Use of animals in medical research


NB. Please note that if you are outside North America, the embargo for LANCET press material is 0001 hours UK Time 3 September 2004.

This press release is also available in German.

In its main editorial this week THE LANCET supports the use of animals in medical research. "The use of animals in medical research and safety testing is a vital part of the quest to improve human health. It always has been and probably always will be…without animal testing there will be no new drugs for new or hard-to-treat diseases."

The Lancet's "view is a humanistic one that challenges other arguments…the creation and development of medicine, together with its vast influence over human life, is inherently speciesist. Rather than apologise for medicine as it is pursued today, society should be seeking to strengthen it. Animal research is an essential part of compassionate humanistic endeavour."

The editorial recognises that the views expressed will upset many, but continues: "We listen respectfully to their arguments - but we respectfully disagree." All animal research needs to be justified scientifically, says the editorial, citing Peter Singer's book Animal Liberation, which shows that some experiments were not justified on such grounds. The Lancet says scientists should demonstrate how valuable their research is and "to reassure the public that they use animals responsibly and with due care."

The UK is probably the world's leader in the regulation of animal experiments and husbandry. The Lancet wants other countries, especially the USA, to catch up.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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