Petitioning Mouse Modeler & Director of 'Alternatives' Lab at FRAME Dr Andrew Bennett and 39 others

Animal Experimenters - Justify Your Science Claims

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This petition supports members of the UK Parliament who are signing Early Day Motion 66 (EDM 66).

By signing this petition your letter will be sent to scientists directly from, and supportive of, the animal experimentation community, inviting them to participate in a properly moderated public scientific debate - about their claims that animal experiments can predict the responses of human patients, in the search for effective treatments and cures.

In this called for debate, the Parliamentary EDM's position will be represented by the leading scientific Board in its field, which opposes animal experiments purely on medical and scientific grounds: namely that applying results from animal models, in the hope that this will 'predict' human responses, is now proven to cause immense harm and fatalities to human patients. Current understanding of evolutionary biology is able to explain why this is the case.

THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL REFLECTS THIS CALL FOR DEBATE

In June 2014, Dr Fiona Godlee, Editor in Chief of The British Medical Journal (BMJ), published her Editor's Choice reflecting the evidence highlighted by MPs in their EDM. Dr Godlee's article titled  'How Predictive and Productive is Animal Research?concluded by quoting from the paper it cited:

"If research conducted on animals continues to be unable to reasonably predict what can be expected in humans, the public's continuing endorsement and funding of preclinical animal research seems misplaced".

WHAT MAKES THIS SCIENCE HEARING UNIQUE?

This debate is unique because its conditions have been endorsed as "well set out and fair" by Britain's foremost human rights defence barrister Michael Mansfield QC. A panel of judges will be present, including experts from the fields of clinical medicine, complexity/chaos theory, philosophy of science, evolutionary biology, clinical research, drug development, and basic research. The debate conditions are designed to achieve a scientific result which can then be submitted as evidence in a wider legal action as well as to government bodies, in order to change a 70 year old outdated law. The significance of this is in sharp contrast to the more casual 'vote on line' or show of hands at the end of previous debates, which all too often muddle science and morality.

WHY IS THIS DEBATE ESSENTIAL TO HELP END ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS AND ADVANCE HUMAN MEDICINE?

This debate will enable the public, and our government, to hear scientific evidence against the Victorian 'prediction' principle which first institutionalised animal experiments in 1847. The debate will highlight the chasm between 170 year old research assumptions, and current scientific knowledge: evidence that will be presented in order to recognise the invalidity of such animal experiments for human patients. This was supported by a precedent ruling in 2002, on "national interest, medical and scientific" grounds, when Dr. Ray Greek defeated plans by Cambridge University to build a new non-human primate laboratory.

HOW MANY ANIMALS ARE USED ANNUALLY, FOR THESE EXPERIMENTS?

As Dr. Andre Menache clarified in a talk, around 75% of the 4 million UK lab animals used in experiments are categorized as 'basic medical research' (curiosity driven) which masquerade as 'applied medical research' (allegedly beneficial for humans) by falsely claiming to be 'predictive' of the responses of human patients. In addition, 13% of lab animals are claimed by the Home Office as 'predictive' for the safety testing of new human medicines. 

PERFECT TIMING: DECLARATION of OPENNESS ON ANIMAL RESEARCH

In 2012 over forty bioscience organisations and universities in the UK signed a "Declaration on Openness on Animal Research", committed to be more open and transparent with the public about animal use 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.' EDM 66 cites this Declaration on Openness and we believe that if it is authentic, animal experimenters will welcome this chance to participate in public scientific debate to present and defend their continued use of laboratory animals.

CLARITY! SCIENCE - NOT ETHICS!

The way society treats animals is unquestionably of great significance and value. It is often reported that Gandhi said "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Even so, ethics about animals cannot enter a debate about medical facts which can only ever be about objectively verifiable scientific evidence - including the "does this work or not?" question. We therefore clearly state that our call for scientific debate must not be confused with any ethical debate motion; neither must it be confused with the National Center for 3Rs, (Reduction, Refinement Replacement) which states: "The 3Rs are a widely accepted ethical framework for conducting scientific experiments using animals humanely". In addition to our call for scientific debates, it should also be clearly stated here that we oppose the 3Rs' policy (Reduction of animal numbers, Refinement of harmful procedures and Replacement with misnamed 'alternatives') which ignores current science and betrays animals.

PLEASE JOIN OUR GROWING ALLIANCE FOR SCIENCE! Please sign and share this petition which supports MPs who are now calling for scientists, who experiment on animals, to be held to effective public, scientific account.

To read the petition's letter, please scroll down below the following list of its recipients:

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Mouse Modeler & Director of 'Alternatives' Lab at FRAME
    Dr Andrew Bennett
  • Professor, Wayne State University
    Dr David Gorski
  • Science Advisor: Society of Biology
    Dr Laura Bellingan
  • Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, Cambridge University
    Prof. Dino A Giussani
  • Imperial College London
    Prof. Robert Winston
  • Dept of Psychology: UCLA
    Professor David Jentsch
  • Medical Science Building, Bristol
    Prof. Max Headley
  • Chair: Concordat on Openness on Animal Research
    Dr Geoff Watts
  • VC Manchester University
    Prof. Nancy Rothwell
  • Oxford Primate Laboratory
    Prof. Mathew Rushworth (Oxford Primate Laboratory)
  • Primate Laboratory at Kings College London
    Dr Sarah Rose
  • UCLA
    Dr Dario Ringach
  • Kings College London
    Prof. Clive Page
  • Kings College London
    Prof. Jeremy Pearson
  • Director: CENSES
    Prof. Colin Blakemore
  • Head of non-human primate lab: UCL
    Prof. Roger Lemon
  • Barts Cancer Institute
    Prof. Frances Balkwill
  • Honorary Life President: FRAME
    Prof. Michael Balls
  • Primate lab: Oxford University
    Prof. Tipu Aziz
  • Humanimal Trust
    'One Medicine'
  • UCL
    Prof. Gordon Blunn
  • CEO, Understanding Animal Research
    Wendy Jarrett
  • Campaigns Manager, Understanding Animal Resarch
    Tom Holder
  • Head of Policy and Media, Understanding Animal Research
    Chris Magee
  • CEO British Heart Foundation
    Simon Gillespie
  • Professor, Department of Opthamology & Visual Sciences Faculty of Medicine, UBC
    Max Cynader
  • Professor, Medicine & Neurology, UBC
    Doris J Doudet
  • Professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
    Kevin Duffy
  • Professor, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UBC
    Peter Soja
  • Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia
    Douglas Matsell
  • Professor and Director of Research, Basic Sciences, UBC
    Dr. Joanne Matsubara
  • Professor. Faculty of Dentistry, UBC
    Dr. Lari Hӓkkinen
  • Investigator, Biomedical Research Centre, UBC
    Fabio Rossi
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, UBC
    Amy Newman
  • Professor, University of British Columbia
    Joanne L. Wright
  • Vice-President, Research and Innovation, Ryerson University,Toronto.
    Steven Liss
  • Co-Director of the UBC Orthopaedic and Injury Biomecahnics Group.
    Peter Cripton
  • Director of ICORD; Professor, Departments of Zoology and Surgery at UBC.
    Dr. Wolfram Tetzlaff
  • Head of the Kinsmen Laboratory of Neurological Research, UBC.
    Dr. P.L. McGeer
  • Professor, Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal.
    Michael Petrides


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