global warming, war, terrorism, and our future all we want, but if we ultimately just think about something, what have we accomplished? Just worrying and thinking doesn't make the world a better place. Acting on good and factual information is what does.

And we can't understate the quality of the facts involved in the thought process. If tainted by personal opinion that may not be the best informed or realistically accurate, the thought and any resulting actions can lead to strife and disaster. After all, Sunni and Salafi extremists fuss a lot about their future and their relations with the West. The result of all their thinking isn't what we'd call moral, ethical, or good.

"... I’m hoping that since humans do have the ability to think cognitively that they will use that gift to make informed opinions and decisions."

But whose information do they use? How do they decide that their opinions and decisions are good? Whose standards do they use?

"Your comparisons about animals and their 'ethics' is not an apples to apples comparison."

I wasn't comparing animal ethics to those of humans. I clearly stated that there is no such concept as animal ethics when I said that "we’re the only species that has ethics."

"As human beings, we are the most evolved species."

That's somewhat of a fallacy born of human arrogance. There's no such thing as most evolved or least evolved, just like there's no such thing as devolution. Evolution simply describes the biological changes in genomes of living things over vast periods of time. We are just another in a long series of creatures that happened to survive in the current climate and competition from the current fauna.

I find something inherently disingenuous in people thinking that we're "the most advanced species on the planet," and it's our duty to somehow micromanage the world. It seems so...self-aggrandizing. After all, this idea was born from Social Darwinism and people taking Darwin's work to say "well that means we as humans are the best, the brightest, and the smartest because we out-competed other animals" when that's not at all what Darwin described as natural selection.

"A male lion kills a cub out of instinct. Humans don’t go to war out of instinct. Humans go to war over many complex issues that animals can’t consider."

Humans go to war over resources, dominance, and because they feel threatened in much the same way animals would go to war. When animals need to affirm their territory, defend their resources, or capture more, they go to war. We don't do anything different. We just call our territories countries.

"Their 'wars' are instinctual, territorial--there’s no negotiating."

Actually animals do have the idea of stalemates and leaving each other alone, especially when there's plenty of food and space to go around. They also try to avoid fighting when they can because of the fear of injury that could adversely affect their ability to survive.

"We have an obligation to the world as its most evolved species to put great thought into all of our actions."

Ah there's that self-aggrandizement I mentioned earlier. We decided that we were the most evolved because we can say that in a reproducible form. So what? A bacterium can survive a trip through space and thrive on alien worlds. We by contrast can only exist in very certain places, with very certain temperatures and radiation levels. From the biological look of things, bacteria are much better survivors than we are. What good is our conceptual thought and technology if we're still far, far away from being able to survive in conditions these single-celled organisms would consider just fine?

Most advanced species? More like the latest incarnation of primates. We're not the best evolved, we're not the most evolved, and we're just evolved to our present state. Trumpeting ourselves as the most evolved species on the planet is like declaring that having thin hair and walking upright makes us better than any other creature out there.

Lulu

Oh no, you don't, Pharma scientist--that's simply not true. Just because you are a scientist does not make you incapable of being fooled and made into a puppet for the industry. In fact sometimes scientists are so entrenched in the industry that they do not do their own thinking, and hold onto old and outdated beliefs. Animal testing is most certainly not critical for developing new drugs; that is being proved increasingly. Drugs developed this way have harmed and killed--that is an undeniable fact, and you should know that. Your own statement "Despite all of the testing, some of the drugs fail to be safe." Goodness me, man--doesn't that tell you something? Animals are different and therefore react differently and so do not accurately predict human responses. It's dangerous to use animals. Do some thinking, and wise up.

Decken

Test on those inmates (especially those found guilty) and less on animals. Drugs for humans should be tested on humans. Besides, inmates are society's garbage.

