Why this petition matters
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then be submitted as evidence in a wider legal action as well as to government bodies, in order to change a 70 year old outdated law.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: