Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

Networking For A Better Future - News and perspectives you may not find in the media

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August 02, 2004

Tony Banks, MP: Transparency Needed In Animal Experiments

Tony Banks, a UK Labour MP, calls for transparency in animal experiments.

"If the scientists are so sure of the validity of their trials and the humane manner of their experiments (for they always insist there is no pain involved), let the public - for the first time - actually see what these people are doing. Let them decide if they want these experiments to be conducted in their name."

There is controversy over the necessity of animal experiments and the immense suffering we inflict on our - let's be honest - cousins from the animal kingdom. Are we really so superior to animals that we can justify having no moral qualms about using animals in cruel ways as medical and other scientists currently are doing?

Hans Ruesch certainly does not think so. His declaration on animal experimentation puts the usefulness of these experiments in doubt - they are not justified by any gain in our understanding of human illness, Ruesch maintains.

So should we allow animal experimentation to continue?

Why not follow Tony Banks' advice and let the people know what exactly is being done in their name, and then let them decide. Thanks to Louise of Zeus Info Service for the forward of this article.

Show us what Scientists are doing to Animals in our Name and let the Public decide if the Experiments should Continue

by TONY BANKS, Labour MP.
Mail on Sunday 1/8/04

The announcement of new plans to crack down on what is decribed as a 'reign of terror' by animal rights extremists means harassment laws will be strengthened and, for the first time, police will be able to arrest militant activists who protest outside their targets' homes.

Quite rightly, no one could support the letter bombs or death threats that are the weapons of intimidation of these people, which explains why this news has received considerable media coverage.

This news-managed 'initiative' by the Government succeeded in securing headlines which made them look tough but has failed, in truth, to address the real issue.

It is that we already have sufficient legislation in place to deal with anybody - from any pressure group - who decides to take the law into their own hands.

My fear is that these new laws will result in greater power for the medical and pharmaceutical industries who want to stifle legitimate debate on the morality and medical efficacy of animal experimentation and shield them even further from the public gaze.

It is an astute tactic for them to undermine the very real concerns about their wok by painting any conscientious objector, no matter how lawful, as a deranged and dangerous fanatic. It means the doors of their laboratories can remain closed and attention conveniently diverted from what I believe are often abominable experiments.

Let's be clear about what's involved here - and it's not for the squeamish.

Inside these research labs, monkeys' red-raw eyeballs are injected with chemicals; rabbits' stomachs rupture from the sheer bulk of drugs pumped into them; beagles have their leg bones sawn and snapped off with a steel wire and mice have tubes of household products forced down their throats until they are bloated, then killed so their livers can be examined for tumours.

I admit not everybody feels as I do: that there is no moral justification for the experiments on animals that often result in what appears to be torture.

I also accept there are those who believe these procedures necessary to find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease., which lay waste to human life and cause untold misery and suffering. It is on this premise that the medical research industry is founded and on which its work is legitimised. 

For many years I have been advocating a different way forward. If the scientists are so sure of the validity of their trials and the humane manner of their experiments (for they always insist there is no pain involved), let the public - for the first time - actually see what these people are doing. Let them decide if they want these experiments to be conducted in their name.

I am convinced the arguments would fall if the public could witness the grim reality of life inside laboratories such as Huntingdon Life Sciences. Let the TV cameras in to see the experiments to test the effect of detergent enzymes. Let the public watch as two-inch needles filled with detergent are inserted into the windpipes of guinea pigs for up to ten weeks, until the animals can barely breathe.

Millions of animals have died since experimentation began in earnest 100 years ago. Last year in Britain 2.5 million cats, dogs, horses, mice and rats were used. Yet we still have little scientific proof that the suffering endured by these creatures was not in vain.

My father died 15 years ago of cancer. Since then millions of animals have been used in the name of medical advancement, yet he would, in all probability, still have died from the same disease today.

There is growing evidence to suggest that, at best, animal experiments are of marginal use and at worst, might even mislead the scientists. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanners can tell you more about what's going on in a human brain than you find out by opening up a marmoset's head.

Ray Greek, medical director of Europeans for Medical Advancement, recently pointed out that the track record of primate research was abysmal.

He is one of our most respected scientists and believes computers should be used instead of animals. So why does nobody seem to be listening?

We use animals not only in the medical world but also for weapons testing, which is vile and barbarous. We use them for cosmetic testing, which is a cruel and trivial reason for putting animals through so much agony and ultimately death. Chemicals are dripped into the eyes of conscious rabbits, which have no blink reflex, so they find it very hard to cry away the substance and are given no pain relief over the days they are observed.

So we're using animals to find better ways of killing each other while also using them for better ways to make ourselves look more attractive. It is grotesque. 

I accept there have been reductions in the levels of pain that are allowed to be inflicted upon them but it is only because of public pressure that there is now a voluntary code with regard to cosmetic testing.

This is progress but it is slow and it always will be in a world where there are so many vested interests. We have lost count of the number of animals that, in pursuit of commercial as much as medical gain, have been sacrified in duplicated, triplicated, multiple experiments.

Pharmaceutical companies do not share their information, for obvious commercial reasons. As a consequence, they run parallel research programmes using vast numbers of animals and come to more or less the same conclusions. In the academic world, a scientist must attract funding. In order to do so, he or she must publish their work, and to do this they will often repeat experiments that have been already tried hundreds of times before. Can this really be justified?

In 1996, before the election, Tony Blair gave his name to the paper 'New Labour, New Life for Animals', proposing a Royal Commission on genetic engineering of animals. There has been no such commission. I do not need to be persuaded of the abhorrence of the practice but I would like to see a critical examination of animal experimentation.

I listen to the so-called experts but I remain unconvinced of the need for animals in experiments. History is littered with the mistakes of experts, be they scientific, political or medical, and I think this is how animal experimentation will be judged.