Sue

Why would anyone trust anything Frankie Trull has to say? She is the most tainted person you could ask when it comes to using animals in research. Why? Her whole organization was founded on the premise that more animals should be used for research regardless simply because it is good for business. Her business, when she founded the National Association for Biomedical Research, was breeding animals for research. She worked for Dr. Henry Foster, founder of Charles River, the largest supplier of animals to research in the world. He was even quoted saying that increased animal use was good for business. Why in the world would you trust her? She has spent a career stirring up fear, attacking responsible individuals, and undermining even the most basic animal protection laws on the books. In fact, Frankie and her group NABR convinced former Sen. Jesse Helms that it would be good to ignore a court ruling and change a longstanding law by exempting more than 98% of animals used in research from the Animal Welfare Act. Yes, Frankie gutted a law designed to provide basic protections, because it is good for business--the business of breeding animals. Who wants alternatives when your billion dollar business relies on animals?

Of course, Frankie will say there are laws, things are tough, we have done so much, I love animals, yadda, yadda, yadda. All I hear from her is, we need to do anything to anyone in order to keep the need for breeding animals alive even if it sets the American scientific community back by decades.

Come on, people. Didn't we learn from our mistakes by listening to the tobacco industry say, "Smoking is good for you. There is no evidence these little things can hurt you."

Captain Jack

This is another in a long line of pseudo-science arguments with many proponents who do not have any direct experience in modern scientific research and quite frankly, do not know what they're talking about.

As a scientist who has developed drugs and has many patents to prove it, I can attest to the value of animal-based research. It is the foundation of modern biological research. Scientists do not wish to harm animals and would instantly switch to a better system were it available.

It's not--I humbly predict that we need another 20 to 30 years or so of comparative genetics, based on the continued sequencing of genomes and correlation of the results with human biology before there are reliable in-vitro and bioinformatics-based systems to predict the behavior of pharmaceutical agents in the human body. When that day comes, drug companies and academic scientists will gladly switch over, as animal testing is not fun, and it's cumbersome and extremely expensive.

However, I also humbly predict that it will take 50 years until the FDA is convinced to abandon animal testing, which is presently required for the approval of all vaccines and pharmaceuticals. People forget that human clinical testing is still an experiment in humans--it's not easy to do and is much harder to predict with certainty than true "rocket science."

So, get real and accept the current state of affairs. And then, vote for politicians who support funding basic scientific research so that the data to eventually eliminate animal testing can be collected, interpreted, and confirmed.

Peikko

Leone:
Your comment, "A male lion kills a cub out of instinct. Humans don't go to war out of instinct." What is instinct but a product of evolution? That lion is doing what he can to ensure the survival of his genes over others. Step back and examine human nature, and you'll see similarly based behavior.

Yes, chimpanzees and other animals war over territory, food sources, mating rights, and leadership issues out of instinct (read evolutionary behavior). Humans have long warred over territory, economics, mating issues, religion, and leadership disputes. Looking past the surface, you won't see that much difference. We possess the same "instinct" for killing.

Perhaps the human race hasn't evolved as much as many of us would like to believe.

Peachy

Has animal testing been worthwhile in the past? A contentious question. Is it the best method in the future? A relevant question. Computer models using several billion equations based on knowledge of the human heart can show interactions with drugs. Heart attacks can be replayed in slow motion on demand.

Biochips show the interaction of individual human genes with materials. Cell cultures were evaluated and found to be more accurate than animal tests--in 2000. Since then they've evolved further. Mapping the human proteome (studying the arrangement of individual proteins within cells) is going to revolutionize medicine, but funding it is another matter.

Systematic reviews of animal testing have consistently shown it to be (at best) limited in value when applied to human medicine. We have limited resources available for science, and they should be used where best expectations lie. This isn't with cross-species studies.

Lulu

Captain Jack, I predict you are very wrong.

Fifty years before animal testing is abandoned? No way. It has already started happening.

It's archaic, unbelievably cruel, and results are not even transferrable to humans. A growing body is realizing this even if you aren't.

paul debraccio

But seriously folks: How many drugs that were successfully tested on animals and declared "safe and effective" caused so much pain and suffering for humans? Has anyone ever heard of Thalidomide? How about artificial sweeteners? How about the drugs being taken off the market as we speak? The model just does not work. Would you eat dog food or rat food? Why don't we do blood letting to cure a cold? They assumed it worked well in the past.

