Saturday, December 29, 2007



ARSL PAGES 5, 10, 17

ARSL 2nd Edition Pages 11, 19

It is the vivisectionists' current assertion, which crops up loud and strong evermore frequently now that they are openly coming out in defence of their trade, and therefore in defence of the future of their dubious existence, that without vivisection most of us would be dead. But medical evidence is becoming increasingly abundant proving beyond doubt that exactly the reverse is applicable. That far from saving mankind, vivisection, which cannot even produce a cure for the common cold, is destroying it. Medical evidence supporting this statement is so prolific it will be dealt with in a separate section and even as this article is being written some readers will be viewing 60 Minutes on T.V. 3, September 22 1991 which at this moment is screening the dangers of Valium, Lithium, Halcion and other profitable benzodiazapines which are said to be "destroying the lives of thousands of New Zealanders".

Pages 5, 10 and 17 of ARSL respectively make unreferenced claims that:

  1. without insulin, most insulin-dependent diabetics "would be dead"
  2. "research with dogs and other animals... led to the discovery of insulin", and
  3. without vivisection "a cure for diabetes would be beyond reach".
Lack of space precludes the printing of all the vast arsenal of medical evidence, however readers interested in following up this work can easily locate the recommended material from which it is sourced, and so ascertain that vivisection is a profit-making fraud born of expediency to justify profitable philanderings with animals.

The first thing that strikes the novice when investigating the "discovery" of insulin is that in all the photographs of the tens of thousands of agonised dogs which had their pancreases extirpated towards this end, the animals are crudely propped, tied, or even hanging or slung, upright. This is because every animal on Earth, with the exception of man, is horizontal, making pressure-points, structure and other variables so overwhelming that any attempt to extrapolate conditions is a game of chance. Criticism of this total lack of similarity between the horizontal animal and the vertical human-being crops up repeatedly from many medical doctors and it is essential that the importance of this fundamental is understood.

During the 1920s, the dog experiments performed by scientists Banting and Best were strongly criticised as:

"... a wrongly conceived, wrongly conducted, and wrongly interpreted series of experiments."
(Dr F. Roberts, "Insulin", British Medical Journal, 1922.)

Readers are also directed to the clinical work of an American pathologist Dr Moses Barron, who published an article based on the autopsy of a patient who had died of pancreatic lithiasis, in which he says:

"The scientists Banting and Best were incorrectly credited with the discovery of insulin."
(Dr M. Barron, "The Relation of the Islets of Langerhans Diabetes with Special Reference to Cases of Pancreatic Lithiasis", Surgery, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, November 5 1920.)

  • "Unfortunately, the condition of a dog with a small but healthy part of his pancreas left is essentially different from that of a person suffering from diabetes... in human diabetes two factors are present:
    1. an essentially progressive lesion absent in experimental animals; and
    2. the detrimental effect of improper diet."
    (Hugh MacLean, M.D., D.Sc., Lancet, May 26 1923, page 1043.)

  • "There is no laboratory method of inducing diabetes... which is exactly comparable to the clinical condition. At best we can get only crude approximations. The dangers of arguing from one species to another, or even from one strain to another of the same species are certainly not to be neglected."
    (Dr F.G. Young, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of London, Lancet, December 18 1948, pages 955-956.)

  • "Arguments based on the insulin requirements of the depancreatised dog and cat applied to human diabetes are quantitatively dangerous."
    (Dr F. G. Young, D.Sc., PhD., F.R.S., British Medical Journal, November 17 1951, pages 1167-1168.)

  • "The causes of diabetes mellitus remains unknown in both man and animals. In spite of certain species similarities, there are a number of important differences - differences in clinical manifestation, in aetological factors and in the liability to certain long-term complications of the disease."
    (Dr Harry Keen, BSc, M.R.C.P., "Spontaneous Diabetes in Man and Animals", Veterinary Record, July 9 1960, page 557.)

Further, in Clinical Medical Discoveries, Medical Historian M. Beddow Bayly, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., says that the association of diabetes with degenerative changes in the Beta cells in the pancreas was a well-recognised clinical discovery long before animal experiments in this connection were contemplated. "The means of separating from the pancreas the active principle, which Professor Schafer, a renowned physiologist had already in 1915 designated insulin", was, says Dr Beddow Bayly, "repeated by Banting who demonstrated it on a medical colleague who suffered from the disease. However the numerous experiments made by Banting on thousands of dogs proved nothing of value to human medicine, since, as is scientifically recognised, the dogs were not suffering from diabetes... The discovery, isolation and application of insulin was a clinical one."

The reader is directed to Chapter 10 Heart Surgery, and the evidence given by veterinarian Brandon Reines, Surgeon Dr Moneim Fadali and Hans Ruesch, all of whom emphasise the inability to extrapolate conditions or circumstances between dog and man. Further many doctors say that Banting's dogs suffered, not from diabetes, but from stress, a statement that no-one who has viewed the photographs of his unanaesthetised, depancreatised victims would argue, a condition which is said to be similar to diabetes, which from the vivisectors' point of view was a convenient one since it ensured, with the duplicity of the pro-vivisection alliance, his legitimised and relentless work on their crucifixion.

  • "Dr Banting, Canada's medical hero, who is popular and erroneously credited with the discovery of insulin by extirpating the pancreases of thousands of dogs, did not cause diabetes, but stress."
    (J.A. Pratt, "A Reappraisal of Research Leading to the Discovery of Insulin", Journal of the History of Medicine, Vol. 9, 1954, pages 281-289.)

This uncompromising statement coincides with that of Doctors N. Robinson and J. Fuller in New Scientist, November 15 1984, page 23, who said that families developing diabetes had been exposed to higher levels of stress than those who have not. "It is known", they say, "that obesity, drugs, chemicals, heredity, great grief, anger, fright and extreme emotional states can cause diabetes".

  • "Side effects of insulin treatment include an unusually high incidence of heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure and gangrene. This, some medical men believe is due to the foreign nature of animal insulin."
    (A.L. Notkins, "The Causes of Diabetes", Scientific American, Vol. 241, No. 5, November 1979, pages 62-73.)

Though the highly criticised animal-based insulin is now replaced by new oral preparations of pure chemicals it is no less criticised by many medics, to name a few:

  • "It is well-known by eminent physicians in the field that 90% of all diabetics who are on insulin should not be. Insulin, when given over a number of years, can be responsible for the late complications of diabetes - diabetic blindness and diabetic gangrene. It is quite possible that more people have been killed over the years than have been saved."
    (Dr Robert S. Mendelsohn, Hidden Crimes.)

  • "Medicine cultivates disease. The health situation is worsening. Therapeutics is a purveyor of ills, it creates individuals that will have to take recourse to it. An impressive example is hereditary diabetes. Since the discovery of insulin this disease had markedly increased."
    (Dr Jean Rostant, one of Europe's best-known biologists, Le Droit D'etre Naturaliste, ed. Stock, Paris, 1963.)

  • "The more we study diabetes, the more we discover the contradictory aspects of this malady. Fifty years ago, when insulin was discovered, we thought the mystery of diabetes had been resolved. But now the mystery keeps getting more mysterious."
    (Ulrico de Aichelburg, writing in the authoritative Italian magazine EPOCA, September 21 1974.)

  • "At the CIBA Foundation, London, on 3 July, Prof. Houssay reviewed his group's work on the influence of sex hormones on the incidence and severity of experimental diabetes in the rat: but first warned his audience not to accept the results for other animals or for humans."
    (Lancet, July 14 1951, page 70.)

  • "Diabetes is a symptom, not a disease, and insulin... does no more than palliate this symptom. The drug throws no light upon the cause, it does not act in the manner described, and, had the cause been found and eradicated as it can be, there would have been no need to use it."
    (J.E.R. McDonagh, F.R.C.S., The Nature of Disease Journal, Vol. 1, 1932, page 1.)

  • "Many points of great interest emerge from their studies. Here is an example of how a technique adapted for a particular study may be usefully turned onto another. Here also is a striking example of species difference in tissue metabolism, and yet another warning against uncritically extending the conclusions of animal experiments to man."
    (Leading article on "Insulin and the Heart", British Medical Journal, September 24 1955, page 780.)

  • "No conclusion could therefore be drawn from experiments on animals about the duration of the decrease in blood-sugar in man."
    (B. Brahn, PhD., Tubingen, from the Veterinary Faculty of the State University at Utrecht, Lancet, June 15 1940, page 1079.)

  • "Today, insulin is the main argument used by the vivisectors. As a result of data gathered from clinical experience, I can assert, without having to fear any refutation, that insulin, which was obtained after 30 years of vivisection, is neither a remedy nor a means of prevention against diabetes, but is only an irksome therapeutical surrogate... The more one studies the history of medicine, the more one sees that the real triumphs of medicine are the conclusions of patient observation of natural phenomena in human beings, and not the consequences of the confused activities of the experimenters, who draw their conclusions from the phenomena created artificially in animals..."
    (Dr G.H. Walker, M.R.C.P. Sunderland, Member of the Royal Society of Medicine, in Hans Ruesch's One Thousand Doctors (and many more) Against Vivisection.)

  • "One of the non-diabetic conditions for which insulin has been widely used in surgical shock and it is interesting to read, after five years of trial, the pronouncement in a recent number of Surgery, Gynaecology and Obstetrics that in this condition there is no indication for injection of insulin, and that its use is actually attended by danger."
    (Current Topics, "The Dangers of Insulin", Medical Press, November 28 1928, page 444.)

