Table of Contents
You can help stop animal testing AND increase the safety of new medicines by donating human cells, tissue, or your body. Your cells can help researchers develop alternatives to animal research. The provision of enough human tissue for research and medical training means fewer animals are used instead. It simply involves donation of your cells, redundant body tissue left over from operations/births, or organs after your death. You can also donate your entire body after death. This means you can carry on saving animals from suffering, even after you die.
Currently, the law insists that all new drugs coming to market must go through rounds and rounds of animal testing on different animal species. Then trials can begin on humans. To put pressure on the Government to change theses laws, support charities whose focus is to stop animal testing. They campaign for the Government to make use of modern, humane methods of testing, instead of animals. You can also use campaigns and petitions, and protests to help stop animal testing.
Image: You can donate your tissue, organs and body to help stop animal testing, saving animals from suffering both during your life and after your death. Source
Tens Of Millions Of Animals Killed, Including Pound Dogs
By conservative estimates, tens of millions of animals are killed or maimed each year in research. This is in an effort to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, agricultural chemicals and consumer products. Animals who are dissected include mice, rats, worms, cats, rabbits, fetal pigs, birds, dogs, and fish. They come from breeding facilities, slaughterhouses, pet stores, local pounds, their natural wild habitats, animal dealers, and even thieves. Most are “processed” at biological supply companies.
Many scientists and doctors agree that non-animal testing methods of medical research are much safer,. This number is steadily increasing. There are many organisations all over the world developing humane research methods.
For more information about animal testing, please see the animal experimentation page.
“There is no doubt that the best test species for humans are humans. It is not possible to extrapolate animal data directly to humans due to interspecies variation in anatomy, physiology and biochemistry”
~ MacLennan & Amos, 1990
Many Doctors & Scientists: Animal Testing Is Dangerous
According to many enlightened doctors and scientists, the practice of animal experimentation is more harmful than helpful to public health and safety. Many of these doctors and scientists are members of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). They feel we should stop animal testing because it harms patients by misleading scientists’ understanding of diseases. It creates a false sense of security and throws up false concerns. In fact, humans have died and been maimed during trials of drugs that have been proven safe in animals.
Lab tests of a new cancer drug called TRAIL showed it to be very promising. It had been harmless to healthy monkey and mouse liver cells, but it was found to kill healthy human liver cells.
In mice, cancer was cured decades ago, but humans react so differently, no cure has been found.
Doubts About Animal Testing Have Been Around Since The 1970s
Concern about the costs and questionable benefits of animal testing has been growing since the 1970s. Industry executives say that as much as 25 percent of the drugs tested on animals failed to show side effects that later proved serious enough to prevent the drugs from being marketed.
These medical doctors and scientists strongly feel that it is dangerous to focus on animal biology instead of human biology when researching human medicine. Doing so also means many treatments that could help humans are discarded when animals do not respond well to them.
Ex-Animal Researchers Expose The Dangers of Animal Research
Two ex-vivisectors, C. Ray Greek, MD, and Jean Swingle Greek, felt very strongly that the public should know about the inaccuracy and unreliability of using animal research. It resulted in them writing a revealing book. “Sacred Cows and Golden Geese: The Human Cost of Animal Experimentation“. They used data they had access to as ex-animal researchers, and a large amount of literature not available in the public domain.
Image: Written by anti-vivisectors, this book uses inside knowledge to expose the dangers and futility of animal experimentation. Source
“The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades and it simply didn’t work in humans.”
~ Dr Richard Klausner, US National Cancer Institute, NCI Director, quoted in the Los Angeles Times, 6 May 1998
How Researchers And Media Are Silenced
Many researchers are reluctant to publicly voice views that animal research is unreliable and dangerous to humans. This is because they have seen the multi billion dollar pharmaceutical industry withdraw research grants and other support from those who do. Researchers Dr Ray Greek, an American anaesthesiologist, and his wife, Jean Swingle Greek, a veterinary dermatologist, give us an insight:
“To get grants for research and stay employed, you must churn out papers with the utmost regularity. And the fastest and easiest way to get papers published is to use animal experimentation.”