Gerry

As for the 92% figure, an additional 4% of these drugs fail in the late Stage 2 and 3 human trials. This adds up to animal testing yielding a staggering failure rate of 96%. Even worse: Of the remaining 4% of drugs sold for public use, we have a subset of medicines that is the fourth-leading cause of death (105,000) in the USA. That is, adverse non-error negative effects of these drugs. For those people who do not die, we have the effects of unanticipated side effects that fill 1 in 7 hospital beds. Thus the failure rate increases to more than 98%. A kindergartner could see what we are talking about in a nutshell: scientific fraud.

Bob

The human emotional quotient is way too high and interferes with solid science. If the vociferous few could prevail against science, we wouldn't even have Galileo's telescope. And society exacted a heavy price on him. Look at how many people believe in intelligent design. If America persists in this retro thinking and continues its no-solution plan for education, we will get what we deserve.

Andy

Why is it the majority of proponents on the pro side of this argument seem to have no problem with such things as partial birth abortion or just plain abortion on humans while they decry animal testing.

The "ignition key argument" by the pro person and the "It's time to find the right key" statement give me the sense that we are headed toward a Nazi Germany. Let's just head straight to human testing. First prisoners, then those with debilitating diseases, and finally to those who are not on the "correct" political side.

who I am

If your dog or cat was sick, do you think it would be scientifically possible to find a cure by testing on a healthy human being? Well, do you? Animal research is scientific and medical fraud. Period.

random

"Why is it the majority of proponents on the pro side of this argument seem to have no problem with such things as partial birth abortion or just plain abortion on humans while they decry animal testing."

And you know this how? Did you take a poll? Do they have "but yeah, abortions are great?" written in invisible font under their arguments?

"Let's just head straight to human testing. First prisoners, then those with debilitating diseases, and finally to those who are not on the 'correct' political side."

Thank you for calling the Mental Health Hotline. For paranoia, no need to press anything. We know who you are, why you're calling, and where you're calling from. The CIA has been notified. Have a great day.

Stefan

I think everyone is on the same page here overall, but that you're arguing about the minutiae and missing the point of the topic. It's not an argument over the treatment of animals used for testing. It's an argument supporting the adoption of alternate methods instead of ones that involve testing on animals, provided that these methods are up to snuff to get the job done. Nobody "hates" animals and wishes them harm. For a long time, it's largely been the only thing to go on, aside from testing directly on humans. Even the concept of animal testing doesn't have to necessarily be inhumane, but people involved in the testing see to this. If you really want to argue about the treatment of animals, consider how humane it is to keep a dog or cat locked up in your house for 20-plus hours a day.

Pete

Humans 1, Animals 0.

Human ethics are not defined in terms of interspecies relationships. No unnecessary testing, no cruelty or needless pain, but if it saves even one human life, it should be allowed.

Susan

Animals do not get the same diseases as humans and therefore researchers must find creative ways to simulate similar symptoms--but it is still not the same disease. In this age of the most amazing technologies, computer modeling should replace any and all testing performed on animals. The result would logically be greater accuracy.

Scott

"If your dog or cat was sick, do you think it would be scientifically possible to find a cure by testing on a healthy human being? Well, do you? Animal research is scientific and medical fraud. Period."

Fraud to what purpose? Do you think some scientist got bit by a dog and this is his elaborate revenge?

I doubt scientists are sitting around going "Let's hurt the animals, evil cackle" There are reasons they choose to do it this way.

Pete pretty much hit the nail on the head. Cosmetic testing should be illegal, but I'll sacrifice a ton of mice to cure cancer.

dan

http://www.fda.gov/oc/gcp/guidance.html

If anyone is interested, there are very strict guidelines for conducting research in all animals. The link above is to the FDA for the two-legged kind. Our four-legged friends have their own code, which I've been told by my scientist friends, is more strict than our own.