In New Scientist, March 18 1982, doctors say they believe insulin could be responsible for the high levels of blindness in diabetics. Massive available data shows that diabetes is preventable through appropriate diet. That the highest incidence of the disease is in the United States, which consumes an average of 35 percent animal fats and meat, the lowest in Japan which diet contains an average of five percent, and that when the Japanese take to American eating habits they developed diabetic problems. One of the well-worn favourites of the exponents of vivisection when tub-thumping supposed examples of the benefits of their grotesque and obvious fraud, is the discovery of insulin to administer to diabetic patients. Yet more people per capita are dying of diabetes today than in 1900 - twentytwo years before the discovery of insulin. (For more comprehensive statistics refer Hans Ruesch, Slaughter of the Innocent.)

Even a cursory investigation reveals easily obtainable facts exposing that treatment with insulin merely effaces the symptoms and masks the true cause of the patient's ailment. That insulin has brought more damage than benefits, has killed more people, especially among the old, through insulinic shock, than it has saved, and that it has shortened more lives than it has lengthened. All that is needed is a little patience, a little time, a little determination... to prove ARSL wrong on every count.

Pursuing the important role of diet in the prevention of diabetes in The Health Revolution Ross Horne writes:

"Referring to the Pritikin Longevity Centre's diet and exercise programme, Dr James Anderson of the University of Kentucky Medical Centre, said: 'With this kind of approach, diet only, 80 percent of the diabetics in this Country could be normal in thirty to ninety days.' In a report made public before the American Chemical Society, Dr Michael Somogyi of the Jewish Hospital of St. Lexies, pointed out that a study of 4,000 diabetic cases conducted by him and his associates over a period of fourteen years, revealed that virtually all adult victims of diabetes can be restored to normal health without insulin injections."

As diabetes can be prevented and controlled by diet there is also much evidence that the escalation of the disease can be related to the amount of sugar we consume. In 1972 Dr Banting himself pointed out:

"The incidence of diabetes has increased proportionately with the per capita consumption of sugar."
(F.G. Banting, Strength and Health magazine, 1972.)

This is certainly borne out in the following table showing Danish consumption of sugar in relation to that country's incidence of diabetes:

188029 lbs1.8 per 100,000
191182 lbs8.0 per 100,000
1934113 lbs18.9 per 100,000

(W. Dufty, Sugar Blues, Warner Books, 1975.)

And in an article "You are all Sanpaku" by Nyoiti Sakurazawa:

"Sugar is the greatest evil that modern industrial civilisation has visited upon the countries of the Far East and Africa."

In the 1960s an eight year study to compare the progress of patients suffering from diabetes was carried out in the U.S.A. by the university group diabetic programme. "The trials used insulin, oral drugs, placebo and diet. The group found that after five years none of the drugs, including insulin, had any effect at all as the body had got used to them... but that the diet treatment worked well." During the survey the following drugs were withdrawn because they were causing heart disease - even killing the patients:


    "Because it was causing four and a half times more cases of heart disease and 60 percent more deaths." (Phenformin was banned from use in the U.S.A. and eventually also in the U.K.)


    "Because doctors found it was causing two and a half times more cases of heart disease, and a higher death rate." (Tolbutamide is still being prescribed today under the brand names of Rastinon, Glyconon and Pramidex - with no mention of the great danger to the heart.)

This survey is the most comprehensive and meticulously controlled study of the use of insulin ever published. It is reported in the following:

  • B.Ingliss, The Diseases of Civilisation, Granada Publishing, 1983.
  • M. Weitz, Health Shock, Hamlyn Ltd, 1990.
  • S.W. Shen, R. Bressler, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 296, 1977, pages 787-793.
  • British Medical Association and Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, British National Formulary, No. 5, 1983.

"Since the introduction of diabetes drugs in the 1950s the international death rate for diabetics in the past twenty years have risen in England, Wales, Germany, Japan, and Israel, probably because of the use of insulin."
(R. Warner, Public Citizens Health Research Group, Washington D.C., U.S.A.)

Significantly Dr Banting, according to a book entitled Deadly Allies by John Bryden (McClelland Stewart) progressed from his merciless extirpations of the pancreases of thousands of man's best friend to even higher things, when in 1940 he graduated to vivisection in the noble field of biological warfare. Among his other legacies to mankind are his infected bullets; the rearing of disease-carrying insects; and the aerial spraying of deadly bacteria.

The Science Behind Why Animal Experimentation Cannot Help Humans

The Science Behind Why Animal Experimentation Cannot Help Humans

What is science? Is the use of animal models for the study of human disease and treatment an application of science? This essay will explore these questions.

Americans, Europeans, and Japanese For Medical Advancement assert:

  1. The results from experiments on animals are not predictive of what will occur in humans.
  2. By misleading scientists, the extrapolation of results from animal models harms human patients, indirectly by delaying life-saving discoveries, and directly by endangering human lives.
  3. Discoveries made from past experiments on animals could have occurred without animals. Animals are subject to the same laws of physics, chemistry and biology as humans, but were not needed to prove such concepts.
  4. Experiments on animals waste time, money, and personnel.

We base our assertions on:

  1. An analysis of what science is and an examination of the philosophy of science upon which biomedical research is based.
  2. A historical analysis of the process of medical discovery.
  3. An examination of current research projects.
  4. Multiple examples of the results of animal models.

This essay will focus on number 1. Books such as Sacred Cows and Golden Geese, The Human Harm from Animal Experiments and brochures available from AFMA provide support for numbers 2-4.

We will prove in this essay that the animal model paradigm is not based on science and should be abolished.

The Philosophy of Science

Intrinsic to the very philosophy of modern biological science is the prediction that animal models of human disease will not be tenable. We will explore this facet of modern biology as it relates to our claims.

We will examine the epistemology, methodology and science of using animals as models of human disease. This examination will reveal that using animal models to study human diseases violates the philosophical underpinnings of science itself. As such, the study of animal models, though represented as science, is in fact pseudoscience, because the paradigm of animal models violates the criteria that form the foundation for true science.

We will not discuss what actually defines science in the detail one might find in a graduate course in the philosophy of science. (We will not examine for example, Wittgenstein's duck-rabbit problem here or other issues of the philosophy of science. Science is certainly theory-laden but for the purpose of this discussion we need not address issues such as that. For anyone wishing further study of the philosophy of science, we recommend Curd and Cover's Philosophy of Science, published by Norton in 1998.) We will engage in a basic review of the philosophy of science, however and we will simply define science for the reader as most scientists define it. We will leave out much that is controversial about the philosophy of science itself. We note, for the record, that science is not the only way to know reality. There are other ways of knowing reality: intuition, religion or spirituality, and aesthetics. However, in the estimation of both vivisectors (those who experiment upon animals) and AFMA, science is the chief means of knowing the reality of the material world.

All agree that the power of science lies in its ability to relate cause and effect. According to E. O. Wilson writing in his book, Consilience, “Science is the organized, systematic enterprise that gathers knowledge about the world and condenses the knowledge into testable laws and principles.” In practice, science is the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena.” It demands systematic methodology and study.

Critical Discourse vs. Experimentation

Before concepts reach a test phase, opinions and counter-opinions are offered in dispute. This is called critical discourse. Historically, before we could test certain concepts or phenomenon critical discourse was the final explanation for the concept or phenomenon. It is still the final word in arguments when we cannot test theories (Does God exist?) or when we do not have the data to form an intelligent hypothesis. (Why do women suffer from connective tissue diseases more than men?) The philosophy of science states “all disagreements about matters of fact are, in principle, open to rational clarification and resolution.”[1]

Science can move understanding from opinion/critical discourse – albeit opinion based on observation, logic and rational thought – to fact, whether partial or comprehensive. Kuhn called the shift of opinion to fact through science a move from critical discourse to experimentation. In his view, critical discourse occurs only during times of crisis, when the basis from which experimentation might proceed appears flawed.

By Kuhn's definition, science distinguished itself in its ability to solve puzzles. (How does HIV infect the cell? What chemical can we use to cure infections?) He suggested that in order for a field to be called science, its “conclusions must be logically derivable from shared premises.”[2]

Philosophers such as Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos and others have written about conditions that distinguish science from pseudoscience. Many criteria can be used, some more successfully than others. For an enterprise to be considered science, these conditions or demarcation criteria must be met. Demarcation criteria may include predictability, consilience, economy and other factors that we will explore in coming paragraphs. If a discipline fails to meet these criteria, then it is not science. It may be useful for other reasons and it may lead to truth, but it is not science. Whereas pseudoscience may occasionally achieve results, that does not overcome its inability to meet the demarcation criteria.

Falsifiability, Testability and Refutability

Karl Popper distinguished science from pseudoscience not owing to methodology but rather falsifiability. Einstein’s theory of relativity predicted that light would bend during an eclipse. His theory was tested and proven by results that could have been different from that which was predicted. The results could have been different and thus the theory could have been proven wrong or falsified. This stands in contradistinction to testing your horoscope’s prediction of what kind of day you are going to have. That prediction is so vague that many events of the day could be interpreted as having fulfilled the prediction. In other words, very strict criteria must be met when offering a proof. There must be risk involved when offering a proof. The theory cannot be so general as to be encompassed regardless of the results of the experiment. Popper thought:

  1. It is easy to find data to support a theory.
  2. Confirmation of the theory by prediction should count only if the prediction was risky. The prediction, and then proof of the theory by actually doing experiments to test the prediction does in part, at least, confirm the theory.
  3. Good theories not only predict happenings but also prohibit things from happening.
  4. A non-refutable theory is not scientific.
  5. Confirmatory evidence should not count as such unless it came about as an actual test, implying that the result could have been different.
  6. If a theory can be saved only by adding further assumptions it may still be true but “Occam's razor” applies. Occam's razor is the premise that if 2 theories explain a phenomenon equally well, then the one with the fewer assumptions or anomalies is true.

