Why Alternative Cancer Treatment

Animal Experimentation Unscientific

Physicians Convincingly Argue That Animal Testing Seriously Impedes Progress in Human Medicine While Vivisection Industry Profits

This booklet by People for Reason in Science and Medicine (PRISM), a nonprofit health and environmental organization*, gives an excellent scientifically substantiated introduction to the subject. While “vivisectors claim that medical advances and new techniques are made possible by experiments done with animals”, the very opposite is true. In fact, not only has medical progress been impeded but many humans have paid the gross scientific error of reliance on animal experiments for product/drug safety testing with their health and even their life.

* People for Reason in Science and Medicine, c/o Dr. Deborah Goldsmith, www.peopleforreason.org
PRISM, 16161 Ventura Blvd., Ste.C-460, Encino, CA 91436
Library of Congress #94-74005, ISBN #1-886605-00-9

Animal Experimentation and Human Medicine

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Emil Levin, MD

Chapter 1
Animal Testing
Experimental Research on Animals
Dissection and Practice Surgery

Chapter 2
The Damage to Human Health
Animal Tests and Dangerous Drugs
Animal Tests and Environmental Dangers
Vivisection and Funding Priorities
Vivisection and the Delay of Valuable Therapies
Vivisectors and False Claims
Animal Experiments vs Health Care

Chapter 3
The Vivisection Industry
Big Business
Alibi Tests
The Status Quo
Confusing the Issue
The Ivory Tower



In this booklet, we expose the enormous damage to human health that has been caused by animal experimentation, also known as vivisection.

Unfortunately, the discussions of vivisection that appear in newspapers and on television do not address the medical disasters for which it is responsible. Rather than discussing vivisection in terms of its effect on human health, the media continually present it as an "animal rights" issue.

These endless debates revolving around the philosophical concept of "animal rights" have created a smokescreen which has diverted attention from the human damage caused by vivisection. It is the objective of this booklet to cut through this smokescreen and provide the public with the facts about animal research and the human suffering for which it is responsible.

In the following pages you will learn how pharmaceutical companies use animal tests to conceal the dangers posed by the drugs they sell. You will learn how vivisectors receive billions of tax dollars to conduct experiments that only serve to hinder and prevent medical progress. You will hear the expert opinion of doctors, surgeons and scientists who have for years denounced vivisection as scientifically invalid, fraudulent and responsible for enormous damage to human health.

Foreword by Emil Levin, MD, 1995

In my twenty-five years as a practicing physician, I have become acutely aware of the negative impact on medical science caused by vivisection. I am fully aware that many people will find this statement surprising - even shocking - given the generally-held belief in the necessity of animal experimentation [vivisection].

I must state that an objective and careful examination of the facts can lead to only one conclusion, one that more and more of my colleagues in medical practice and research are joining me in reaching. I am confident that after reading ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION AND HUMAN MEDICINE you will have reached this same conclusion: that for the benefit of human health, and for the sake of medical and scientific progress, vivisection must be abolished.

For years it has been my fervent hope that this important issue would become the subject of open public debate. It is therefore with pleasure that I introduce ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION AND HUMAN MEDICINE, a work I am sure will contribute greatly in opening up that debate. Its thorough research and organized presentation of the information will prove thought-provoking and convincing to professionals and laypersons alike.

As a doctor, I am troubled by the one-sidedness of the medical dialogue in our society. We should not have a system where medical information is simply dictated to the public, who are expected to not question it. This system does not engender the level of trust and mutual respect that should exist between health care providers and patients. Nor does it encourage the exchange of open ideas and debate that is necessary for good science.

Fortunately, for the last several years, you have seen the emergence of health advocacy organizations such as People for Reason In Science and Medicine (PRISM). Through their publications, newsletters and events, PRISM educates people about such topics as natural therapies, health freedom, the environment, nutrition, vaccines and vivisection. They provide a flow of health-related information not available in print or television news - information to which this booklet is a valuable addition.

ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION AND HUMAN MEDICINE will change forever the way you regard vivisection and modern medicine. I hope it will lead you to join the ever-growing group of doctors, researchers and health advocates who are actively working to end the scientific mistake of vivisection.

About Dr. Levin... Dr. Emil Levin began practicing medicine in Russia in 1969. He has practiced in the United States since 1980. In addition, he has also studied homeopathic medicine in Germany. He is co-author, with Diane Danielson, of Cardiac Arrest. Dr. Levin currently practices in Hollywood, CA.

Chapter One


Vivisection experiments fall into three general categories: attempts to test the toxicity of drugs and substances (Animal Testing); attempts to study human disease (Experimental Research on Animals); and attempts to teach medical students human anatomy and surgical techniques (Dissection and Practice Surgery). In order to fully demonstrate vivisection's complete lack of scientific validity, it is necessary to discuss each of these three areas separately.

Animal Testing

Animals are used by pharmaceutical/chemical companies to test the toxicity of drugs and other substances including cosmetics, household cleaners and pesticides. This practice has been regularly criticized by doctors and scientists, who insist that animal testing is unscientific, erroneous and a danger to human health.

According to Dr. Arie Brecher, M.D., head pediatrician in Holon, Israel, "Animals are completely different from humans, and no animal species can serve as an experimental model for man. Each animal has a genetic code of its own, which is a fixed datum, and characteristically unique in each species. For this reason, a method that is based on the similarity between the species, while there are differences, and different genetic codes, can only lead medical science into error." [Brecher, 1989]

Animal tests do not protect the consumer from the sale of dangerous drugs and substances because it is impossible to reliably predict human reactions in animals. There are countless biological variations between all species of animals. These biological variations exist in terms of anatomy, genetics, physiology, cell makeup, life span, nutritional needs, etc. As a result, all species of animals react uniquely to each and every drug and every substance.

Strychnine, one of the deadliest poisons to humans, is harmless to monkeys, chickens, and guinea pigs.

A dose of belladonna that would kill a person is harmless to rabbits and goats.

Sheep can consume enormous quantities of arsenic, which is fatal to humans in small amounts.

What we consider poisonous mushrooms (Amanita Phalloides) are commonly eaten by rabbits.

Hemlock is a deadly poison for humans, but is consumed without ill effect by mice, sheep, goats and horses.

PCP, or "angel dust", which drives humans into a frenzy, is used as a sedative for horses.

These examples are typical of the wide range of reactions that occur between species, and they clearly demonstrate the danger of using animals to "safety test" drugs intended for human use.

According to Gianni Tamino, medical researcher at the University of Padua and Member of the Italian Parliament: "It has been demonstrated that results from animal experiments are in no way applicable to human beings. There is a natural law connected with metabolism (the aggregate of all physical and chemical processes constantly taking place in living organisms), according to which a biomedical reaction that has been established for one species is valid only for that particular species and for no other. Oftentimes two closely related species such as rat and mouse may react in entirely differing ways."

A Few of the Thousands of Drugs With Side Effects Not Predicted by Animal Tests






2,000+ deaths [2];
30,000+ blinded, paralyzed



3,500+ deaths


sleeping pill

10,000+ birth defects;
3,000+ stillbirths



cancer, birth defects


social drug

420,000 deaths/year [3]



10,000+ deaths



aplastic anemia, 42+ deaths



liver damage, 61+ deaths



liver damage, 5+ deaths



fatal heart attacks up 37%



blindness, 23+ deaths


stops breast milk production

heart attacks, seizures, 13 deaths (as of 1993)

[1] Death, while a common reaction to drugs, is by no means the only problem. More often, temporary or permanent damage of varying degrees occurs. This, too, is often under-reported, as it may take months or years to develop, and may be the result of the patient taking several prescribed drugs whose interactions in humans are not yet catalogued.

