Why animal imports should be stopped

From: Andre Menache
Date: Wed, Mar 14, 2012
Open letter to Rt Hon Lord Drayson and Science Minister David Willetts

Dear Lord Drayson and Minister Willetts,

You have both recently made public statements about the continued need to import laboratory animals into the UK in order to develop new medicines. You have also assured the public that animals undergoing experiments in the UK are well looked after. These statements imply that animal testing is both ethically and scientifically justified. Now is an appropriate time to discuss the concept of proof and where the burden of proof lies in science. As in law, it lies with the claimant.

Those claiming that animal models are predictive of human responses in the context of biomedical research must show that what they are claiming is true. The burden is not on the public, nor on the animal rights community, to prove that animal models of toxicity testing are not predictive. It is the job of those advocating animal models as predictive to demonstrate that they are (1).

This is perhaps also an opportune occasion to remind the public of an official declaration made by Home Office Minister Caroline Flint in 2004, that the Government “has not commissioned or evaluated any formal research on the efficacy of animal experiments and has no plans to do so” (2).

In light of the above, I ask that you provide me with peer-reviewed scientific evidence to demonstrate that animal models are predictive of human response to pharmaceutical drugs and other chemicals. If you are unable to do so, then we will have solved the issue of importing laboratory animals into the UK, since there will no longer be any scientific justification for importing them.

Yours sincerely,

Andre Menache BSc(Hons) BVSc MRCVS

Director Antidote Europe

References

Shanks N, Greek R, Greek J (2009). Are animal models predictive for humans?
Philos Ethics Humanit Med. 2009; 4: 2
Written answer to Parliamentary Question from Mike Hancock, MP, March 31st 2004