Media Release 11 Dec. 2006
Animal experiments under scrutiny: recent scientific studies demonstrate poor predictivity for human medical outcomes.
Animal experiments have long been the subject of controversy. Although many claims have been made either way, until recently large-scale scientific studies of their efficacy in advancing human health have been rare. Since 2004, however, several such studies have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and presented at international scientific conferences, at which some have received awards. The results have been remarkably consistent: the stress laboratory animals experience is greater than commonly understood, and experiments on them contribute far less to the advancement of human medical progress than advocates often claim. The abstracts and, usually, complete texts of these published studies, as well as published reviews of non-animal experimental models, and relevant governmental reports, are freely downloadable from www.AnimalExperimentFacts.info, which was launched today.
Also launched today is www.HumaneLearning.info. It is an unfortunate fact that biomedical education has traditionally involved the harmful use of animals. Many millions of animals have lost their lives in attempts to teach practical skills and demonstrate scientific principles which have, in most cases, been established for decades. However, many thousands of humane educational alternatives are now catalogued in databases, covering every educational level and academic discipline. These include computer simulations, videos, plasticised specimens, ethically-sourced cadavers (obtained from animals that have been euthanized for medical reasons, or that have died naturally or in accidents), models, diagrams, self-experimentation, and supervised clinical experiences.
▪ over 250 published studies describing humane teaching methods, sorted by academic discipline, including a review of 28 studies conclusively demonstrating that students using well designed humane alternatives achieve learning outcomes at least as good as those achieved via traditional harmful animal use;
▪ detailed submissions describing the alternatives available in certain academic disciplines, that have successfully resulted in their introduction at some universities;
▪ a large photo gallery of humane alternatives and harmful animal use in education;
▪ links to free on-line alternatives,
▪ links to alternatives databases,
▪ links to alternatives libraries,
▪ links to humane education email lists;
▪ links to other humane education web sites; and,
▪ resources to guide and assist students who wish to conscientiously object to harmful animal use in their education.
It is my hope that these resources may assist others to successfully introduce humane alternatives to harmful animal use in their own universities and schools, as my colleagues and I have done at several universities worldwide. It complements my existing site www.LearningWithoutKilling.info which provides encouragement and guidance for students unwilling to harm animals during their education.
Andrew Knight BSc., BVMS, CertAW, MRCVS
Veterinarian and Animal Advocate