[2] Death rates followed by a "+" include deaths from First-World nations only. Pharmaceuticals are often sold in Second- and Third-World nations after being banned in their nations of origin. Having poorer record-keeping and haphazard distribution of pharamaceuticals - many being sold over-the-counter - the deaths and other problems often go unrecorded in those nations. Moreover, as physicians are often reluctant to admit that a drug they prescribed harmed a patient, such deaths are less likely to be reported, even in first-world nations.

[3] Estimated yearly death rate, USA only. The New York Times, December 6, 1993, quoted sworn testimony of William Campbell, President and CEO of cigarette manufacturer Phillip Morris USA:

Q. Does cigarette smoking cause cancer?
A. To my knowledge, it has not been proven that cigarette smoking causes cancer.
Q. What do you base that on?
A. I base that on the fact that traditionally, there is, you know, in scientific terms, there are hurdles related to causation, and at this time there is no evidence that - they have not been able to reproduce cancer in animals from cigarette smoking.

Experimental Research on Animals

Experimental research on animals is the attempt to recreate human disease in animals in order to study it. Vivisectors receive billions of tax dollars every year to conduct experimental research on animals despite the criticisms of clinical doctors and researchers who insist that no human disease can ever be understood or cured by vivisection.

According to Dr. Emil Levin, M.D., "The biological variations between species make the results of experiments done in one species ... inapplicable to any other species, including humans. In addition to this, the various diseases which plague human beings either do not occur naturally in non-humans or they take on a very different form. Put simply, animals can never have human disease due to the basic biological fact that they are not human.

"Experimental research on animals contains an even deeper flaw than the biological variations between species. Vivisectors attempt to inflict diseases on animals using unnatural laboratory conditions that bear no resemblance to the complex variety of conditions which lead to human disease, such as diet, lifestyle, genetics, environment and stress." [Levin, 1994]

As Professor Pietro Croce, M.D., of the Milan Institute explains, "A disease caused artificially is not the same disease as one born spontaneously." [Croce, 1990] When we realize this basic biological fact, it becomes clear that experimental research on animals can never lead to an understanding of human disease.

Dr. Bernhard Rambeck, M.D. is Director of the Biochemical Laboratory of the Institute for Research on Epilepsy in Bielefeld, Germany. In a 1989 speech he explains how vivisection experiments have prevented progress in the understanding and treatment of epilepsy:

"Epilepsy artificially produced in an animal with mechanical and violent means is in no way comparable to human epilepsy, which arises from within, spontaneously, and has usually more than one cause, usually including psychic reasons, that can not be reproduced in an animal. This explains why the various substances with which we can sedate or diminish "epileptic attacks" in animals - of course, after provoking them artificially - not only don't obtain similar results in man, but are on the contrary total failures." [Rambeck, 1989]

The situation that Dr. Rambeck describes in the case of epilepsy is identical in all areas of disease research where experimental research on animals is employed. Cancers that spontaneously arise in humans out of an individual's particular lifestyle, environment, genetics, diet, state of mind and countless other variables cannot be understood by artificially inducing tumors in animals under unnatural laboratory conditions.

Human arthritis cannot be understood by vivisection experiments, which attempt to artificially "recreate" arthritis by crushing or hammering the joints of animals. Obviously, people who have arthritis have not had their joints crushed in this way, but have developed the condition spontaneously from within. In each of these cases, as in all experimental research on animals, vivisectors do not succeed in giving the experimental animals the disease - they merely give them symptoms that only superficially resemble it.

Experimental research on animals can never work - because it is based on two scientifically invalid premises. It takes the false premise of using animals as experimental models for humans and adds to it the false premise of artificially "recreating" disease. As a result it can tell us nothing about human health and disease. It can only give incorrect and misleading results that hinder and delay medical progress.

