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Facts and Myths

FACTS AND MYTHS


The RHCG (Research for Health Charities Group) states in the booklet, "Animals Save Lives": "Sadly, we’re only likely to find a cure for serious diseases if we continue to involve animals in a small number of our research studies……………..Here are just a few of the medical advances that have depended on research involving animals:
1. Treatment for childhood leukemia and other cancers
2.Medicines to treat asthma
3. Kidney and heart transplants
4.Life-support systems for premature babies………………………….."

The RHCG states elsewhere that the following were developed or tested on animals:-

blood transfusions, anesthesia, pain killers, antibiotics, insulin, vaccines, chemotherapy, CPR, coronary by-pass surgery, reconstructive surgery, orthopedic surgery


This is all part of the manipulation and rearrangement of facts used by the proponents of animal research to further their cause. In other words, he who yells the loudest gets the credit! The pro-vivisectionist lobby , such as The RHCG and the RDS (UK), claim that animal rights activists are selective with the facts, but it is the pro-vivisectionists who have engineered a carefully-orchestrated, well-financed campaign to propagandise the ‘benefits’ and ‘necessity’ of vivisection and discredit AVs, trying to make it an animal rights issue and ignoring the opinions of medical professionals who speak out about its uselessness and the damage it is doing .Experimental scientists, who re-create disease in the labs, always have the edge in getting credit for breakthroughs because of their contacts with the media. The day to day discoveries of the physicians, whose observations of their patients provide the real foundation for medical data, are usually ignored. They also claim credit for the discovery of treatments that were originally folk medicines discovered thousands of years ago by common people the world over before organised medical science existed. Some of these remedies include Digitalis for the control of heart disease; Quinine, an anti-malarial agent; Asprin, for the control of pain and fever; Penicillin, for infections, which has been found in its original mould form in Egyptian tombs (and rediscovered by a bacteriologist without the use of animals); many pain killers which derive from opiates, lithium compounds, used for centuries for the treatment of melancholia, and iodine, used by the ancient Chinese as an antiseptic. Drug companies only mass-marketed them in a synthetically altered form after they had already developed their reputation for medicinal properties through extensive use.
Laboratory researchers are fond of taking credit for the eradication of many of the infectious diseases through antibiotics and vaccines devised in the lab. But every medical historian has stated that these scourges had already been controlled through improvements in sanitation and lifestyles long before organised medicine stepped in. The link between the pancreas, high fat diets and diabetes was already known through the study of human autopsies and observations by doctors, long before Banting and Best’s alleged insulin discoveries through dog experiments. It was also through studies of human autopsies that scientists made the link between plaque on the arteries and heart disease and between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Autopsies were also responsible for the discovery of the abnormalities involved in congenital heart defects, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease and the viral infections in the brain that cause dementia shown by some AIDS victims. ("Vivisection - Science or Sham" by Roy Kupsinel, M.D.)

The pro-vivisection lobby likes to prey on the fears and emotions of the public by presenting animal experimentation as a choice between their dog or their baby. They claim the law says they must test on animals . Regulatory guidelines require tests to be done but the pharmaceutical companies carry out animal tests to protect themselves so when things go wrong they can claim that all the required tests had been performed. They try to dispel any worries about the welfare of laboratory animals with soothing rhetoric about Britain having the highest welfare standards in the world and how, thanks to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, no animal experiences undue pain or is used for trivial experiments. Thanks to courageous people working undercover in the labs, the realities have been exposed. The newspapers are full of examples of cases of medical fraud, breakthroughs that never materialised, humans suffering from drug side effects, and no cures on the horizon.

Since it has been a tradition of western medical science to use animals widely in most areas of research for at least the last 150 years, it is very easy for defenders of animal experiments to claim that they have been vital to medical progress, but this by no means proves that animal experiments were either vital or irreplaceable, nor that medical progress will be hampered by their abandonment in the future. Who can be certain whether or not as much or more useful knowledge could have been obtained from other sources if medical science had been forced to take a different route?

Although it is impossible to unravel every medical discovery of the past century in order to measure precisely the part played by animal experiments, it is feasible that abolition would not result in any desperate collapse of human health, nor the possibility of future cures.
Given that funds are limited, diversion of resources away from medical research towards primary care, disease prevention and the alleviation of poverty is certain to save more lives and to improve overall health standards more dramatically than scientific developments.
Unfortunately, there is no money to be made in good health, no Nobel prizes to be won, papers to be published, careers to be ensured. No jobs for the boys.

The Director of RHCG has stated that only 3% of the money spent by its members (14 leading medical charities) is allocated to work on animals. This shows that animal experimentation is responsible for only a tiny proportion of medical research, which has in total only been responsible for a very small minority of overall improvements in health over the last century! And yet at the same time, the same sources ask us to believe that medical progress is almost totally dependent upon the use of animals and that abolition of vivisection would cause immeasurable human suffering!
Imperfectly compiled statistics show that almost 11.8 million animals die every year in the EU whilst Home Office statistics reveal around 3 million animals are ‘sacrificed’ in the UK alone. It seems an enormous amount of misery for so little benefit.



The ‘facts’ are also disputed by thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon Moneim A. Fadali, M.D. in his brilliant book, "Animal Experimentation" (from BAVA or SUPRESS) and by the founder of the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society, Bette Overell in "Animal Research Takes Lives".

The following are quotations from these books:-

"Dr. Irwin D. J. Bross writes as a scientist with 30 years experience in public health. As head of research design and analysis at Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute in 1954, he
initiated and designed the controlled clinical trials that led to the first cures of childhood leukemia ………
" Animals in Cancer Research: A Multi-Billion Dollar Fraud", is the title of an article written by Dr. Bross reproduced in ‘Fundamental and Applied Toxicology’, Nov. 6th 1982. It begins: "The use of animals in cancer research has been attacked as unnecessary cruelty to animals, and defended as absolutely essential for research progress that will prevent or cure human cancer. From a scientific standpoint what is pertinent is that what are called "animal model systems" in cancer research have been a total failure."
It concludes
"The moral is that animal model systems not only kill animals they also kill humans. There is no good factual evidence to show that the use of animals in cancer research has led to the prevention or cure of a single human cancer." This article exposes that cancer research using animals is a highly profitable undertaking for certain medical schools and research institutes that are incapable of doing genuine cancer research - and that the use of animals is sustained by what Dr. Bross says is a "superstitious belief in a grossly unscientific notion that mice are miniature men". " (Overell)

"…the amazing fact is: most diseases that end up needing organ transplantation are largely preventable in the first place………….when you hear of the exalted heart or liver transplant and its triumph, don’t forsake the many ingredients that made such a feat possible: anesthesia, X-ray, CT scan, magnetic resonance, blood transfusion, heart catheterization, antibiotics……None of these breakthroughs were reaped in the animal laboratory……..with almost every organ transplant, be it kidney, heart, liver or otherwise, animals manifested much more serious reactions than humans did. Failure and rejection were the rule rather than the exception…..Human successes were achieved before solutions to the problems ravaging the transplanted animals were found………early techniques allegedly worked out in the animal laboratory for the purpose of human organ transplantation, all had to be drastically altered when human cadavers were researched for answers to problems and when human transplants were begun………a cornerstone of organ transplantation is cellular and tissue typing…….At the turn of the century without animal research, Landsteiner discovered the human blood groups……….in organ transplantation, blood thinners are frequently a pass to victory. It was McLean who discovered the blood thinning properties of heparin, a natural secretion of special cells called the mast cells……..the various drugs administered to prevent rejection of transplanted organs- almost all of them - were already known for their suppression of the immune response in human beings way before their use in transplantation………..even the artificial kidney used to dialyse many patients with irreparably damaged kidneys is not a product of animal experimentation…….Also the vascular surgery techniques needed to gain access to blood vessels in order to dialyse were not developed in the animal laboratory. Kolff’s artificial kidney was made of cellophane tubing and he carried his first dialysis out in a tub of water, proving that an artificial kidney can work. No animals, no humans were used to illustrate the machine’s merit." (Fadali)

Great advances in medicine took place through direct observations, for example, digitalis, penicillin, cephalosporin, aspirin, quinine, X-rays, antisepsis, tobacco (causing cancer), ulyraviolet predisposing to skin cancers, occupational cancer such as the landmark discovery of scrotum cancer in chimney sweeps by Percival Potts, anticoagulants, ether, several newer anti-hypertensive drugs, coronary arteriography.


TELLING IT LIKE IT IS

VACCINATION

The plague of vaccine damage worsens continually; autism, asthma, epilepsy, dyslexia,
SSPE, Crohn’s Disease, MS, ME, arthritis, cancer, leukemia, cot-death, diabetes, glue ear - are all implicated as being caused by vaccination. Vaccines are tested for safety on animals.

AIDS

From the creation of retroviruses in the USA, to the immune-system-damaging antibiotics and vaccines, to the deadly AZT - all have come from the vivisection laboratories.

