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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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The Times publishes FRAME letter

Michael BallsThe published text of Professor Balls's letter in The Times:

Sir, Lord Drayson’s Commentary (Speak out to defend science and democracy) reveals the muddled thinking and bias which limited his value as Minister of Science in the previous Government. His gripe is that airlines and ferry companies are less and less willing to transport animals to the UK for use in laboratory experiments. The number of animals imported is less than 30,000, which represents only about 1 per cent of the 3 million or so animals used each year.

Although Lord Drayson admits that very few animals are transported into or out of the country for medical research purposes, he claims that, unless the transport companies discontinue the withdrawal of this service, “the search for cures will shift to other countries”, “medical research will wither in our universities”, and “more people will suffer and die”.

That is scaremongering at its absolute worst. The vast majority of the best medical research does not involve the use of animals, not least because, for example, as more is revealed about the animal models, it is realised that they have fundamental differences from the serious human diseases they are supposed to mimic.
The information they provide is often irrelevant and can even be dangerously misleading.

Indeed it might be argued that the UK’s position in the scientific world is threatened more by its clinging to the dated approaches which were the standard approach in the past and its failure to do sufficient to develop alternative methods and the employ them as they become available.

Professor Michael Balls
Chairman of the Trustees
FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments)


Archived April 11 2012