The Greeks are are ex-vivisectors who have studied medical and scientific literature which is largely unavailable and inscrutable to the public.
Important Work Goes Unpublished To Keep Advertisers Happy
Those who think we should stop animal testing find it impossible to get published, despite there being an estimated 100,000 scientific journals in print today. This is because these journals rely on advertising revenue from pharmaceutical companies, and other companies who make products for animal experimenters.
The main stream media knows it has to keep its pharmaceutical and medical research contacts happy if they want to be privvy to breaking news. Upsetting these important contacts could mean they lose their jobs.
Animal Research Is Lucrative
The animal experimentation industry grosses between an estimated 100 billion and one trillion dollars a year worldwide. This figure includes the employment of hundreds of thousands of people. This includes those who manufacture and sell jackets for immobilising animals, and pumps for force-feeding them. It also includes needles, cages, scalpels and equipment used to kill animals in a specific way. That is without including sales of the animals themselves. The pressure they exert and control they have should not be underestimated.
Image: Scientists and the media know to keep quiet about the dangers of animal testing if they want to keep their jobs. Source
“There are, in fact, only two categories of doctors and scientists who are not opposed to vivisection: those who don’t know enough about it, and those who make money from it.”
~ Dr Werner Hartinger, German surgeon, 1989.
Animal Research Ruins Human Lives
How many times do you hear about a new drug or treatment for a major disease or condition that has had “promising” results in animal studies, and that should be available in a few years…and then never hear about it again?
That is because so many “promising” results from animal studies mean absolutely nothing when the treatment is to be applied to the human body. The drug company Ciba-Geigy has estimated that only five per cent of chemicals found safe and effective in animal tests ever reach the market as prescription drugs.
Human Cost Of Animal Testing
“Laboratory Animal Anaesthesia”, by Per Svendsen, is one of the most widely respected textbooks on animal experimentation. It states:
“Uncritical reliance on the results of animal tests can be dangerously misleading and has cost the health and lives of tens of thousands of humans.”
Animal tests on drugs are supposedly stringent and drugs released onto the market are deemed safe for human consumption. Despite this, two million Americans become seriously ill, and approximately 100,000 die, every year because of reactions to medicines they were prescribed. To put this in to context, this figure exceeds the number of deaths from all illegal drugs combined.
In England, an estimated 70,000 deaths and cases of severe disability occur each year because of adverse reactions to prescription drugs.
During 1976 to 1985 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 209 new compounds. Nearly half of these were subsequently found to have severe unpredicted side-effects. These included heart attacks, kidney failure, liver failure and stroke. None of these were detected during the animal studies.
The best-known example is the drug thalidomide. Mothers who took this drug to remedy morning sickness gave birth to children with shocking deformities. Most lacked developed limbs. This did not happen in animal studies.
Carcinogenic Substances Stay On The Market Because Animal Tests Don’t Work
In many instances, animal research delays cancer causing agents from being banned. This is because scientists are required to use animal studies to try to prove the substance is carcinogenic first. Since animals are so different to humans in so many ways, it is unlikely they will respond in the same way as humans and develop cancer. People continue to be exposed to carcinogenic materials while unreliable and inaccurate animal research is conducted. It still happens today. Here are some past examples:
- When a study of dye workers showed a high incidence of bladder cancer, droves of dyed lab animals failed to prove the rule.
- Chromium was carcinogenic in humans but not in animals.
- In 1956, British doctors warned of carcinogenic effects of X-rays given during pregnancy, resulting in childhood cancers. But no amount of irradiated pregnant quadrupeds necessarily produced the same effect.
- Asbestos is another example. The link between cancer and asbestos was made as long ago as 1907; but, after scientists failed to induce the disease in animals, it took more than 30 years before it was banned.
It makes no sense that we are concerned with reproducing results in animals before agents are banned for humans.
