Drug testing on animals

When I talk about animal welfare issues, I often feel I am running the risk that I will be accused of being more concerned about (non-human) animals than about humans. This is doubly so when I talk about the use of animals in experimentation.

It was therefore irritating, although not totally surprising, that the “Hands Off Our Ovaries” group recently put out a media release saying “Senator Bartlett is more concerned about the welfare of animals than about the welfare of Australian women” purely on the basis of my amendment to prevent the use of animal eggs in human cloning – conveniently ignoring the specific statements I made in moving the amendment.

However, I actually found this quite reassuring in one respect, as this patently false statement confirmed my suspiscion that the concerns this group expressed about the cloning/stem cell legislation were mainly polemical and prone to exaggeration and hyperbole. Of course, a selective or absolutist approach about the use of animals in research is not solely the province of this group.

A more encouraging angle can be seen in a recent piece in the New York Times, which shows that even in this fraught area there is more potential for overlap than might first appear.

Dogs have long been used for medical research, usually to the dismay of animal-rights activists. But now pet owners are enrolling their dogs in medical trials meant to benefit humans and animals alike. And some animal advocates are applauding the development.

Most of the trials, often sponsored by drug companies or medical device makers, involve pets with cancer — a leading natural cause of death in older dogs — in which the animals receive groundbreaking drugs or other treatments that are eventually meant for people.
Treating dogs gives researchers an idea of whether and how the treatment will work in people, while at the same time possibly helping the pets.

“It can help in reshaping the image of animals in science, from being considered tools to being considered patients,” said Martin Stephens, the vice president for animal research issues at the Humane Society of the United States.

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34 Comments

  1. The feminazis oppose stem cell research and the like because they fear, rightly, that it will lead to the end of women’s monopoly on reproductive rights.

    However, they will not succeed in their attempts to block scientific progress. No matter what they manage to ban, someone, somewhere, will continue research and development. And once the genetic genie is out of the bottle, they will lose much of the basis of their power.

  2. Evil Pundit: women do not have a monopoly on reproductive rights. If this was true the Catholic Church would have enquired of more women than men when debating contraception.

    It is not only the females that block “Scientific progress” but the phallocentric narrow mindedness of the religious groups that does so; think Muslim clerics calling women meat, anti stem cell propoganda from the Christian fundamentalists or the on going mutilation involved in female circumcision.

    Your ignorance and misogyny is offensive. Or does your comment reflect a deep seated case of Uterus Envy?

  3. Cate, your ignorance and misandry is offensive.

    Regardless of what some religious zealots might say, what the reproductive rights in our society actually are determined by the law and the ways in which it is enforced.

    In Australia, women have all the reproductive choices and men have none; women have the right to choose whether to bear children or to abort them, women have the right to get pregnant without men, women have the right to force men to pay for their choices through coerced ‘child support’. And that’s just the beginning of the inequity.

    Equating the rhetoric of a few people with the reality that is enforced by law on the vast majority, as you do, is just one more deceptive feminist propaganda trick.

    Feminists fear they will lose this privileged position if women lose their current monopoly on reproduction; an outcome which is all but inevitable as biological research proceeds apace.

  4. Just for anyone reasonable who is still reading this: Hands off our Ovaries is an initiative of Women’s Forum Australia, who despite Moron Pundit’s rants actually oppose abortion, are not too keen on contraception and who have only 60 members.

    Neither feminists, nor representative of “Australian women”.

  5. So opposing abortion and not being keen on contraception automatically disqualifies women from being feminists?

    Nice inclusive group you’ve got there, Anna.

  6. Opposing abortion and contraception for other women means you aren’t a feminist, yes.

    My tolerance doesn’t extend to those who would take my rights away – I’m surprised you find that strange, EP.

    Anyhow, I see you haven’t acknowledged that you were wrong in your assessment in them. They are on your side for most of this debate.

  7. I understand where Evil Pundit is coming from.

    Women do have a high degree of control over fertility issues, but a man can exert some degree of control as well. He can refuse to allow his wife to have children and, if necessary, use contraceptive methods to prevent it.

    Any intelligent person knows that the availability of the contraceptive pill has destroyed the very fabric of our society.

    Raising children has been replaced by immorality, greed, self-focus and an imbalance in population numbers between the younger generations and the elderly.

    I think it is best if I don’t mention what is likely to follow on from the last problem mentioned.

    I agree very much with the comments of Women’s Forum Australia regarding the ill effects of extracting large numbers of eggs from women. I have pointed most of these out before.

    I am also still concerned about the lack of availability of human eggs to IVF couples.

    When the only alternative to using women’s eggs for SCNT is using animal eggs, and someone speaks out against it, what are people supposed to think?

    Getting back to dogs, it’s great to see that people are beginning to realise that experimentation on animals does have a positive side, and generally a more immediate benefit for animals. This might include SCNT.

    I don’t think the link mentioned anything about treating dogs for neurological disorders, but there have been breakthroughs in that area as well.

    In recent years, I have been an active participant in research studies into endometriosis, breast density and Parkinson’s Disease.

    I have also started helping to raise funds for medical research by making craft items for a variety of stallholders, and would encourage other people to become involved themselves.

    Together we could save our children and grandchildren from some deadly disease.

  8. No, opposing abortion and contraception merely means you are a different kind of feminist. The common thread between all forms of feminism is that of blaming men for women’s problems.

    These particular feminists want to deny science because they fear it may take away their current monopoly on reproduction. I’m sure there are plenty of pro-abortion feminists who would feel the same way.

    All feminists work, often with great success, to take away the human rights of men. Naturally, since feminists want to take my rights away, I don’t tolerate them. That holds true regardless of whether the feminists in question support abortion or not.

  9. You might want to take a look at who drove the debate before making yourself look like even more of a moron, EP.

    Two Bills, sponsored by three women. All but 4 women in the Senate voting for it. Every Committee member who recommended a yes vote for the Patterson Bill – also women.

    All the women in your life may be united in their desire not to procreate with you but you shouldn’t take that as an experience shared by all men.

  10. All the women in your life may be united in their desire not to procreate with you but you shouldn’t take that as an experience shared by all men.

    Play the ball, Anna, play the ball.

  11. You obviously haven’t had much contact with EP, Louise. This is a man with one hobbyhorse that he appears to be superglued to. There is no debate with a man who is obsessed with making every woman in the world fit his picture of what he thinks they are like.

  12. Both men and women can create problems for one another.

    We need to take each person we meet on a one-by-one basis (male or female), no matter what we have experienced before – but be cautious – or we can choose not to form relationships with anyone.

    My father was an incredible woman hater, but even he took part in the endometriosis study (women’s fertility/health problem), despite the fact he was exceedingly ill.

    The topic being discussed here is health issues for humans and animals – and the likely positive and negative effects of various research/treatment protocols – not who has a monopoly on reproduction.

    We already know who that is and it’s not something that can be easily changed.

    EP, please tell us what you think a non-feminist woman believes and does. I’m wondering what that could be.

  13. There is no debate with a man who is obsessed with making every woman in the world fit his picture of what he thinks they are like.

    Seems pointless engaging in a debate then.

  14. Coral: A non-feminist woman is simply a woman who doesn’t hate men, doesn’t blame men for all her problems, and expects to be treated based on her merits rather than getting special rights and privileges because of her gender.

  15. EP: I must be a non-feminist then. I don’t hate men (most of my friends and family are male), I don’t blame men for my problems (I have a mother for that), I expect to be treated on my merits as an intelligent individual and get very upset when my darling partner is ignored by the males who are treating our infertility.

    As a female who has no control over her ability to reproduce I don’t blame anyone. (Even though my MALE partner feels I have the right to feel very angry at him as I get the treatment for his medical condition.) I consider myself fortunate to have him to love.

    The women you talk about who make the decision to abort alone can be as bad as the men who beat the women into miscarriage (and I’ve met both.) Not all women are like this.

    I am pro-choice, but pro-choice does not mean the choice for women alone. I am pro-womens rights; this doesn’t make me anti-men.

