[This is a Letter to the Editor. For our policies on letters, and how to submit them, please see the bottom of this article]
Paula Clifford—a paid apologist for the animal experimentation–industrial complex—would do well to consider how very wrong so-called “experts” have been when taking positions on matters of public interest. For example, in the 1950s, the American Medical Association refused to condemn tobacco consumption in spite of indisputable scientific evidence of its causal role in lung cancer and other diseases. Today, similar vested interests propel institutions to cling to the failed paradigm of animal experimentation in spite of overwhelming evidence that using animals in cruel and deadly experiments does not reliably produce cures or treatments for humans.
The bloated National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a case in point. The agency is entrenched in its animal-exploiting ways, using hundreds of thousands of animals—including dogs, rats, monkeys, mice, and others—in painful and deadly experiments each year. Its greatest hits include ludicrous tests in which monkeys are crudely brain-damaged and terrified with fake snakes—a project that has swallowed up more than $50 million in taxpayer funds to date but has yet to yield any benefit for humans.
I could fill a library with examples of curiosity-driven, wasteful, and ultimately fruitless experiments that NIH has funded. But at its heart, the debate over animal experimentation is a moral one. Considering that NIH can’t even be bothered to ensure that animals in its facilities don’t suffocate, starve, or die of dehydration, it’s clear that the agency can’t be trusted as an expert in that area either.
Instead of scrambling to list “experts” who she claims will defend maiming, traumatizing, and killing animals in the name of science, Ms. Clifford should direct her energies toward realizing a future in which superior animal-free technologies supplant such violence.
Emily R. Trunnell, Ph.D.
Science Advancement and Outreach
Laboratory Investigations Department
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
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