International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals

History of Animal Experiments

3: Animal Models Germ Theory

Claude Bernard's vivisection

Claude Bernard's vivisection 'salon' "We sacrificed daily from one to three dogs, besides rabbits and other animals, and after four years' experience I am of the opinion that not one of these experiments on animals was justified or necessary. The idea of the good of humanity was simply out of the question, and would be laughed at, the great aim being to keep up with, or get ahead of, one's contemporaries in science, even at the price of an incalculable amount of torture needlessly and iniquitously inflicted on the poor animals." Dr George Hoggan, Morning Post, February 2,1875.

Animal models were further popularized by the German doctor Robert Koch, a rival of Pasteur's in developing the germ theory of disease. Koch produced a set of rules for ''proving" that a particular germ caused the disease under investigation and one of these stated that, when inoculated into laboratory animals, the microbe should reproduce the same condition.(3)

Yet Koch's ideas were soon challenged by his own research into cholera when it proved impossible to reproduce the disease in animals. Koch wrote to the British Medical Journal of 1884 describing how he had been forced to rely on clinical observation of patients and microscopic analysis of samples of actual cases of human cholera. Using these methods he was able to isolate the microbe, discover its mode of transmission and suggest preventive action.(4)


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