  16. I often feel I am running the risk that I will be accused of being more concerned about (non-human) animals than about humans.

    Well, when people talk about “non-human animals” I think the accusation is perhaps somewhat understandable.

    the “Hands Off Our Ovaries” group recently put out a media release saying “Senator Bartlett is more concerned about the welfare of animals than about the welfare of Australian women” purely on the basis of my amendment to prevent the use of animal eggs in human cloning

    The group may have been unfair to you in this way, but in an age of sound-bites and very little proper information in the media, it’s not very surprising is it? Any number of people are sadly misrepresented by the sensation-driven media. We would probably all do well to look into things more deeply.

    this patently false statement confirmed my suspiscion that the concerns this group expressed about the cloning/stem cell legislation were mainly polemical and prone to exaggeration and hyperbole.

    Unlike anyone else, I suppose.

    Treating dogs gives researchers an idea of whether and how the treatment will work in people, while at the same time possibly helping the pets.

    This sounds pretty good to me.

    “It can help in reshaping the image of animals in science, from being considered tools to being considered patients,”

    Well, if it means that people will then start to be treated like patients by certain members of the medical profession who currently see us as objects, I’ll be very impressed indeed.

    This is no reflection on you personally, Senator, just my own thoughts about the way the medical profession can sometimes treat people very badly.

  17. Cate said:
    women do not have a monopoly on reproductive rights. If this was true the Catholic Church would have enquired of more women than men when debating contraception.

    Senator, I’m very impressed indeed. Here is a thread about drug testing on animals and the second post in your combox gets straight into a diatribe about the Catholic Church! Amazing.

    It is not only the females that block “Scientific progress” but the phallocentric narrow mindedness of the religious groups that does so

    Phallocentric? Are you serious? Narrow minded? Do you just spout off whatever you read in the newspapers?

    anti stem cell propoganda from the Christian fundamentalists
    This is “phallocentric” how?

  18. Anna said:
    Hands off our Ovaries is an initiative of Women’s Forum Australia, who despite Moron Pundit’s rants actually oppose abortion, are not too keen on contraception and who have only 60 members.

    Thankyou, Anna, for reminding me to send in my membership form. I think this is a pretty newly formed group – at least I only heard of it recently.

    Again, Senator, its regrettable if the group have done you an injustice on this issue. I have been trying to point this out to one of the Women’s Forum members, but my emails are not operating properly atm. Will keep trying.

    Anna said: Neither feminists, nor representative of “Australian women”.

    I don’t care, frankly, whether people think I’m a feminist or not. Indeed, I don’t care about the label at all. But many members of this group would call themselves feminist because, like the first-wave feminists, they believe that women are equal in dignity to men. I believe we are too, but I don’t care about the feminist label.

    EP said: So opposing abortion and not being keen on contraception automatically disqualifies women from being feminists?
    Nice inclusive group you’ve got there, Anna.

    Yes, good point, EP.

    Anna sais: Opposing abortion and contraception for other women means you aren’t a feminist, yes. My tolerance doesn’t extend to those who would take my rights away – I’m surprised you find that strange, EP.

    Neither does mine Anna, so I empathise with you, even if we’re on opposite sides of this debate. But then, unlike most 21st Century Australians, I don’t consider tolerance to be much of a value.

    Anna to EP: Anyhow, I see you haven’t acknowledged that you were wrong in your assessment in them. They are on your side for most of this debate.

    Perhaps, Anna, they are (like me) not much enamoured of the Right Wing notions of “keeping the little woman in her place.”

  19. Louise: It wasn’t aimed at the Senator but at Evil Pundit.

    I loved the article; and was interested to read a different perspective on the stem cell debate and vivisection in particular.

    I was in no way attacking the Catholic Church, in which I was raised. I do not agree with the way they arrived at their decisions surrounding contraception, something my Catholic private school education went in to in detail. I apologise if you think I am attacking the Church, that was not my intention. Nor am I attacking Christianity, or organised religion.