Eminent surgeons have for years denounced the practice of using animals to teach medical students human anatomy and surgical techniques, insisting that it can only mislead students and produce dangerous surgeons. Professor Bruno Fedi, M.D., Director of the Institute of Pathological Anatomy at the General Hospital in Terni, Italy, states,

"No surgeon can gain the least knowledge from experiments on animals, and all the great surgeons of the past and present day are in agreement on that. One cannot learn surgery through operating on animals. Animals are completely different from man from the anatomical standpoint, their reactions are quite different, their structure is diffferent, their resistance is different. Study of animals can only mislead the surgeon." [Fedi, 1986]

Professor Ferdinando de Leo, M.D., Professor of Surgery, Special Surgical Pathology, and General Clinical Surgery and Therapy at the Univerity of Naples, and head surgeon at the Pelligrini Hospital, explained in an interview on Rome television in 1978:

"Vivisectors claim that vivisection helps the beginner to acquire manual dexterity. But how can anyone imagine that one can acquire such dexterity by operating on a cat, on a dog, on a rat, whose intestines are much smaller, whose various organs have an entirely different anatomical relationship to each other than in man, in no way comparable to the human? The same goes for the consistency of the innards, their color, their resistance to the scalpel and so on." [de Leo, 1978]

Lawson Tait has been called the Father of Modern Surgery because in the late 1800s he developed many of the surgical techniques still in use today. By 1872 he had developed what became known as "Tait's Operation", the removal of the uterine appendages for chronic ovaritis. [Ruesch, 1989, p.277] He also performed the first successful appendectomy and the first cholecystotomy (the surgical removal of gall stones).

Before going on to his brilliant surgical career, Lawson Tait was required to first perform "practice surgery" on animals during his surgical training. The result of this, according to Dr. Tait, was that: "I had to unlearn everything I had 'learned' on dogs and start over studying human anatomy. It delayed my progress by twelve years." [Risden, 1967]

During his entire career, Dr. Tait continued to condemn "practice surgery" on animals and vivisection in general. In 1882 Dr.Tait wrote: "The fact is that diseases of animals are so different from those of men, wounds of animals are so different from those of humans, that the conclusions of vivisection are absolutely worthless." [Tait, 1882]

Countless surgeons before and after Dr. Tait have repeated this assertion. Dr. Abel Desjardins, President of the French Society of Surgeons, chief surgeon at the College of Surgery of the Faculty of Paris, and professor of Surgery ... at France's Ecole Normale Supérieure, explained how surgery must be taught in his speech at the Congress Against Vivisection in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 19, 1932:

"The basis of surgery is the anatomy. That is why surgery must first be learned from anatomical treatises and atlases, and then by dissecting a great number of cadavers. Thus you not only learn the anatomy but also acquire the indispensable manual dexterity. From there you go on to learn the practice of surgery. This can only be acquired in the hospital and through daily contact with the patients. You must be an assistant before becoming a surgeon...

Finally, let's examine how one comes to the actual surgical operation. First you watch, then you assist a surgeon. You do this a great many times. After you have understood the various stages of an operation and the difficulties that may arise, and have learned to overcome them, then, and only then, may you begin to operate. First, easy cases, under the supervision of an experienced surgeon, who can warn you of any wrong step or advise or if you have any doubts on how to proceed...

This is the real school of surgery, and I proclaim that there is no other... After I have explained to you the real school of surgery, it is easy to understand why all the courses of surgery based on operations on dogs have been miserable failures. The surgeon who knows his art can learn nothing from those courses, and the beginner doesn't learn from them the true surgical technique, but becomes a dangerous surgeon." [Ruesch, 1989, pp. 161-162]

Even the vivisectionist practice surgery manuals used by students admit that surgical techniques used on animals cannot be applied to humans. In the Introduction to the vivisection practice surgery manual 'Experimental Surgery', its author J. Markovich, warns students: "The operative technique described in these pages is suitable for animals, usually dogs. However, it does not follow that it is equally an[d] always suited for human beings. We refuse to allow the student the pretense that what he is doing is operating on a patient for the cure of an ailment." [Markowitz, 1949]
Also see three examples of animal surgery practice impeding medical progress.

