Animal Aid

Call for financial boycott: Leading medical charities accused of funding 'horrific animal cruelty'

Posted 21 June 2011

Four leading medical research charities are this week accused of using money donated by the public to fund horrific animal experiments.

A major new report by Animal Aid describes how charity-funded medical researchers have deliberately damaged monkeys’ brains with toxic chemicals, and slowly and systematically destroyed dogs’ hearts. Other researchers, according to Victims of Charity, have tormented mice in water mazes, injected them with cancerous tissue, or used animals who had been subjected to special breeding programmes that left them weakened, disease-prone and mentally deranged.

The four charities are Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, Parkinson’s UK and the Alzheimer’s Society. Their collective joint annual income currently exceeds £800 million. ‘What all four charities have in common,’ says the Animal Aid report, ‘is a determination to conceal the nature and extent of the animal suffering for which they are responsible.’

Animal Aid is calling on the public to withhold all financial support from the four until they pledge to end their funding of animal experiments. This includes donations, legacies and charity shop purchases.

The boycott campaign will be backed by a series of national newspaper advertisements, as well as by campaign postcards that the public is being asked to fill out and send to the Chief Executives of the four organisations. Reinforcing the boycott message are on-the-record statements by several anti-vivisectionists who themselves are afflicted by serious medical conditions. Their message, in relation to the animal experiments funded by the charities, is: ‘Not in my name’.

While descriptions of animal suffering form a vital part of the new Animal Aid report, Victims of Charity also challenges the claim that the suffering is justified because the experiments produce significant health benefits for people. Researched and written by hospital doctor and medical lecturer Adrian Stallwood, and by veterinary surgeon Andre Menache, the authors examine past and contemporary accounts of experimental procedures written by the experimenters themselves. They also assess scientific reviews in leading specialist journals. They conclude that animal-based research into cancer, dementia, heart disease and Parkinson’s has been a ‘wasteful and futile quest’ – one that has failed to advance the cause of human medicine. They call on the charities to end their funding of animal research in favour of non-animal methods that are directly relevant to people. These include the use of donated human tissue and organs, microdosing, computer modelling and imaging technologies.

Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler:

‘Animal Aid is under no illusions as to the pro-animal research lobby’s significant financial and political clout. But the British public do not like the idea of animals enduring great suffering to no purpose – and Victims of Charity argues that this is precisely what is happening. Our high-profile campaign, supported by a series of national newspaper advertisements, will put the charities under a great deal of pressure to rethink their research strategy.’

More information:
Andrew Tyler: 01732 364 546

Background to the campaign and how to get involved:
http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/CAMPAIGNS/experiments//2503//

Notes to Editors

  • Instead of donating to Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, Parkinson’s UK and the Alzheimer’s Society, the public will be urged to support the dozens of charities that fund only non-animal research methods that are directly relevant to human disease. A list of such charities is provided on request.
  • Non-animal research methods include: the use of donated human tissue and organs; microdosing; computer modelling; MEG, MRI, PET and other imaging technologies that offer an unparalleled view of the human body, especially the brain; and important traditional methods such as clinical observation, autopsy studies and epidemiology.
  • Criticism of the four research charities is not intended to damage their valuable patient support work. Animal Aid will be urging anyone who was thinking of donating to one of the four but who has now decided against doing so, to investigate volunteering opportunities. These include helping at the charities’ therapy sessions, as well as one-to-one befriending and support.

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