I write to ask you to agree to participate in properly moderated, public scientific debates - about the question of the validity of using results from animal experiments claimed as predictive for human medicine - with the leading scientific experts who oppose such animal experiments, purely on human medical and scientific grounds. I ask for these debates in light of current understanding of...
I write to ask you to agree to participate in properly moderated, public scientific debates - about the question of the validity of using results from animal experiments claimed as predictive for human medicine - with the leading scientific experts who oppose such animal experiments, purely on human medical and scientific grounds. I ask for these debates in light of current understanding of evolutionary biology, following the publication of the seminal work Animal Models in Light of Evolution (2009) Shanks PhD and Greek MD. This request for properly moderated, public scientific debates is supported by Parliamentary EDM 263. I also ask for these scientific debates subsequent to the forty bioscience organisations in the UK who have signed a 'Declaration on Openness on Animal Research', committed to being more open and transparent with the public about animal use in scientific research, thus: 'Confidence in our research rests on the scientific community embracing an open approach and taking part in an on-going conversation about why and how animals are used in research and the benefits of this. We need to continue to develop open dialogue between the research community and the public.' To those scientists who are party to this Declaration, I am delighted to hear that public confidence in your continuing use of animal models for human medicine is important to you, and I trust you will welcome this request to participate in properly moderated, public scientific debates, to present and defend your scientific position.
As the history of landmark advances clearly documents, scientific breakthroughs are often produced by the dedicated work of enlightened individuals, such as Darwin who brought us the Theory of Evolution, Einstein who gave us the Theory of Relativity and Jenner, Lister and Semmelweis who all contributed to the Germ Theory of Disease. Science has more recently delivered the Trans-Species Modeling Theory (TSMT) , which demonstrates how current understanding of evolutionary biology and complexity explain decades of practical examples, the results of which oppose using animal experiments to try and predict human responses in medical research and the safety testing of new human medicines.
As a member of the public, I am naturally a stakeholder in the rapid advancement of human medicine. I wish to believe that researchers are applying current scientific understanding at the very highest and most effective level. However, my confidence in this is greatly undermined due to a highly qualified scientific position, currently shared by a growing scientific community, who provide evidence-based arguments opposing the claimed validity of the continued use of animal models for human medicine. Furthermore, pharmaceutical companies acknowledge the failure of animal models in their drug development process and write about this often and openly in the scientific literature .
Historically, scientific debate has been stifled and hindered by framing this debate as concerning not only science but also animal ethics. Whilst the ethics of animal welfare is of enormous, vital importance and value it does not enter a debate about medical facts, which as such can only ever be about objectively verifiable factual evidence. So my call for scientific debates must not be confused with ethical debate motions using emotive language such as 'This House would ban all forms of animal research', neither must it be confused with the National Center for 3Rs (NC3Rs) which outlines its ethical policy for experimenting on laboratory animals thus: "The 3Rs are a widely accepted ethical framework for conducting scientific experiments using animals humanely". Neither must this request for scientific debates be confused with the potential economic benefits so often associated with animal experiments. To give just one example, this financial emphasis is made by animal breeders B&K Universal, in their recent planning application to breed thousands of beagles for vivisection experiments:
(B&K Universal 2013; Design Access, Planning and Heritage Statement p. 8)
However the type of business in which B&K is involved has a huge impact on the UK economy. The potential economic impacts to the UK of not being able to undertake scientific research involving animals is estimated as between £2.2billion and £2.7billion (per year). This R&D activity underpins the UK Life Science sector which has a £50 billion turnover. The government estimates that around 23,000 jobs in the pharmaceutical sector alone are in research and development (the majority of which will be underpinned by animal research). In addition Universities and others will also be involved in carrying out research and development activities so overall this figure is likely to be significantly higher.
Leaving aside the equally valid but separate issues of animal ethics and finance, neither must my request for purely scientific debate be confused with the widely agreed scientifically viable uses of animals, albeit for which there already exist some modern, more efficient, less expensive alternatives - for more on this please see the list at the close of this letter.
My request for this scientific debate solely concerns whether or not experiments on animals help human medicine advance - according to current scientific understanding. Are animal experiments able to predict human responses for medical research and the safety testing of new human medicines?
Animal experiments - claimed as beneficial predictive models for human medicine by B&K Universal and others, including yourself - were first institutionalised by Claude Bernard in 1847, a doctor who rejected the theory of evolution at a time when science could be forgiven for assuming that animals could predict what a compound would do in a human body. Animal experiments were first required by law in 1938 by the US Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and this became further enshrined in the 1946 Nuremberg Code, when scientific understanding was still, comparatively speaking, very much in its infancy. As Greek et al (2012, p.4) observe: 
At the time of the Nuremberg trials, medical science was very different than it is now. The structure of DNA had not been elucidated, scientists thought the poliovirus entered via the nose (it enters through the gut) , the notion of a magic bullet (that for every disease, or at least every infectious disease, a chemical existed that could interact with the single site causing the malady and thus cure the disease without harming the rest of the body) via Ehrlich and Salvarsan  was foremost in the minds of drug developers, the modern synthesis in evolution was brand new , and animals and humans seemed to be more or less the same except for humans having a soul [2,30,31]. There were no organ transplants, infectious diseases were still a major killer in the developed world, the fields of cognitive ethology and animal cognition were unheard of, and differences between ethnic groups [32-38] and sexes [39-43] in terms of disease and drug reactions had not yet been discovered. Physics was just beginning to cast off the shackles of determinism and reductionism but chaos and complexity theory was still on the horizon. It was a different world. People in the 1940s are to be excused for thinking that animals and humans would react more or less the same to drugs and disease. We will now bring the reader into the current scientific environment as it relates to our topic [30,44-49].
