Fearful not guilty 2

March 10, 2006

The article by Laurie Pycroft contains several inaccuracies.

First, the idea of animal research being necessary for medical advance is strongly disputed within the scientific community and has been for the past century. Associations of antivivisection doctors exist in several countries, including the UK, Germany, Italy, Israel and Switzerland, and the book 1,000 Doctors against Vivisection (edited by Hans Ruech) contains statements by many medical professionals rejecting animal research as a means of advancing human health.

Second, the claim that the public supports animal research is not borne out by numerous polls, most of which show that the majority supports its abolition.

Finally, any "cowing" of animal researchers is more than matched by the pressure applied to any doctor who dares challenge the scientific validity of this research. While translating for a body of antivivisectionist doctors in Germany, I learnt of one member driven to suicide by harassment and of another who was threatened with expulsion from her practioners'

association if she continued to publish articles critical of animal research. With multimillion-pound business interests involved, animal-rights activists are not the only intimidators.

Dennis Stuart Brighton

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