Thus, science differs from pseudoscience in many ways, including a theory’s ability to be proven false. Testability and refutability also refer to falsifiability. Astrology and other pseudoscientific endeavors escape falsification only by sacrificing falsifiability. In other words, they escape being proven false only by avoiding testing, or by being tested but making sure the test involves no risk, or when they are tested and proven nonscientific, by simply denying that the results falsify their theory.

Regardless of how one defines science, one usually gets back to falsifiability. Religious beliefs such as reincarnation, virgin birth, miracles, etc. are not falsifiable. That is not to say they are not true, only that believing in them is not science-based. Science is falsifiable. It has been tested millions of times in the form of technology. Science predicts that a machine can be made that will test how much iron a person has in her blood and sure enough, the machine is built and gives reliable, predictable data. Science is the best philosophy for understanding the material world because it has had the best track record when tested.

According to Kuhn a good scientific theory fulfills five criteria:

  1. It is accurate.
  2. It is both internally consistent and consistent with other knowledge of the time.
  3. It should have a broad scope. That is it should have implications for things beyond that which it was originally designed to explain.
  4. It should be simple.
  5. It should be fruitful, that is, it should yield new knowledge.[3]

Predictability vs. Verifiability

Both science and pseudoscience explain after the fact. Theories in each are verifiable. However, only science predicts. Science explains after the fact also but actively predicts a certain outcome that a test will either prove or disprove.[4] Some would call this prospective explanation versus retrospective explanation.

Theory, Practitioners, and Historical Context

Science looks for regularities and calls them laws or theories. The universe does seem to behave regularly in some cases, e.g. gravity. These laws are then offered to explain natural phenomena and to predict future natural phenomena. It is important to emphasize that science is tentative not dogmatic. It only offers the best solution for the problem, as best the current data can provide. A better or more comprehensive explanation of reality may come along. Later discoveries often change the paradigm, as happened with physics in the early twentieth century.

Paul Thagard also differentiated science from pseudoscience using three factors:

  1. Theory - structure, prediction, explanation, problem solving, physical foundation, etc.
  2. The community of advocates of the theory. Are the practitioners in agreement on the principles of the theory and how to go about solving the problems that the theory faces? Are they trying to explain the anomalies and do they consider the anomalies important? Are they comparing the success for their theory to the success of competing theories? Is the community actively trying to prove/disprove their theory?
  3. Historical context. A theory is rejected when a better one replaces it, or it has failed over a long period of time to explain the anomalies and hence is considered useless. Thus we must evaluate whether or not the theory has explained new facts and dealt with anomalies and how it stacks up against alternative theories.

Thagard proposes that a putative scientific theory be deemed pseudoscientific "if and only if:

  1. It has been less progressive than alternative theories over a long period of time and faces many unsolved problems. But,
  2. The community of practitioners makes little attempt to develop the theory towards solutions of the problems, shows no concern for attempts to evaluate the theory in relation to others, and is selective in considering confirmations and disconfirmations." [5]

He states, "Progressiveness is a matter of the success of the theory in adding to its set of facts explained and problems solved." He adds that pseudoscience relies on resemblance for much of its basis instead of causal relationships. (e.g., rhino horn for treating impotence. Mars is red like blood, so those born under the sign of Mars are more war-like than others.) Pseudoscience is also riddled by complex and ad hoc hypotheses thus violating the rule of parsimony or Occam's razor. Thagard's realization that not all activities that claim to be science are, is important because, as he states, "…society faces the twin problems of lack of public concern with the important advancement of science, and the lack of public concern with the important ethical issues now arising in science and technology, for example around the topic of genetic engineering. One reason for the dual lack of concern is the wide popularity of pseudoscience and the occult among the general public. Elucidation of how science differs from pseudoscience is the philosophical side of an attempt to overcome public neglect of genuine science." (Emphasis added)[6] We believe this explanation also applies to the question we are examining here: is the use of animal models for studying human disease good science?

We would add that another reason the public is dissuaded from scientific arguments is the fact that science is more difficult to comprehend than many issues that confront us in our everyday lives. Culturally, we are geared toward escapism and entertainment, not critical thinking. Our educational system has not emphasized critical thinking, and, hence, people do not understand the importance of science and are not prepared to think through scientific arguments. Further, the move toward specialization in science fields keeps decision making remote.

Paradigms and Science

Lakatos defined science as a paradigm with 1) a hard core of beliefs surrounded by 2) circles of less tenaciously held beliefs. Numbers 1 and 2 are encircled by 3) a heuristic ring. The core stays the same while the outer rings change. One experiment cannot prove or disprove a scientific paradigm; rather new data is always interpreted in light of the core. Paradigm shifts occur as when Einstein and modern physics supplanted Newtonian physics. But even then relativity did not do away with the laws of motion; it only modified them. The paradigm is subject to modification as new knowledge is added. The outer circles are constantly in flux with additions, negations and modifications.

According to Lakatos, all successful paradigms predict novel facts that could not have been predicted without them. He adamantly rejects the view that truth is whatever the majority believes, just because the majority believes it, e.g. the earth is flat, geocentricism - the earth is the center of the universe, or animal-models are useful for curing human disease because the vested interest groups so state.[7]


  1. The study of and verification by scientific theory is most respected. This includes methodology and epistemology. Much of what Einstein predicted he did so based on theory without experimentation. Sir Arthur Eddington stated, "It is also a good rule not to put too much confidence in observational results until they are confirmed by theory." This essay concerns scientific theory.
  2. Examples from observation and controlled experiments that refute or support the theory are second.
  3. Statements made by experts are a distant third.

Arguments that fail numbers 1 and 2 and rest entirely on number 3 for support are not examples of science. Many times we have debated individuals with a vested interest in animal experimentation who gloss over the first two tenets of respectability, then state inflexibly that animal experiments have been used to cure human disease, as follows:

  1. We wish to prove that animal experimentation can lead to cures for human disease
  2. We state, as an authority on animal experimentation, that it in fact does lead to cures for human disease
  3. Therefore: we have "proved" that experiments on animals lead to cures for human disease.

This is classic fallacious reasoning.

They provide no theoretical basis for why this should be true, nor do they provide data, from observation or experiment to prove their position. The argument that animal experiments do or do not lead to cures for human disease cannot be made without the first two criteria. Mere statements that fulfill criteria number 3 are insufficient. Arguments that favor animal experiments usually rely on number 3.

By contrast, the theory that animals are not reliable models for human disease possesses respectability on all three hierarchical levels. 1. There exists a theory that animals do not reliably model human disease (which we will explore presently), 2. Volumes of data support the opinion that it does not work, and 3. Many statements from experts confirm this.

How We Define Science

After exploring the philosophy of science, we distinguish science (as opposed to pseudoscience) by the following criteria:

  1. Predictability - A scientific model allows us to predict subsequent events.
  2. Repeatability - Other scientists can reproduce the phenomena in other labs and settings.
  3. Parsimony or Occam's razor - The scientific model that explains the phenomena in the simplest way has the most worth.
  4. Mensuration - Measurements use universally accepted scales.
  5. Heuristic procedure - The knowledge stimulates more investigation that confirms the knowledge.
  6. Generality - The greater the range of data covered by a scientific model the better.
  7. Consilience - The data produced conforms to known data in other fields

Hence, a theory proposing to be scientific should be evaluated based on how well it accounts for the data based on the above criteria.

Predictability is considered by many to be the most important. Predictability most readily and reliably distinguishes between science and pseudoscience. Science allows predictability. Vivisectors acknowledge this when they seek to reproduce human-based data from animals and call it new, thus fulfilling the criteria of predictability. Although animals can usually be found that will demonstrate a concept of physiology, biochemistry or anatomy that is already known from human-based study, retrospective demonstration is not predictive. It is extravagant and unnecessary.

Casual vs. Causal Relationships

One purpose of science is to establish whether a relationship is causal or casual. A causally relevant relationship is different from a casual and hence irrelevant (scientifically speaking) relationship. A causally relevant relationship would be smoking and cancer. A casual and irrelevant relationship would be backseats of automobiles and pregnancy. Women may get pregnant in backseats but backseats do not cause the pregnancy.

It is a logical fallacy to confuse the two types of relationships. Animal experimenters say that all drugs currently used have been tested on animals. That is a true statement. Just as a woman may have become pregnant in the backseat of a car, so too all drugs currently in use have been tested on animals. But the reason they are tested on animals is that the law requires them to be not because the animal tests gave useful knowledge about how the drug would affect humans. The reason the woman became pregnant was caused by the combination of the egg with the sperm, not by the backseat.

