The idea behind animal experimentation (vivisection) is that if a new drug or medical procedure is tested on an animal, such as a mouse, rat, cat, dog, or whatever, then the results of such an experiment would give us an indication on the effects of that drug or substance on a human patient. We would be given an indication of its effectiveness (how well it works); its possible side-effects (how much harm it is likely to cause); as well as its toxicity (how poisonous the drug or substance is likely to be); right?...WRONG
The simple fact is that animals not only respond in different ways to other animals, but also in different and contradictory ways to people. Animal experiments are not a help but a hindrance to medical research. If a new drug or procedure is found to be beneficial to an animal, say a rat, it would only be beneficial for other rats and cannot be readily transferred onto other species. Any vet would tell you that most medicines we readily take could have a catastrophic, even fatal, effect if given to a pet. In the same way, it would be unwise for us to take a drug intended for a pet dog, cat, or budgerigar. Besides which, people do not suffer from the same diseases or illnesses that animals suffer, and vice-versa. The idea that we can simulate human ills in animals (which animals would not normally suffer from), create a drug to cure this artificial illness, THEN pass it on to humans as a safe and reliable cure, is totally absurd.
For instance, research into Multiple Sclerosis (which doesn't normally affect animals) is simulated in a laboratory by injecting fluids into laboratory animals so that it appears as if the animal has developed MS. The researchers would then attempt to find a cure for this simulated disease (which occurred as the result of a fluid being injected into the joints of a laboratory animal, and not the disease itself) by feeding them with various substances or drugs. If the researchers were successful and managed to alleviate the symptoms in the laboratory animals what would it show? Years of meaningless experiments, costing millions of pounds, and effecting thousands of MS sufferers' lives, would have been wasted. The only apparent benefit being that the researchers in question would be guaranteed many years of work and wages, foolishly following one another up the same blind alley we call medical research. Incidentally, the research discussed, using the exact same procedures, is still going on today, and has been for many decades! Is it any wonder why we are no nearer to finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis? It is this foolish reliance on animal experimentation that has seriously retarded medical research in all fields.
So how effective are drugs and medical procedures which have been tested on animals (how well do they work)? The simple answer is that animal experiments are a very unreliable indicator of effectiveness in people. Take the case of the TB vaccine which proved effective in chimpanzees, but was later withdrawn after it was shown that it actually caused TB in people; or Urethane, a drug used to treat leukaemia, (which had undergone years of rigorous tests and experiments on a host of different types and species of animals), proving to be safe and effective, but was later withdrawn after it had shown to cause cancer of the liver, lungs, and bone-marrow in people. Barbiturates (ie, Nembutomol) were prescribed to prevent insomnia, but actually caused insomnia; or take the case of the heart-drug Epinepherine which caused the death of 852 heart patients in New York City in late 1982 and early 1983. Even though the physician in charge of the investigation stated that he was unable to discover a single surviving case among the 852 patients who were injected with this drug, Epinepherine was still not withdrawn from the market!
The fact that rigorous animal experiments had passed all of these drugs as an effective treatment or cure for people (and there are thousands of other instances similar to the ones mentioned) demonstrates that animal experiments are not a reliable measure of assessing the effectiveness of any new substance or drug. If anything, they highlight the danger of using animals as an indicator of effectiveness. On this basis alone, it is clear that all experiments on animals should be stopped. Unfortunately there is worse to come.
Side effects of drugs, passed as safe by animal experiments, have caused death, cancer, blindness, paralysis, psychosis (often leading to suicide) and a host of other disasters. As far as the predictability of possible side-effects (how much harm it is likely to cause people), experiments on animals have shown to be totally useless, if not extremely dangerous.
After 3 years of rigorous animal experiments, torturing and killing many thousands of animals, Thalidomide was passed as totally safe for humans. Thalidomide was prescribed for pregnant women as an anti-nausea drug (morning sickness). The makers of the drug described it as "the best tranquilliser for pregnant women as (based on the results of experiments on animals) it damaged neither the mother nor the child". The side-effects of this drug were horrendous: over 10,000 children worldwide were born horrifically deformed: many were born without limbs; many were born with their hands attached to their elbows (forearms missing); others were born with their feet attached to their knees (lower-legs missing); others had both forearms and lower legs missing. Others still, were born with deformities that were so grotesque that only their torso and head could be recognised as belonging to a human being.
