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Monday, November 16, 1998 Published at 11:28 GMT


Talking Point


Should animal testing be banned completely? Your reaction

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How many people who advocate banning animal testing have accepted medicines which have almost surely been tested on animals. It makes me very angry knowing that healthy people want something which will drastically decrease the standard of living of others.
Julius Ross, United Kingdom

A complete ban on animal testing will have very serious negative effects on medical research. I believe that developing better, more effective and safer drugs is more important than sparing a few rats.
George Savvides, A

Absolutely not. Animal experimentation is a critical component in testing pharmeceuticals. Our knowledge in the supporting fields of biology, chemistry, and genetics is increasing geometrically. This is one field of human endeavor where the rewards are high, indeed critical to millions who suffer from currently untreatable disease. To pull back now, on the basis of misplaced compassion, would be to consign these millions to their deaths. I propose that every effort be made to ensure the humane treatment of experimental animals, and that we respect their suffering and deaths as tragically necessary to human survival.
Erich Walrath, USA

Animal testing is cruel. It should be banned, all products that use animal testing should be dicarded.
Terri Bouvier, Canada

As a medical student, I've realized that artificial means can never replace the incredible complexity of living animals. While we should never hurt animals in the interest of paltry cosmetics, research for life-saving drugs and techniques requires limited use of real animals.
Randy, USA

The last country to ban all cosmetic and drug testing on animals was Nazi Germany. Nice friends the animal rights people have chosen.
Richard T Ketchum, USA

It may not be possible to ban all animal tests quite yet, but there should be a lot more money, time and efforts going into finding alternatives. many alternatives already exist, and there must be many more which are waiting to be found. The day will surely come when not more experiments on animals will need to be done for human medicine. it's hared to say there will always be alternatives for veterinary research, though it doesn't seem quite fair to cause fit, healthy animal suffering to help already sick ones.
Liz Leyden, UK

Even the most militant animal rights activist would have to admit one thing: if god-forbid one of them had a child who became very ill, he would accept the absolute extinction of an entire animal species if it would save the life of that child. I am the father of a 2 year-old son. His well-being will always take precedent. I consider myself to be an animal lover but I do have my priorities. This is why animal testing, for lack of a better method, must continue (for medical research only, of course).
Evan S, USA

Precedent: Thalidomide. It was the failure to test thalidomide on pregnant rabbits which led to the misleading idea that it was a safe drug. Do we want more of that? Of course not! There should be MORE animal testing, not less.
Barry Curtis, England

Testing of such frivolous items as cosmetics on animals has always abhorred me. With many scientists questioning the validity of animal-based medical tests, I'd like to see the word 'vivisection' consigned to the history books for all tests for ever.
Rob Sheppard, UK

I think animal testing labs should be open for random inspection. The results, including photographic evidence should be made public. I agree that animal testing should be continued, but agree with animal rights advocates that we should not be allowed to turn a blind eye to any suffering.
John Telegdy, USA

In principle I believe that all animal testing should be banned, why should they suffer for our benefit. I can't stand the thought of the smallest mouse let alone cats, dogs or monkeys suffering in the way that they do, let alone having to live in cages all of there short lives. However, as a health care worker I do partly understand that drugs etc have to be tested on something or someone. I think stricter guidelines and policing should be put into force and maybe more human trials should be put into place. If it is banned all together, drug companies etc will either go underground or move to 3rd world countries where there are less stringent laws.
Nyky N-R, Australia

Most of the advances in medicine and longevity over the last 20 years have come from increased awareness of hygiene and sanitation and not from lessons learned from animal experimentation. It's time to put more money and effort into alternatives like cell cultures and computer simulated experiments.
Yvonne Lumb, USA/UK

We cannot afford to eliminate all animal testing because there are a lot of diseases out there that need to conquered by scientists Are you going to get humans to volunteer as guinea pigs? I don't think so.
James Mathu, U.S.A