Vested interest groups suggest a causal relationship between animal experimentation and all the great discoveries of science - the decrease in infant mortality, the discovery of antibiotics and vaccines, as well as the invention of artificial joints and machines for imaging the body such as X-ray, MRI, CT, fMRI, PET scan etc. They simply state as fact that all this evolved as a result of experiments on animals. They do not provide a theory as to why such a thing could have happened, nor articles from the scientific literature (observational results or the results from controlled experiments) explaining each step of discovery in support of their conclusion. They just say A caused B. No proof is offered. This is again an example of fallacious reasoning.

Accumulation of Facts vs Science

Animal experimenters frequently disavow that they are trying to cure human disease and insist that they are simply adding facts to the world of knowledge. We do not dispute that the additions of new facts can be accomplished by experimenting on animals. However, science and the accumulation of facts are not synonymous.

Martin Curd and J. A. Cover state, "…Truth by itself cannot be sufficient as a characteristic of the goal of science. This is relevant because so many of the true statements we could make about the natural world have little or no scientific value. Imagine, for example, that a biologist wants to increase our store of scientific knowledge by counting the precise number of hairs on individual dogs at various times on various days, not to test a theory or experiment with a drug to prevent hair loss but simply to know the canine hair count for its own sake. Even if the information that the biologist collects is true, it has negligible scientific value…[By contrast] Scientists are interested…in the form of general theories and laws with predictive power. These criteria of scientific excellence - generality and predictive power - and many others besides (such as explanatory power and simplicity) are among the cognitive values of science. They are not the same as truth." [9]

Science vs. Dogma

We must also distinguish between science and dogmatic adherence to unfounded beliefs. Whereas dogmatism demands that its constituency not question the beliefs of the system, science welcomes and even initiates questioning. Followers of dogma are not to study it, nor examine its veracity, nor weigh whether alternatives better explain the system governed by the dogma. They cannot debate the fundamentals upon which the system is based. They are taught unquestioning belief, not to search for truth. Science, on the other hand, withstands questioning from every quarter. In any forum, all experts' opinions bear consideration, and that consideration will through consensus determine the present understanding of truth.

German philosopher Jurgen Habermas "stressed the importance of public debate and rational consensus for preventing the domination of society by one group of interests. Consensus suffers inaccuracy when relevant opinions are suppressed. An egregious example was the suppression of Mendelian genetics in the Soviet Union in the 1930s."[10] Likewise Nazi Germany rejected Einstein's theory of relativity because he was Jewish.[11] As long as the vested interest groups control who is and who is not allowed to speak on an issue, just like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, only one view will be heard. Today, AFMA is repeatedly denied influence over consensus when animal experimenters fail to participate in prearranged debates or allow us access to publishing in the scientific journals.

A scientist once said, "Anyone who wishes to think rationally should have the habit of thinking coolly, with all affective feelings or sentiments and all emotions parked outside. The heat of the passions, especially if they are strong and violent bodily commotions, cannot help but cause a disturbance or even a distortion of all intellectual work." Along the same lines, mathematician Mark Kac once said a proof is something that convinces a reasonable man and a rigorous proof convinces an unreasonable man." While we agree we must point out that unreasonable men may not be convinced regardless of the persuasiveness of the proof. The easiest way to make a man unreasonable is to make his livelihood dependant on a certain activity. The man whose livelihood is threatened by a new idea will not necessarily be reasonable, rational, nor able to think coolly.


Science also assumes honest intent. It assumes a person will not lie about the results of an experiment just to keep his job, earn a livelihood, or maintain his ego.

Why animal models fail to meet these criteria

Evolutionary Biology

Now that we have examined what science is and what it is not, we will look at evolutionary biology. Evolutionary biology lies at the heart of our argument that animal-models of human disease are scientifically untenable. Speciation is both the reason why it appears that we can use animal-models as well as the reason why in reality we cannot.

D. J. Futuyma stated, "Evolution…is the central unifying concept of Biology. By extension, it affects almost all other fields of knowledge and must be considered one of the most influential concepts in Western thought."[12] Lafollette and Shanks state in Brute Science, "Since phylogenetically related species, say mammals, have all evolved from the same ancestral species, we would expect them to be, in some respects, biologically similar. Nonetheless, evolution also leads us to expect important biological differences between species; after all, the species have adapted to different ecological niches. However, Darwin's theory does not tell us how pervasive or significant those differences will be. This again brings the ontological problem of relevance to the fore. Will the similarities between species be pervasive and deep enough to justify extrapolation from animal test subjects to humans? Or will the biological differences be quantitatively or qualitatively substantial enough to make such extrapolations scientifically dubious?"[13]

Lewis Wolpert summarizes this: "Compare one's body to that of a chimpanzee - there are many similarities. Look for example, at its arms or legs, which have rather different proportion from our own, but are basically the same. If we look at the internal organs there is not much to distinguish a chimpanzee's heart or liver from our own. Even if we examined the cells in these organs we will again find that they are very similar to ours. Yet we are different, very different from chimpanzees…We possess no cell types that the chimpanzee does not, nor does the chimpanzee have any cells that we do not have. The difference between us and the chimpanzees lies in the spatial organization of the cells." [14]

One reason for the difference between species vis-à-vis the spatial organization of the cells lies within the genes. Genes can be divided into structural and regulatory genes. The structural genes allow similarities in structure and the regulatory genes account for difference between chimpanzees and humans. King and Wilson write, "Small differences in the timing of activation or in the level of activity of a single gene could in principle influence considerably the systems controlling embryonic development. The organismal differences between chimpanzees and humans would then result chiefly from genetic changes in a few regulatory systems, while amino acid substitutions in general would rarely be a key factor in major adaptive shifts."[15] Lafollette and Shanks go on to say, understanding the role of regulatory genes in evolution is "crucial to a proper understanding of biological phenomena. First, they focus our attention not merely on structural similarities and differences between organisms but also on the similarities and differences in regulatory mechanisms. Second, they illustrate an important fact about complex, evolved animal systems: very small differences between them can be of enormous biological significance. Profound differences between species need not indicate any large quantitative genetic differences between them. Instead, even very small differences, allowed to propagate in developmental time, can have dramatic morphological and physiological consequences." (Emphasis added)[16] This is why small difference between species lead to huge differences at the cellular level which is where we focus when treating disease. This is the crux of our argument.

A more concise way of explaining this would be to say that biological organisms are examples of a nonlinear complex system and that explains why small differences between biological systems negate extrapolation. (For a far more detailed explanation see Lafollette and Shanks. Brute Science Routledge 1996, Depew, D and Weber, B. Darwinism Evolving MIT Press 1995, and Kauffman, S. Origins of Order Oxford University Press 1993.) Suffice it to say here that there are biochemical reasons for questioning the extrapolation of the results of experiments on animal to humans and that evolutionary biology supports and explains these reasons.

Causal/functional asymmetry

Early animal experimenters assumed that if a tissue in two species performs the same function - say, respiration, for example - then the causal mechanism of the function is the same. They did not know any better and up until recently, so little was known about physiology at the cellular level that the assumption appeared correct; just as Newtonian physics appeared correct. Evolutionary biology however has taught us that the same function can be arrived at by different evolutionary pathways and different causal mechanisms. Birds ventilate differently from humans - the causal mechanism is different - but accomplish the same function, breathing.

This is called causal/functional asymmetry and has major implications for extrapolating data between species. The causal/functional asymmetry theory states: "although we cannot infer similarity of causal properties from similarity of functional properties, we can infer differences in causal properties from differences in functional properties."[17]

Evolution may have ended with birds and humans both exchanging gases via the lungs but it got there in different ways for the two species. Claude Bernard and other nineteenth century animal experimenters rejected the theory of evolution upon which modern biology is based.[18] They did not acknowledge the differences that speciation has introduced. Bernard's modern-day followers deny evolutionary truth every time they conduct an animal experiment for the purpose of learning about human disease.

Animal Models

Animals are used in research as models of humans. The term model in this usage denotes not "a small version of the thing itself" nor "a blueprint or design of the thing itself." A model here is a device that enables us to conceptualize unfamiliar phenomena by analogy to qualitatively different but familiar phenomena.[19]

Nonetheless, vested interest groups make extravagant claims for animal experimentation and animal models of human disease:

Every major medical advance of this century has depended on animal research.[20]

In truth there are no basic differences between the physiology of laboratory animals and humans.[21]

…we can not think of an area of medical research that does not owe many of its most important advances to animal experiments.[22]

Virtually all medical knowledge and treatment - certainly almost every medical breakthrough of the last century - has involved research with animals. There is a compelling reason for using animals in research. The reason is that we have no other choice…There are no alternatives to animal research.[23]

Virtually every major medical advance of the last 100 years (as well as advances in veterinary medicine) has depended on research with animals. Animal studies have provided the scientific knowledge that allows health care providers to improve the quality of life for humans and animals by preventing and treating diseases and disorders, and by easing pain and suffering. Knowledge gained from animal research has contributed immeasurably to a dramatically increased human life span.[24]

...virtually every advance in medical science in the 20th century, from antibiotics and vaccines to antidepressant drugs and organ transplantation, has been achieved either directly or indirectly through the use of animals in laboratory experiments.[25]

…research with animals has made possible most of the advances in medicine that we today take for granted...[26]

As we have said previously, a theory or in this case, a model is reliable or scientific, if it has predictive value. If nonhuman animals responded the same way as humans do to medications, surgery or environmental influences, then that would be evidence that the animal model is a good scientific paradigm.

