Perhaps the kindest thing to say about the recent report from the National Academy of Sciences on the controversial topic of laboratory animals is that it’s finished. The 73-page report, which cost $315,000 and took three years to write, breaks little new ground, coming out in support of the continued use of animals in research and urging Congress not to pass any more laws regulating their use until the current rules have been digested. The report’s most striking features are its rare dissenting statements— one by physiologist Arthur Guyton, arguing that the animal rights movement must be stopped, and the other by activist Christine Stevens, saying the report should do more to protect animals and discourage their use in research. Panel chairman Norman Hackerman explains why the academy permitted dissenting addenda in a preface. Consensus, he says, may never be possible on some issues.

This report won’t be the academy’s...

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