When so many eminent surgeons condemn practice surgery on animals as misleading and dangerous, and even the vivisection manuals admit that it teaches students nothing about human surgery, why do some in the scientific and medical community still insist it is necessary? We will examine the reasons behind this in Chapter 3.

Chapter Two

The Damage to Human Health

The damage to human health and medical science caused by vivisection comes in many forms. These range from the more visible harm caused by dangerous drugs that have passed animal tests, to more subtle forms such as the medically-invasive attitude that vivisection has helped advance. In this chapter, we will look at several different aspects of vivisection's negative impacts, citing examples of each.

Animal Tests and Dangerous Drugs

The anti-arthritis drug Opren was released by Eli Lilly in 1980. According to results of animal tests, Opren was both safe and effective in modifying the disease process of arthritis. The results in human patients were quite different. Although Opren was effective in treating laboratory rats with artificially induced arthritis, it did not reverse the disease process in human patients. [BBC1, 1983]

Worse than simply being ineffective, the drug proved to be highly toxic to humans. By the time Opren was withdrawn in August 1982, there had been at least 3,500 reports of harmful effects, including 61 deaths, primarily through liver damage in elderly patients. [British Medical Journal, 1982, pp. 459-460] There were also many reports of severe photosensitive skin reactions. None of these side effects had been anticipated in animal tests. Laboratory tests in which rhesus monkeys received seven times the maximum human dose for a year revealed no sign of toxicity. [Opren: Clinical & Laboratory Experience, 1980]

In 1982, the anti-depressant drug Zelmid was released. Laboratory tests with rats and dogs at five times the human dose showed no signs of toxicity [Heel, 1982, pp. 169-206] In human patients the drug caused many reactions, including nerve damage, convulsions, liver damage, Guillain-Barre syndrome and at least seven deaths. [Mann, 1984] In September, 1983, Zelmid was withdrawn.

These recent examples illustrate the pattern in which drug disasters have occurred and will continue to occur as long as drugs are "safety tested" on animals.

News stories about the latest "miracle drug" appear, in which we are told it has been "safety tested on animals". After its dangers to human health become apparent, the drug is withdrawn, its place taken by new "miracle drugs". And so these so-called miracle drugs prove to be miracles only at generating income for their manufacturers and tragedies for the people who take them.

This pattern is not new. An early example can be found in Robert Koch's Tuberkulin vaccine.* In the summer of 1890, at the Tenth International Medical Congress in Berlin, Koch announced that according to his animal studies, Tuberkulin cured tuberculosis in guinea pigs. Thousands of people rushed to Berlin to be inoculated with Tuberkulin.

Unfortunately, Koch had chosen to ignore the biological facts that (1) guinea pigs are not humans, and (2) tuberculosis takes on a very different form in guinea pigs. The predictable result was that Tuberkulin neither prevented nor cured tuberculosis in human patients. Even worse, it proved capable of worsening the condition of tuberculosis patients, and of causing the disease to flare up in previously infected patients. [Dowling, p. 74, 1977] A century later, the lesson still has not been learned.

* For more information on vaccine risks, see the booklet The Vaccination Connection by Sue Marston, published by and available from PRISM.

Animal Tests and Environmental Dangers

In addition to hiding the hazards of dangerous drugs and vaccines, animal tests are also used to hide environmental hazards from the public. Irwin D. Bross, Ph.D., had firsthand experience with just such an incident at the Hyde Park chemical dumpsite in western New York. Dr. Bross, Director of Biostatistics at the Roswell Park Memorial Institute for Cancer Research for 24 years, discovered that the dumpsite was an environmental danger to the nearby population, despite animal tests that "proved" that the toxins dumped there were not a hazard. In a 1983 article entitled "How Animal Research Can Kill You", Dr.Bross explained:

"At Hyde Park and many other dumpsites (including Love Canal and the West Valley nuclear dumpsites) the residents and workers have been repeatedly assured by State and federal agencies that their low-level exposures were 'harmless'. My research showed that these assurances by government agencies, assurances based largely on animal studies, were false, and that there were excess risks of cancer and other adverse health effects among the persons exposed to these 'safe' levels.

