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International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals

Alternative Strategies to Animal research and Testing

3: Alternative Diets

Click to Enlarge: Alternative Diets The Framingham results were confirmed in many other countries.(5) A Chinese study, for instance, found that as a result of the largely vegetarian, almost vegan diet in rural China, cholesterol levels are, by Western standards, extremely low, with heart disease rarely recorded as a cause of death. According to Richard Peto, a co-author of the study, 'The Chinese experience shows us that most Western coronary heart disease is unnecessary.'(6) In fact, as long ago as 1958, Stamler wrote that 'significant atherosclerosis is rare in people whose diet over the lifespan is predominantly vegetarian', a conclusion even then based on decades of epidemiological research.(4)

Since the 1960s, when the US had one of the highest death rates for coronary disease in the world, mortality has fallen sharply, in line with changes in diet and lifestyle. Specific medical treatments had only a small impact, at best.(7)

Like heart disease, little was known about the chief causes of cancer before 1950. For decades epidemiology had taken second place to animal experiments which some thought held the key to success. Mistaken ideas flourished and many believed, for instance, that most (if not all) cancers were caused by viral infection, a view derived from animal experiments where it is easy to transmit the disease in this way.(8)

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