    I read the medical and scientific journals and the debates beyond the newspapers and the web on this topic. Stem cell advancements might return eyesight to my 15 year old nephew or mean my partner and I can concieve “naturally.” To quote a priest I talked to recently (Catholic) “We need to see all technological advances as a gift from the Lord and work with him for the betterment of his people.”

    The original post by EP on this topic wasn’t for the betterment of anyone but to sling rubbish at females. It wasn’t relevant to the article and I am now very sorry I engaged in discussion on the topic.

    Blessed be, Louise, and your beautiful family. Once again I apologise to you for offense caused.

  20. I wasn’t attacking females, but feminists.

    These are two very different things. As we can see from Anna’s diatribe, she considers women who have different opinions from her as being automatically excluded from the class of feminists.

    Cate, when you describe something you don’t like as “phallocentric”, you are engaging in a sexist attack on men, blaming the male sex in general for the problem. This qualifies you as a feminist.

    While you may feel sexual attraction for certain individual men, or personal affection for others, nevertheless your use of such sexist, objectifying terms is a clear indicator of misandric feminism.

  21. Thankyou Cate, for your very kind reply.

    I do realise your comments weren’t aimed at Senator Bartlett, but it just interests me that on any given topic, people will often very quickly digress into discussions about and often criticism of the Catholic Church.

    To quote a priest I talked to recently (Catholic) “We need to see all technological advances as a gift from the Lord and work with him for the betterment of his people.”

    Apologies if I’m getting OT, but the quote you mentioned here interested me. I think I would agree with this priest that technological advancements can be considered a gift from God and can certainly do much for the betterment of people and to the extent it does, I give thanks to God and scientists. I’m not sure I’d agree that all technological advancements are inherently good however. And I also think that any technological advances may be used for either good or evil. That doesn’t mean we should be afraid to pursue knowledge, just that we should subordinate it to ethical considerations.

    I wish you all the best too, Cate.

  22. As usual ignorace abounds in the replies to anything regarding animal right and womens rights.

    Animal testing a benefit to humans… yeah, why don’t you tell that to all the human and non-humans that have suffered in so called beneficial testing. Ever heard of Thalidomide? Perfectly safe when used on animals, however all you need to do is look at the children born without limbs, without lungs, with birth defects or that died to see that the ‘proven’ results of animal testing do not always apply to a different species (in this case humans).

    Just think for a moment – there are a lot of drugs out there that do show a benefit to humans that would have killed animals that could have been used in testing. Penicillin for example is deadly to guinea pigs.

    And I am sure you are aware of a case earlier this year relating to TGN1412, which caused severe side effects in every human that received the drug, a drug ‘proven’ safe in animal testing. A drug that caused organ failure in almost every human treated with it.

    And that isn’t even going into the ethics of animal testing or the cost (non-animal testing which can yeild more accurate results is often cheaper).

    As for womens reproductive rights, I see it as simple – everyday women die from complications related to pregnancy and child birth. Women alone have to live with the risks of pregnancy and childbirth – not men. And until men have to live with those risks, then as far as I am concerned they do not have the right to legislate on what women can and can’t do with their bodies.

    Considering that even in the countries that have the best maternal care 1 in 29,800 women will die in her lifetime from a pregnancy complication it’s not something that can be taken lightly – even more so when you consider that there are several countries where teh rate is 1 in 6.

    As for stem cell research, that a different matter all together. And to me a much more ethical form of research, and probably the topic for an essasy.

  23. Men have to live with the consequences of unwanted pregnancy — such as 18 years of forced labour to support the mothers of unwanted children.

    And men’s work is far more dangerous than women’s pregnancy.

    Until men get the right to control their own bodies, feminists shouldn’t whinge about women getting pregnant. Women are the ones who have all the control.

  24. Obviously not, because I didn’t use a condom once and thus am paying maintenance for a child for the next 10 years.

    But it was within my control whether or not to put a condom on.

    As half of the equation, I don’t see any compelling reason why I should not help raise my daughter financially – even if I’m no longer in a relationship with her mother. After all, she’s the one that has far more responsibility – I can still go out during the day, on evenings and weekends without worrying who’s looking after my daughter.

