Food and Ag Science Will Shape Our Future
Tom Vilsack
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To waste billions of U.S. tax dollars every year on archaic and unethical animal experiments when superior methods are available is unjustifiable.

Since animals are dissimilar to us in a multitude of ways, results of animal experimentation simply lead us in the wrong direction; in other words the tests are fundamentally flawed. People die because we rely on these results. There are newer, more reliable ways of testing that do not involve animals. Animals experience daily horrors such as cutting, burning, poisoning, death, and other barbaric acts.

Testing on animals will not prove that chemicals, medications, et al, are safe for human beings due to the documented differences between species, and because animals are given unrealistically high doses during experiments. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has acknowledged that 95 percent of all drugs that test safe and effective in animals are found to be either unsafe or ineffective in humans. It is not just the welfare of animals that we are concerned about, it is the fact, as I previously stated, that when we rely on animal testing, it is flawed and people die. (Source: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/271830-fda-accept-human-focused-preclinical-tests-to-improve-drug).

Regarding funding for research during a government meeting, former director for U.S. National Institutes of Health Dr. Elias Zerhouni stated that testing on animals to benefit humans has been a major failure. He told his colleagues: “We have moved away from studying human disease in humans. . . . We all drank the Kool-Aid on that one, me included. . . . The problem is that [animal testing] hasn’t worked, and it’s time we stopped dancing around the problem. . . . We need to refocus and adapt new methodologies for use in humans to understand disease biology in humans.”

Fran Visco who is a breast cancer survivor as well as the founder of the National Breast Cancer Coalition has stated that, “Animals don’t reflect the reality of cancer in humans,” and the former National Cancer Institute Director Dr. Richard Klausner has said, “The history of cancer research has been the history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades, and it simply didn’t work in humans.”

Rather than using live animals, for instance, combat trauma training courses can be taught using any of a variety of realistic, high-fidelity medical simulators. For example, the Cut Suit, by Strategic Operations, Inc. Compared to live tissue training, the Cut Suit comes closer to replicating the treatment of a human casualty. Further, the Cut Suit can teach extremity tourniquet application, extremity arterial hemorrhage clamping, surgical incisions to the thoracic and abdominal cavity, hemorrhage control of organ structure, and suturing or stapling of organs and skin.

Another is the Maryland-based Operative Experience, Inc. Not long ago, one highly regarded battlefield trauma expert and Uniformed Services University professor of surgery stated about Operative Experience’s devices that it is “as close to human tissue as anything I’ve ever seen . . . [T]hese models are like nothing else out there . . . Combined with a curriculum, they have the capacity to revolutionize training”.

John Pippin, M.D., of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine conveyed this to the Associated Press: “After you practice on a pig, when you go to humans, you have to change it all around. Compared to the use of a human cadaver or compared to the use of simulators, it’s not as good.” (Source: http://www.pcrm.org/media/online/sept2016/complaints-against-animal-use-in-north-and-south-carolina-medical-training)

The Physicians Committee also had the following to say: “ . . . commercial antibodies made with animals commonly lack two important characteristics, specificity and affinity. That is, if antibodies were torpedoes, ideally they would attack only a certain type of target (specificity) and would attack voraciously (affinity). Specificity and affinity are the two hallmark features that make research antibodies especially useful for scientists, and the current lack of specificity and affinity that result from animal-derived antibodies wastes considerable time, intellectual effort, and money and hinders research progress. Lack of specificity in antibodies is a major issue that arises due to the inherent unpredictability of animals’ immune systems. Researchers know that when it comes to commercial antibodies, what is on the label does not necessarily correspond to what is in the tube. There are numerous documented examples of nonspecific, low-affinity antibodies, and of antibodies that completely fail to recognize their targets.” (Source: http://www.pcrm.org/research/resch/animal-derived-antibodies-in-medical-research)

An important letter appears in Science magazine, entitled “Animal-Based Antibodies: Obsolete”. You can read it in the following link: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6298/452.2

As well there are cell-based tests, “organs-on-chips”, tissue models, skin models, computer (in silico) modeling, and so much more that have been developed or are in development now.

http://www.pcrm.org/research/animaltestalt/tailtox/nonanimal-testing-methods

The newest non-animal device is a robot which researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other government agencies have developed. It is a completely new way to examine how chemicals can affect human cells, it is totally human based, and it doesn’t involve ANY animals. For more information and a video demonstration, please go to:

http://www.peta.org/blog/video-could-this-robot-save-millions-of-animals-from-deaths-in-laboratories/?utm_campaign=021216%20PETA%20E-News%20Social&utm_source=PETA%20E-Mail&utm_medium=E-News

To find out more for yourself about non-animal studies, please read this report on “Averting Drug Disasters: http://www.pcrm.org/media/good-medicine

Then go to the following website for further information: The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine at www.pcrm

I strongly urge you to contact your members of congress to earmark research funds for progressive and relevant-to-human clinical and non-animal studies instead of outdated experiments that harm and kill humans as well as animals. Thank you.

Not sure who your congress people are? Find them and contact them here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/

(Researched & Written by Jacqueline Schmidt — 2016)

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