STOP the Torturous Use of Animals in Experiments
With an overwhelming 3.79 million scientific procedures conducted on animals including mice, rats, dogs, and monkeys in 2017, it is clear that the UK government has yet to prioritise replacing the use of animals in experimentation. And one of the most prolific and cruel ways that scientists currently exploit animals is for the monstrous “Frankenscience” of creating, breeding, and experimenting with genetically modified animals – this practice represents a staggering 69.2 per cent of all procedures.
Experimenting with animals’ genetics has long-lasting and often painful effects. The animals used in these experiments are often forced to live with debilitating conditions such as missing eyes or ears, skin ulcers, deformed body parts, deafness, seizures, and heart failure, to name just a few. But this is only one aspect of the suffering caused.
These nightmarish practices start when female animals are injected with hormones before either undergoing abdominal surgery or being crudely killed so that their eggs can be harvested. Others are forced into surrogacy and modified embryos are surgically implanted in their wombs.
Yet these genetic modification procedures are rarely successful. Many pregnancies fail, and of those animals who are born, only 1 to 30 per cent carry the genes of interest to experimenters. Those who don’t are killed soon after birth – disposed of as nothing more than laboratory waste.
Not only is experimenting on animals unethical, it’s also bad science.
With all the will in the world, we will never be able to humanise other animals. Their genes don’t necessarily act the same way that humans’ do, and key biochemical, metabolic, and physiological differences can render entire experiments useless. The abuse is both relentless and pointless.
Over 90 per cent of drug trials in humans fail, even though the drugs have passed tests on animals. The main causes of failure are lack of effectiveness and safety problems that were not predicted by animal tests. Furthermore, it is likely that there are also some – perhaps many – drugs that would help humans but which are discarded because they fail in tests on animals. One study revealed that fewer than 10 per cent of highly promising basic scientific discoveries enter routine clinical use within 20 years, and a 2012 study investigating cancer research found that 89 per cent of all preclinical oncology studies could not be reproduced, which is a fundamental research requirement. Compounding the problem, experiments using animals siphon economic and intellectual resources away from research that is relevant to human disease and could lead to cures and treatments.
A paradigm shift away from all research using animals is needed so that scientists can efficiently develop human therapies and millions of animals can be spared immense suffering. Only a commitment from the government to invest in innovative, human-relevant, non-animal methods will put the UK at the forefront of ethical science.
PETA is organising a petition demanding that the British government make this commitment in the wake of Brexit by adopting the EU’s goal of eliminating the use of animals in scientific procedures. To put an end to destructive and cruel experiments, we must act now: please urge the government to pledge to end all experiments on animals.