Alison Banville’s response to an apology for the perpetuation of the malevolent practice of vivisection
The Apology (an email she received from a misinformed animal welfarist):
“That’s as may be, but how can certain surgical procedures be tested via computer modeling or tissue cell-cultures, for instance?
Organ transplants were first tested on animals, heart transplants tried out on dogs I believe, they proved effective and then used to benefit humans. Similarly anti-rejection drugs, HIV drugs, medications to progressively lengthen the life-span of children with cystic fibrosis – many now grow well into adulthood, and so on.
Thalidomide was not tested on pregnant animals, which it should have been before being released for use by pregnant women, with the results we know.
Big-pharma is a cynical industry with the profit motive rather than human well being as its bottom line, so naturally it will tend to overlook the inconvenient truth that too many drugs are useless or worse than useless until such catastrophic (”unacceptable” ) rates of death and injury ensue that the drugs in question eventually have to be withdrawn, so much is true doesn’t mean all drugs, whether or not tested on animals are injurious or useless.
Deliberate cruelty is never justified, such as the abhorrent Harlow experiment described below, and research into the possibilities of drug testing without the use of animals can only be welcomed, but I don’t see how we can do without some animal testing for the foreseeable future. Wind it down and don’t extend it and hopefully we’ll see the end of it eventually.”
Banville’s response email:
Many studies comparing drug side-effects in humans and animals have found animal tests to be less predictive than tossing a coin. In fact, their true prediction rate is generally acknowledged to be between 5 and 25%.
Substances that could save many human lives are not approved because they are harmful to animals. And substances that are therapeutic in animals get approved, later harming and sometimes killing humans.
More than 10,000 people are killed every year in the UK by side effects of prescription medicines – now the fourth biggest killer in the western world. The US figure is over 100,000. Arthritis painkiller VIOXX, withdrawn in 2004, caused up to 320,000 heart attacks and strokes – as many as 140,000 of them fatal. Animal testing failed to predict these tragedies. – Safer Medicines Campaign
“Like every member of my
profession, I was brought up in the belief that almost every important fact
in physiology had been obtained by vivisection and that many of our most
valued means of saving life and diminishing suffering had resulted from
experiments on the lower animals. I now know that nothing of the sort is
true concerning the art of surgery: and not only do I not believe that
vivisection has helped the surgeon one bit, but I know that it has often led
- Prof. Lawson Tait, M.D., 1899, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (F.R.C.S.), Edinburgh & England. Hailed as the most distinguished surgeon of his day, the originator of many of surgery’s modern techniques, and recipient of numerous awards for medical excellence.
“All our current
knowledge of medicine and surgery derives from observations of man following
especially the anatomical-clinical method introduced by Virchow: symptoms of
the patient while alive and the alterations found in the dead body. These
observations have led us to discover the connection between smoking and
cancer, between diet and arteriosclerosis, between alcohol and cirrhosis,
and so on. Even the RH factor was not discovered on the macasus rhesus. The
observations of Banting and Best on diabetes, attributed to experiments on
dogs, were already well-known. Every discovery derives from observations on
humans, which are subsequently duplicated in animals, and whenever the
findings happen to concur, their discovery is attributed to animal
experimentation. Everything we know today in medicine derives from
observations made on human beings. The ancient Romans and Greeks gained most
of their knowledge from epidemiological studies of people. The same goes for
surgery. Surgery can’t be learned on animals. Animals are anatomically
completely different from man, their reactivity is completely different,
their structure and resistance are completely different. In fact, exercises
on animals are misleading. The surgeon who works a lot on animals loses the
sensibility necessary for operating on humans.”
- Prof. Bruno Fedi, M.D., 1986, Director of the City Hospital of Terni, Italy, anatomist, pathologist, specialist in urology, gynaecology and cancerology.
“Vivisection is barbaric, useless, and a hindrance to
scientific progress. I learned how to operate from other surgeons. It’s the
only way, and every good surgeon knows that.”
- Dr. Werner Hartinger, 1988, surgeon of thirty years, President of German League of Doctors Against Vivisection (GLDAV).
“Experiments have never been the means for discovery; and
a survey of what has been attempted of late years in physiology will prove
that the opening of living animals has done more to perpetuate error than to
confirm the just views taken from the study of anatomy and natural motions.”
- Sir Charles Bell, M.D., 1824, F.R.C.S., discoverer of “Bell’s Law” on motor and sensory nerves.“
Animal model systems differ from their human counterparts.