I am against animal testing of all types; there are other effective means of testing drugs but as they are more expensive and require larger investment by drug companies they are overlooked. I believe that all areas of animal testing should now be evaluated with a view to abolishing them. Governments will need to support this but there should be an intelligent debate and an open exchange of information on the subject.
Paul Twiss, UK

Can anyone tell me why humans are more important than any other animals?
Michael Girvan, Malaysia

While we at FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments) welcome the news that cosmetics testing is banned, we recognise that we are still a long way from being able to totally replace all animals in laboratories.
It is imperative that all drugs released onto the market are safe for humans to use. However, there is scope for a REDUCTION in the numbers of animals used, with better experimental design, and more research into non-animal methods, such as computer modeling and cell cultures (cells grown in the laboratory).
We can only talk about banning experimentation when the alternatives have been proved to be accurate, and safe.
Richard McGowan, UK

I am engaged in medical research. For a while, I carried out experiments on animals, but was relieved when I was able to stop. The reason why I stopped was that we had been able to explore new areas of human physiology in animals, and to devise ways of studying the same phenomenon in humans. Without the animal research, we would not have been able to justify human research, and we would have had no idea what we were looking for. The phase of research on animals gave us essential data which moved us on. The knowledge so gained is being used to provide more effective treatment for seriously disabled humans.
Prof D L Wingate, UK

I support the motion to ban ALL animal testing. At this day and age we have so many other options to utilize for such testing. Please move ahead with the ban and I am hoping that your example is a lasting stance and it moves quickly to the USA.
I> Stephanie Bechtel, USA

Animal research is essential for the development of new medicines, this was the unanimous conclusion of a recent survey of Nobel prizewinners in medicine or Physiology. So scientifically the need is absolutely clear cut. Now I notice that most of these animal research abolitionists are fit and healthy, therefore if animal research were banned they would not be affected at all. However, if you, a relative or friend suffer from a serious illness then your whole future is at stake. Why should patients have to pay the price of animal extremists ideals.
Andrew Blake UK

Although I love animals, I feel more for mankind than for animals in general. Medical research on animals definitely helps to save human lives, so I choose the sacrifice of animals' lives for the benefit of humans. This is all the ethical justification I need.
P. Pala, UK

Medical research is so firmly rooted in animal models, that to ban the use of animals would bring the entire scientific establishment to a grinding halt. This may be the objective of some, but it would mean death for many people, including diabetics. Animal research plays a vital, and irreplaceable, role in such fields as drug and cancer research. People simply do not understand the importance of biological research. Those who claim that such research can continue are simply wrong, and ignorant.
Steven, USA

For those opposed to all animal testing, please answer 'Yes' or 'No' to the following :-
1. Are you vegetarian?
2. Do you avoid buying leather shoes or clothes?
3. Would you allow yourself or a loved one to suffer or even die because the necessary treatment had been developed using laboratory animals?
If you answered 'Yes' to ALL of the above, then you are free from hypocrisy in your moral stance.
Phil James, USA

I think animals should have the same rights as us. You wouldn't like it if people were doing any kind of experiment on you.
Daisy Livingston, England

Having two pet rabbits living in my home has changed my views on animal testing. My rabbits and I have a rapport similar to that one enjoys with a good dog. They exhibit intelligence and sensitivity to their surroundings. Although I believe some medical research involving animals is still necessary, animal testing of cosmetics disgusts me.
Elizabeth Miller, USA

Hey what is wrong with testing scientific advancements on animals - we eat 'em for lunch!!!
Sathish Guru, USA

We, by which I mean people, tend to discount what is distant from us. Hence, we care less about our grandchildren's grandchildren than we care about our own children, and by similar token we care less when Ethiopian children starve to death than when English youth go unfed. Animals are removed even further in the sense that they are a different species. They are therefore even less likely to be prioritised when scarce human compassion is dished out. This is sometimes awful, especially when the suffering of animals is very visible. But in restricting our compassion, we are essentially attempting to allocate the little compassion we do have to where we find that it gives us the greatest pay off in terms of alleviating pain. To impose a blanket rule that animals should have special priviledges in the receipt of human compassion would therefore imply that ultimately even greater suffering would occur elsewhere, particularly among sick humans who rely on important medical breakthroughs accomplished by means of animal experiments.
Jan Dehn, UK

