Our expert medical Board, alongside Dr Andre Menache, helps us respond to criticism from the Dr Hadwen Trust, following our opposition to their funding animal of modelers and the 3Rs
We’re a relatively new initiative run by patients for patients, but our medical Board is the leading in its field, having published five books on the human cost of experiments on animals and 20 papers in the peer reviewed scientific literature, proving how and why the results of experiments on animals will never be able to predict the responses of human patients. Our medical Board secured the first, and to date only, precedent ruling against animal experimentation on ‘human medical and scientific, national interest grounds’ – this stopped a primate lab being built at Cambridge University in 2002. We’re delighted to be highlighted in Parliamentary EDM 373 so that MPs can call for our experts’ evidence to be heard again, only this time at a more thorough medical debate hearing which will be overseen by independent judges from the relevant fields of scientific expertise. Those judges will be able to submit their ruling to Governments internationally, in order to change outdated laws which still mandate animal testing, despite its now proven fatal harm to humans.
The DHT opposes current medical understanding – why is this?
We’re disappointed but not surprised to receive criticism from the Dr Hadwen Trust after we highlighted their funding of animal modelers. We have sought advice and believe that the heart of the problem lies in their charity status, which means that the DHT must comply with UK Charity Commission rules that forbid political campaigning. Our experience with other charities, that campaign against animal experimentation, is that they are restricted to confining themselves to the 3Rs, and this would explain the reluctance of the DHT to reject the 3Rs approach which is an openly pro-animal model policy, first introduced to ensure ‘humane experimental technique’ on animals, currently enforced by the Home Office and promoted by the PR company for animal models ‘Understanding Animal Research’.
Our medical Board has published the first of an important series of scientific blogs on the urgent need to recognise the dangers posed to patients by aligning with the 3Rs; our experts are highly qualified medical personnel who comment on this issue in that capacity only. Please take the time to read this very important blog, part 1 is here.
Many of you know and admire Dr Andre Menache who has published a new science report this week additionally highlighting the negative ‘huge consequences’ that the 3Rs represent for animal welfare and human patients, excerpt below:
An inherent weakness in all European Union AWERBs (as described in articles 26 and 27 of Directive 2010/63/EU) is the 3Rs framework (replacement, reduction, refinement), which does not challenge the validity of animals as models of human disease research. This legislative loophole effectively allows researchers to conduct animal experiments in the absence of scientific proof that animals are predictive and relevant with respect to human health (2, 3). This major flaw in EU legislation carries with it huge consequences for animal welfare and human disease research.
Dr Menache joined the president of our medical Board, Dr Ray Greek, in testifying at the EU Parliament earlier this year and their scientific evidence was dismissed by the Commission using the 3Rs’s EU legislation. Campaigners who want to succeed in abolishing experiments on animals need to avoid the 3Rs at all costs.
The DHT state that animal models are at times ‘appropriate’ – NOT IN OUR NAME
The DHT do what all 3Rs users appear to be confined to do, which is state that there are times when animal models are ‘appropriate’ and can only be ‘replaced’ if there’s an ‘alternative’ available, excerpt from DHT’s website below:
‘The problem many scientists face when designing alternative experimental protocols is that animal use is historically embedded as the ‘gold standard’, whether appropriate or not’. (Emphasis added).
Animal models are never appropriate. They kill people!! And human-based research saves lives – this is the opposite of animal experimentation, not an ‘alternative’. The DHT’ response has shocked us by stating that words and their meanings do not matter. Words and their meanings – especially in medical science – have life and death consequences. This is born out by recent Home Office figures which confirm that under 3Rs’ funding the numbers of procedures on lab animals has risen to an all time high. That’s because funding as ‘alterantives’ supports the language of animal modelers, whose livelihoods and universities depend upon their false claims that animal models save lives too – that mice and humans are ‘alternatives’ for each other. It is naïve to suggest that these animal modelers will be inspired to only conduct valid research because of their funding by the DHT. Mistakenly calling their human-based research an ‘alternative replacement’ supports the original method as viable, and after 50 years of 3Rs funding, Home Office figures continue to reflect this. We need to prove that mice are killing human patients if we are to make any progress, and this is what Parliamentary EDM 373 calls for.
We firmly believe our supporters have a right to know where their donations are being spent. Many have been donating to the DHT without realising that 1/3rd of their funds are paying mice modelers, who are actively promoting papers published this year in which invasive experiments on mice, and experiments using the cells of dead rats and mice, falsely claim to be predictive of humans. These publications appear well within the time frame of the DHT’s funding their authors: it is quite wrong for the DHT to suggest that our donations are not sustaining these animal labs, and the lives and scientific position of their scientists and staff. We are dismayed that the DHT have not been open and honest about this aspect of their funding; it creates a climate of distrust which is not helped by their promotion of the 3Rs.
We would like the DHT to respond to our suggestion that they abandon the 3Rs, stop funding animal labs and begin a programme of funding newly qualified PhD’s who will be bound to a five year contract that will prevent them stepping onto the animal model ladder altogether.
We’re providing a closer analysis of the DHT’s criticism of our position, please visit this link to read a focused text which has been overseen by our doctors.
Please help us challenge the scientific validity of animal models!
MPs are signing EDM 373 to call for a thorough scientific debate hearing at which our medical Board will testify. The conditions for this event have been endorsed as “well set out and fair” by Britain’s foremost human rights defence barrister Michael Mansfield QC, and the event will be overseen by independent judges from the relevant fields of scientific expertise. These judges will be qualified to submit their decision/ruling to Governments internationally, and thereby begin the process to effectively change outdated laws which still mandate animal testing, despite it now proven fatal harm to humans.
Track record of success
In 2002, a smaller scale version of EDM 373’s called for science hearing secured a precedent ruling, on ‘national interest medical and scientific grounds’, thereby defeating Cambridge University’s planning application to build a new primate lab. Please visit this link to read about our medical Board’s role as chief scientific witness for the X-CAPE coalition. This primate lab was defeated because correct medical information was submitted and heeded.
We reject the notion that animal experiments will not end ‘overnight’ as the DHT state. We reject their website text which says animal models need to be gradually ‘phased out’. Animal models kill people. If enough of us pulled together with qualified medical expertise we could change laws relatively quickly, as was illustrated by the X-CAPE decision, above. Pressure and willpower would prevail, and the 3Rs would loose their power. If funders like the DHT continue to support animal modelers with the 3Rs, this will not happen.
For our medical Board’s new blog about the 3Rs please visit this link
For a more detailed analysis of the DHT’s criticism of our position, please visit this link