THE FUTILITY OF ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS


“Personally we are not obsessed with this oatmeal bogey, as, after all, rats–not humans– were the subjects of observation. Do not let us forget that humans are not rodents, and even so that the changes in their teeth are probably not quite the same as those found in dental caries in the human subject.


(From Progress To-day.).

“The testing of drugs on experimental animals is very apt to give fallacious results in the case of human beings. By animal experiment it was for long regarded that digitalis raised the blood pressure. We now know that it does nothing of the sort. In fact pharmacology has been greatly hampered by these experiments, and is still being held back by the preference given to animal experiment rather than to clinical observation.” — The Medical Times, March, 1934, p. 37.

“Its use (strychnine) in cardiac failure is well recognized by the practical clinician, but again its action on the isolated heart was found by experimentalists to be almost negligible and consequently it has been largely given up.”

–The Medical World, March 31st, 1933, p. 96.

“At the January meeting of the Therapeutic Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, Drs. G. N. Burger and L. J. Witts read a paper on the Therapeutic Action of Injection Ferri B. P. They made the following very significant remarks on the danger of applying the results of animal experiments to the human subject: From the study of anaemias produced in animals by iron deficiency or by repeated haemorrhage, it has been concluded that the parenteral administration of iron is of no therapeutic value conclusions of animal experiments to the spontaneous diseases of mankind, for the careful work of Health, Strauss and Castle leaves no doubt that anaemia can be cured in human patients by the injection of iron.” — The Medical Times, April, 1934, p. 63.

In regard to snake venom: “Different species exhibit wide variations in susceptibility to the venom, the guinea-pig and sheep being most sensitive and the cat, rat and mouse being less susceptible”.

“No indication is afforded by these experiments of the certainly lethal dose for man . . . .”–The Medical Journal of Australia, March 16th, 1929, pp.364-5.

“The rabbit is naturally immune from phalline (the poison of a mushroom-like fungus) poisoning whereas other animals, the cat for instance, die very rapidly after ingestion of even minute quantities of the poison.” — General Practice, Vol. XI, No. 2, April-June, 1935, p. 90.

“It is not generally recognized that the dynamic effect of any drug depends as greatly upon the chemistry or metabolism of the individual as upon the actual composition of the drug.”– D. K. Henderson, M.D., University of Edinburgh, the Medial World, April 28th, 1933, p. 173.

“Nor should too much reliance be placed upon the results of certain experiments based on the injection of ethylic alcohol from the laboratory into the stomachs of dogs.” –G. Murray Levick, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., the Practitioner, February, 1932, p. 190.

“It does not follow that a drug is without value because it action cannot be demonstrated in a laboratory.” –Quoted from Chapter VII of “A Review of the Effects of Alcohol on Man,” Victor Gollancz, London, 1931, in the Medical World, July 17th, 1931, p. 500.

“Very effective as is this preparation (H 126-benzene- sulphonylglycinate) in the case of the rabbit, we have found it impossible to use it on human patients owing to its great toxicity in them. . . . Rabbits are not very susceptible to lead. –“Chemotherapy in Cancer,” by W. Blair Bell, B.S., M.D., F.R.C.S., the Practitioner, August, 1931, pp. 226-32.

“Experimental pharmacology is now receiving State aid, but the results of drug experiments upon animals are, as far as their application to man is concerned, absolutely useless and even misleading.” –W. Mitchell Stevens, M.D., F.R.C.P., the Medical World, December Ist, 1933, p. 335.

“Regarding endocrine preparations, although there have been lately some very important discoveries, great care must be taken in using them. There has been much dangerous misuse in this respect because of the hurried application of animal experiments to man, and because also of the streams of propaganda flowing from the various pharmaceutical firms.”– A. P. Cawadias, O.B.E., M.D., M.R.C.P., the Medical World, April 5th, 1935, p. 191.

As to the induction of labour by the injection of ovarian extracts:–.

“Such experiments have been almost uniformly successful when applied to animals such as the rodents, but they have been a complete failure in the human subject.”–A. Leyland Robinson, M.D., F.R.C.S., F.C.O.G.; M.M. Datnow, F.R.C.S., M.C.O.G., and T. N. A. Jeffcoate, F.R.C.S., M.C.O.G., Hon. Surgeons, Liverpool Hospital for Women, the British Medical Journal, April 13th, 1935, p. 749.