CANCER

In 1975 America’s leading cancer statistician, Prof. Hardin B. Jones, told the multi-billion dollar Cancer Business that their therapies were killing patients up to four times faster than the disease was. These therapies were developed through animal tests.

The hundreds of thousands of petro-chemical synthetics - pesticides, herbicides, solvents, tars, dyes, detergents, paints, etc., which are polluting the air, water and land - killing people and animals, birds and fish, trees, lakes, rivers and seas - have all been passed as "safe" following tests on animals.

Statistics show that progress against the main cancers -lung, breast and bowel - has been disappointing and that most of the gains have been achieved by lifestyle changes. The causes of and ways to prevent many of the major cancers are well-known, with evidence indicating that the very same forms of the disease which are defeating well-funded research scientists could be reduced significantly at comparably little cost through sensible preventative measures and social reforms designed to remove some of the worst consequences of poverty and environmental factors. Whilst nobody would undervalue the importance of the crumbs of progress which have saved individuals, it must be recognised as a very modest return for the huge investment made.

The main factors in the improvement of treatment for childhood leukemia were clinical trials conducted on humans during the 1960s and 1970s in which different doses of established drugs and radiotherapy were tried out on a large number of children. Animal testing was carried out on these substances somewhere along the line and no doubt this may be held up by defenders as a vindication of vivisection, but some commentators maintain that the animal work was incidental rather than crucial to improved survival rates.

Animal experimentation was certainly not responsible for what remains the most significant breakthrough so far in the war against cancer. The link between lung cancer and smoking was established through studies of human populations (epidemiology), rather than by tests which forced animals to inhale tobacco smoke. This failure actually delayed implementation of anti-smoking policies.

The history of cancer research highlights the dilemma created by all medical research. Desire for cures runs so deep that even the smallest signs of progress or the most empty claims for the possibility of future solutions are sufficient to ensure a seemingly endless supply of funds, particularly when fuelled by ‘media-hype’, the triumphalism of the profession in published research and the almost weekly miracle breakthroughs trumpeted by the cancer charities.

DIABETES

One of the common arguments in favour of vivisection is in relation to diabetes, and the discovery of insulin. It is widely believed that this came about with the dog experiments of
Banting and Best in 1921 but animal experiments actually delayed the discovery of insulin. The first link between the pancreas gland and diabetes was established in 1788, without any animal experiments, by Dr. Thomas Cawley, who examined the body of a patient who had died of diabetes. Even earlier, in 1766, Dr. Matthew Dobson had shown that the urine of diabetics was loaded with sugar. Unfortunately, their valuable insights were misapplied throughout the 19th century , when researchers tried to produce diabetes in animals by damaging their pancreas glands, without useful, practical or relevant results. Future human autopsies revealed that it was , in fact, the islets of Langerhans, a part of the human pancreas, which were damaged or even completely absent in diabetic patients. Following this discovery, in 1908, pancreatic extracts were given to patients in the hope of treating the disease but had to be stopped due to the extreme toxicity of the crude extracts. Even after their experiments with dogs 13 years later, Banting and Best’s first human trials were disappointing with Banting admitting in 1921"results were not as encouraging as those obtained by Zuelzer in 1908". THE PANCREASES WHICH BANTING AND BEST USED AS THE BASIS FOR THE PREPARATION THEY GAVE TO THEIR DE-PANCREATISED DOGS CAME FROM CATTLE. THIS USE OF ANIMAL INSULIN FOR HUMAN DIABETICS DOES NOT REQUIRE ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS. (Whether animals should be killed to provide insulin for humans is another question.) Only when biochemist Dr. J.B. Collip succeeded in purifying the extracts did a more effective and less toxic preparation become available. It was the crucial step in providing treatment for insulin -dependent diabetes, and did not involve the torture of countless animals. "The scientists Banting and Best were incorrectly credited with the discovery of insulin", says Dr. M. Barron in "The Relation of the Islets of Langerhans Diabetes with Special Reference to Cases of Pancreatic Lithiasis" (Surgery, Gynaecology & Obstetrics, Nov. 5, 1920).
The vast majority of cases of diabetes can be treated through dietary means, without recourse to insulin injections at all. However, there still remains that small percentage of people whose lives would seem to have been saved as a result of animal insulin, although nowadays insulin can be produced synthetically. It has also been argued that insulin injections have done more harm than good. There also exists a genetically engineered(from bacteria) human insulin (Humelin), yet this product’s manufacture was delayed by decades while time and money was channelled into rodent and canine studies.