I love animals and hate any cruelty of any kind. I also know that if my mother was ill or my partner or child, I'd want the very best chance that they could get treatment that might save their lives. Medical research would still progress without preclinical/animal studies, but it would be at an agonizing rate and would involve greater risk to the human volunteers involved in the earlier stages of all trials.

To those on here going down the "I don't take any drugs, and I eat organic/macrobiotic foods and I meditate, and I never curse either," the chances are, if you live long enough, your life will be touched by either cancer or heart disease. Let's hope your positive thinking, raw carrots, and celery sticks will do it for you then

Om Mani Padme Hum

Jade

Well, I'm doing this persuasive writing on this topic, and I'm strong against animal testing. I think many people feel that human are the superior race and they just feel that it's "right" to put animals' lives into danger just to save some of our own. I think this statement is no different than what the Nazis did in WWII; the cruelty is all the same.

If there are so many people who don't cherish their lives and think suicide is so cool, why don't they just volunteer for the medical research? It's a far more meaningful death, their lives not exactly wasted, and they did something beneficial to this earth before leaving it.

What I found funny is that they are actually raising rats and such to do research on, when there are so many rats roaming around the sewer and such. I'm not saying that we should all get a mousetrap and go around the city, but it doesn't hurt to think about how to use "waste" and turn it into something useful.

It might be true that we humans are ruling the earth now, though by being the ruler of this land our job is not to take things for granted, but to take care of the place to make it better for everything that's in it.

What you do to others will always come back to you, and this fact works extremely well in situations such as using others to benefit oneself. If we don't start to try and reduce animal testing, someday we will pay for it. We will.

indycar01

The historical failure of (pharma scientists') animal research: If not for research using lawn-mower engines, we wouldn't have anything resembling the engine in your car--does that make sense? Only if you're pharma scientists.

gowherefewhavegone

I disagree will any animal testing. The nature of taking control of an animal (and by that I mean one that cannot speak/advocate for themselves against someone that would do them harm, i.e., the scientist) is akin to perpetrating harm onto a child. To a child, we are guardians. We protect, nurture, and facilitate a quality life. So, too, must we provide the same decency to the animals in our care. You can look at it this way, too: A criminal will objectify their victim, to violate or take from them what they wish in order to satisfy their desire. Conducting animal research requires the same mentality and behavior. And for those that would say that animal research is done in the name of improving human life, I ask you (scientist) to invite television cameras into the lab with you to show your neighbors, your community, the world to witness the breaking of a living cat's spine for spinal research, to follow you into the "dungeon" where the dogs are kept who see you and are wagging their tail greeting you--then you take the dog to your lab, knock them out, and open their chest to induce cardiac damage until their heart stops-then shock their heart to restart it and do it again and again...and then the dog waking out of their anesthetic and jumping off the table....with his chest cavity open. This is an absolute betrayal. I am certain without a doubt that this would be looked upon with horror and disgust, and people would demand this activity be stopped immediately. I challenge every person who opposes this testing to voice your opposition...call or write your local medical college and demand this be stopped. Go on the HSUS.com site, or physician's committee on responsible medicine (pcrm.com), or ASPCA to find the names of your law makers in your states....Make some noise.

We show our true strength in the demonstration of caring/protecting those who can't defend themselves.....show your strength,

Gerry

This matter can be clarified through simple math: Tens of millions of people have prematurely died due to the delays and dead-ends of animal-experimental models. If you were to research every medical advance, you will see that almost always the animal portion of the research wasted much time to the point that the findings and cures came later. The animals were used due to their profitability for the industry.

Louis

I do not agree. The bottom line is God gave us charge over all the animals of the world. If an animal can sacrifice its life so that a human being can survive, then I say that animal gave not only love, but life. Those animals that have suffered are no different from the heroes that gave their lives for our freedom. They are special, and have truly served their cause.

