International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals

Fatal Mistakes of Animal Experiments Testing

11: Other Factors of Animal Testing

In 1996, however, the government was forced to admit that BSE can, and does, pass from mother to calf. A 7-year epidemiological study revealed that one in ten calves born to infected mothers do become ill. The findings, obtained by observing the correct species (cows), cast serious doubt on the original mouse experiments.53

Other Factors

Although species differences and the artificial nature of animal models are the chief scientific objections to animal experiments, there are other factors which interfere with results. Since stress can alter an animalís physiology, for instance leading to kidney and heart disease in the case of laboratory mice, the outcome of research may be influenced by inappropriate housing conditions.54 It is known that the behaviour of small rodents and their susceptibility to the toxic effects of chemicals is affected by the design and size of the cage, the type of litter used, and the number of animals kept together. The drug isoprenaline is 16x more toxic to animals kept in isolation.55

Research may also be invalidated by laboratory animal infections. This is a separate issue from the use of animal organs for human transplant operations where there is a risk of animal viruses passing to people. AIDS researchers have pointed out that viruses commonly found in mice may interact with inoculated HIV, making the resultant animal model irrelevant to people.56 There is also the fear that such interactions could promote hazardous changes in the AIDS virus. The new HIV variants might then spread in different ways, possibly even through the air. The idea has to be taken seriously because it is known from other research that even comparatively harmless viruses can combine to produce a fatal outcome.57

Scientific arguments strongly reinforce ethical objections to animal experiments and stress the urgent need for a more reliable approach to medical research and healthcare. It is in all our interests to challenge vivisection. >>


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