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NEARLY 90% OF BEAGLES USED IN UK ARE FOR TOXICOLOGY TESTS
Saturday, 18th June
(With thanks from Andre Menache)
According to the UK Home Office statistics on animals used in scientific procedures, there were 4 089 beagles used in 2009.
Of this total number of dogs, 3 536 were used in toxicology tests, which represents a whopping 86%. (Home Office statistics)
In other words, almost all beagles are used in poisoning tests. These crude and very cruel poisoning tests are done simply to tick boxes. These tests are about as predictive for humans as a coin toss (see open letter in The Lancet). They could be replaced tomorrow if the pharmaceutical industry and the regulatory authorities were willing to replace them with meaningful human cell and other human-based test systems. Any human based test will always outperform an animal test, even if the former are not 100% accurate (e.g. 70% is always better than a coin toss = 50%).
Regarding medical research issues, dogs respond differently to heart-lung machines than do humans because of species differences with respect to blood clotting mechanisms and with respect to the amount of oxygen bubbled through the system. If a different animal species had been used, other problems would have arisen and the first human patients would have had to suffer different complications.
Regarding insulin, this is a biological product common to all mammals. The major hurdle was simply finding a way to purify it. It could equally have been obtained from a pig or a cow. Once again, the first human recipients had to suffer complications until insulin was sufficiently purified, using biochemical methods that had nothing to do with animal experiments.
David Pruce speaking on BBC recently stated that animal research was essential if we wanted to find treatments for HIV, MS, Parkinson's and cancer. This was a clever ruse because the animals under discussion were beagles. Beagles are not used in those areas of research.
"Tests on animals have led to around 100 drugs being thought potentially useful for stroke; not one has proved effective in humans. You don't need to be a balaclava-wearing animal rights activist to question the value of animal studies in this area of medical research."
WILL NOT LAST FOREVER!