POLIOMYELITIS

The study of the disease poliomyelitis, and the development of treatments for the disease, is often held up by the pro-vivisection lobby as an example of the ‘triumph’ of animal research. However, a careful study of medical history demonstrates that researchers were misled by animal experiments, resulting in decades of delays in progress.

The first major breakthrough in the study of polio was the discovery of its infectious nature through epidemiological studies conducted in Sweden in 1884 and the investigation of an epidemic in Sweden in 1887 by Medin. One of Medin’s pupils, Wickman, demonstrated that not only was polio infectious, but that less severe cases of polio acted as important carriers of the disease. He also identified the incubation period in humans. Other researchers went on to inject infected tissues from human cadavers into monkeys, but as Dr. Paul wrote in his major historical overview, "History of Poliomyelitis", "in the end no amount of experimentation on the monkey could upset the fundamental clinical epidemiological truths that Wickman discovered."

Acceptance that polio was an infectious disease led to the search for its causes. For almost 25 years, animal researchers searched for a bacterial cause, but their experiments were in vain as polio is caused by a virus. Several sets of subsequent animal experiments gave conflicting results. Landsteiner eventually abandoned the study of polio because of the reliance on a monkey model of the disease which was proving to be inadequate. A blizzard of inconsistent information was generated using different species and strains of virus with no indication as to which experiments were of any relevance to the human situation.

Back in 1909, Wickman had concluded that infection was via the intestinal route. This was followed by the autopsy studies of Kling and his colleagues from 1911 to 1913. But despite this clinical evidence, another researcher, Flexner, suggested in 1910 that the polio virus entered the central nervous system via the nasal mucosa instead. He "confirmed" this by his animal experiments, which gave rise to the theory of a nasal port of entry. "The clock had been set back about 25 years in polio research…So the theoretical experimentalists, like so many who have immured themselves in their laboratories before and since, drifted further and further away from the human disease in their attempts to use experiments in the monkey for interpretations of the disease in man."(Dr. Paul) It was not until the late 30s that the failure of the nasal port of entry theory became so obvious as to necessitate a re-evaluation. Finally, the so-called "oral-alimentary tract portal of entry theory" gained acceptance, where the virus entered through the mouth and then via the intestine.

The next question to be answered was how the virus reached the spinal chord from the intestines. Once again animal experimentation misled researchers. Initially, Wickman’s human -based studies had suggested that the virus travelled in the bloodstream via the veins. However, various animal experiments undermined this correct observation. Further confusion in the study of polio originated from the use of monkey -adapted strains of the virus - this led researchers further away from understanding of the human disease and how it spread through the human body . Differences in the incubation period of monkey polio and human polio exacerbated the uncertainty and created further false trails.

Finally, in 1949 John Enders and his associates cultivated the virus in human non-nervous tissues and discovered characteristic changes in the cells, which helped replace the older animal tests used to determine virus presence. They won the Nobel Prize in 1954.

The Salk vaccine was developed in 1954 using killed poliovirus: the virus was isolated from humans and grown in monkey kidney cells. Tissue culture methods of determining whether a virus was completely killed were still under development at that time, so Salk tested the vaccine on live monkeys. Unfortunately, the vaccine was not as safe as one would have hoped -of the 650,000 people who received the vaccine and their family contacts, over200 contracted polio, causing 11 fatalities. Researchers now recommended cultivating the virus in human connective tissue cells. Human cell derived vaccines, are less expensive and eliminate the serious danger of animal virus contamination.

The Sabin live vaccine followed in 1955. The vaccine uses a live virus which is modified in order not to cause disease. Originally the vaccine was grown in monkey kidney tissues and tested on monkeys and chimpanzees.

Today live vaccines can be produced using human cell culture, but Sabin vaccine manufacturers still test the vaccine to see if it causes polio by injecting it into the spinal chords of living monkeys. These tests are painful, time-consuming and expensive and do not perfectly predict human exposure risk. In fact, between 1973 and1984, the Sabin caused 101 out of138 cases of paralytic poliomyelitis in the US. Researchers have developed a laboratory method of determining safety which may prove a better test, based on the detection of virus mutations commonly associate with neurovirulence.

Many scholars believe that the reported decline in the incidence and ferocity of polio were natural occurrences in virulence and morphology, a phenomenon not infrequently noted with viruses. The downside of it all as Albert Sabin himself admitted was that work on poliomyelitis prevention was delayed by an erroneous conception of the nature of the human disease based on misleading experimental models of the disease in monkeys.




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