Sunday, December 6, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

Of Baboons, Butchers and the Best of Science
A very interesting turn of events occurred at Oklahoma State University last week. “Anthrax study rejected by OSU” tells how the President of the University stopped an anthrax test that would have killed a number of baboons.

The real hero of the story appears to be Madeleine Pickens, who “...threatened to redirect a $5 million donation to the vet school because she did not agree with such practices.”

Good for her! Of course those who experiment on animals didn’t handle the news very well, as we can see in this blog post from one student. I guess he missed the memo where, for PR sake, young vivisectors are supposed to hide all that rage and anger they have. If one day we see this guy on a PETA hidden camera smacking a few animals around in the lab, I for one would not be surprised.

One quote from the article I want to discuss is this: “He said primates are the best animals to test treatments because they are similar biologically to humans.”

That one little phrase “...because they are similar biologically to humans,” has been used to justify the experimentation and torture of non-human primates by the thousands. And you know what? It doesn’t matter if they are similar to humans - they aren’t human, and that’s why it all goes wrong.

When you get a chance, check out the Special Reports section of the ARISE website. Specifically, read this report on human-animal hybrid embryos. The experiments in question were supposed to create workable human-animal embryos, but they failed. Here’s the kicker though - the hybrid embryos were “99.9% human and 0.1% animal.”

Forget being “...similar biologically to humans,” these embryos were within a hairs reach of total humanity, and they still didn’t work. As I wrote in that report, this is why we must move away from using animals as substitutes for human biology, because even a 0.1% difference is an infinite chasm to bridge.

Now let’s flip this issue and take a look at what some real scientists are doing. At the same time that the anthrax test cancellation story broke, this amazing article hit the press as well: 'Toxichip' system may replace animal testing. Now this is real science; groundbreaking technology without the bloodletting. It’s the future, where human cells are used to test drugs and toxicity for human beings. (Check out this page on our site for information on other such technology).

With innovative tools like these in place, we will one day look back at the practices of modern animal experimentation with the same disdain we have for the diviners of ancient Rome, who cut animals open to prophesy fortunes of war. Though, with nine out of ten drugs tested on animals failing once tested on humans, we may find that those Roman butchers had a better success rate than today’s vivisector.

All of this is why I am so unimpressed with the ‘scientists’ and students who are decrying the cancellation of the horrific anthrax tests, and why I am so impressed by scientists working to create a future without animal testing.
There is hope out there.

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