I have found that some scientists and some of my fellow physicians have thoughtful insights about the scientific and ethical issues raised by animal experimentation. Most, however, denounce critics of animal experimentation in a way that demonstrates little understanding or consideration of positions conflicting with their own. This is very disturbing.
Unfortunately, the use of nonhuman animals in laboratories has always been entrusted to people in the habit of ardently shutting out criticism. Research bureaucrats, for example-- those who determine funding priorities--regularly sidestep criticism of animal experimentation, even if it comes from within the ranks of science and medicine.
But certain challenges to their position are irrefutable. Since animal models are mere analogues to their human counterparts, experiments on animals can neither confirm nor disprove any scientific theory about humans.
Thus, I suggest, changes in research priorities relating to animal experimentation are in order--changes that would likely accelerate the pace...
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