Experimentation should be with informed consent only. Animals are unable to this so any experimentation to be limited to humans you can. We are supposed to be civilised and these creatures are not here for our convienence.
Mary Breading, UK

Look into a 3 yr old with hodgkin's disease and tell them there is no hope because they can't test out a new drug.
Marc Barringer, USA

I feel that animal testing is necessary for the continuation of biological and safety research. Even with animal & people testing, dangerous products still get on the market, imagine how many more will be on the market if we ban animal testing.
Christine Dormia, USA

Animals should be responsibly used if it will benefit medical research for both humans and animals.
Colin Stott, USA

One applauds the cessation of animals suffering to serve our vanity. I even strongly dislike the servitude of animals for our convenience. (I pray that I will never be blind but further hope that, if I am, my affliction will not cause a dog's life to be made more miserable. However, if animal research under controlled, monitored, humane conditions can save lives or lessen real suffering among humans, then so be it.
Barrie Martindale, Canada

Testing defenseless animals is unethical.
Ben Arasu, Canada

If it wasn't for animal testing I'm sure a lot more Humans would suffer today.
Paul Miller, UK

I think that it's quite sad that this debate is even going on. Given the currently medical state of affairs in the third world. It really upsets me that anyone in the First World can even presume to determine anything that may affect the out come of ongoing medical research programs. I think they should be given all aid neccesary, whether is be animals (to test on) or finance - that they require to continue the understaffed/underpaid battle against disease.
R Mthawanji, Switzerland/Malawi

Which would you prefer to live - an ill child or a healthy bunny? With rights come responsibilities - what responsibilities to animals have? A move towards animal rights means a move away from human rights.
Andrew Oakley, UK

No, animal testing should not be banned. Animal rights protesters are just a bunch of city dwellers who don't really understand how life works. Nature is predatory, the strongest survive, and by testing drugs and medical research on animals which creates cures for human diseases, then those animals died to help us survive. A simple extrapolation of the law of nature.
Kevin, UK

I'd much rather see some animal who has been bred and lived its entire life in a laboratory get a skin or other reaction than for one human to suffer.
Glenn M. Runyan, USA

Humankind has absolutely no right to use animals for any reason whatsoever, especially for experimental use. They only do so because animals have no 'voice'. Animals have feelings which are simply cast aside as if they do not matter. This should not be acceptable to anyone with the intelligence to do more than swing a club and say "UG !" (ie: a caveman)
Martin Frost, UK

We still need these tests. Moreover people shouldn't be that soft-hearted, better focus on human rights violations I'd say.
Feremans, Belgium

Could anyone please tell me the fundamental reason why human suffering is 'absolutely' more important than animal suffering, why the intense agony experienced by a laboratory animal is inconsequential when view against the same or even lesser degree of suffering within a human.
We conduct such experiments simply because we have physical dominance over all other species and thus we can exploit them at our will. But then where lies the contradiction between this form exploitation and that shown within the human species, such as the physical dominance that allowed Europeans to exploit Africans in the slave trade. Why should I be utterly indifferent to animal suffering because I stand to gain from it, yet I am morally obliged to be passionate about human suffering whether or not it could be for my personal betterment.
M. Moran, UK

Sixty plus percent of the public think there should be a complete ban on animal testing yet only a small minority, probably less than ten percent, abstain from eating them. Factory farming accounts, by far, for the greatest amount of animal suffering, a lifetime of squalid sensory deprived misery followed by a violent and inhumane death in many cases.
An animal-based diet has been shown to be unnecessary for good health, in fact, it is a proven factor in heart disease, cancer and diabetes. If we can't sort the meat problem out, how are we to begin to address the need for animals in the testing of necessary drugs
Mark Graham, USA

