Scientist: Animal tests don't work
By Paul James, The Journal
A Newcastle scientist is spearheading a campaign to end
medical research on animals.
But Dr Jarrod Bailey is no animal rights activist and his argument is founded
entirely on the belief that it simply does not work.
As scientific director of Europeans for Medical Progress, Dr Bailey, 34, said
"archaic" animal methods have either harmed humans or set research back by
The group say scientists are not making best use of new technology that would
allow the same experiments to take place using human tissue rather than mice or
Following last week's defence of animal testing at Newcastle's Centre for Life
by Professor Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the Medical Research Council,
he said academics are stifling progress as much as the major drugs companies.
Dr Bailey, who lives in Corbridge, Northumberland, and is project development
coordinator for the University of Newcastle's School of Population and Health
Sciences, was appointed to the group in December.
He said: "We want an end to vivisection because of its lack of relevance to
human medicine. There are historic examples, like penicillin, the introduction
of which was delayed by 10 years because it was given to a rabbit and didn't
work. Even after thalidomide had harmed about 15,000 people, they still
struggled to show similar birth defects in animals."
He says research into the likes of cancer, brain diseases and hormone
replacement therapy has been held back by a reliance on animal methods. He is
now preparing for a series of head-to-head debates with those who defend animal
testing, including one later this year with Professor Blakemore.
He said relating results of animal testing to how drugs will affect humans can
be as unreliable as guessing the result of a coin toss. "The ethical side is a
big dilemma, but that is removed when you present people with the information
that animal methods are not useful," he said. "They haven't got us very far at
"Colin Blakemore uses examples like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's to defend the
animal model but never substantiates his claims with any hard science. What we
have learned about Alzheimer's and Parkinson's has all been from studying human
After commissioning an independent study that found 82pc of GPs thought animal
data can be misleading when applied to humans, Europeans for Medical Progress is
now trying to persuade the Government to launch an independent study of how
effective animal research has been.
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