Philosophy - Index > Testing - Index

Why Animal Experiments Continue
by Dr. Vernon Coleman

With all the evidence available, it is difficult to avoid the sad but inevitable conclusion that animal experiments are used because they are financially expedient. Animals are not just relatively cheap to use, but there are also clear commercial advantages for the world's most successful and ruthless industry. The bizarre but unavoidable conclusion is that drug companies depend on the fact that animal experiments are unreliable in order to get their new products onto the market without testing them properly. The very unreliability and unpredictably of animal experiments make them valuable.

Drug companies test on animals so that they can say that they have tested their drugs before marketing them. If the tests show that the drugs do not cause serious disorders when given to animals, the companies say: "There you are! We have tested our drug--and have proved it to be safe!" If, on the other hand, tests show that a drug does cause serious problems when given to animals, the companies say: "The animal experiments are unreliable and cannot be used to predict what will happen when the drug is given to humans."

Animal experiment have been used for so long and by so many scientists that thousands of reputations would be irrevocably shattered if it were accepted by the research industry that the work they have been doing for so many years was fatally flawed.

It is remarkably quick and simple to plan, research, write, and publish scientific papers if you are using animals. Decent and useful research involving human patients is much harder to organize--and since most of the scientists using animals are not medically qualified, they would not be allowed to perform any sort of clinical research.

Prolific publishing is the best way to ensure a steady income from grants. It is the quantity, not the quality, of research which governs the financial results. The charities, which pay for much of the animal research, want to fill their annual reports with impressive and optimistic accounts of research in progress.

The myth that animal experiments are of value to doctors and patients is sustained because the vast majority of doctors--the only people who could expose the absurd rigmarole for the sham that it is--are either uninterested in how drugs are tested (and apathetic to the dishonesty involved) or are so beholden to the industry that they are unwilling or unable to criticize it.

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