Everyone In Drug Trial Left Fighting For Their Lives
A drug to treat Leukaemia, named TGN1412, had produced promising results in animal studies. It was subsequently tested on six healthy young men in a UK drug trial run by Parexel. The drug amount injected into them being 500 times lower than the dose that was safe in animals. Despite this, all six men ended up fighting for their lives in a hospital intensive care unit, suffering from multiple organ failure. One of the men remained in hospital for four months and also suffered pneumonia, septicaemia, and dry gangrene. He lost his finger tips, part of his foot and his toes. All six of the men were left with muscle wastage and an increased risk of developing cancer and infertility problems.
Even if people are not concerned about the horrific animal cruelty involved, the abundant scientific evidence against this practice should worry anyone who cares about their health and the health of their loved ones.
Image: Ryan Wilson, and all five other men in the trial of the drug found to be safe in animals, suffered multiple organ failure and more. Source
Animal Testing Prevents Treatments And Cures For Humans
As well as drugs and treatments that are dangerous to humans being allowed onto the market, there is the flip side of animal testing. It actually prevents, or delays, many drugs and treatments from coming onto the market that really WOULD help humans. This is because if the drug or treatment is deemed dangerous in animals, it never reaches the stage where it is tested on humans. We can only imagine the treatments and cures that would have been found by now if we did not test on animals.
We are lucky in that now we have the scientific knowledge and technology to grow human tissue in labs, and do research on human donor tissue. This gives more accurate results. Despite this, Governments continue to demand that drugs and treatments must go through animal testing procedures before they can be approved for the market.
Image: Help stop animal testing – it actually prevents cures and treatments being found for humans. Source
“Conflicting animal results have often delayed and hampered advances in the war on cancer, they have never produced a single substantial advance in either the prevention or treatment of human cancer.”
~ Dr Irwin Bross, formerly of the Roswell Park Memorial Institute for Cancer Research, in testimony before the US Congress 1981
Animal Testing And The Law
Prescription drugs and vaccines, and many over-the-counter drugs, have likely been tested on animals when they were developed, as regulations require. Regulations do not require that generic versions of a drug that has already been approved undergo animal tests.
Food and Cosmetics:
Neither the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act nor the Food and Drug Administration regulations require animal testing of pharmaceuticals. However, because FDA industry guidance for preclinical drug testing states that the agency will “generally ask” for toxicity test results using at least two species of animals, this has resulted in companies assuming that the FDA prefers animal tests for all products. This means animal testing has become the default method.
Pesticides, Industrial Chemicals, Other Toxic Materials:
The EPA regulates pesticides, industrial chemicals, and other categories of potentially toxic or unsafe materials. The EPA requires animal safety testing for many of these materials. Until the FDA and EPA become more receptive to proven alternative methods, and more proactive in promoting them with the companies it regulates, those companies and contract research organizations will likely continue testing on animals. Having said that, the FDA does acknowledge that animal testing is not optimal, but it has not yet recommended that any non-animal testing method replace animal testing.
EU MEMBER STATES OF EUROPE & UK
It is illegal to sell cosmetic or toiletry/personal care products that have been tested on animals in the EU and UK. Drugs still have to be tested on animals by law.
In China, cosmetics and personal care products have to be tested on animals by law.
Beware All Consumers:
When selling in other parts of the world, some companies state they do not test on animals, or are against animal testing “unless the law requires it”, or something to that effect. This means they have chosen to sell their products in countries like China, even though that would mean their products have to be tested on animals. This is often done by a third party in china, where the treatment of animals is unimaginably cruel. These companies have chosen money over ethics, and can be regarded as a company who tests on animals, and NOT a cruelty free company. For more information, see this page.
Image: Scales of injustice – animal testing law.
New Developments Need Human Donors
HUMAN skin, eyes, the lining of the throat — snippets of these and other tissues are now routinely grown in test tubes from donated human cells. The aim is to use the human tissues in place of mice, dogs, or other lab animals for testing new drugs, cosmetics and other products.
In other cases, testing is being conducted virtually, using computers and simulation software.
Breast cancer is an area that has benefited from mathematical modelling where computers simulate parts of the human body. This is a relatively new area of research, as is computer-assisted research where molecules can be studied on screen using computer graphics which mimic the body’s systems.
