Are Lab Animals Necessary?

Raghav Patel

For centuries animals have been used for experiments in the name of science. Scientists have urged the general public that these experiments are necessary, for the advancement of medical and scientific discovery. These scientists believe that without using nonhumans, there wouldLab Animal - Monkey be no way for us to know if the drugs or research discovered, would work or be safe for human use. This argument is flawed in many respects, but none more than the fact that nonhumans simply are not humans. Many of the experiments that bring desired results on animals does not necessarily bring the same results for humans. Actually this is the case way more often than not, with a vast majority of experiments that bring desired results in animals, but resulting in either adverse or no effect on humans. This then bears the question; why do we still use animals in scientific experiments and medical research? There really isn’t a good reason based on the facts. Researches and certain companies want us to believe that these experiments are necessary for our safety, but in reality these experiments are used by companies and researchers to hedge their liability, so that if anything does actually go wrong on the humans that use their products, they can show the results from the animal Continue reading

Thinking Inside the Box (Where the Mice Suffer & Die)

David Cassuto

Thirty-some years ago, researchers attempting to determine if tobacco smoke was toxic put mice in boxes filled with smoke.  The mice didn’t develop cancer at the rate human smokers did.  One could conclude that tobacco was not a carcinogen but, of course, that  would be wrong.  The problem lay with the experiment, including the fact that mouse and human physiology are vastly different.

Fast forward to the present where researchers are attempting to determine if cell phone use causes cancer in humans.  Building on the knowledge gained over the last three decades of rigorous scientific method, researchers have elected to study the question by — wait for it; wait for it — putting mice in boxes.  Is it because they will learn anything of value regarding cancer, cell phones and humans?  Not hardly.  They will, however, get $25 million in funding from the NIH.    Continue reading

Animal Law and Lab Animals — Fearing a Paper Tiger

David Cassuto

P. Michael Conn, Director of Research Advocacy at Oregon Health and Sciences University and the the Oregon National Primate Research Center is concerned that the proliferation of animal law courses taught at U.S. law schools (111 schools at last count) poses a threat to animal research.  This claim is interesting on a number of levels.

First and lamentably, the law currently poses almost no threat at all to animal research.  To the extent that laboratory animals have any protection at all (and most don’t — mice and rats, the most popular lab animals, are exempt from the paltry protections of the Animal Welfare Act), virtually no one has standing to enforce those protections.  So Mr. Conn’s concern seems unfounded.   Continue reading