Researchers maintain that animals are causal analogical models (CAMs) and can be used to study human disease. Causal analogies are a subset of analogy arguments in which causal assumptions arise based on the model. LaFollette and Shanks explain that the first condition that must be met in order for a thing to be considered a CAM is this: "X (the model) is similar to Y (the object being modeled) in respects {a…e}. X has additional property f. While f has not been observed directly in Y, likely Y also has property f."[27] So if drug Z causes death in an animal model (e.g., penicillin kills a guinea pig), animal experimenters reason by analogy that it will also cause death in humans. Animals are used as causal analogical models. And the reasoning process used is called causal analogical reasoning (CAR).

LaFollette and Shanks state that "CAMs must satisfy two further conditions: (1) the common properties {a,…,e} must be causal properties which (2) are causally connected with the property {f} we wish to project - specifically, {f} should stand as the cause(s) or effect(s) of the features {a,…,e} in the model."[28]

Evidently then, by using animals as CAMs, proponents of animal experimentation allege value well beyond the experiments' heuristic value. (Heuristic means inciting subsequent investigation.) Even extraneous observation can be heuristic. One notable scientific discovery came about while the scientist was watching sailboats. In this case, the sailboats were heuristic. But we should not give billions of dollars to scientists in order for them to draw conclusions from extraneous observation.

The pervasiveness and acceptance of lab animal CAMs suggest a rigor that the experiments simply do not have. Completely isomorphic systems have a one-to-one correspondence between all elements in each system. (Isomorphic means similarity between different organisms.) No species is 100% isomorphic with another and no one seriously claims that nonhuman animals are completely isomorphic to humans. With systems as complex as the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of human and nonhuman animals, we now know that even infinitesimal dissimilarities are not incidental. Dissimilarities not only negate isomorphism, but can also give rise to additional differences in a nonlinear fashion. However, the question remains: Are intact animals good CAMs so they can be used to predict what a drug or procedure will do when applied to a human?

Given evolutionary biology, there are reasons to think not. The causal/functional asymmetry theory implies that causal mechanisms may differ between species. Causal disanalogies mandate caution in extrapolating data between species. However there is data supporting the use of animal models as CAMs (penicillin cures infections in mice) and data refuting the use of animal-models as CAMs (penicillin kills guinea pigs). So we will examine the issue more closely.

We agree that nonhuman animals and humans have things in common. Both are in the Animal Kingdom. Both are composed of DNA and cells, utilize ATP and propagate certain information via action potentials. Humans have up to 98 percent of the same DNA as nonhuman primates.[29]

However there are differences. Humans are the only primates that lack the glycoprotein (sugar) molecule sialic acid on the surface of their cells. This may explain why nonhuman primates are so immune to diseases like malaria, prostate cancer, and cholera.[30]

In humans HIV binds to the white blood cell via both the CCR5 and CD4 receptors on the surface. SIV, the simian version of HIV, binds to the CCR5 receptor without binding to the CD4 receptor. A single amino acid in the CCR5 terminus is responsible for this difference. Just as a single amino acid difference is responsible for the difference between the hemoglobin molecule in humans with normal blood and the hemoglobin molecule in patients with sickle cell anemia. Just as a single amino acid difference is responsible for cystic fibrosis. Very small differences on the cellular level lead to dramatic differences in the organism as a whole.

The use of animal CAMs also suffers from the systemic disanalogy argument. Since systems (organs, tissues etc.) may differ in subtle and unknown ways, the same exposures often cause different reactions in different species. In other words, for a CAM to be predictive, "there should be no causally-relevant disanalogies between the model and the thing being modeled."[31] Considering our knowledge of evolutionary biology, this is impossible without total knowledge of both the model (animal) and thing being modeled (human).

Additional problems thwart animal models effectiveness as CAMs. CAMs must resemble the subject being modeled in all of the important respects. In terms of disease, CAMs assume the same 1) symptoms, 2) postulated etiology, 3) neurobiological mechanism, and 4) treatment response. The truth is that very rarely, if ever will two species fulfill all four criteria for any given disease.

We do not know in advance which animal will simulate the medical condition in humans. We can only know that after studies in humans. Very small differences between humans and animals can lead to lethal errors when applying animal-model-based data to humans. Which animal is like the human? Compare the results of giving humans, mice and rabbits the drugs penicillin and thalidomide. Thalidomide acts on some rabbits as it does humans - causing specific birth defects. However, penicillin does not act on rabbits as it does on humans. Mice react to penicillin the same as humans but not to thalidomide. How do you know in advance which animal will simulate the human condition? The unknowns between species are ubiquitous.

To repeat, CAMs must have: 1) common causal features, 2) causal connections between the features, and 3) no causally relevant disanalogies. None of these can be known until we know 100% about the phenomena in humans. Animals can only be proven to be "models" empirically. That is to say, we must know what happens in humans first, then study animals to see if a particular animal replicates the human condition. Only by comparing results from experiments on animals with the results from human-based data can we determine if nonhuman animals are sufficiently similar to human to allow the extrapolation of experimental results as regards that particular substance or treatment only. But this is a catch-22. We can only know which animal mimics humans after we know what happens in humans. But after we know how humans respond there is no need to use animals. This gives us no new knowledge, is obviously not predictive, and thus obviates the need for animals.

Therefore, it is a logical fallacy - circular reasoning - to use animal models. Again, we cannot say that an animal is a good model until we know that it reacts to a stimulus the same way humans do. We can only do this retrospectively. Therefore, animal models cannot be predictive. Animal models cannot prove a causal relationship in humans for the previously mentioned reasons. Epidemiology, in vitro research, clinical research, autopsies and other human-based research offer results that are much more reliable and hence are far superior methods of doing research.

(It is not the purpose of this essay explore the innumerable examples of animal models giving misleading, wrong and dangerous results when applied to humans. This discussion is elsewhere.[32] We are concerned here only with supporting our conclusion against using animal models for research vis-à-vis scientific theory.)

Can animal-models be of use despite the fact that they do not qualify as CAMs?

Animal experimenters will insist that animals, notwithstanding their lack of isomorphism and inability to be CAMs are still necessary because without animals researchers could not evaluate the drug or procedure in an intact system. We agree that life processes are interdependent, that the liver influences the heart, which in turn influences the brain, which in turn influences the kidneys etc. Thus, the response of an isolated heart cell to a medication does not confirm that the intact human heart will respond as predicted by the isolated heart cell. The liver may metabolize the drug to a new chemical that is toxic to the heart while the original was not. We also concede that cell cultures, computer modeling, in vitro research, etc. cannot replace the living intact system of a human being. But the question is, can the animal model do better than the alternative methods?

Can animal models still be predictive or helpful despite not being perfect? Lets go back to previous example. Lets assume system S1 has causal mechanisms {a,b,c,d,e} and system S2 has causal mechanisms {a,b,c,x,y}. If we stimulate sub-system {a,b,c} of S1 with stimuli sf and get result rf, then we would expect to get rf from {a,b,c}of S2 as well if the animal model is viable. However, this outcome will be highly probable if and only if {a,b,c} are causally independent of {d,e} and {x,y}. In biological systems, as those who argue in favor of intact systems emphasize, almost all systems interact. We have no a priori reason to think otherwise.[33]

Now it is important to point out that not all characteristics of the model need be present in the thing being modeled. But the similarities must be causally relevant. In our example property f must be causally connected to {a…e}.

Consider the following: We have 2 books, book A and book B. Book A has a) pages, b) a cover, c) words d) an author, e) a publisher and, the unknown contents f. Book B has a) pages b) a cover c) words d) Shakespeare as the author e) publisher Z and f) all the works of Shakespeare as the contents. Can we use B as a model to predict what the contents of f are in book A? Obviously not. There must be strong causal connections between {a…e} and f in order for causal analogical reasoning to be true, causal connections that animals do not predictably demonstrate for humans as predicted by evolutionary biology.

Animal-models as a scientific paradigm

We have shown that animal models fail to meet Thagard's requirements for an endeavor to be defined as science:

1. Theory - structure, prediction, explanation, problem solving, physical foundation, etc.

The theory that animal models can give us reliable information about human disease is not founded in evolutionary biology, has no predictive power, and does not lend itself to solving problems about human disease.

2. The community of advocates of the theory. Are the practitioners in agreement on the principles of the theory and how to go about solving the problems that the theory faces? Are they trying to explain the anomalies and do they consider the anomalies important? Are they comparing the success for their theory to the success of competing theories? Is the community actively trying to prove/disprove their theory?

The practitioners of animal experimentation deny that the inability of animal-models to predict human outcomes is a problem. In fact they boast that animal models are vital to biomedical science. The vested interest groups fail to meet the "community of advocates" responsibility completely.

3. Historical context. A theory is rejected when a better one replaces it or it has failed over a long period of time to explain the anomalies and hence is considered useless. Thus, we must evaluate whether or not the theory has explained new facts and dealt with anomalies and how it stacks up against alternative theories.

Evolutionary biology has replaced the dogma under which the animal model first appeared. Other methods of studying and curing human disease have appeared - molecular biology, technology, genetics, mathematical and computer modeling and have produced predictable, reliable results, while older methods such as clinical observation, clinical research and autopsy continue to provide reliable data.

Thagard proposed that a theory reputed to be scientific be deemed pseudoscientific if and only if

1. It has been less progressive than alternative theories over a long period of time and faces many unsolved problems.

Animal models have been far less successful than the alternatives. The theory that animals can be used as models is far less successful than evolutionary biology that says they cannot.

