If vivisection had little impact in the past, what of our present burden of disease? Can animal experiments expect to achieve major advances in the future? Once again, the pro-vivisection lobby is unequivocal: experiments on animals are essential if we are to conquer todayís killer diseases. But such a view fails to take account of the lessons of history which show that major advances came by preventing disease. And although the pattern of disease has changed, similar arguments apply today. The new killer diseases - mainly cancer, heart disease and strokes - are usually very difficult or impossible to cure once they have become established, but they are largely preventable.
80-90% of cancers, for instance, are regarded as preventable16 while much the same is true for heart disease.17 This is confirmed by Japanís exceptionally low death rate for heart disease compared with that of Britain and America.17 The Japanese owe their low rates not to their genes but to their way of life: when they move to the United States, they quickly acquire Americaís higher mortality.18
© Environmental Pictures
(2) Living Dangerously?
The Japanese quickly succumb to heart disease when they embrace the American lifestyle.
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