Of course WE see ourselves as more important than other species, as I'm sure other self-realising species see themselves, but we CANNOT use this flimsy, subjective argument as an excuse to totally disregard the feelings of other species. You wouldn't like it if some alien race claiming to be the most "important" turned up and squirted alien cosmetics in your mother's eye, would you?
Rob Harris, UK

The Government has fulfilled an important election pledge on animal welfare.
Simon Battle

In response to earlier comments, it is a shame that Paul McCartney was not true to Linda's principles at the end of the day. Animal testing in the modern age is unnecessary and should be phased out. Human volunteers should be used for final testing rather than animals. We should also stop eating animals as they are not necessary to adequate nutrition and the world wastes so much land growing food for animals instead of humans.
Barry Tregear, England

What do these campaigners want; tests on humans instead of animals? Since they are so high-minded I am sure they won't mind being the first human guinea pigs in the queue. They really need to reset their minds on this: humans first, animals second.
Bernard Harrison, UK

As a British citizen living in the USA, I must first of all applaud Britain for banning the testing of cosmetics on animals in the UK. I wish the US had the same common sense. Secondly, I consider it totally unnecessary in these modern times to conduct any kind of product tests on animals. Animal testing is cruel, old-fashioned and unsatisfactory. Animals are not the same as humans and do not react in the same way. I would like to see a total ban on animal testing of any kind. I cannot imagine how these so-called "scientists" can justify themselves. Animal testing is animal abuse, plain and simple. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE!
Pam Mouton, USA

If all animal testing is banned, how will medicines be developed? Will the approval protocols be modified accordingly? Will cures have to be tried only on humans? Will there be enough volunteers? How about lawsuits by families of victims of imperfectly designed cures?
Alternatives to animal testing must be developed but even these alternatives will require animal testing in order to compare results. Will the animal rights activists endorse any responsibility of the disastrous effects of their rosy cuddly thoughts? I doubt it. Let them turn down cures that have been tested on animals. I want to have access to that miracle cure.
Michael O'Shea, The Netherlands

Much of the testing is totally unnecessary; e.g. the LD50, in which thousands of animals are tested for poisonous effects by increasing the dosage until the animals die. Skin testing can be done by other means, therefore cosmetic testing cannot be justified - why should any creature die for human vanity? Surgical procedures are perhaps the most unpleasant, but no surgeon would dare to experiment on a human - particularly in the US.
However drug testing except for when a totally new ingredient is being introduced; in which case initial animal testing must be used. How many people would volunteer to test by ingestion the effects on something completely unknown? However, one must never forget that Thalidomide, was fully tested on rats...
Ann Eastman, UK

Animals have rights too. Just because they can't speak doesn't mean they can't feel! They should be treated with respect and not die painfully for a subject that has no meaning to them.
Caroline J Hunt, England

Yes I think that all animal experiments should be banned. I understand the concerns over medical testing and "human needs over animal lives", but the testing obviously doesn't work because there is still AIDS, cancer and all the other diseases that these tests are supposed to be curing. If medical tests really are needed, why can't there be a more humane way to do it? Why not use people's cells, skin etc. We are not the same as animals so why test products on them when we surely will not react the same way as an animal would.
With all the technology that we have now, I really cannot understand why we still have to use living animals in such a barbaric way - we are nearly in the year 2000 - this has to stop.
Eleanor, England

Animal testing is cruel and the sooner we ban it the better.
Katie Willis, England

One point. Life-long advocate of a ban on animal testing - namely Paul McCartney allowed his late wife Linda's doctors to give her medicine which had been tested on animals. A human life - like it or not - is far more important than an animal's life regardless of it's intellect etc. When it comes down to it, rightly or wrongly, we will all happily sacrifice an animal in order to save a loved one!
Kevin, Scotland




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