Danyel

Louis,
Animals don't choose to die for us or become sacrifices. We force them to go into testing and do things they don't want to do. How can you tell me that's right? And when God made animals, everyone was a vegetarian. No one ate animals until Noah's ark. He didn't put animals on earth to be killed. Just because they can't talk or do the functions that humans do, why are humans any better? God gave them traits that we don't carry, but we are all equal in our own special way, not to suffer for someone else, though.

Kenn_Dawg

What do you peeps think about primate experimentation?

Animal rights activist

This article definitely explains the importance of how absurd animal testing is, and I totally agree. Animals' lives should not be taken away, because God "gave us the charge over all animals of the world." Excuse me, people, but God didn't tell us to do anything to the animals but live peacefully on earth, thank you very much. Animals are innocent and loving creatures, and I mean all of them. It's just that we threaten them and they react. Nobody sees how they really are.

Theresa

I am 110% against any animal testing. It is inhumane. I can't even imagine what type of person can perform these horrific tests on animals. Animals are innocent and can't speak for themselves. All they have is love for us, and this is what people do to them? It makes me sick to see this is the kind of world we are living in.

Hidden

I'm going to digress slightly and take a wild guess here.

Half of you are either middle-aged housewives who can't let go of your love and peace days of youth so you feel this unexplained love for animals, even at the cost of human life, or you're some sort of neo-hippie who wears their leather boots to an anti-animal testing protest.

Another twenty-five percent of you are under the age of 20 and know nothing about the advancement of medicine. You love your cat so you think animal testing is wrong. You're under the impression that the scientists in America are going to pick up Fluffy if she wanders away from home one day and pointlessly inject her with cancer just because they can.

Another some percent are rambling and the rest actually make valid points, on both sides.

I support animal testing. Not for cosmetics or creams or anything frivolous. I support finding cures for cancer and AIDS through using animals because you're kidding yourself if you think a computer can predict the side-effects of the drugs they test. I support using a handful of mice to inject instead of my child or husband or mother. I support human life, which is why I support animal testing. Most of you are just talking out of your asses and focus on the trivial points of this argument instead of the main points.

eduardo

How many animals were killed after they were tested with the drugs they put in them?

Rose

Wow, I can't believe they would spend so much money on cosmetic tests and time, even though animals and humans are very different. Most tests turn out wrong when the animal test was perfect and when a human tried it, he or she would become very sick or die. I know no one wants to put makeup on or try a household product without it being tested, me too. But scientists won't open up to the idea that there are different ways of handling this problem. So many people die of treatments that tested wonderfully on animals. I cant say it enough times. Like in Teocana or something they have a 3D animal animation that tests the same as a real animals, only with better results. So why the heck hasn't the United States banned animal testing already?

Cass

As selfish as it may sound faced with a life or death situation, yeah I'm going to take the animal tested medicine to save my life. So would many people in that situation. its easy to say you wouldn't, but being in severe pain, put in a life or death situation many would change their mind. believe it or not they have made advancements due to animal testing. Yes there where failures too, but thats unrealistic to think that wouldn't happen. It's not like they are killing the animals just for the fun of it. They do it to try to help find cures for patients. Yes many animals experienced a horrible death due to reactions and side effects of the drug being tested on them... but then again think about all the soldiers that died so you could post your comment on here, you think they asked for that? I've also seen several cats kill mice and birds by playing with them, and then never eating them or anything they just leave them lay after they die... a cat will kill a mouse just for the fun of it, so really are we all that horrible to try to make advancements in medicine? Killing and dying its a part of life, watch the discovery channel you think humans are horrible for what they do to other animals? you would be amazed at some of the stuff on there. I do know that they test several other products on animals and no I do not always think it is done right or even nessessary.

pris&eliut

Why can't we all just stop the arguing and debating. Let's just call it what it is...animal cruelty. Anyone who is for animal testing clearly has no heart (seriously. Animals can't speak for themselves. That is why we have to protect and care for them. They are man's best friend, and they are truly amazing and smart in all ways. God bless us all, and hopefully one day all this animal cruelty can stop once and for all.

