Animal Protection > AR Interviews


SPECIOUS SCIENCE - Doctors Ray and Jean Greek
Doctors Ray and Jean Greek speak out on vivisection
to Claudette Vaughan
First published in Vegan Voice

Doctors Ray and Jean Greek are tireless campaigners who travel the world speaking to scientists and activists alike. Their intention is to expose the money-driven superstition called "animal-modelled" biomedical research. Ray Greek is Scientific Adviser to the National Anti-Vivisection Society in America, President of Americans for Medical Advancement and Medical Director to Europeans for Medical Advancement. The husband and wife team support a truly scientific paradigm. They are convinced that human health is at risk through the continued use of vivisection.
Ray Greek says, "The medical research establishment, pharmaceutical companies, other industries and a sizeable public relations machine maintain the belief that experiments on animals are necessary." Why? "Because lab animal studies safeguard industry against legal responsibility and are hugely profitable, from a financial point of view only."
The Greeks are the authors of Sacred Cows and Golden Geese: The Human Cost of Experiments on Animals and a new book, Specious Science. They are also very aware of the new monkey farm being built in Australia.
Q. In Sacred Cows and Golden Geese you have called animal experimentation "white collar welfare". What do you mean by this term?
A. People in white coats who perform research on animals -- MDs, PhDs, etc -- make money from the practice without giving anything back to the public Đ the people who are funding the work. Essentially when the NIH funds animal experimentation it is funding a welfare program. Animal models do not lead to cures or treatments and in fact harm humans far more often than they help them.
Q. How misleading and dangerous is animal experimentation to human health dilemmas? Researchers are frequently telling us that research involving animals is vital to continued human medicine. They say that animal research has saved lives, extended life expectancy and improved the quality of (human) life by enabling scientists to conduct critical experiments that identify ways to prevent, treat and cure diseases. How would you answer that?
A. Smoking was sold to the public, by physicians, based on the fact that it did not cause cancer in animals. A high cholesterol level was considered safe for the same reason. The blood crisis in France that resulted in thousands dying from AIDS was caused by the mistaken belief that because HIV-infected blood did not kill nonhuman primates it would not kill humans. The reason we have a longer life span and suffer from different diseases than we did a hundred years ago is because of improvements in sanitation and living conditions and because of medical research involving humans or human tissue, epidemiology, advances in technology and so forth. The animal models either merely duplicated human findings or misled researchers, resulting in human deaths. We have the high standard of medical care we have today in spite of, not because of, animal models.
Q. Are you of the same opinion as Dr Irwin Bross that a "consensus" of authorities agrees to overlook the naked truth for mutual profit of orgiastic proportions?
A. Basically, yes, but it is not quite that simple. Most people are not outright evil but they do rationalise and where money is involved it is a lot easier to rationalise. One has to be very careful when categorising motives. Greed, naiveté, ignorance and many other factors are involved in why animal experiments continue, but money makes the world go round.
Q. Has your research led you to believe that there is scarcely a science faculty today whose academic freedom has not been compromised by its funding arrangements? That contracts between government-funded researchers and industry, having once been frowned upon, are now openly encouraged?
A. Yes. Again, money talks and industry provides as much if not more to universities such as the NIH. Several medical journals have come out and admitted they had no one to review some articles because all the experts were employed by or receiving grants from the drug company that funded the study.
Q. AIDS is species-specific. This means that nonhuman primates can't get AIDS. They get their own monkey version. This fact is well documented. How then does a researcher justify the consumption of nonhuman primates for AIDS research?
A. Fear. "If we don't do it everyone will die".
Q. Veterinarians have an enormous responsibility to upgrade the lives of literally billions of suffering animals. Why aren't they doing this?
A. Money. Many, if not most, vets work for the animal exploitation industry -- meat inspectors, lab animal vets, vets for large animals on farms, and so on. Especially the older males, who are in charge of the AVMA, so don't look for any pro-animal changes from that quarter.
Q. How does one set about creating a matrix that could reorient safety testing (Draize test, etc) from medieval torture to productive science at the frontiers of modern technology?
A. That is too long a question to answer here. I would like to reiterate that there exist many rewarding human-based methodologies, some time-honoured and some new, that provide accurate, useable information about our diseases and their cures. These methodologies do not "replace" animal experimentation per se. Animal experimentation does not reliably lead to cures for human disease so it needs to be "replaced" with something that does. A matrix would overcome animal experimentation's enormous inadequacy and dangers.
Q. Your new book Specious Science is just out. Tell us about that.
A. Specious Science approaches animal models from an evolutionary perspective, then analyses the data from genetics and molecular biology to show why transspecies extrapolation should not and indeed does not work. But that's just the first six chapters. The rest of the book covers medical topics Sacred Cows and Golden Geese did not, for example, pediatrics, neurology and so forth.
Q. Undoubtedly Sacred Cows and Golden Geese: The Human Cost of Experiments on Animals is a brave work. How has the biomedical establishment reacted to it?
A. Depends on how they earn their livelihood. MDs who actually take care of patients agree with the premise while PhDs whose livelihood depends on animal models don't.
Drs Greek's Web site is www.curedisease.com Also check out this fabulous first Web site dedicated to Australian antivivisection and the shutting down of the new monkey farm in Churchill, country Victoria. www.geocities.com/antivivisectionaustralia/