Conclusions drawn from animal research, when applied to human beings, are
likely to delay progress, mislead, and do harm to the patient. Vivisection,
or animal experimentation, should be abolished.”
- Dr. Moneim Fadali, M.D., 1987, F.A.C.S., Diplomat American Board of Surgery and American Board of Thoracic Surgery, UCLA faculty, Royal College of Surgeons of Cardiology, Canada.
“Experiments on animals do not only mean torture and
death for the animals, they also mean the killing of people. Vivisection is
a double-edged sword.”
- Major R.F.E. Austin, M.D., 1927, Royal College of Surgeons, Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians.
The development of surgery to replace clogged arteries with the patient’s own veins was impeded by dog experiments which falsely indicated that veins could not be used.
Thalidomide is specifically mentioned in this video http://www.curedisease.net/safermedicines/video.shtml
By Prof Pietro Croce:
“There are endless possibilities for producing irrefutable
evidence in support of any theory, through the use of various animal
species; all one has to do is to select the appropriate species:
Do you want to prove that the amanita is by no means a deadly mushroom by much rather a delicay fit for humans? Just feed it to a rabbit, morning, noon and night. He will thrive on it. Do you want to ruin the citrus fruit growers? Then feed their lemons to cats, who will die from them.
Do we wish to prove that prussic acid, the mere smell of which can kill a human being, makes a fine aperitif? Then let’s feed it to toads and sheep.
Do we want to stop cooks from using parsley? Let’s give it to the parrot, and you will find him stone dead the next morning.
Or do we want penicillin to disappear from all drugstore counters? Let’s give guinea-pigs a taste of it, and they will promptly die from it.
The amount of opium a porcupine can actually swallow in one lump with no trouble at all would keep a human addict groggy for two weeks if he just smoked it, let alone what it would do to him if he swallowed it.
To convince the consumers that botulin is harmless, just add a bit of this poison to some cat food; the cat will happily lick its lips. But the cat’s traditional game, the mouse, will die from it as if struck by lightning.
Moonshiners are responsible for blinding thousands of people, owing to the methyl alcohol in their booze. But this same methyl alcohol doesn’t affect the eyes of most laboratory animals.
Arsenic is supposed to be poisonous? That is a pure invention of the crime writers. The proof? Sheep can tolerate a considerable quantity of arsenic.
Does your pussycat have the sniffles? Be sure not to give her any aspirin – unless, of course, you want to kill her.
Are you asked to demonstrate the
uselessness of vitamin C? Then remove it entirely from the diet of some animal
that’s close at hand – a dog, cat, rat, mouse, hamster. They will nevertheless
stay healthy, because their organisms produce their own vitamin C. But we may
not withhold it from guinea-pigs, primates, or humans. Deprived of all vitamin C
they would eventually all die from scurvy.
One hundred milligrams of scopolamine leave dogs and cats unaffected; but five milligrams are sufficient to kill a human being.
Strychnine, as popular among the murderers in detective stories as arsenic, has no effect at all on guinea pigs, chickens or monkeys, not even in a dosage which would be enough to put a whole human family into convulsions.
Hemlock, well-known through the death of Socrates, is dangerous because of its similarity to parsley, but it is eaten with great relish by goats, sheep and horses.
Amyl nitrate dangerously raises the internal pressure of the eyes of a dog, but lowers the pressure within the human eye.
The foxglove (digitalis) was formerly considered to be dangerous for the heart because, when tested on dogs, it raised their blood-pressure. For this reason the use of this medicament, which is of undisputed value for the human heart, was delayed by many years.
Novalgin is an anesthetic for humans, but in cats it causes excitement and salivation, similarly to what occurs in an animal suffering from rabies.
Cycloserin is used for tuberculosis patients, but has no effect on guinea pigs and rats which have been made tuberculous artificially.
The anti-inflammatory Phenylbutazone can be administered to dogs and other animals in high doses, for it quickly loses its effect in their bodies. But if similar doses were given to humans, poisoning would soon set in, because this medicament needs 100 to 150 times longer to become inactive and checked in its effects.
Chloramphenicol often seriously damages the blood-producing bone marrow of humans, but not the marrow of animals.
Acidum oroticum has a healing influence
on the human liver, but causes fattiness in the liver of rats.