Animal Free Research UK Helps Stop Animal Testing
Animal Free Research UK (formerly The Dr Hadwen Trust), is a UK-based charity established to come up with alternative humane research techniques. It funded the development of a new brain-scanning technique for studying vision, which replaced the need for invasive experiments on cats and led to a revolution in the understanding of the human brain with untold potential.
For some tests, people have replaced animals: volunteers get microdoses of potential drugs that can be analysed but cause no ill effects.
The investment in non-animal testing methods are being driven by European regulators, and they set the 2009 deadline for all animal testing on cosmetics. In the United States, there has been no similar government mandates to reduce animal testing. However, a recent study from the National Academy of Sciences, which was sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency “says we now have the tools to look much more closely on how toxicity occurs, and that we have to do it on human cells,” said Rodger D. Curren, president of the Institute for In-Vitro Sciences, a nonprofit testing center in Gaithersburg, Md. The study concluded that over time, the use of animals for testing could be greatly reduced and possibly eliminated.
Image: A heart valve grown from donor cells in a lab. Such advancements can help stop animal testing. Source
Advantages of Testing On Human Tissue
Alternative Scientific tests are quicker and cheaper than animal tests – The traditional testing of chemicals using animals can take up to five years per substance and cost millions of dollars, while non-animal alternatives can test hundreds of chemicals in a week for a fraction of the cost.
Alternative scientific tests are often more reliable and accurate than animal tests, and donated human tissue can help stop animal testing.
Example: The “Lethal Dose 50” (LD50) test forces animals to ingest toxic and lethal substances until 50% of the animals in the study die, often slowly and in unimaginable agony. Those that do not are later killed. The late Dr. Bjӧrn Ekwall (Cytotoxicology Laboratory in Sweden) developed a replacement for the LD50 test that measured toxicity at a precision rate of up to 85% accuracy compared to the LD50 rate of 61-65%. This test, far more accurate than the animal models, uses donated human tissue rather than animal.
How Alternatives To Animal Tests Are Better
- Crude skin allergy tests in guinea pigs only predict human reactions 72% of the time. But a combination of chemistry and cell-based alternative methods has been shown to accurately predict human reactions 90% of the time.
- The notorious Draize skin irritation test in rabbits can only predict human skin reactions 60% of the time. But using reconstituted human skin is up to 86% accurate.
- The standard test on pregnant rats to find out if chemicals or drugs may harm the developing baby can only detect 60% of dangerous substances. But a cell-based alternative (EST) has 100% accuracy at detecting very toxic chemicals.
Image: Did you realise that 95% of drugs tested ‘successfully’ on animals fail when they are translated to humans? Source
A Shortage Of Organs Means More Animals Are Used
The severe shortage of human organs available for transplants has resulted in animals being used instead.
Scientists are using pigs to grow human organs inside, to be used in transplants. Pig heart valves are transplanted into patients because there is a shortage of human heart valves.
Registering that you wish to donate your heart and other organs after you die is one way to save more pigs from being used in this way. In the UK, you can register with the Organ Donor Register (see UK Transplant Organ Donors link below).
Relatives Can Stop Your Organs Being Donated
It is vitally important that you let your family know your wishes. Your next of kin can stop your organs being donated, even if you are on the organ donor register or carry a donor card.
- Tissue Banks work hard to minimise any upset and disruption to relatives. They collect the tissue donated within hours and the body is returned to the family who can make normal funeral arrangements.
- There is a long established and well‐organised, nationwide system of collecting whole organs, bone, skin and eye tissue for use in transplants. If tissues and organs prove unsuitable for transplant, they may instead be supplied for research purposes. This can only be done with the permission of the donor or next‐of‐kin.
- If you wish tissues from your body to be used in transplants or research after death, you should consider registering as an organ donor here: UK Transplant Organ Donors. Alternatively, telephone the organ donor line on 0300 123 23 23. It is recommended that you carry this an organ donor card in your wallet/purse. These cards may be available at your local pharmacy or doctor’s surgery.
Image: By becoming an organ donor you could save animals from suffering.
Donate Body Tissue Left Over From Surgery Or Birth
If you are due to give birth or have surgery, including cosmetic surgery, you can request that the placenta, umbilical cord, or other tissue taken from you is donated to the hospital ‘Bio-bank’ instead of being incinerated as waste.
