Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Is Medical Research on Animals REALLY the Only Way?

I responded to a post on animalblog that cited a recent article in the journal "Proceedings" of the National Academy of Sciences. The article discusses how scientists are infecting monkeys with a surrogate HIV virus that does not even lead to AIDS, begging the question of why infect them in first place if there's no real simulation of what happens in humans?

Here's my response on medical research in general.

I recently had a discussion about medical research using animals. He said he didn’t know what his opinion was because he didn’t know all the facts. Perhaps it was a necessary “evil.”

This was disappointing for a variety of reasons.

1. There is more and more evidence that animal testing is NOT necessarily the best route to take. This story on HIV research is one example.

2. Even if there are certain situations in which animal testing is the only option, ie. a “necessary evil” does that mean we are stuck in that static stage? Do we just sit down and say, oh well, that’s the best we can do and never try to find alternatives?

3. If you don’t know about something, then LEARN about it.

Many people feel very uncomfortable with animal testing, even scientists I think, which is why they often get so emotional and defensive about their research. In my opinion, if we can send a man to the moon and create weapons to kill everything on the planet, if we can shove massive computing power into tiny chips and reattach human organs, we can certainly develop the means of replacing animal testing 100 percent of the time.

It’s just a question of WILL.

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