Animals give the human race loyalty and love and we are the better for sharing this world with them. We also owe them duties of care, understanding and compassion.

Gandhi said: 'The morality of a country is judged by the way it treats its animals.' We should think carefully about the way we are treating ours.

forwarded by
Zeus Information Service
Alternative Views on Health

See also related:

It is possible to test chemicals (and pharmaceutical medicines) on cells and observe the over- or underexpression of genes. This has shown to be more reliable than animal testing.
Antidote Europe is a scientific committee willing to contribute to the blooming of an efficient and safe biomedical research. In spite of research's dynamism at the international level, the number of individuals suffering from severe diseases is increasing. It is about time to expose the defaults of the most usual techniques, largely based on animal experimentation, and to inform the public, the media and the authorities about the existence of safe methods, at the top of today's biomedical research, for example, toxicogenomics, of which we propose an original approach.

Doctors fear animal experiments endanger patients
Majority of GPs now question the scientific worth of animal tests, with 82% worried for their patients' safety

Schwarzenegger Terminates Form of Animal Cruelty
Sacramento, California 29 September 2004 - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed SB 1520 into law, a bill that bans the force feeding of ducks and geese in the production of foie gras. The bill also bans the sale of the product when made from force fed birds, both provisions taking effect in California in the year 2012.

Doctors & Lawyers for Responsible Medicine - Are there 'alternatives' to animal experiments?

Doctors & Lawyers for Responsible Medicine - Quotes from doctors and lawyers opposing animal experiments, on medical and scientific grounds.

Animal Experimentation and Human Medicine - People for Reason in Science and Medicine

Links on - Vivisection/Animal Experiments

Animal Experiments More Stressful than Previously Recognized
New Study Shows Animals Experience Severe Stress Response at Slightest Contact with Researchers

Cardiologist to testify at FDA hearing: Animal tests implicated in Vioxx tragedy
On February 17, John J. Pippin, M.D., FA.C.C., will testify before Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials and present a new report detailing how experiments on mice, dogs, and other animals misled scientists and ultimately contributed to a tragic outcome for human patients exposed to Vioxx and other drugs. Dr. Pippin will represent the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Monday August 2 2004
updated on Wednesday August 15 2012

URL of this article:


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Readers' Comments

brilliant,the government should be ashamed of how they treat animals in this awful business. alternatives should be the answer in this day and age.i saw a programme of how dogs can detect cancer on a human just by smell, says everything really doesnt it?thank you for your open report i think you may have started the ball rolling somewhere

Posted by: mrs s smith on August 6, 2004 10:55 AM


I am so pleased the Government is at long last going to force through a bill to ban hunting with dogs. Tony Blair got my vote on this promise and I was beginning to despair that he was not going to honour same. Please Mr Banks, make sure this obscenity is banned. Only twisted,sick individuals take pleasure in torturing animals.

Posted by: jane haines on September 6, 2004 02:03 PM


The whole world is an utter disgrace due to "us",
regarding not only animal, but also human abuse.

I hope the new bill regarding foxhunting has some effect...
...this time, get those redundant buffoons out of there.

I am ashamed to be human.

Posted by: CJ on September 6, 2004 06:50 PM


Experimenting on animals won't save your sick kids. Put the money into research which is effective - your children's lives could depend on it.Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs. Meet Victoria Sq. Stafford Town centre noon 11th Sept.2004

Posted by: Clare Hausen on September 8, 2004 05:27 PM


Experimenting on animals won't save your sick kids. Put the money into research which is effective - your children's lives could depend on it.Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs. Meet Victoria Sq. Stafford Town centre noon 11th Sept.2004

Posted by: Clare Hausen on September 8, 2004 05:27 PM


hi tony i would like you to know that i am with you all the way on this problem because i dont think that this is right because the animals are not to be experimented on they are there to live not to die and the animals are like our faimly. WRITE BACK TOM GREEN

Posted by: tom green on September 21, 2004 01:10 PM


Just to let you know that today we emailed Tony Blair to express our disappointment at report that he is open to suggestions for a compromise on the Bill to ban hunting with dogs. The Countryside Alliance with its wealth and contacts is making a great deal of noise at the moment, but this is no reason for the PM to ignore the majority of MPs, his Party, and most citizens.
A ban on the celebration of the ritualised killing of animals would be a small but overdue sign of thew Uk being a civilised country.
We shall immediately resign our membership of the Labour Party if the Ban is ammended.

Posted by: john and Barbara White on September 21, 2004 05:39 PM



Posted by: patricia clode on September 23, 2004 08:45 PM


I've waited many years to see a ban on fox-hunting.
I only hope that the recent protests by the pro-hunters will not make the government loose its nerve!

Posted by: Carole Neslon on September 29, 2004 08:55 AM




Have just heard that Tony Blair will not be opposing the injunction the Countryside Alliance are putting forward to delay the ban on hunting with dogs. What a disgrace!! Many of us voted 'TB' in on this promise nearly EIGHT YEARS AGO!! and, yet again, he has failed to honour his commitment and back the majority of British people and the majority of MP's who have voted time and time again for a ban. He is, once again, running scared. Let's hope at least the courts know what is right and what is wrong and do the RIGHT thing in telling these blood-thirsty pro-hunters what to do with their injunction!!

When will Tony Blair wake up and face the very real link between animal cruelty and child cruelty. Many child abusers and killers have a history of animal abuse. There is no place for animal cruelty in a civilised world, let alone the 'New Britain' that Tony Blair promised us - GET RID!!

Patricia / Nigel Hall
Gidea Park, Essex

Posted by: Patricia and Nigel Hall on December 23, 2004 02:47 PM


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