Pro Anima: Human Health Safety

Pro Anima is a French scientific organisation dedicated to the improvement of human health by the elimination of the animal model in biomedical research. They state that using animals for biomedical research purposes is at odds with the precautionary principle central to health and safety requirements and risk assessments.

Medical drugs are subjected to the most intensive toxicity assessments of all substances to which we are exposed. Yet drug side effects are responsible for more than 1.3 million hospitalisations in France every year, and 20,000 premature deaths. (According to the government’s own figures.)

Based on this information, it would appear that toxicity assessment of drugs is seriously inadequate, which therefore raises concerns about the reliability of toxicity assessment of some 100,000 chemicals, found in Europe in food additives and other common consumer products. The production of some of these chemicals exceeds one megaton a year.

Actually, the EU admits that the effect on humans of 99.9% of these chemicals is unknown. Many of these chemicals were shown to be neurotoxic or carcinogenic. It is therefore not surprising that European health statistics show disturbing trends similar to those in France, mentioned earlier. Pro Anima estimate that in the EU, close to one million people die prematurely each year, due to unnoticed crypto-toxicity in their food or environment.

It must be concluded that the present methods of toxic risk assessment in man are defective and not reliable. These methods are systematically based on animal experiments taken as biological ‘models’ of humans. Truly reliable and reproducible scientific methods, relevant for the assessment of human health and safety, are available for immediate replacement of animal model studies. By continuing to accept assessment of human health risks based on responses of animal models, despite the absence of reliability and relevance of this model, public authorities contravene the safety principle required by law and must assume all future responsibility.

The socio-economic cost resulting from the shortcomings of the animal model in France is gigantic. It may amount to hundreds of billions of francs a year in terms of social insurance expenditure, figures that represent only part of the overall social cost, brought about by the unreliability of the animal model, not to mention the human and social misery.

Pro Anima wishes to establish a coalition of like-minded organisations to tackle the European Parliament and insist that they implement legislation to ensure the adoption of science-based rather than animal-based biomedical research. We wish them every success with this supremely important venture.

This report by Kathy Archibald for Animal Aid is based on Pro Anima’s paper: The Assessment of Human Health Safety by Means of the Animal Model Violates the Precautionary Principle. You can read the paper here