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International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals

Alternatives To Animal Experiments Research Testing

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Happily, a glimpse at just some of the main areas of medical science is enough to show the vital contribution of clinical research* and dispel the suggestion that all advances have relied on animal experiments.

Physiology and how the body works

Harvey's famous experiment on the forearm which illustrated the circulation of the blood. No blood flows through valve O towards the wrist after blood is pushed away from segment OH. When the finger is removed from point H, blood flows from H to O

An understanding of how the body functions has always been a central objective of biomedical research. Many physiologists use animals for the purpose, a common procedure being to damage or interfere with a part of the body to see how it affects another. But since there are almost unlimited and varied cases of human illness and injury, an effective alternative would be to take advantage of these “experiments of nature” and make careful observations and deductions. The famous physiologist William Harvey recognized this as long ago as the 17th century when he wrote,7 "Nature is nowhere accustomed more openly to display her secret mysteries than in cases where she shows traces of her workings apart from the beaten path; nor is there any better way to advance the proper practice of medicine than to give our minds to the discovery of the usual law of nature, by careful investigation of cases of *The achievements of epidemiology and human issue studies are examined in the essays People Power - The Achievements of Epidemiology over Animal Methods and Human Tissue - A Neglected Experimental Resource both written by Dr Robert Sharpe and part of the In Focus scientific series rarer forms of disease.” In any case, human studies would still be necessary to validate the results of physiological experiments on animals, assuming they were intended to have any medical relevance.

 

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