[This is a Letter to the Editor. For our policies on letters, and how to submit them, please see the bottom of this article]
Lana Ruvolo Grasser and Rachelle Stammen’s recent article (“What Is Ethical Animal Research? A Scientist And Veterinarian Explain,” November 27, 2022) is about as accurate a portrayal of animal experimentation as my 4-year-old cousin’s drawing was of the family cat. (At least the cat drawing was cute.)
Grasser and Stammen discuss at length the laws and regulations that allegedly shield animals from the worst abuses in laboratories—yet these same laws and regulations repeatedly fail to protect animals even at their own institutions, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Emory University.
At Emory University, for example, a monkey became severely ill and had to be euthanized after experimenters carelessly left a piece of gauze in his abdomen during surgery. One might hope that the institution would have reformed its practices after such an outrageous incident, but no such luck. Not even two years later, another monkey undergoing an operation was stitched back up with a surgical sponge left inside the animal’s body. This time, the monkey survived—but had to endure a second painful operation to remove the sponge.
The senseless suffering of these two monkeys is only a pebble on a veritable Mount Everest of misery. Every year, hundreds of thousands of animals in U.S. laboratories are subjected to excruciating and deadly experiments that don’t even work. That’s right: According to NIH’s own website, 95% of all new drugs that test safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials.
My 4-year-old cousin will grow up—it’s time for science to do the same. Sophisticated non-animal technologies, like those recommended in PETA’s Research Modernization Deal, are launching science into the 21st century and leaving cruel animal experiments where they belong: in the dusty past.
Lead Campaign Coordinator, Animal Experimentation
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
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