Animal Aid

Curiosity Killed the Dog

An Animal Aid report on the use of animals in Basic Research


This special report was prompted by Animal Aid's discovery of a long-running series of terminal experiments on dogs, carried out at a leading UK medical school and funded, in large part, by one of the country's biggest charities - the British Heart Foundation.

Summary, introduction and the law.

The series of terminal experiments on dogs was begun at Leeds Medical School 16 years ago. They are aimed at measuring physiological responses to experimental heart-related procedures. The project seemed to Animal Aid to be both repugnant and without scientific merit. We presented a dossier of the team's work to heart specialist and medical researcher, Dr. John J. Pippin, and asked for his written assessment as to the merits of the work, in terms of human medicine.

Scope and examples of basic research

According to official Home Office figures, there has been a steady increase in the number of animals used in basic research over the last 10 years, from 24% of the total number of procedures in 1993, to 30% in 2003.

The peer review process and conclusion

Leaked documents and undercover video footage have revealed horrific animal suffering and researcher incompetence, which Home Office inspectors and other peer review mechanisms, have failed to detect.

Appendix I : The Case Study

According to Dr John J Pippin, the author of this critique, 'this work provides an exceptional example of a common practice: the manipulation of animal models for convenience and usefulness, regardless of the effects upon the validity of results obtained. This is not uncommon among those researchers who propose and perform studies to satisfy their scientific curiosity and sustain their careers, without sufficient regard for potential applications to humans'.

Appendix II : CV of Dr John J Pippin MD FACC

Among his academic appointments are faculty positions at Harvard Medical School and Medical College of Virginia. In addition to his numerous scientific publications, he is the recipient of several prestigious awards for clinical and research excellence.

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Written by Andre Menache BSc (Hons) BVSc MRCVS FRSH.
Published by Animal Aid, September 2005. ISBN: 1-905325-02-1

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