Even after the consequences of the drug had been established (which was too late for the thousands of children and their families) the manufacturers of the drug, Distillers, showed little remorse and instead decided to market the drug under a different name! As often happens in such cases, the Health Authorities voiced no objection. When Thalidomide was eventually withdrawn, the animal researchers again ran their pathetic tests, experimenting on many thousands of pregnant animals (even though it had already been established that Thalidomide caused birth deformities in people), using many hundreds of different types and species of animals. After some years the researchers did finally manage to find birth deformities - in 2 types of rabbits (although over 150 different types of rabbits were used), and in one type of monkey (out of the many different types of monkeys and apes experimented on)!
Stilboestril (a synthetic oestrogen) was "successfully' tested on animals for years. Stilboestril created a new type of cancer (Vaginal Cancer) in the daughters of the mothers who had been prescribed this "miracle drug"; BUT, the cancer only manifested itself when the daughters were aged between 14 and 22. Once again, experiments on animals had failed to predict this. Isprotenenol killed approximately 3,500 asthma sufferers in the 1960's. Phenformin (prescribed for diabetics) was withdrawn after 18 years as it had caused around 1,000 deaths annually. Clofibrate (for the prevention of heart-attacks) was banned after it had been clinically proven that it did not reduce heart-attacks, but instead caused death by cancer: mostly of the liver, gall-bladder, and intestines. Oxychinol (also called Clioquinol) was alleged to cure an upset stomach. It was originally marketed in Japan under 168 different brand names and was responsible for creating yet another new type of disease: SMON (a severe disease of the nervous system). Oxychinol/Clioquinol caused over 1,000 deaths in Japan, as well as over 30,000 cases of blindness and/or paralysis. A twist in the tale was that some of the animals tested (they were force-fed the drug) died a painful death. The makers of the drug, Ciba-Geighy, decided that these deaths were "insignificant' and, as a matter of precaution, put a note on the leaflet accompanying the drug stating that Clioquinol should not be given to house pets!
After the catastrophic side-effects of the drug had been realised, Ciba-Geighy held a press conference and defended the placing of the drug onto the market-place, despite the painful deaths experienced by an insignificant amount of the animals, by declaring that they had "regarded the animal tests as valueless"! Ciba-Geighy went on to say that "95% of drugs tested on animals fail when given to healthy volunteers and human patients"!
There are many tens of thousands of other instances of drugs and substances which had been passed safe by experiments on animals, but had caused untold damage, death and disease, all over the world. Animal experiments have demonstrated time and time again that they are completely useless and have shown just how foolish it is to transfer their results onto people: their predictive validity is bordering on the ridiculous. Animals are totally different from people; different types and species of animals will show up quite different (if any) side effects. The results obtained from animal experiments are so unreliable and so unpredictable that, as far as giving even a slight indication of possible side-effects (some of which may be inevitably fatal), experimenting on animals is an absolutely senseless practice which has proven, and is still proving, highly dangerous and unpredictable.
After the Thalidomide tragedy, safeguards were put in place by the government to the effect that every new drug or medical procedure had to be sufficiently tested for tetragenic effects (their likelihood to cause birth deformities). Most researchers took this to mean that all new drugs must be thoroughly tested on pregnant animals: since then, birth deformities have increased dramatically.
So how effective are animal experiments at predicting the toxicity level of a drug (how dangerous/poisonous is the drug or substance likely to be?) Unfortunately (if that's the right word to use) animals are so different to one another that what may be poisonous to one species, may actually be very healthy for another. It therefore stands to reason that if a drug is demonstrated to be non-toxic in a laboratory animal, it may not be non-toxic for people: in fact it may be highly poisonous! If the results obtained from animal experiments were a reliable indicator of toxicity, then we could assume that strychnine, for example, (which is highly poisonous for people, causing a slow, painful, death) is not poisonous, and therefore perfectly safe: it causes no ill-effects in several different species of laboratory animals, including mice and chimpanzees. We could also assume that arsenic (again highly poisonous) is perfectly safe: some animals can munch on it all day long without any adverse reactions; and the same can be said for cyanide. What about Amanita Phalloides (a type of mushroom) which is eaten as a health-food by rabbits, yet a single dose could wipe out an entire human family. Or consider Scopolamin: just 2 grams can be fatal for any healthy person, yet dogs and cats can eat hundreds of times that amount without any kind of bad reaction.