Although not all hospitals have bio-banks, it is important to find out if there is a local bio-bank before you have your operation.
It is important you contact the hospital you are having the procedure in advance about donating tissue. If you are having a biopsy taken, or are about to undergo an operation, you can ask the hospital whether your tissue can be used in research. This will depend on what research is taking place locally that requires the type of tissue taken from you, and the availability of storage facilities.
Cruel Animal Tests Replaced Because Of Donated Tissue
Human tissue can be donated from surgery (e.g. biopsies, cosmetic surgery and transplants). It can help stop animal testing. Skin and eye models made from reconstituted human skin and other tissues have been developed and are used to replace the cruel rabbit irritation tests. Companies such as Episkin, Mattek and CellSystems GmbH now produce these tests in easy to use kits for companies to use to test their cosmetics and other substances.
As long as it is useable, the tissues stored in the bio-bank are then used in medical research, where animals could have been used instead.
It is wise to register your willingness to donate tissues with a hospital and tissue bank.
For further details, see this website:
‘Ethical Tissue’ in Bradford collects a range of human tissues from patients coming having treatment in hospital and from healthy volunteers.
See their website here: Ethical Tissue
The ICT Bioincubator
Tumbling Hill Street
University of Bradford
Tel: +44 (0)1274 235897
Fax: +44 (0)1274 236116
Image: Human tissue is needed from people receiving treatment, and healthy volunteers. Source
Rapid advances in technology have allowed for the development of sophisticated scanning machines and recording techniques that can be used to safely study human volunteers.
Brain imaging machines that can ‘see’ inside the brain can be used to monitor the progression and treatment of brain disease. They can help researchers understand the causes by comparing with healthy volunteers.
An innovative technique called microdosing can also be used in volunteers to measure how very small doses of potential new drugs behave in the human body. These microdoses are radio-labelled, injected into human volunteers and measured (usually in blood samples) using a very sensitive measuring device called an accelerator mass spectrometer.
Less high-tech studies for nutrition, drug addiction and pain can also be carried out on consenting humans in the interest of advancing medical science. These studies can help replace animal tests.
Image: Microdosing human volunteers is proven to be more accurate than animal testing. Source
Help Stop Animal Testing After You Are Gone
There is no doubt that undertaking medical research on human tissue gives more accurate results when studying human diseases, than animals research does. Where there is a lack of human tissue to study, animals are often used.
A number of brain banks exist around the country that collect and store tissue for research into serious neurological disorders. It is possible to arrange to leave your brain to these banks, and several produce information packs for donors. There is a severe shortage of non-diseased brains at most brain banks.
Based in London, Queen Square brain bank collects post-mortem brain tissue for research into neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, dementia and others. Tissues are supplied to researchers worldwide:
The South West Dementia Brain Bank in Bristol collects brain tissue from dementia and non‐dementia brains:
Image: There is a lack of undiseased brains donated. Source
Leave Your Body To Medical Research
Most people know that they can help humane health charities through generous contributions of money or time, but a lesser-known way to support the eradication and treatment of human disease without harming animals is through posthumous body donation. Many medical research facilities, universities and colleges need human tissue to use for medical research.
Because time is critical, it is wise to register your willingness to donate tissues with a hospital or tissue bank. Leaving it for your next of kin to organise may take too long and result in your body being unusable.
Two humane charities, which include the Anatomy Gifts Registry (AGR), and the International Institute for the Advancement of Medicine (IIAM), are dedicated to providing valuable human bodies, organs, and tissues to medical researchers and students.
Leeds Tissue Bank collects post-mortem tissue for research, especially cancer and orthopaedic research.
Leeds Tissue Bank,
Section of Pathology and Tumour Biology,
Wellcome Trust Brenner Building,
St. James’s University Hospital,
Tel: 0113 343 8508.
Keratec Eye Bank and corneal research laboratory,
St George’s Hospital in London.
