Animal Protection >
Quackery, aka Science – an interview with
Dr Elaine Hickman
Melbourne-based group Guardians are doing a great job
in educating activists and the general public alike on the horrors
of animal experimentation, including which charities support
vivisection, and which ones donět. They keep their fees down so as
to reach more people and are in need of new members, so please do
consider joining them.
Lee Jackson spoke to Dr Elaine Hickman of Guardians – A Group
Exposing Vivisection. She's a Doctor of Traditional Chinese
Medicine and Guardians Editor and here is what she had to say on
this highly contentious subject.
First published in Vegan Voice Magazine.
Q. Have any animal experiments provided useful
A. Useful in terms of the advancement of medical
science and human health? No. Not from the experimental
results of which we are aware. How could they be when such
results are derived from unscientific methodology, methods
such as attempting to extrapolate data for a human condition
from an animal model?
Q. Why does vivisection persist?
A. Because the generally uninformed public believe
that it is necessary for medical advancement. Because there
are vested interests in its survival. Animal experiments
provide a medium via which various companies can produce
specific results. For example, pharmaceutical companies can
łprove˛ or łdisprove˛ the safety of their products depending
upon which species they use.
Q. How much animal experimentation is now being done
in Australia? Which industries are the culprits?
A. Unfortunately, Guardians have limited access to
such recent local data. Information like that is generally
kept behind closed laboratory doors. Our aim is to pry open
those doors If we had the resources, it would be invaluable to
research this question. We often rely on information from
similar anti-vivisection organisations in the United States.
Various industries support animal experiments, such as
cosmetics, pharmaceutical, agricultural, military, medical and
Q. Is the Draize test still being done on rabbits
for cosmetics companies?
A. As far as we know the Draize test is not being
conducted in Australia but we believe it still continues
Q. How long have Guardians been in operation, and
how well are you progressing?
A. Guardians have been in operation for almost 10
years now. We have seen many changes over that time, but we
still need more funds and volunteers to achieve our
Q. Guardians is fighting vivisection strictly from a
scientific point of view. Why not the moral platform?
A. We believe that the fight from the moral platform
has been fought for many decades now with little effect. The
question will often arise from the scientists: Which would you
prefer we experiment on -your dog or your baby? This question
misleads the public to believe that although perhaps morally
hard to accept, such experiments are necessary to improve the
human condition. We fight to educate that attitude.
Q. You must have met many scientists/ vivisectors.
How can they purport to admire scientific methodology
(scrupulous rational discourse) and yet have no qualms about
using, for instance, monkeys in AIDS research even though
monkeys donět get AIDS? They hold up logic as a prized symbol
but then refute it by their actions. What do you think?
A. I think that such scientists see logic in their
methodology because they are detached from the bigger picture.
It becomes hard to use your common sense and reason when you
are constantly distracted by academic pursuits such as
recognition and grants.
Q. Do you really think vivisectors are prepared to
change their traditional viewpoint on animal
A. Yes. Some vivisectors have undergone dramatic
change, come to realise certain truths and made great strides
in the anti- vivisection movement. Such change will become
more likely when the public donět support their actions, and
when the governing and funding bodies withdraw their
Q. Xenotransplantation. What animals are being
trialled and is it going on in Australia?
A. Once again, such information is generally kept
behind closed doors. We assume that it is -why wouldnět
Australia (with its current vivisection attitude) join the
xenotransplantation circus? Multitudes of different species
are being used in xenotransplantation.
Q. Vivisection is extremely lucrative for those
involved: How then do we suppose we can stop it?
A. Educate yourself about the truths behind
vivisection and educate others. Support organisations such as
Guardians. Donět support organisations/charities who waste
money on vivisection research. Many organisations rely heavily
on public funding and this requires a certain public attitude.
Lobby the government to do the same regarding specific
research which we indirectly fund via our taxes.
Q. How did you personally get involved in the animal
A. I am not personally involved in the animal rights
movement. I choose to live my life in accordance with certain
principles, but my focus is on the movement toward
non-fraudulent research, medical advancement and human
Guardians can be contacted at:
PO Box 59, Pascoe
Vale South, Victoria 3044.
Phone/Fax: (03) 9386 3778