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ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS - Letter to the Guardian
Posted 1 January 2002
The pro-vivisection lobby group, The Research Defense Society, have launched a new campaign based on the bogus complaint that drug company and other animal researchers don't get a fair hearing in the media...
January 16, 2002
Dear Letters Editor
Once again, the vivisection lobby ('Researchers hit back at animal rights activists') ardently courts public sympathy; claiming it rarely gets a chance to put the case for 'responsible' use of animals in laboratories and that it's time to 'hit back' against the 'extremism' and 'propaganda' of those on our side of the argument. In fact, there is a clear bias within the mainstream newspaper, television and radio media in favour of animal use. The public is almost daily regaled with stories of 'miracle breakthroughs' in the field of genetics, drug development and surgical therapies that have supposedly been made possible by vivisecting millions of animals every year. Not only do such 'breakthroughs' rarely stand up to medium, let alone long term, scrutiny, but new therapies that do prove efficacious will do so in spite of - rather than because of - the use of animals in the development process. A growing number of doctors, scientists and intelligent lay people now recognise that animals - be they rats, dogs or monkeys - are quite simply unreliable 'models' for human beings in the development of new medical therapies. Thus, to apply the data obtained from them is potentially extremely hazardous.
Let's open up the debate and grapple with the core questions underlying the use of animals in labs. Is their use moral and rational? Does vivisection equate with sound science, or is it merely a convenient way for drug and biotech companies to generate sufficient data - no matter the quality - to jump the regulatory hoops and get their new products on to the market.
These are the issues of public import and it's these questions anti-vivisectionists are keen to debate before the court of public opinion.