“As pointed out by Halban, the placenta stimulates the growth of the genitals and the breast glands. While this is true for animals, it does not hold good for human beings.”–J. P. Greenhill, American Journal of Obstet. and Gynaec., February, 1929, p. 254.

“In a recent address to the Fife Branch of the British Medical Association, I raised the question of how far the clinical results obtained by general medical practitioners from the use of medicinal preparations of vitamins in common use bore out the claims based on the results obtained in the laboratory.

The very guarded nature of the answers received appear to me amply to warrant the caveat I have previously expressed as to the undue haste which has been shown in recent years in applying the results of the laboratory to the everyday problems of practical medicine. Regarding rickets in relation to vitamin D, I suggested that modern medical research was leading the clinician astray.”–Dr. Chalmers Watson, the British Medical Journal, April 23rd, 1932, p. 769.

“It might perhaps be noted that in recent years research workers have been distracted and misled by animal experiments claiming to show that vitamin deficiency was the cause of this, that, or the other thing, when indeed the actual cause may have been intercurrent disease resulting from the animals being kept in quite unnatural captivity [laboratories], and apart from vitamin deficiencies, fed on unsatisfactory diets, and deprived of exercise, fresh air, sunlight and perhaps warmth.” –Dr. J. Sim Wallace, lecturer on Preventive Dentistry at Kings College, London; report in Medical Press and Circular, September 21st, 1932, p. 229.

“As regards feeding and other experiments upon animals with these substances [vitamins], the results obtained, whatever they may be, can be of little useful application to the prevention and treatment of disease in man.”–W. Mitchell Stevens, M.D., F.R.C.P., Medical World, December Ist, 1933, p. 335.

“Animal feeding experiments provide some evidence that pasteurized milk is less growth-promoting than raw milk for animals whose calcium needs are equal to or greater than that of the calf. They furnish no evidence that pasteurized milk is less nutritive for animals such as the human infant. . . . Any deductions from experiments on the one group to the other are unscientific.”–W. G. savage, M.D., B.Sc., D.P.H., the Lancet, March 4th, 1933, p. 488.

“Personally we are not obsessed with this oatmeal bogey, as, after all, rats–not humans– were the subjects of observation. Do not let us forget that humans are not rodents, and even so that the changes in their teeth are probably not quite the same as those found in dental caries in the human subject.”–Reviewer in the Medical World, May 17th, 1935, p. 444.

“It is, we warn experiments, a very dangerous thing to apply the results of feeding young rats to human infants. In fact, it is absolutely absurd, and entirely misleading. . . . We wish some genius would charm the rats out of the experimental laboratories where their presence is doing much to retard the progress of medical science.”–Leading article, Medical Times, April, 1935, p. 51.

“Hence it is important to realize that, though rickets in animals can be produced by diets deficient in calcium or phosphorus, yet all available evidence, reinforces Wrights claim that an ill-balanced mineral (Cal. and P.) content of the food ingested plays no part in the production of human rickets.”–Llewellyn Jones Llewellyn, M.B., and A. Bassett Jones, M.B., the Medical World, April 4th, 1933.

“It would be unwise to assume, however, that conclusions drawn from animal experimentation can be rigidly applied to human beings in whom deprivation of vitamins is conditioned by naturally arising dietary deficiencies.”–Dr. Robert Sutherland, British Medical Journal, May 5th, 1934, p. 795.

“. . . Will any unbiased medical man say that we are one step farther forward in solving the cancer problem? Thousands of pounds have been spent on animal experiments in this department of research, but with no practical result. . . . It is futile to go on with expensive research conducted on such lines. It only means a waste of time, money and energy for all concerned. We must look in other directions for the solution of this great problem. The cancer mystery will certainly never be unravelled in the laboratory.”–Leading article, Medical Times, March, 1934, p.

“Animals of different species and human beings are killed by electricity with different degrees of facility. Susceptibility varies enormously between organisms of the same and different species. Dogs, are killed readily, frogs are immune, while birds, rabbits, guinea-pigs, rats and mice are intermediate. . . . It would be unwise to apply these results directly to man, since of all biological organisms, man is the most complex.”–M. Hilary E. LONG, M.Sc., M.B., B.S., F.R.C.S., Medical Press, August 21st, 1935, pp. 150-1.

The foregoing quotations, it must be understood, are by no means exhaustive, but represent a selection of the most outstanding opinions which have been expressed within recent years regarding the untrustworthiness of animal experiments, and support the contention of those who have already declared them unjustifiable on moral grounds.

M. Beddow Bayly