PCRM 2005: The Year in Review: PCRM Experts Debate at House of Commons
In November, Britain’s House of Commons hosted two PCRM experts in a debate against two leading U.K. animal experimentation proponents. The debate was organized to help British lawmakers come to a decision about a parliamentary proposal to subject animal experiments to validation testing. Although British researchers kill an estimated 3 million animals each year, the government is far more restrictive than U. S. regulators as to what kinds of experiments may be conducted. For example, research on great apes has been banned since 1986, although it is still legal in U.S. laboratories.
John Pippin, M.D., and Jarrod Bailey, Ph.D., made the case that animal testing is unnecessary, inaccurate, and scientifically unsound. The two presented data on differences in how various species’ bodies handle drugs. For example, aspirin, the most commonly used drug in the world, causes birth defects in mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs, and monkeys—yet is safe in human pregnancy.
On the flip side, many drugs that have been “proven” safe in animal tests (such as Vioxx) have been prescribed to humans with deadly results. In fact, more than 90 percent of new drugs shown to be safe and effective in animal studies are rejected in early clinical trials because of toxicity or inefficacy, PCRM’s experts told Parliament. “We must stop trying to unlock the door of human health with the wrong key. Animal experiments are the wrong key,” Dr. Pippin told lawmakers.