By science and common sense, when epidemiological studies of humans are positive and laboratory studies of animals are negative, it is prudent public health practice to accept the human evidence as a guide. My employer, the New York State Health Department, not only disregarded the human evidence of the dumpsite hazards, it harassed me into early retirement from the state service." [Bross, 1983, pp. 5-7]

Dr. Bross went on to explain how fraudulent animal tests are convenient for government bureaucracies wishing to hide environmental hazards from the public:

"From the bureaucrat's standpoint, the beautiful aspect of animal research is that whatever you want to claim can be 'proved' in this way. Among experienced public health scientists it is well-known that you can 'prove' anything with animal studies. This is because there are so many different animal models and each system gives different results. By selecting whatever results happen to support a particular position (and ignoring the results to the contrary), one can come out with the desired 'conclusion'.

This obviously is not the way that genuine science works but this is how animal studies are commonly used. Whenever government agencies or polluting corporations want to cover up an environmental hazard, they can always find an animal study to "prove" their claim. They can even do a new animal study which will turn out the way that they want by choosing the 'right' animal model system.

If you happen to be one of the millions of Americans who has been or will be exposed to dangerous mutagens that are officially called 'safe', the games that are played with animal research can kill you." [Bross, 1983, pp. 5-7]

Vivisection and Funding Priorities

Vivisectors spent several years and millions of tax dollars developing the artificial heart in animals, primarily dogs. Characteristically, the vivisectors chose to ignore the biological facts that (1) dogs are not human, (2) dog blood is less likely to clot than human blood, (3) dogs walk on four legs, which places less stress on the circulatory system than in upright humans, and (4) the ventricles in a dog's heart are arranged opposite to those in human. [Levin, 1991, pp.24-25]

In addition to this, the dogs were always healthy before the operation, whereas human patients who were at the point where they could be convinced to receive an artificial heart would be in an advanced state of physical decay.

The very idea of an artificial heart demonstrates the mechanistic view of health that vivisection encourages. Swiss medical historian and author Hans Ruesch explained it this way in his book 'NAKED EMPRESS, or The Great Medical Fraud':

"A mechanical heart can not work satisfactorily for long, because the natural heart is sensitive to all the fine psychosomatic influences and the complex metabolic processes constantly taking place in any living organism... Fear or anger, for example, will quickly accelerate the natural heartbeat; sleep or rest will gradually slow it down. But a mechanical heart keeps pumping at a constant rhythm, regardless of the perpetual emotional impulses emitted by the nervous system and the fine metabolic variations...

If the heart does not react to psychological impulses and metabolic influences - and no mechanical heart can ever do that - then the patient will suffer serious psychoses, delirium, and biological troubles that won't allow him to live long." [Ruesch, 1986, p.174]

It is not surprising that after some success with the artificial heart in animals, it was a complete failure in humans. In 1982, a dentist by the name of Barney Clark became the first human recipient of the artificial heart. The operation was performed by Dr. William DeVries. The result should not surprise anyone whose thinking is not entrenched in the vivisectionist mentality.

The New York Post reported that, "Clark died after being hooked up to the steel and plastic contraption for 112 days. After he died, it was revealed that the courageous dentist had been in great pain and delirious most of the time he was hooked up to the machine." [New York Post, 1984] Time Magazine reported that Clark had been "... beset by kidney failure, chronic respiratory problems, inflammation of the colon and loss of blood pressure." [Time, 1983]

Unfortunately, the Barney Clark incident did not prevent further attempts with the artificial heart - with similar results. Finally, after years of wasting enormous amounts of tax dollars the artificial heart was abandoned. This is typical of how vivisection consumes most of the funds and resources available for medical research, while valid research goes unfunded.

