Animals and kids

August 28, 1998

The campaign of the organisation Seriously Ill for Medical Research (THES, August 14), which seeks pledges from anti-vivisectionists that they will not use treatments developed through animal research, may be good politics but it is intellectually dishonest.

The point is not whether medical advances have been achieved in processes that at some point may have involved animals. In the case of toxicity testing, there is a legal obligation to use animals. The key question is whether advances could have been made without using animals. The answer to this question is less clear-cut.

If the pro-research group persists in this immature and unhelpful campaign, I have an equally bogus suggestion of my own. I propose that all of those who support the use of animals for scientific purposes should be encouraged to offer their pets to research laboratories. Any takers?

Robert Garner, Department of politics, University of Leicester.

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