Animal testing opponents leaflet USF
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04/24/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

This week is World Week for Animals in Laboratories. Today the group Florida Voices for Animals passed out flyers at the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus in front of the main library and the medical library.

Mindy Lasley is an attorney and a member of Florida Voices for Animals. She said she wants to educate students about animal testing.

The Outreach Coordinator with Florida Voices for Animals, Nikki Benoit, said she hopes to provide awareness to students.

Lasley said that three of the most egregious abusers of laboratory animals are the National Institutes of Health, medical schools and the U.S. military.

Some cosmetic companies still test their products on animals, Lasley said, but there are alternatives to animal testing. She calls Johns Hopkins the worst among the universities, but there is even animal testing at USF, she says.

The opinions of students on campus differed on animal testing. Patrick Hernley, a first-year PhD student in music education, said he is opposed to testing on animals.

Sami El-Shair from Sweden studies at the English Language Institute at USF. He says he favors animal testing, within limits.

Learn more:

World Week for Animals in Laboratories (April 20th – April 27th 2008)

Florida Voices for Animals

Animal Research and Humane Alternatives

Military’s War on Animals

Humane Society of the United States

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Animal Testing

Many prominent scientists, supported by a vast amount of research, doubt the value of animal testing. An article in the Guardian cited geneticist and director of Europeans for Medical Progress Kathy Archibald saying researchers are "trying to create the impression that there is unanimous support in the scientific community, and that is not the case. There is enormous doubt about the testing." Many of the alleged advances in medical science using animal testing were failures and ended up being harmful to humans and are either withdrawn or relabeled due to severe, unpredicted side effects. Drug after drug is being exposed as harmful to patients even though they were not harmful to animals. Vioxx was tested extensively on monkeys and proven to be beneficial to monkey hearts, but this mistake will cost Merck & Co. $4.85 billion dollars to settle 26,600 Vioxx-related personal-injury lawsuits. Vioxx is just one example. In fact, in a USDA press release January 12, 2006, Health & Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said: "Currently, nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies." But there is a simpler argument that testing is either morally or scientifically dubious: The animals must be a great deal like us for the results to be scientifically unproblematic, but very different from us in order to be morally unproblematic. When we want scientifically useful results, the more like us they are, the better. When we want clear consciences over causing disease, suffering, and death to innocent creatures, the more like us the animals are, the worse. But we cannot have it both ways?