Abbie

Animal testing is wrong, because poor animals suffer. I love dogs. I am 9 years old. I have a dog. I've had lots. I got her because she was used for animal testing. She was injured in the neck for human shampoo. Now she never barks. I am crying. It's wrong. We should suffer the consequences, not animals. I love animals.

james

I agree with dj holt. We should test drugs on inmates on death row. People on death row deserve to be tested on.

Dan

A society with harmful lifestyles and a corrupt food system turns to the Big Pharma companies for a cure, and all anyone gets is over-priced cancerous medications, laden with side-effects. It even gets in the water supply further complicating matters.

Meanwhile the lying Pharma crooks can kill you and the lab animals with their prescription stuff, laughing all the way to the bank. In short, to hell with animal testing and to hell with pharma drugs.

Go back to plants we evolved with.

Christopher

Why doesn't anyone wake up and smell the grass? In this case wake up and smell the lab. I agree with Dante.

B.C.C

This is preposterous. This must be stopped.

Jason

As a physician I can say that only second-rate scientists actually believe in the benefits of animal testing.
1. The anatomy, tolerance, and reactions of animals are not the same as humans. Any loose correlation made is just not good science.
2. Like everything else, it also comes down to money and as long as physicians and drug companies profit from it, they'll continue to do it. Change also needs to occur at these agencies that require animal studies for drugs.
3. At what cost are we willing to extrapolate data-poor data at best?
4. Any layperson knows that all animals feel pain, distress, have emotions...and it's not just the cute ones like dogs and rabbits. It is immoral to subject these beings to these "studies".
This needs to change. We need to evolve.

that one guy

If it wasn't for animal testing, humanity wouldn't be where it is today. Just face it. Now I'm not saying that now that we live probably more then double the lifespan of those a mere 200 years ago or so is good thing due to overpopulation and poverty but we are humans, and we are the top of the food chain for a reason. We were gifted with the ability to comprehend, to think, to adapt. Now I'm not saying kill the animals for my benefit, but I am saying but you people have extremely biased ways against animal testing, blah blah. Sure maybe the success rate of animal testing may not be very high at the moment, but think of everything we've been able to cure so far. You and your vegan ass probably would've been killed off a long time ago from polio, smallpox, anything really. Bacteria are living creatures too and what do living creatures do? They evolve, meaning something that worked before probably won't work again, thus eliminating more options then can be safely found. Now testing on people is a better option, I completely agree, but tell me how many people you know are going to volunteer to to test some drug that some new-by just thought over night and according to the 1000's of computer tests they did 99% them worked out in theory. If you can find that, by all means knock yourself out. But I don't see that happening, sorry. People are extremely greedy and that's how its going to be. Why else do you think drug companies release drugs that end up failing months after being put on the market? Cause they wanted money. Sure, in retrospect they probably lose more money from lawsuits, but that's not what goes through people's mind at the time. It's more, hey it works...for now. Let's do this! It's the time we live in now ruled by money. So get over it, you being some vegan and not buying shit that was tested on animals, etc. etc. isn't gonna change a thing, so you may as well stop preaching.

Alex

Animal testing is wrong and right. We need to test on them to find cures to diseases, yet again it is unethical to put a life above ours.

Stefanie

To Leone: I'm not sure you will ever read this but I wanted to let you know that I very much respect you for your way of life. I'm 16 years old and have been a vegetarian ever since I was 10. I also try not to use any products that have been tested on animals, but I don't know how to make sure they are not.

I buy a lot of things at a special store that only uses natural ingredients and does not test on animals 'de tuinen' (I'm from holland, this would literally translate to 'the gardens').

Anyway, I think testing on animals for whatever reason is wrong. Animals can't say yes or no. (And if they could I'm quite sure they would say no. If a rat asked you to undergo painful and probably lethal experiments so the rats might be able to cure a rat disease, would you say yes?)

stefanie

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