Patrick H. Cleveland (The Scientist, Nov. 23, 1992, page 12) laments growing antipathy toward animal experimentation, but he gives the animal protection movement too much credit. The movement is highly fractionated, wastes much of its resources on mass mailings, and commits only a small fraction of its resources to animal research campaigns.

In fact, much opposition to animal research is scientific. I doubt I shock many readers of The Scientist when I suggest that many, if not most, animal experimentation projects are poorly conceived. Because animal experiments cannot disprove hypotheses about human anatomy, physiology, or pathology, they do not constitute human medical research in the strictest Popperian sense. Most nonscientists are unfamiliar with Karl Popper, a 20th-century philosopher of science, but many can recognize that "animal models" are often poor analogs to human conditions.

Cleveland denounces animal rights, but he does not offer a cohesive alternative ethic. Do...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!