    And the only danger in my office work is getting sore eyes from staring at a computer screen too long.

  25. It was in your partner’s control whether to get an abortion.

    But you didn’t have equivalent control.

    How lucky for you that you work in an office. Nobody ever dies in one of those. But many men have more hazardous workplaces.

  26. i am doing a debate on vivisection-and i have to be for it, even though i am extremely against it. Why is vivisection good? Doesn’t it help on animals aswell?-for vitinary uses, could that be a reason? it is so hard for me to see why it’s positive, i am an animal lover and have four pets, i’d hate to see animals like them be tested on.

  27. Tara:

    Vivisection is the experimentation on living animals (or humans) by means of operations designed to promote knowledge of physiological and pathological processes.

    Physiological processes would include digestion, breathing and reproduction – to name but a few.

    An example of a pathological process would be cancer (or anything abnormal that is happening within the body).

    When a doctor removes a cancerous growth, or engages in any form of exploratory or curative surgery, he is essentially practising vivisection.

    Without it, lots of people would die a painful death unnecessarily.

    Scientists use vivisection to quantify the results of their experimentation, among other things, on which I do not claim to be an expert. Their efforts benefit both animal and humankind.

    A debate on the positive side of vivisection would probably be an easy one to win.

    muzzmonster:

    Thank you for seeing things on a broad perspective.

    Only a misogynist with no respect for human life would suggest that it might have been more suitable for your daughter to have been aborted.

    It is both normal and natural for people to conceive children. It was designed by Mother Nature to be easy.

    Evil Pundit:

    You can control your own body by abstaining and/or joining a monastery. In the meantime, please cease taking a one-eyed financial view of parental responsibility.

    Please consult a dictionary to find out what a feminist is. Then you may come to understand your confusion between a feminist and a misandrist.

  28. Tara (post 30): There are many people alive today who would not be if it wasn’t for experimentation with animals. This includes many people infected with HIV. If you want ‘spin’ for your debate, you could ask the audience to imagine if a beloved parent or family member was sick and would die if they couldn’t have access to a drug developed through experimentation with animals. See how many would choose to refuse the drug for that relative.

    Many people who are anti-animal experimention are quite happy to eat meat, yet the living conditions of stock animals and the way they are slaughtered are in many circumstances worse than that experienced by experimental animals. At least the latter are required in Australia to be given pain killers whereever possible, and suffering must be minimised. This doesn’t apply to chickens crammed together in battery cages, or pigs in sow stalls lying on hard concrete floors.

    In some cases non-human animals aren’t appropriate as models for humans, or non-animal alternatives exist. If animal-use happens in these circumstances it is indeed wrong. But there are still many instances in which there is no choice to using animals except to use people instead. Some people will argue that we shouldn’t experiment with non-himans if we’re not prepared to experiment with humans. However, I would suggest that if you’re a meat eater, you’ve already decided that non-human animal lives are worth less than human lives.

  29. >>When I talk about animal welfare issues, I often feel I am running the risk that I will be accused of being more concerned about (non-human) animals than about humans. This is doubly so when I talk about the use of animals in experimentation.

    yes, Humans can be so damn selfish about their needs & desires…their desire for longevity… to wear cosmetic MASKS in order to hide who they are, to fit in, to get a high from the pretence of being someone else…the need to ease pain & discomfort often caused by their own greed & abuse…as long as other species exist that can be tested, tortured, experimented on, & killed, who can’t talk back in an accepted LANGUAGE…can’t rise up as a social group against those who inflict the PAIN on them, then it’s okay for the mass of Humanity to avert their gaze, pretend they can’t hear, crack an obscene joke…& blissfully go along w/ the HERD in feigned IGNORANCE.

    Come the UPLIFT…Humanity will indeed need some good lawyers.

    Demonstrating outspoken interest in Animal Welfare issues assures me you have evolved beyond many others Andrew. Never be fazed by the SELFISH at heart.

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