WASHINGTON – US researchers defended animal testing, telling a small group at one of the biggest science conferences in the United States that not doing animal research would be unethical and cost human lives.
The researchers, who are or have been involved in animal research, told a symposium at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) that testing on animals has led to “dramatic developments in research that have improved and affected the quality of human life.”
“To not do animal testing would mean that we would not be able to bring treatments and interventions and cures in a timely way. And what that means is people would die,” Stuart Zola of Emory University, which is home to the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, told AFP after the symposium.
Treatments for diseases such as diabetes and polio were made possible through animal research, the researchers said, and animals are currently being used in hepatitis-, HIV- and stem cell-related research, among others.
But animal rights activists continue to bring pressure on laboratories that use animals to develop drugs and vaccines, urging them to stop the practice and use other means to develop the next wonder drug, treatment or cure.
Animal rights activists also insist they will never use medications developed through animal testing, but the researchers said they probably already have done.
“I get a lot of emails from animal rights activists, and one of them said, ‘I have hepatitis C, and if you discover any drugs using chimpanzees that help hepatitis C patients, I’m not going to take them,'” John Vandenberg of the Southwest National Primate Research Center in Texas told AFP.
“I didn’t communicate back to him that if he’s taking any drug whatsoever for hepatitis C, it was developed with chimpanzees. There’s this ignorance in the world as to where these drugs come from, where vaccines come from,” he said.
The researchers also argued that animal research in the United States is covered by a bevy of rules and regulations to ensure that the animals used in testing are treated humanely.
“It is quite dramatically regulated,” said Zola.
Institutions that receive federal funding have to have an “animal care and use committee that reviews every protocol that uses even a single rodent,” said Zola.
That protocol is then reviewed by another panel, which includes veterinarians, experts in medicine, and a representative of the public, and only when everyone has signed off on the protocol can testing proceed.
Earth to warm more quickly, new climate models show
Greenhouse gases thrust into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels are warming Earth's surface more quickly than previously understood, according to new climate models set to replace those used in current UN projections, scientists said Tuesday.
By 2100, average temperatures could rise 6.5 to 7.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels if carbon emissions continue unabated, separate models from two leading research centres in France showed.
Scientists uncover alarming levels of dangerous plastics in children’s bodies
Plastic by-products were found in an alarming 97-100% of blood and urine samples from 2,500 children tested between 2014 and 2017, according to a new study by the German Environment Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute.
Der Spiegel, the German weekly magazine, published the findings Saturday, which were part of a federal study focused on "human biomonitoring" of 3 to 17-year-olds. Traces from 11 out of 15 plastic ingredients were found in the test samples.
Why you should sell your house now — and not wait for the climate to change
Cities across the United States are already seeing the impacts of climate change. Sea levels are on the rise in Miami, Florida, where ocean waters creep into the streets, even when it isn't raining. Massive wildfires have taken out whole neighborhoods in California and in Alaska, about 2.5 million acres have burned since July 3. Wildfires there are getting worse, according to experts.
The problem of climate change has reached a dangerous level for some homeowners in areas that are no longer insurable. In Miami, for example, the "street-level" is now considered the basement and insurers are dropping coverage for basements. According to the Daily Beast, at least 340,000 California homeowners lost their property insurance coverage between 2015 and 2018 because the wildfires are getting worse and companies don't want to pay out when homes are destroyed.