2. The community of practitioners makes little attempt to develop the theory towards solutions of the problems, shows no concern for attempts to evaluate the theory in relation to others, and is selective in considering confirmations and disconfirmations.

The animal experimentation community, because of financial reasons has made no effort to learn new scientific research methods and replace the animal model. The non-vested interest groups (with regards to the animal model) and individuals are the ones actually doing research utilizing the alternatives to the animal model.

Animal models also fail the test of predictability vs. verifiability. Animal models can usually be found that replicate human data but verifiability is not the same as predictability.

Animal-models also fail to fulfill any of the criteria of respectability in science:

1. The study of and verification by scientific theory is most respected.

a. Evolutionary biology, the underlying theory of modern-day biology and biomedical science fails to support the use of animal-models.

2. Examples from observation and controlled experiments that refute or support the theory are second.

a. We have not listed examples of #2, as they would make this essay into a book. For examples we recommend Sacred Cows and Golden Geese by Greek and Greek. (See suggested reading)

3. Statements made by experts are a distant third.

a. Many researchers whose livelihood depends on animal models have stated that animal models are excellent CAMs. However many others have stated that they are not. We believe that statements made by a party with a vested interest that are against that interest are more reliable than others made in favor of it. It only took one memo on nicotine addiction to bring down the tobacco industry. Again, we have not included these statements by experts refuting animal models in part because of the volumes of material. The reader is again referred to Sacred Cows and Golden Geese or the vested interest section at

Animal-models fail to fulfill Kuhn's requirements of a good scientific theory:

1. It is accurate.

a. Animal-models frequently predict outcomes totally opposite to what actually happens in humans. Most often they simply misforecast the human outcome. Occasionally an animal will mimic the human condition. Astrology will occasionally accurately predict what your day will be like but that is not science; it is luck.

2. It is both internally consistent and consistent with other knowledge of the time.

a. It was consistent with 19th century knowledge but not 21st and it certainly is not consistent with human data e.g. smoking was thought noncarcinogenic based on animal-models.

3. It should have a broad scope. That is it should have implications for things beyond that which it was originally designed to explain.

a. The results of experiments on animals vary even within strains and between sexes of the same species.

4. It should be simple

a. The concept that animals are furry-looking humans - on the molecular level - is simple. But it is wrong

5. It should be fruitful, that is it should yield new knowledge.

a. It does add knowledge about the specific animal studied; just not about human disease.

CAMs fail the test of accumulation facts vs science. Yes CAMs accumulate facts, but not facts that are relevant to human disease. It fails the science vs. dogma test as those with a vested interest in animal experimentation usually refuse to even discuss this topic in a public forum. It also fails the falsifiability test, as there is no animal-model-based outcome or outcomes that will defeat the paradigm in the view of its practitioners. The fact that smoking was not thought carcinogenic secondary to animal experiments, that penicillin kills guineas pigs, and the thousands of other times animal-models were wrong is insufficient to challenge the paradigm according to it's supporters. Many times we have debated researchers with a vested interest in animal experimentation that state that there is nothing that would convince them of the inadequacy of the paradigm. That is representative of a religion not science.

Those with a vested interest in animal-modeled research fail to distinguish between the casual relationship of animal models and medical progress and the causal relationship of medical progress and the non-animal modeled methodologies responsible for it. The fact that the practitioners of animal experimentation have a vested interest in it also makes one question whether or not they fulfill the criteria of intent.


Based on our examination of the philosophy of science and animal models of human disease, we conclude that animal experimentation in biomedical research is not beneficial to humans today. In short we claim that the results of experiments on animals cannot be extrapolated to humans. We claim that very small differences between nonhuman animals and humans lead to very big differences when the results of animal experiments are applied to human patients.[34] We have provided a theoretical explanation for this: causally relevant disanalogies exist between species.

We believe that the evidence presented here and in the references at the end of this essay show that when used as a predictor of knowledge about human disease, the animal-model fails as a scientific paradigm. We suggest that just as physics moved from a Newtonian paradigm to the modern physics paradigm so biomedical researchers must acknowledge that the animal-model has failed and avail themselves of the research modalities that have a scientific basis and that have in fact eased human suffering e.g., clinical observation and research, in vitro research, mathematical and computer modeling, technology, performance of autopsies, basic science research in math, physics, and chemistry, molecular biology, and genetics among others.

We are operating under the paradigm that says all animals are more similar than different. Modern evolutionary biology reveals that the differences are far more important than the similarities with regards to how the organism operates at the cellular level - the level where disease occurs. The animal model paradigm appeared viable in the 19th century when we knew so little. On the gross macroscopic level all animal were alike. Dogs had heats; so did humans. Cats had electrical activity in their brains so did humans. But today we are studying things on the very level that defines the species' as being different - the cellular level. It is unreasonable to assume that at this level what we learn about one species - the mouse, will apply to another - the human.

Just as modern physics replaced Newtonian physics without destroying Newton's law of gravity so modern evolutionary-based biomedical research can delete the animal-model without saying that animals and humans are totally different. Newtonian physics came close to the correct answer in many cases. Animal experiments gave the correct answer to questions about the very big picture of how a living organism operates. Mice and humans and dogs all have hearts that pump oxygenated blood to keep the tissues of the body alive. Modern biology gives answers too much more difficult questions that occur on a very much smaller plane of reference- the cellular level.

Newtonian physics explained some things. But it was what Newtonian physics did not explain that led to modern physics. It is time biomedical researchers recognize that based on modern-day evolutionary biology the animal-model-paradigm should not be efficacious and in fact has failed.[35]

Suggested Reading

  1. Sacred Cows and Golden Geese. Greek and Greek. Continuum 2000
  2. Brute Science. Lafollette, H and Shanks, N. Routledge 1996
  3. Philosophy of Science. Curd, M. and Cover, JA. Philosophy of Science Norton 1998
  4. Chaos. Gleick, J. Penguin Books 1987
  5. Logic Salmon, WC. Prentice Hall 1984
  6. Logic and Philosophy. Brenner, WH. Notre Dame.1993
  7. Informal Logic. Walton, DN. Cambridge 1989
  8. Aping Science. The Medical Research Modernization Committee. The Medical Research Modernization Committee has produced excellent critiques of numerous specific animal-models. Their materials can obtained through their web site
  9. The web site for Americans For Medical Advancement can be found at


[1] Curd, Martin and J. A. Cover. Philosophy of Science Norton 1998 p 144
[2] Ibid. p 11-19
[3] Ibid. p 103
[4] Ibid. p 7
[5] Ibid. p 27-37
[6] Ibid. p 27-37
[7] Ibid. p 20-26
[8] as quoted in Lafollette and Shanks. Brute Science Routledge 1996 p 19
[9] Curd, Martin and J. A. Cover. Philosophy of Science Norton 1998 p 21
[10] Ibid. p244
[11] Ibid. p 212
[12] as quoted in Lafollette and Shanks. Brute Science Routledge 1996 p72
[13] Ibid. p77
[14] Ibid. p88
[15] Ibid. p89
[16] Ibid. p90
[17] Ibid. p101
[18] Ibid. p51
[19] Public Affairs Quarterly 1993;7:113-30
[20] Trull, F. Animal Models: Assessing the Scope of Their Use in Biomedical Research, Charles River, Mass.: Charles River;1987,327-36
[21] Botting and Morrison in Scientific American Feb. 1997
[22] Ibid.
[23] Animal Research Fact vs. Myth Foundation for Biomedical Research
[24] The Foundation For Biomedical Research in Animal Research and Human Health published by FBR 1992
[25] AMA White Paper 1992
[26] Sigma Xi Statements of the Use of Animals in Research, American Scientist, 80, 73-76
[27] Lafollette and Shanks. Brute Science Routledge 1996 p 63
[28] Ibid. p112
[29] New Scientist May 15, 1999 p26-30
[30] Ibid.
[31] LaFollette and Shanks. Brute Science Routledge 1996 p113
[32] Greek and Greek. Sacred Cows and Golden Geese. Continuum 2000
[33] from Lafollette and Shanks. Brute Science Routledge 1996
[34] Greek and Greek. Sacred Cows and Golden Geese. Continuum 2000
[35] LaFollette and Shanks. Brute Science Routledge 1996 p52

Friday, December 28, 2007



In early 1794 Robespierre’s Convention decided to exterminate the Vendéens to the last man, woman and child. If the French Revolution was the first modern ideology, were the Vendée massacres the archetype of the modern genocides?

Actors re-enact events leading up the French Revolution on Bastille Day, 1997, in New York City

The fact that the Vendée revolt was a popular one called into question the very nature of the Revolution, with its middle-class and aristocratic leaders.

Only very recently has the Republic of France begun to acknowledge the horrors of what can be seen as perhaps the first modern genocide.

The Atlantic Ocean is gentle along this long coast. It rolls in sinuous unfoldings, not pounding as it does further north, along the rugged grey cliffs. Along its shore are scrubby pine forests and further in, deep deciduous woods, slow rivers, marshes, small fields, deformed menhirs standing on the side of remote paths. The sky is huge here, embracing this flat, secret, remote land with a pearlyblue haze, and along the beach we find the footprints of an impossibly ancient past, thousands of amnonite fossils embedded in the soft rock. The villages and towns are small, tucked in on themselves, with their churches of grey, unspeaking stone, not carved, but inside, there are painted wooden decorations of surprising delicacy and charm. And everywhere, everywhere, the presence of the Chouans; everywhere the memory of the terror, the memory of the dead, the names, in endless rows.