In order to begin correcting our health care situation, we must take our funds and resources out of useless experimental research on animals and put them into clinical research. Clinical research involves working with people who have already spontaneously developed the disease that is being studied. Clinical research is the principal method of scientifically valid medical research because only by working with people who already have a disease can we come to understand the disease.

By redirecting the money and efforts wasted on vivisection into large-scale clinical studies, we would not only be investing in scientifically valid medical research, but we would in the process be providing sick people with treatment, care and attention. We must wonder how many lives could have been saved if the money and effort wasted on experimenting with the artificial heart in animals had been spent on valid clinical studies of people with heart disease, learning more about the preventable causes of heart disease and educating the public about prevention.

Another invaluable method of studying human health and disease is epidemiology. Epidemiological studies involve comparisons between different populations. For example, by comparing the rates of heart disease in different countries along with their standard diets and average rates of alcohol consumption, conclusions can be drawn as to the role those factors play in causing heart disease.

Epidemiology is a scientifically valid method of medical research because it involves the study of humans living natural lives and developing spontaneous diseases. This is in sharp contrast with the unscientific practice of vivisection, which involves the study of non-human animals in unnatural laboratory conditions with artificially inflicted disease. Nothing can ever be learned about human health by using the vivisection method, whereas epidemiology has already provided us with much valuable information.

Unfortunately, epidemiology is not given the emphasis and funding it needs because of a backward medical research establishment that continues to squander its resources on vivisection. Professor Pietro Croce, M.D., explained the situation in his book ' Vivisection or Science: A Choice to Make':

"Epidemiology, the science based on the observation of man and spontaneously-occurring events which afflict him, could have a decisive role to play in research on cancer, on certain acquired metabolic dysfunctions and on degenerative disease... Nevertheless, the epidemiological method is used little and inappropriately. The cost of efficient organization is, of course, high, but it could be effective if money were not wasted in useless research, in the breeding of animals for laboratories and in the pharmaceutical industries which are more interested in creating new diseases than in fighting the old ones." [Croce, 1991, op.141-142]

Vivisection and the Delay of Valuable Therapies

Digitalis, the oldest and most useful remedy for human heart failure, was first extracted from the foxglove plant by Dr. William Withering in 1775. Its use in human patients was delayed because when it was tested in dogs it raised their blood pressure to dangerous levels.

Dr. James Burnet explained in 1942, "In the old days we were taught, as a result purely of animal experiments, that digitalis raised the blood pressure. We now know that this is utter nonsense. Indeed, it is a remedy of very great value in certain cases when the blood pressure is found to be abnormally high." [Burnet, 1942, p:388]

Chloroform was discovered in 1828. The widespread use of this valuable anesthetic was delayed for years because of poor results in animal tests, particularly in dogs, for whom chloroform is highly toxic. [Richardson,1896, p. 54]

The 'caged-ball valve' was almost discarded because it killed so many of the dogs upon which it was tested; yet the same valve is now working in human patients as a replacement for damaged human heart valves. [Starr, 1961, p. 740]

And so vivisection not only gives false confidence in the safety of dangerous drugs, vaccines and techniques, it also delays the use of effective and useful therapies. This is inevitable because of the biological variations between species.

Many substances which are harmless and even beneficial to humans are deadly to animals, e.g. Penicillin can kill guinea pigs. [Koppanyl, 1966, pp.250-270] Fluroxene, a form of ether, causes ataxia, hypotension and seizures in dogs, cats and rabbits, but none of these effects have been detected in humans. [Anesthesiology, 1973] Aspirin causes birth defects in rats, mice, guinea pigs, cats, dogs and monkeys, but not in humans. [Mann, 1984]

As Professor Pietro Croce, M.D. puts it, "It is hard to find anything in biomedical research that is, and always was, more deceptive and misleading than vivisection." [Croce, 1991, p.21]

Next: Vivisectors and False Claims

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