Prominent scientists condemn forced support for animal research

Posted on the 6th July 2015

A group of prominent scientists have spoken out powerfully against the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) forcing its members to support the outdated practice of animal research. The open letter was published in the Times on July 4th, and is available below.

Animal Aid first drew attention to AMRC’s dictatorial edict in November last year and has been fighting ever since for it to be overturned.

Please sign our petition calling on AMRC to overturn its requirement of compulsory support for animal experiments, and to hold a proper debate about the scientific validity of animal research.

The letter

Sir,

As biomedical scientists and physicians, we are disturbed that the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) now requires its members to publicly declare support for animal research. Substantial evidence suggests that animal research does not reliably predict human response to medicines or accurately represent human diseases.

The scientific community is becoming increasingly doubtful about the relevance of animal research to human medicine. An editorial in last year’s British Medical Journal, for example, suggested that “funds might be better directed towards clinical rather than basic (i.e. animal) research, where there is a clearer return on investment in terms of effects on patient care”.

AMRC should allow its member charities the freedom to develop their own progressive policies. Enforcing an illusory united front on this divisive issue forces charities to choose between losing support from AMRC or from concerned donors.

It also goes against the fundamental spirit of science, which promotes the open exchange of ideas.

 

Kathy Archibald, Director, Safer Medicines Trust
Professor Geoffrey Pilkington, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Neuro-Oncology, Portsmouth University
Professor Barbara Pierscionek, Associate Dean, Research and Enterprise, Kingston University London
Dr Lindsay Marshall, Senior Lecturer in Immunology, Aston University
Dr Kelly BéruBé, Reader in Cell Biology, Director Lung & Particle Research Group, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University
Dr Aysha Akhtar, Neurologist and Public Health Specialist
Dr Bob Coleman, UK Science Director, Safer Medicines Trust
Dr Katya Tsaioun, US Science Director, Safer Medicines Trust
Dr Andre Menache, Director, Antidote Europe
Dr John Pippin, Cardiovascular Medicine Physician

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