Chlorpromazine damages the human liver, but not the livers of laboratory animals. Methyl fluoracetate has a toxic effect on mammals, but the rat can tolerate a dosage forty times higher than the dose that kills a dog. And man? Will he react like a rat, or like a dog?
In a nutshell, one only needs to find the appropriate animal species to obtain the desired answer: black or white, positive or negative. You name it, they will get it. That is a kind of elastic, malleable Science, like the dough we mould in the kitchen. But it is tragic that some want to have us believe that they can manufacture human health in this way.”
On birth defects and Thalidomide:
The medical principle called Karnofsky’s Law states that any substance can be teratogenic (cause birth defects) if given to the right species, at the right stage in development, and in the right dose. Common table salt or even water can be teratogenic to some species in certain circumstances! Therefore, science has already told us that any medication can cause birth defects in some creatures. 
In addition, agents that are teratogenic to some species may have little or no teratogenic affect in others. Of 1,200 chemicals that caused birth defects in animals, only 30 were proven to affect humans.  As the book, Chemically Induced Birth Defects records:
“In approximately 10 strains of rats, 15 strains of mice, 11 breeds of rabbits, 2 breeds of dogs, 3 strains of hamsters, 8 species of primates and in other such varied species as cats, armadillos, guinea pigs, swine and ferrets in which thalidomide has been tested, teratogenic effects have been induced only occasionally. “
Rats, popular lab animals, have been shown to get birth defects from almost every chemical that causes birth defects in humans. But they also get birth defects from hundreds of drugs that are safely used by humans! If chemicals that harm rat offspring do not cause birth defects in humans, the animal tests are meaningless and non-predictive.
So what is teratogenicity-testing in animals good for and why does it continue? As obstetrics professor Dr. D. F. Hawkins points out:
“The great majority of perinatel toxicological studies seems to be intended to convey medical and legal protection to the pharmaceutical houses and political protection to the official regulatory bodies, rather than produce information that might be of value in human therapeutics. “
As Karnofsky’s Law postulates, researchers can eventually inflict birth defects on a species with substances that are teratogenic in humans. But to what purpose? Non-predictive animal experiments are of no human value. They only deplete valuable research funding that might otherwise be of true medical value. Safer Medicines Campaign
Thalidomide is specifically mentioned in this video at the beginning http://www.curedisease.net/safermedicines/video.shtml
On cystic fybrosis:
The Failure of Animal Models of Cystic Fibrosis
Though proponents of animal testing claim AZT and other preventative medications for AIDS were developed through animal research, existing human data and computers were in fact responsible.  AIDS kills humans at the cellular level, so that is where it needs to be studied. Mindlessly investing valuable research funding in animal experiments only keeps AIDS patients ill.[19-22] Aidsvax was tested on 8,000 high-risk volunteers because it protected chimpanzees from HIV infection. Unfortunately for the volunteers, it afforded them no protection whatsoever.
All that we know about HIV/AIDS has come from studying humans and human tissue, particularly blood. Similarly, everything we know about Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases has been learned by studying patients and their tissues. According toDr John Xuereb, Director of the Cambridge Brain Bank and Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre: ‘Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases occur in humans and it is in human tissue that we will find the answers to these diseases.’ New drugs can be tested in human tissues, ethically obtained with fully informed consent, before they are given to volunteers in microdose studies. Companies such as Asterand work exclusively with human tissue because it is more appropriate than animal tissue. See www.asterand.com , www.biopta.com
Progress is further hampered by the lack of a reliable animal model to road test candidate vaccines. Monkeys with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) are the lab rats of HIV vaccine research, but important differences between monkeys with SIV and humans with HIV have misled researchers at least once. The gp120 vaccine worked well in chimpanzees. When it comes to testing HIV vaccines, only humans will do. Tonks, British Medical Journal, 334;1346-1348.
Human data have historically been interpreted in light of laboratory data derived from nonhuman animals. This has resulted in unfortunate medical consequences. For instance, by 1963 prospective and retrospective studies of human patients had already shown a strong correlation between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. In contrast, almost all experimental efforts to produce lung cancer in animals had failed. As a result, Clarence Little, a leading cancer animal researcher, wrote, “The failure of many investigators to induce experimental cancers, except in a handful of cases, during fifty years of trying, casts serious doubt on the validity of the cigarette-lung cancer theory.” Because the human and animal data failed to agree, this researcher and others distrusted the more reliable human data. As a result, health warnings were delayed for years, while thousands of people died of lung cancer.
