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Animal Models in Light of EvolutionDr Charlotte Uhlenbroek with orangutanDNA holding planet earthFAQs About the Use of Animals in ScienceHuman baby with Beagle puppyScientists examining evidence

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Public Scientific Debates

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Public Scientific Debates

Welcome to For Life on Earth

It is indeed stating the obvious to say that we do not rush our children and other relatives to the local veterinary clinic if they are ill, or worse, critically ill. Likewise, we do not take our companion animals to the outpatient's emergency departments at our hospitals when they are ill.

FOR LIFE ON EARTH presents science that supports this common sense, science that is best illustrated by the leading medical Board in its field Americans and Europeans For Medical Advancement (AFMA/EFMA) and the seminal work Animal Models in Light of Evolution Shanks and Greek (2009). There is a layman's version of this book, written especially for the non-scientist, entitled FAQS About the Use of Animals in Science.

Both these books explain exactly how and why experimenting on animals - to predict responses in humans - is asking animals to do something they are not capable of. This, in turn, is damaging human medicine. Immense empirical evidence supports this position. Animal Models in Light of Evolution places this empirical evidence within the context of current understanding of evolutionary biology and complex systems, providing us with conclusions that entirely support our decisions not to take critically ill people to the vet.

Furthermore, science has now entered the age of personalised medicine where treatments are tailor-made for you and you alone. We now understand that even identical twins can suffer from different illnesses and require treatments that are unique to their genetic profiles. This extraordinary progress is being held back by the persistent use of animal models.

FOR LIFE ON EARTH exists because evidence from up-to-date science demands that experiments on animals must be stopped on human medical and scientific grounds.

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Patients Campaigning For Cures

Multiple sclerosis patient, Rebecca Groves, narrated an introductory video slide-show representing the needs of patients and their families for the first UK Parliamentary EDM in which we were highlighted. Rebecca has now established her own excellent organisation at Patients Campaigning For Cures.

We are delighted that our evidence is highlighted in Parliamentary EDM 66, tabled  by Kelvin Hopkins MP.

 

To date, 136 MPs have signed four Early Day Motions calling for a properly moderated, public scientific debate about claims that animal experiments have predictive value for human patients.

Preeminent primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall has released a filmed statement calling for the MPs' science hearing, requesting that primate experimenter Prof. Roger Lemon agrees to participate in their called for debate.

What does having predictive value mean in human medicine?

For a test to be accepted as having predictive value by our hospital doctors and GPs, for the responses of patients to medicines and disease research, that test needs to predict the correct outcome  around 90% of the time, otherwise it is abandoned. For more information about this vital aspect please click here. Mandatory animal testing, for the safety of new human medicines, correlates with human outcomes around 31% of the time - that's less than the toss of a coin. [1-2]

Experts in the wider scientific community - outside the animal-based research sector - including pharmaceutical companies, write about the failure of animal models in their drug development process often and openly in the scientific literature. The failure of such animal-based research is increasingly becoming the focus of leading scientific journals, including the BMJ, whose Editor's Choice, June 2014, titled 'How Predictive and Productive is Animal Research?' concluded  thus, from the paper it cited:

'If animals continue to be unable to reasonably predict the responses of human patients, then the public's continuing endorsement and funding of preclinical animal research seems misplaced' [3] (Emphasis added).

One of Britain's foremost human rights defence barristers, Michael Mansfield QC (pictured below), has endorsed as "well set out and fair" the debate conditions for the MP's called for science hearing. Independent judges from the relevant fields of scientific expertise will decide which of the opposing scientific positions is correct, based on referenced position papers.

We have been in dialogue with the animal experimentation community's lobbying group 'Understanding Animal Research' with a view to holding their 'Concordat on Openness on Animal Research' to account, which proclaims to develop communications with the public and media. To date, no animal-based research scientist has agreed to participate in the called for debate's rigorous scientific scrutiny.

References

1. Shanks N, Greek R, Greek J: Are Animal Models Predictive for Humans? Philos Ethics Humanit Med 2009, 4:2.

2. Heywood R. ‘Clinical Toxicity – Could it have been predicted? Post-marketing experience’; pp. 57–67 in Animal Toxicity Studies: Their Relevance for Man, editors Lumley CE, Walker S Lancaster, Quay, 1990.

3. BMJ 2014; 348 g 3719, available here.