Tel: 020 8672 1238
Image: Donating your your body to science could help save animals from being used instead. Source
Leave Your Body To Training Medical Students
Medical students learn anatomy by dissecting human cadavers and there is a shortage of donor bodies for training doctors. Where there is a shortage, animals may instead be killed to use. To arrange to leave your body to a medical school for use in training doctors you should contact The Human Tissue Authority.
Tel: 020 7972 4551 for further details.
At Bristol University, bodies can be bequeathed specifically for research purposes or for training of student doctors:
Tel: 0117 928 7415
Because time is critical in after death tissue donation, it is wise to register your willingness to donate tissues with a hospital and tissue bank. Leaving it for your next of kin to organise may take too long and result in your body being unusable.
Image: Medical schools use cadavers for training students. Source
Can I Ensure My Body Is Used To Help Stop Animal Testing?
Depending on where, and how, death occurs, it is not always possible to donate your body or organs.
If you want your tissue to be used for only specific types of research, for instance, where your tissue would be replacing the use of animals, it is important that you make these wishes clear to the healthcare professional who seeks your consent. Your wishes should also be stated in writing on a consent form.
However, you should be aware that, if you impose very specific requirements for its use, many tissue banks may not be able to use your tissue at all. This is why it is vital to check with the tissue banks in plenty of time. You may find tissue banks that are able to fulfil your requirements.
Image: Commit to helping to stop animal testing
Important: Inform Your Next Of Kin
It is essential that you inform your next of kin of your wishes, as they are likely to be asked for consent about what happens to your body after death. They can stop your wishes being carried out. That is why it is paramount that your next of kin understands how strongly you feel about your organs being donated to help stop animal testing.
It is important that you discuss your wishes with your family, doctors, and the executors of your Will.
Image: Make sure your family and doctors know what your wishes are. Source
How Can I Promote Using Alternative Methods Over Animals?
The Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine has already had a huge amount of success with volunteers helping to stop animal testing. They suggest that to encourage ethical research over animal research, you can:
- Contact medical schools that continue to use live animal labs
- Thank medical schools that no longer use live animal labs
- Encourage your school to use dissection alternatives
Going To College Or University?
If you are a student at school or doing a college or university course that is planning to use animals, you can conscientiously object, and possibly get the course to use alternative means. You could even do what these doctors did with PCRM and organise a protest demonstration.
Before deciding which college or university to attend, prospective students – whether they are doing a medical course or not – could enquire whether the institution uses live animals for any educational, training, or research purposes. If they are unwilling to change to use alternative, ethical methods, and you decide against the college or university on these grounds, it is important you let them know that is the reason. Use social media and other methods suggested on the site to spread these facts so that other people are also aware.
Raise Money To Help Stop Animal Testing While Doing Research
There is lots of information on other websites dedicated to ethical and cruelty free alternatives to animal research. Make sure you use a charity search engine so you can raise money to help animal charities with every search – for free. There will be charities who want to stop animal testing you can raise money for while searching.
Image: You can help to stop animal testing. Many victories have already been won, and you can help win more. Source
How To Effectively Spread Awareness Of Animal Rights
Do you want to make the world a kinder place by helping stop terrified animals being put through horrific cruelty? By helping to change the habits of consumers by raising awareness, you can do that.
Spreading the animal rights message can be very emotionally draining and distressing. Have a look on this page to find out how to be an effective advocate for animals, whilst making sure you keep your mind healthy and happy. You can find more ways to spread awareness here.
Other Ways To Help Stop Animal Suffering
On this site there are many varied ways you can help animals and help stop cruelty. In fact, there are so many different ways that there is something for every personality type, no matter what their circumstances.
If you would like to learn more about why we so urgently need to help stop animal suffering, please see this website. It will allow you to broaden your knowledge of many different types of world wide animal abuse, giving you the ability to help animals by spreading awareness and answering questions people may have. Please be aware that you may find the information distressing.
One great way to help animals is to share the information you have seen on this website. Doing so means more people could help stop animal cruelty, and that would make you responsible for more animals being saved from suffering. Together we can help people help animals <3
Have Your Say In The Comments Section
Do you know of any information we have missed, or do you have any information to add to this page? Please leave a comment to let everyone know about it.