May 31, 2006

In praise of animal testing

Robert Winston:
We live longer and healthier lives than ever before. Animal research has improved the treatment of infections, helped with immunisation, improved cancer treatment and had a big impact on managing heart disease, brain disorders, arthritis and transplantation. My own field, the prevention of genetic disorders in babies, has been possible only because of humane work on animals.


Some so-called anti-vivisection organisations would have people believe that animal research does not work. This is simply a lie. Animals do not give information that is 100% accurate when applied to humans, but they do provide invaluable information that cannot be replaced by computer modelling, cell culture or human experimentation. Mice have virtually the same genes as humans, which is why they are so useful for exploring human physiology.

Animal research has contributed to 70% of the Nobel prizes for physiology or medicine; many award-winning scientists say that they could not have made their discoveries without animals. Polio would still be claiming hundreds of lives a year in Britain if it wasn't for animal research by the Nobel laureate Albert Sabin. "There could have been no oral polio vaccine without the use of innumerable animals," he once said.

And for the other side, check out the comments. Sample:
What speciesist arrogance on the part of Robert Winston. If politicans have any duty in this matter it is to ask why, in the twenty first century, scientists still think that human beings have the right and power to take or grant life to animals and to cause them to suffer.

That's me all over: An arrogant, meat-eating speciesist.

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