By the early 1940s, human clinical investigation strongly indicated that asbestos caused cancer. However, animal studies repeatedly failed to demonstrate this, and proper workplace precautions were not instituted in the U.S. until decades later. Similarly, human population studies have shown a clear risk from exposure to low-level ionizing radiation from diagnostic X-rays and nuclear wastes, but contradictory animal studies have stalled proper warnings and regulations. Likewise, while the connection between alcohol consumption and cirrhosis is indisputable in humans, repeated efforts to produce cirrhosis by excessive alcohol ingestion have failed in all nonhuman animals except baboons, and even baboon data are inconsistent. Many other important medical advances have been delayed because of misleading information derived from animal “models.” The animal model of polio, for example, resulted in a misunderstanding of the mechanism of infection. Studies on monkeys falsely indicated that polio virus infects only the nervous system. This erroneous assumption resulted in misdirected preventive measures and delayed the development of tissue culture methodologies critical to the discovery of a vaccine.
While monkey cell cultures were later used for vaccine production, it was research with human cell culture that first showed that polio virus could be cultivated on non-neural tissue. Similarly, development of surgery to replace clogged arteries with the patient’s own veins was impeded by dog experiments which falsely indicated that veins could not be used. Likewise, kidney transplants, quickly rejected in healthy dogs, were accepted for a much longer time in human patients. We now know that kidney failure suppresses the immune system, which increases tolerance of foreign tissues. Nevertheless, the public continues to endorse vivisection, primarily because many people believe that animal experimentation has been vital for most medical advances. However, few question whether such research has been necessary or even, on balance, helpful in medical progress. – The Medical Research Modernization Committee
‘In the light of recent tragedies such as Vioxx, where a drug shown to be safe (and even beneficial to the heart) in animals has gone on to cause as many as 140,000 heart attacks and strokes in people, it appears that animals are an inadequate safety screen.
Dozens of drugs to treat strokes have been found safe and effective in animal studies but all of them have gone on to injure or kill patients in clinical trials.
Aidsvax, successful in chimpanzees, gave no protection to
8,000 volunteers in human trials.
Hormone replacement therapy, prescribed to many millions of women because it lowered monkeys’ risk of heart disease and stroke, increases women’s risks significantly. http://www.sovereign-publications.com/curedisease.htm
Where is the ethical argument here? The opinion based upon the belief that we have the right to inflict suffering on other sentient beings for our own benefit is, as the quote I used before stated ‘fascism’ plain and simple. Vivisection is a ‘fascist atrocity.’ Why is it acceptable to behave in this way? What are the moral principles at work here? Humans come first? Why? I’ve never once heard a sound ethical argument for that stance. It usually boils down to ‘the species to which I belong is the most important’ which is no ethical argument at all.
Let’s not forget that scientists have also experimented on
humans whenever they could get away with it. At Porton Down from the 1950’s-80’s
the MoD tested toxic nerve gas on volunteer soldiers who were told it was
research into the common cold, Porton Down has also seen some of the most
barbaric animal weapons research ever conducted. The infamous Tuskegee Study of
Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male showed how ethics are not something we can
trust experimenters to uphold.
Undercover footage has consistently shown horrific abuse,
not just in the lab, but in the living quarters.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=88kMJXphN0k . Or watch the
notorious case of Britches and try and justify the research which was condemned
by society’s campaigning on behalf of the blind.
If anyone is deliberately not watching these clips then they really have no right to comment on what goes on in the vivisection industry. Watch, and see if the neat and tidy arguments so smugly offered fit.
It’s a shame that there are still many people who fall for the ‘animal experiments are unfortunately necessary until alternatives are found’ garbage. The drug companies and researchers whoop for joy whenever they realize their propaganda has been effective in this way. It is not just ignorance, it is dangerous ignorance, to accept the vivisection industry’s assurances so completely.
Thomas Paine’s Corner wants to periodically email you links to the most recent material and timeless classics available on our diverse and comprehensive site. If you would like to receive them, type “TPC subscription” in the subject line and send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org
For the latest updates on the animal liberation movement,
visit NAALPO at
If you have a Facebook account, don’t forget to look up Thomas Paine’s Corner’s Facebook page via the “search” feature and become a fan.
And if you have a MySpace account, don’t forget to friend Thomas Paine’s Corner at www.myspace.com/anarchovegan .