Against animal research at UBC - Macleans.ca
 

Against animal research at UBC

60 advocacy groups sign letter calling on UBC to disclose records on animal experimentation


 

A Vancouver animal rights group is calling on the University of British Columbia to unleash information about its extensive animal research program. In a Thanksgiving Day letter to the school’s president, 60 advocacy groups led by Stop UBC Animal Research have asked for disclosure on experimentation.

The groups are hoping to learn the numbers and species of animals used over the last 10 years, get research protocols, find out who’s providing funding and to see photo and video documentation. Spokesman Brian Vincent says the information will allow members of the public to decide how they feel about the issue, although his group does ultimately hope to end testing.

The public appeal comes after the volunteer group says they’ve been repeatedly denied Freedom of Information requests and meetings with UBC officials. The group formed in February after a UBC student publication reported the university is one of the largest bio-medical campuses in Canada, using cats, pigs, rats and rabbits for research.

The Canadian Press


 
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Against animal research at UBC

  1. What about the benefits of animal research? Why don’t we honour and thank those animals for saving countless human and animal lives? Those mice and rats sacrifice their lives to save humans, they’re selfless heroes! What right do we have to strip such honour from them?

    In all seriousness though, what do pro-animal rights people want researchers to do instead of animal testing? What alternatives do they think are better?

  2. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that of all drugs found to be safe and effective in animal tests, 92% are found to be either unsafe or ineffective in humans. In 2007, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences published a report entitled, “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century,” that calls for a move away from animal tests, which the scientists acknowledge do not reliably predict outcomes in humans. We see problems of extrapolation not only in toxicity testing, but also in major areas of disease exploration. Relying on mice to try to find clues to cancer has proven to be terribly costly – in terms of dollars spent, animal lives lost, and human hopes dashed. Dr. Richard Klausner, former director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, famously lamented the failure of animal experimentation in addressing cancer: “The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades, and it simply didn’t work in humans.”

    So, what’s the alternative to methods that don’t work? Methods that do. Many non-animal methods have been developed and validated for toxicity testing. You can find some here: http://alttox.org/ and http://ecvam.jrc.ec.europa.eu/. There is additional information on alternatives here: http://caat.jhsph.edu/, and an in-depth critique of animal experimentation, prepared by the Medical Research Modernization Committee here: http://www.mrmcmed.org/Critcv.html.

    Non-animal replacements tend to be predicated on human cells, tissue, and cultures and do not involve the risky extrapolation of data from one species to another. And because these replacements do not use sentient animals against their will in experiments that can be painful and are usually lethal, these tests are ethically superior as well.

  3. I bet all the people who oppose animal testing owe a lot to scientific and medical breakthroughs attributed to animal experimentation: organ transplants, antibiotics, penicillin, polio treatments, lithium, anti-retrovirals for HIV…. you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t benefited directly from it.

  4. Michelle, do you know the facts behind those ‘breakthroughs’? or are you assuming they were all discovered successfully and directly from animal experimentation?

  5. CM, did you think that was funny? are you aware of the amount of REAL SUFFERING involved in animal research? It’s kind of telling that you would joke about such a thing. I hope that most people don’t see this humour in the suffering and death of countless(or at least they won’t tell us how many) living sentient beings.

  6. Not funny CM. It saddens me to hear people making light of things by saying ‘why don’t we honour them’ for saving human lives. It’s like trying to find the funny side of genocide. Being tortured to death IS NOTA A JOKE? These animals are being sacrificed by the MILLIONS, every year, yet our populations is getting sicker and sicker. Scientists have said that the current generation will be the first NOT to live as long as their parents. Yes, there is Karma.
    I’m constantly amazed at the lies people tell themselves to justify the brutal and barbaric custom of torturing innocent and helpless creatures. What universal right do have to do this? Think about the kind of people that are capable of carrying out these experiments. Child molesters and serial killers start out this way.

    As for what else can we do ? There are other methods such as cell testing. Do some research. And even if there weren’t we still don’t have the right to commit atrocities, yes ATROCITIES.

    I am not going to argue about the different physiologies of OTHER animals and how it has caused many mistakes and much harm to the human animal because, quite frankly, I don’t care. The simple fact is that it is morally and ethically wrong And deep inside we all know this. This sense of entitlement that the human ANIMAL has, has brought this planet to the brink of destruction. We are not better than other animals. Don’t you think it’s about time that we became just as good as they are?

  7. Barbara – First of all, calm down. Second, Do some research yourself. “Child molesters and serial killers start out this way” …. It’s irrational and overly-emotional statements like these that deter animal research scientists from having rational, and maybe even constructive, conversations with the anti-animal research groups. You do your own cause a disservice with your emotional and unresearched responses.

    Cell-based testing is definitely an alternative with obvious benefits, both scientific and ethical. The big problem is that whatever reaction you get out of cells in a dish in response to a novel drug candidate, for example, can’t predict the reaction you will get to that same novel drug candidate when you add in the entire human body, with its billions of cells and complex immune system. If a scientist shows that a particular drug is not toxic to skin cells in a Petri dish, can that scientist now say (ethically) that the drug is non-toxic and apply it to a willing human? What happens after the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream? Where does it go? Does it travel through the body, get filtered through the kidneys and exit peacefully? Or does it get to the kidneys, bind to a particular cell type in that organ, start to accumulate and cause damage? Unfortunately, there isn’t yet any cell-based system that can replace an entire human being in order to find the answers to these important questions.

    Now before you jump all over me and my response, and accuse me of being some sort of child-molester-in-training, please note that I have not yet stated whether or not I support animal research. I have stated one of the major problems with cell-based testing as alternatives to animal research, but I haven’t said whether or not I believe that mice and rats and other animals commonly used in the lab are appropriate substitutes for humans. I’m still on the fence about it, to be perfectly honest, although I will admit that I’m less inclined to listen to the animal rights groups who sometimes resort to violence and attempt to sway the public by presenting selective, if not distorted, facts.

    What I Do support, however, is learning and (at least) trying to understand both sides of an argument. Because of the increased animal rights activity at UBC, I believe it would be in the university’s best interest to at least sit down and talk with these groups.