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Scottish Parliament asked to act on animal experiments

Scotland for Animals have arranged for two of the worlds leading experts on non-animal research to speak at the Scottish Parliament next month.

Dr Ray Greek, President of Americans for Medical Advancement and consultant Dr Andre Menache will be joining the animal charity in asking MSP's and the Scottish Government to take urgent action to end the use of animals in experiments.

Scotland for Animals spokesman John Patrick: "Our country has a disproportionately high number of animals used in experiments when compared to the UK total. We requested data from the Home Office on animal experiments in Scotland and the figures are grim."

Dr Ray Greek: "It's time for 20th century animal researchers to catch up with 21st century science, it's actually not a difficult choice."

John Patrick: "it is particularly timely that we should secure this information before this meeting. They show that almost half a million animals are dying in Scotland's labs every year and over 65% of these are experimented on without any form anaesthetic"

"We've contacted all MSPs personally inviting them to attend. We want them to look at the evidence we have that using animals in research is holding medical progress back and jeopardising the lives and health of Scots. This isn't just a question of the rights of animals not to be subjected to pain but of the rights of us and our families not to have to suffer as a result of poor scientific practice, lazy research and the power of vested financial interests."

Notes:

The meeting will take place on 5th October at 6.30pm, Committee Room 4 at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.

Full Home Office response and data re animal experiments in Scotland for 2009 available from us on request.

Scotland for Animals are currently campigning amongst other issues for a full public inquiry into the effectiveness of vivisection and for animal experimentation regulation to be devolved

Dr Ray Greek is board certified in anesthesiology (1990) and was sub-specialty certified in Pain Management in 1993. In addition to his private practice, Dr Greek taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. During the course of his medical career, he performed experiments on animals and conducted clinical research.

In addition to being published in peer-reviewed scientific literature, Dr Ray Greek is the author, along with his wife, Dr Jean Swingle Greek of three popular science books on the topic of attempting to extrapolate the results of animal experiments to humans. Sacred Cows & Golden Geese (Continuum 2000) was the first. With a foreword written by the preeminent primatologist Jane Goodall, the book addresses the issue for the lay audience. Specious Science (Continuum 2002) addresses the issue in more scientific depth. What Will We Do If We Don't Experiment On Animals? (Trafford 2004) examines the research modalities available without using animals. Dr Greek has also published articles in the popular science journals. He currently has a book out, Animal Models in Light of Evolution co-authored with Dr. Niall Shanks

Dr Andre Menache has been an active campaigner for the past 30 years mainly in South Africa, Israel and the UK. He has held various posts, including that of president of Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine (UK) and general manager of the Federation of Animal Protection Societies in Israel. Today he provides scientific support to several grass roots organisations, in addition to his official position as director of Antidote Europe, based in France.

His expertise includes animal experiments and regulatory toxicology. However, his interests cover other issues as well. In addition to being co-organiser and speaker at several national and international congresses on animal experimentation, xenotransplantation, informed consent and vaccine damage compensation, he was instrumental in launching a Supreme Court Action that led to a ban on the force feeding of geese in Israel, then the world’s third largest exporter of foie gras (2006). He appears in Who's Who in the World (19th edn.), Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare (Millennium edn.) and is a recipient of a 21st century award for achievement from the International Biographical Centre (Cambridge).

Brief notes on vivisection:

Over 560,000 animals were used and killed in experiments in Scotland in 2008 (last set of figures available). (1)

92% of new drugs successful in animal studies go on to fail in clinical trials. (2)

82% of doctors in an independent survey in 2004 were "concerned that animal data can be misleading when applied to humans" and 83% would "support an independent scientific evaluation of the clinical relevance of animal experimentation." (3)

Despite claims that it is essential, no evaluation has been carried out regarding the efficacy or effectiveness of animal experiments. (4)

Many studies have shown that animals predict correctly for humans less than 50% of the time: worse than tossing a coin. (5)

More than 10,000 people are killed every year in the UK by side effects of prescription medicines. (6)

Many practitioners and funders of animal experimentation also admit that it is a poor predictor of how drugs will perform in humans. For example Cancer Research UK have stated that "We do trials in people because animal models do not predict what will happen in humans" (7). The reliance of these organisations and individuals on animal models is widely acknowledged to be significantly affected by fear of litigation should a product cause death, injury or not be fit for purpose.

References:

(1) Home Office figures

(2) Lester Crawford, FDA Commissioner, in The Scientist 6.8.04 "More compounds failing Phase I" / US Food and Drug Administration (2004) Innovation or Stagnation, Challenge and Opportunity on the Critical Path to New Medical Products.

(3) Survey conducted by TNS Healthcare; see www.curedisease.net/news/040903.shtml

(4) "Government has not commissioned or evaluated any formal research on the efficacy of animal experiments and has no plans to do so." Home Office Minister Caroline Flint, 2004.

"the reliability and relevance of all existing animal tests should be reviewed as a matter of urgency." Toxicology Working Group of the House of Lords Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures, 2002.

(5) GAO/PEMD-90-15 FDA Drug Review: Postapproval Risks 1976-1985.

(6) Pirmohamed, M. British Medical Journal 2004;329:15-19

(7) Dr Sally Burtles, Cancer Research UK. Report of the Expert Scientific Group on phase one clinical trials/ TGN1412.



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