I want to tell you a story, a story you may feel is familiar...

Once, there was a rich and beautiful and remote land, a land of secrets and songs and story; a land of ocean and forest and river; of quiet marsh and deep paths. Its people lived as they had always lived, in their land and with it, in the depths of their culture which they had not named but which they knew in every fibre of their beings. When the new ways came, at first the people did nothing. They were curious, they reserved judgment. But very soon, they realised what the coming of the new men and the new ideas meant. A violation of their land, their beliefs, their culture, their very soul. They would not stand by and see that happen. They would resist, forever if need be. The intruders, for their part, thought they were bringing progress, enlightenment, improvement, release from superstition, liberty, for heavens sake. Equality, fraternity. They would drag these benighted savages into modern times, even if it cost them some battles. But it would be easy; these savages, these half-humans, would soon be a dying race.

It is a story which until very recently was suppressed and denied. Generations of French people never knew it.
But it wasn't easy. The people resisted fiercely. Sometimes they won. Sometimes the intruders grew very worried indeed. But soon, the lack of arms, the superior technology, and also, it must be said, the independence of the people who found it difficult to band together in total unity, saw reason win over their courage and faith. Theirs was not a warlike culture; they longed for their former peace. It was then, in the defeat of the people, that the most terrible revelation came to the spirit of the intruders. This dying race of savages could be helped on its way. And so the genocide began.

The atrocities multiplied, the exterminations systematic and initiated from the very top, and carried out with glee at the bottom. At least 300,000 people were massacred during that time, and those of the intruders who refused to do the job were either shot or discredited utterly. But still the people resisted. Still there were those who hid in the forests and ambushed, who fought as bravely as lions but were butchered like pigs when they were caught. No quarter was given; all the leaders were shot, beheaded, or hanged. Many were not even allowed to rest in peace; the body of the last leader was cut up and distributed to scientists; his head was pickled in a jar, the brain examined to see where the seed of rebellion lay in the mind of a savage.

That was two hundred years ago; but at the recent bicentenary celebrated by the intruders, not a mention was made of the dead. Not a mention was made of the genocide. It was the people themselves who remembered. For that is what the intruders did not take into account: memory. The people still tell the tale, vividly, with pain. But their pain is not that only of victims. It is a glowing, rich thing, a thing that paradoxically enabled them to survive. Paradoxically, it united them in a way that could never otherwise have been possible. At least half of the people of that secret, remote and beautiful land died during that hideous time, but their memory is still there. They live forever in the minds of their descendants but also in the land itself. For they did not give away their land, their soul. And now that things are changing, a little, now that the descendants of the intruders are discovering the truth about their glorious past, now the people are beginning to tell their stories, out loud, out where it can be heard. Still, there is a long way to go. Still, there are many who refuse to believe, who attempt to discredit at every turn, who even whisper that it was a pity the job wasn't done properly. But there is a beginning. And what is uppermost in peoples minds now is their astonishing survival, their strength of soul which one day may prove far more durable, far more real, than any pitiful notions of conquest.

There is a name, now, for that culture which resistedand that name is Vendée. Perhaps not the name you were expecting. But that is the narrative I grew up with. It is the narrative of the terrible history of the people of western France, particularly Vendée and Brittany, during the French Revolution, a story of both great hideousness and great heroism. Out of the ashes of Vendée, rose Vendée itself. It is a story which until very recently was suppressed and denied. Generations of lies have meant that most French people never knew it. Only the people of Vendée and Brittany themselves kept it alive, through never forgetting. It is only in recent years that major memorials have been put up to the Vendéen martyrs, and then only by local government, never by the central one; only very recently that the Republic of France has begun to acknowledge the horrors of what can be seen as perhaps the first modern genocide. I was brought up with it because one side of my father's family came from Vendée (the other came from the South); we were taught the stories, the songs of resistance, we felt the pain and horror and, yes, hate and yet also the astonishing surviving spirit of the Vendéen people, the spirit of the Chouans.

The Chouans! I was brought up on their names, their stories, stories that were for so long suppressed, but that stayed in the hearts, the minds, the words of their descendants. Once, to even mention them would be to invite fashionable scorn, ridicule, contempt and even hate. "Superstitious savages"; "obstacles to progress"; "deluded fools"—these were just some of the gentler terms. It is easy to see why. For to look at their real stories, to peel away the generations of lies, is to invite some very uncomfortable reflections indeed.

The fact that the Vendée revolt was a popular one called into question the very nature of the Revolution.
In 1789, the French Revolution began, a revolution that at first was full of optimism, of the genuine wish for reform; a revolution that was not even opposed by King Louis XVI himself. This was the Enlightenment. Humanity was to be trusted to behave well. Liberty, equality, fraternity. Who could argue with that? Very few did, least of all the peasants of western France, who welcomed many of the changesthe abolition of compulsory labour, the gradual abolition of privilege. The revolutionaries produced a passionate and idealistic document, the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Some of those rights were the right to freedom of religion; the right to live peacefully, without tyranny or arbitrary rule; the right to discuss. Alas! While Desmoulins and Danton debated and wrote passionately, Robespierre bided his time. That time came all too soon.

In 1790, the first cracks began to appear. Provincial assemblies were abolished, stripping people of their local governments. The clergy was to be stripped of its property and would be appointed by lay people, not the church. In practice, this meant that the bourgeois of the cities now had the right of imposing chosen priests on peasant communities. Vendée and Brittany and Normandy began to stir at this; they were greatly attached to their own priests and resisted the imposition of others. A year later, the King was arrested. Riots erupted in Brittany. In 1792, the extremist jacobins under the leadership of Robespierre took power and formed the now infamous Convention. And then the horrors began in earnest.

Madame Guillotine was fed many times, soon taking Danton and Desmoulins and many of the earlier revolutionaries, who, too late, had seen the monster they had unleashed. But it was not till 1793 that two events happened which precipitated France into a terrible civil war; the consequences of which are still very much felt today.

Those events were the execution of Louis XVI, the subsequent pre-emptive declaration of war by France on the rest of Europe, and, as a consequence, the forced conscription of 300,000 men—the revolutionaries wanted the peasants of France to pay for their murderous folly! There was immediate revolt in Vendée, in Brittany, in Normandy, but the centre of the revolt was Vendée itself. This was a completely popular uprising; it was the peasants themselves who took the initiative and who only later persuaded some of their native nobles, who had been army officers, to lead some of their armies.

The new, the First Republic reacted immediately. This would be a fight to the death, for it was a tussle for the very spirit of revolution. The fact that the Vendée revolt was a popular one called into question the very nature of the Revolution, with its middle-class and aristocratic leaders. More than that, it dared to oppose the "despotism of liberty." Republican armies led, more often than not, by ci-devant ex-nobles and princes were sent into the rebellious province. But the Vendéens proved difficult nuts to crack. To the contemptuous surprise of the Paris grandees, the armies of the Chouans, as they became known (because of their rallying call, which imitated the call of the screech owl, or chat-huant in French), were well-disciplined and highly effective, and unusual in that the men had an input into decisions, not just the leaders (some of course later saw that as a weakness). They fought with a combination of regular and guerilla tactics and had a number of brilliant leadersCathelineau, La Rochejacquelein, Charrette, d'Elbée, Stofflet, Lescure. The Bretons, under Cadoudal, Jean Jan, Jean Cottereau and others, joined them at several points.

In the first year, they were remarkably successful, and their armies swelled to more than 150,000 men, none of whom had been coerced or conscripted. They captured towns and villages, made tentative links with the English, who were horrified by the fate of the King, and with the emigré nobles who had escaped to England already. It seemed that not only the liberation of western France, but also of the whole of France from the tyranny and terror of the Convention was at hand. Alas . . .

The exterminations were initiated from the very top, and carried out with glee at the bottom. At least 300,000 people were massacred.
Division began to appear in Chouan ranks, as leaders with strong egos fought with each other; the English and the French emigrés (many of whom scorned this "peasant army") proved to be of no help whatsoever, and the Republic spared no expense of finance or soldiers' lives to crush the rebels. The crushing defeat of the Chouan armies at the end of 1793 in Vendée did not predispose the Republic to mercy. In early 1794, the Convention decided to exterminate the Vendéens, to the last man, woman and child. And they found plenty who were happy to carry out these orders.

"Not one is to be left alive." "Women are reproductive furrows who must be ploughed under." "Only wolves must be left to roam that land." "Fire, blood, death are needed to preserve liberty." "Their instruments of fanaticism and superstition must be smashed." These were some of the words the Convention used in speaking of Vendee. Their tame scientists dreamed up all kinds of new ideas—the poisoning of flour and alcohol and water supplies, the setting up of a tannery in Angers which would specialise in the treatment of human skins; the investigation of methods of burning large numbers of people in large ovens, so their fat could be rendered down efficiently. One of the Republican generals, Carrier, was scornful of such research: these 'modern' methods would take too long. Better to use more time-honoured methods of massacre: the mass drownings of naked men, women, and children, often tied together in what he called "republican marriages", off specially constructed boats towed out to the middle of the Loire and then sunk; the mass bayoneting of men, women and children; the smashing of babies' heads against walls; the slaughter of prisoners using cannons; the most grisly and disgusting tortures; the burning and pillaging of villages, towns and churches.