In the Guardian 17th Nov, you (Prof. Blakemore) stated the following about animal experiments: “...it is an unavoidable fact that we need them if we are to develop new medicines and treatments that will save people's lives”. Given that you hold this view, and that the means by which we collectively discuss arguments and develop conclusions is the backbone of our society, I hope you will immediately agree to debate your position with the leading medical experts who oppose animal experiments purely on human medical and scientific grounds: namely the scientific board who have co-authored five books to date on this subject, culminating in the seminal work Animal Models in Light of Evolution (2009) Shanks PhD and Greek MD, the experts who illustrate the scientific evidence of an Alliance for Science, presented here under their flagship the new Parliamentary campaign For Life On Earth.
Thank you for your time.
The following list of animal uses are not part of my request for properly moderated, public scientific debates, being the widely agreed scientifically uses of animals, for which there already exist some more efficient, less expensive, human biology-based alternatives:
1. Animals used as “spare parts”, such as when a person receives an aortic valve from a pig.
2. Animals used as bioreactors or factories, such as for the production of insulin or monoclonal antibodies, or to maintain the supply of a virus.
3. Animals and animal tissues used to study basic physiological principles.
4. Animals used in education to educate and train medical students and to teach basic principles of anatomy in high school biology classes.
5. Animals used as a modality for ideas or as a heuristic device, which is a component of basic science research.
6. Animals used in research designed to benefit other animals of the same species or breed.
7. Animals used in research in order to gain knowledge for knowledge sake.
 Greek, R. and L.A. Hansen, Questions regarding the predictive value of one evolved complex adaptive system for a second: exemplified by the SOD1 mouse Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, 2013: p. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2013.06.002 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079610713000539
 Shanks N, Greek R: FAQS About The Use of Animals In Science chapter 7 p. 101: University Press of America; 2009 [ http://www.forlifeonearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Pharmaceutical-Quotes1.pdf ]
 Greek, Pippus and Hansen, The Nuremberg Code subverts human health and safety by requiring animal modeling BMC Medical Ethics 2012, 13:16 Available at http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6939/13/16 :
References for Greek et al (2012):
27. Paul JR: A History of Poliomyelitis. New Haven: Yale University Press; 1971.
28. Ehrlich P, Hata S: Die experimentalle Chemotherapie der Spirillosen. Berlin: Springer; 1910.
29. Mayr E: What evolution Is. Basic Books 2002.
2. Elliot P: Vivisection in Historical Perspective. edn. In Vivisection and the Emergence of Experimental Medicine in Nineteenth Century France. Edited by Rupke N. New York: Croom Helm; 1987:48–77.
30. LaFollette H, Shanks N: Animal Experimentation: The Legacy of Claude Bernard. Int Stud Philos Sci 1994, 8(3):195–210.
31. Bernard C: An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine. New York: Dover; 1957 (1865).
32. Cheung DS, Warman ML, Mulliken JB: Hemangioma in twins. Ann Plast Surg 1997, 38(3):269–274.
33. Couzin J: Cancer research. Probing the roots of race and cancer. Science 2007, 315(5812):592–594.
34. Gregor Z, Joffe L: Senile macular changes in the black African. Br J Ophthalmol 1978, 62(8):547–550.
35. Haiman CA, Stram DO, Wilkens LR, Pike MC, Kolonel LN, Henderson BE, Le Marchand L: Ethnic and racial differences in the smoking-related risk of lung cancer. N Engl J Med 2006, 354(4):333–342.
36. Spielman RS, Bastone LA, Burdick JT, Morley M, Ewens WJ, Cheung VG: Common genetic variants account for differences in gene expression among ethnic groups. Nat Genet 2007, 39(2):226–231.
37. Stamer UM, Stuber F: The pharmacogenetics of analgesia. Expert Opin Pharmacother 2007, 8(14):2235–2245.
38. Wilke RA, Dolan ME: Genetics and Variable Drug Response. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association 2011, 306(3):306–307.
39. Holden C: Sex and the suffering brain. Science 2005, 308(5728):1574.
40. Kaiser J: Gender in the pharmacy: does it matter? Science 2005, 308(5728):1572.
41. Simon V: Wanted: women in clinical trials. Science 2005, 308(5728):1517.
42. Wald C, Wu C: Of Mice and Women: The Bias in Animal Models. Science 2010, 327(5973):1571–1572.
43. Willyard C: HIV gender clues emerge. Nat Med 2009, 15(8):830.
44. LaFollette H, Shanks N: Animal models in biomedical research: some epistemological worries. Public Aff Q 1993, 7(2):113–130.
45. LaFollette H, Shanks N: Brute Science: Dilemmas of animal experimentation. London and New York: Routledge; 1996.
46. Shanks N, Greek R: Animal Models in Light of Evolution. Boca Raton: Brown Walker; 2009.
47. Shanks N, Greek R, Greek J: Are animal models predictive for humans? Philos Ethics Humanit Med 2009, 4(1):2.
48. Greek R, Greek J: Is the use of sentient animals in basic research justifiable? Philos Ethics Humanit Med 2010, 5:14.
49. Greek R, Shanks N, Rice MJ: The History and Implications of Testing Thalidomide on Animals. The Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law 2011, 11.