The ci-devant aristocrat Turreau de la Linières took command of what are known in Vendée as the douze colonnes infernales (the twelve columns of hell), which had specific orders both from his superiors and from himself to kill everyone and everything they saw. "Even if there should be patriots [that is, Republicans] in Vendée," Turreau himself said, "they must not spared. We can make no distinction. The entire province must be a cemetery." And so it was. In the streets Cholet, emblematic Vendéen city, by the end of 1793, wolves were about the only living things left, roaming freely and feeding on the piles of decomposing corpses.

People in Vendée still tell the stories of the colonnes infernales and the unspeakable things they did. There was not even any pretence of discriminating between fighters and civilians; documents of the time, still kept in army records in Vincennes, tell their hideous, chilling story, a story which has tolled repeatedly in our own terrible century. The generals speak coolly of objectives achieved, exterminations nicely done, 'ethnic cleansing' carefully carried out, of genocide systematically and rigorously conducted. There were those, too few, alas, who refused to take part; but they were summarily dealt with.

But the Vendéens were not completely beaten. Full of hate now, they fought back, sporadically but ferociously. Their "chouan" rallying cry became a source of terror for republican stragglers in the deep remote country of the marshes and forests of Vendée. And the Bretons fought, attempting to come to the aid of their brothers, but it was difficult to maintain resistance in the face of such full-scale assault. One by one, the charismatic leaders were killed or hunted down like wild beasts. Within two years, Chouan resistance in Vendée was all but dead, though Brittany, under the leadership of the remarkable Georges Cadoudal, continued to fight for many years to come.

Fortunately, in Paris, things were changing. At the end of 1794 Robespierre met the fate he had meted out to so many others, but it was not until 1795 that a peace treaty was signed in Vendée, a treaty that was almost immediately broken. The republicans were never going to allow men like Charrette and Stofflet to make an honourable peace; there was no rest until both were captured and executed. But Chouannerie was still not dead; it was not until Napoleon Bonaparte's coup d'état at the end of 1799 that anything approaching peace came to the once rich and peaceful, but now moribund province.

Never was it acknowledged that the genocide in Vendée was the responsibility of more than just Robespierre and his murderous cronies and generals.
Bonaparte himself had much respect for the Chouans and their leaders; he called their war Le Combat des Géants. As an officer in the republican army, he had opted for a post fighting on the frontiers of France rather than being sent to Vendée. He understood, too, that the Vendéens' sacrifice had been for the preservation of liberty, for the freedom of religion and assembly and culture, and he immediately set about repairing relations with the church. He concluded treaties with Cadoudal and other Chouan leaders; and it seemed as if things would be better. But never was it acknowledged that the horror of the genocide in Vendée was the responsibility of more than just Robespierre and his murderous cronies and generals. There was never any examination of conscience, and indeed although one or two scapegoats paid for their crimes with their heads, amongst them the vicious Carrier and Westermann, an Alsacian noble known in Vendée as "The Butcher", others were exonerated and even honoured. Turreau himself, the leader of the colonnes infernales, murderer many times over, turned coat more than once and became first a supporter of Bonaparte and then a born-again royalist under Louis XVIII. Covered with honours, having taken up his title again, and made an Imperial Baron, he died peacefully of old age in his bed. His name is up there on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris as one of France's 'heroes'.

But Cadoudal and Brittany were not quiet for long. Eventually, the indomitable Georges relaunched the Chouannerie and twice attempted to assassinate Bonaparte. Cadoudal had come to regard Bonaparte as a tyrant as dangerous as Robespierre, and as likely to drag the whole country into years of bloodshed. He was right; but he never saw the fulfilling of his fears, for he was captured and guillotined in 1804. After his death, his body was cut up and various bits of it given to so-called scientists to study, his head being of particular interest for the "study of rebellion". It took years for his relatives to finally obtain all the parts of his body for decent burial.

It took till 1832 for the last gasps of Chouannerie to exhaust themselves completely, for the twin provinces of Vendée and Brittany to be completely "pacified". They had lost; yet they had won, too. And they would never forget. The stories of the Chouans, the tales of the dead, the memories of the atrocities, the horrors and the heroism have survived to this day, in people from all walks of life, and all kinds of backgrounds.

At the Mémorial de la Vendée at Les Lucs-sur-Boulogne, site of one massacre, the stained-glass windows of the church tell their own story. The impassive faces of the republican soldiers, men with wives and children of their own, as they drive bayonets into year-old babies; the silent pleas on the women's faces; the upturned faces of martyred priests; silence speaks more, the incongruous beauty of the coloured glass making it somehow more poignant... The memorial field full of crosses and headstones, the parish rolls with their lists of names, of ages, the memorials to the leaders, all so young, none seeing the end of their thirties; in the forest of Vézins, the Chapel of the Martyrs, commemorating the place where 1200 people were slaughtered; the songs telling of despair, hope, faith and tragedy... the birth pangs of Vendée which once existed without a name.

In 1900, the popular Breton singer and songwriter Theodore Botrel performed his new song, "Le Mouchoir Rouge de Cholet" (the red handkerchief of Cholet), about the terrible defeat of the Chouans at Cholet, and the symbolic wearing of the red handkerchief, in front of a massive audience in Cholet itself. Wearing the red handkerchief on his hat, he declared himself a Chouan at heart. According to contemporary accounts, there was a near riot as the Vendéens cheered, yelled and clapped, but the reverberations in the papers continued for months, with Botrel regarded as a spoiler. In 1993, the opening of the Vendée Memorial at Les Lucs by Alexander Solzhenitsyn was attended by thousands of people, but was sniffily ignored by much of the mainstreain media...

Right wing, left wing, centre in France have never been able to deal with the legacy of Vendée. The left wing has problems with the impugning of the Revolution; the right wing because civil war put France in peril of foreign armies; the centre because, hey, it's not exactly pretty stuff. Thirty or so years ago a then-unknown but now infamous Jean-Marie le Pen championed the cause of Vendée and Brittany, applauding regionalism and independence, and produced a recording of Chouan songs; now, as the leader of the extreme right Front National, he studiously ignores it all, speaking grandly and opportunistically of the marvellous republic and the great destiny of a centralised Francefor Vendée costs votes. Vendée is embarrassing, for it shows what the French are capable of doing to the French without any help from immigrant bogeys. The extreme left, the communists, of course never had any warm feelings for "priest-ridden peasants". Besides, they understood Robespierre's "despotism of liberty" only too well.

In 1993, the opening of the Vendée Memorial at Les Lucs by Alexander Solzhenitsyn was ignored by much of the mainstreain media.
Many people in Vendée who keep the memory in their hearts refuse to vote at all in general elections, considering that the soul of the republic itself is soiled and flawed. They find it bitter indeed that the 1989 bicentenary ignored them completely. There are some who would sanctify all the Chouans, would make of them impossibly perfect heroes. For them, the "Bleus", the republicans, were devils without any redeeming features. But it is remarkable how many in Vendée do not hate. They only wish to remember.

"When I was at school," my uncle from Central France says, "they never told us these things. They never told us. They should have."

"We must live without lies," Solzhenitsyn told the crowd at Les Lucs, "for otherwise we are not free."

"You gave us these dead as a legacy," the poet Pierre Emmanuel wrote, "we have become the fathers of our dead."

"In communist Georgia," our friend Nino tells me, "we often had two portraits in government offices, side by side: Stalin and Robespierre. Blood brothers."

"It is not killing the innocent as an innocent which dooms a society," wrote the Breton poet Chateaubriand, "it is killing him as guilty."

Carrier, defending himself during his trial, cried, "If I am guilty, so are you all! All of you, everything, down to the bell of the President!"

In Vendée and Brittany, there are streets bearing Chouan names, but only a few, and only since fairly recently. The local governments are fairly assiduous in keeping the memory—but in the rest of France, there are endless, endless, "Places de la République;" there is a suburb of Paris called Robespierre, and Turreau's name is engraved on the Arc de Triomphe. No mention of the rebels, the subversives. This is also the legacy of the Revolution. In our times, when nationalism is becoming both harsher and more diluted, the story of Vendée is finally leaking out from beyond its borders. But what does it mean? If the French Revolution was the first modern ideology, were the Vendée massacres the archetype of the modern genocides? And if that is so, what does it mean for the whole legacy of the Revolution? Can its earlier idealism compensate for the darkness afterwards? Has that darkness lifted from France yet? This is the question asked in many books now, the question more and more loudly asked, more publicly, more often—and not answered.

The sea rolls over my feet, and as it retreats, I notice it has left me something. I bend over to pick it up. A perfect fossil, an amnonite in white stone, beautifully imprinted, so frail-looking, yet so enduring, patiently preserving the memory of something long gone. And as I look at it in my hand, on this beach where my ancestors once walked, incongruously, tears prick at the backs of my eyes.

July 12, 2004

SOPHIE MASSON is a French-Australian writer, some of whose ancestors came from Longeville, in Vendée. She also has Southern French, Basque, Spanish, Portuguese, Scottish, and Canadian ancestry. Sophie was born in Indonesia but has lived in Australia since the age of 5. She is a novelist, short-story writer and essayist.

First published in "Quadrant" magazine, Melbourne, Australia, in 1996. © Copyright Sophie Masson, 1996. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Photo Credit: Agence France Presse/Jon Levy