2016 Year of public support towards animal research !

This is not a rant nor an emotional reaction. No, what this post is about is how is it possible that research using monkeys,  that has generated results and of which 60 researchers depend on or build from is being stopped as a result of pressure by groups who oppose animal use? You can read the article in question here

According to the American Primatologists Association's Board of Directors it was estimated that terminating Suomi’s studies may affect more than a dozen large-scale projects being conducted by more than 60 researchers in the U.S., Italy, France, the U.K., Germany, and Canada.

As far as I know it is unlikely of the NIH to stop funding projects with such an international reach and impact. After all it are the very citizens of these countries, including the US, that count on the medical progress aimed for by these research efforts that are affected by this decision. So what benefit does the NIH derive from pulling out? I'd say they might even think it is a waste of taxpayers money to stop this research now.

On the other hand from the same article we have official political party representatives that have written to the NIH Director Francis Collins expressing concern about the “scientific and ethical justification” of Suomi’s research and urging him to conduct a bioethics review. Now these people have strong motivation to do so because their jobs and functions depend on voters. It is of course not uncommon for them to do so after all that is what we elect people for, to represent our interests. But are these truly our best interests? Knowing the results of the research and the fact that stopping this research will impact researchers, allied countries in research and their future generations, I would have urged them to continue, now wouldn't I ? One thing is for sure these representatives would never get my vote!

Are we in a situation where people are being manipulated and the public's best interest is being sacrificed or neglected to say the least? It seems to me that the use of monkeys in research is a cornerstone in the strategies used by those groups opposing research using animals. No matter what the benefits are for you or me, they as a group will continue its pressure on NIH to end all research with nonhuman primates. So what is there to discuss or get consensus over? Nothing. The message is loud and clear: they will not stop.

But let us not be fooled by this careless and selfish attitude, instead let us look to the future and emphasize the various scientific initiatives, Brain, HIV, Cancer, optogenetics, cures for paraplegics etc, that are all depending on animals at some point in the process. These animals are there for good reasons: they provide answers, knowledge before we start testing in humans. They are not fail proof certainly but they have repeatedly proven their value and eliminating them all together is a dangerous mistake. Excluding non human primates from this equation is as dangerous. It is is there closeness to us that makes them so valuable. Don't forget though that this research also benefits the animals as a species for the more we know about them the better we are positioned to help in case of need. Think of animal conservation for example or plagues affecting them.

There is so much research going on that is it is impossible to provide you with all the references. What you can do however is to follow #animalresearch on social media such as twitter for example and you will have the opportunity to read scientific articles and establish for yourself whether thee use of animals is warranted or not. If you are still not convinced ask yourself the question would governments allow this kind of activity if there would be no benefit or a marginal one? Think of the vaccines you had as a child, your flu shots, medical and surgical devices, all tested on animals prior to human testing. Would scientists themselves not question their use if the benefits weren't there? Finally ask someone who is threatened by disease or has been cured if the combined efforts of human and animal testing aren't worth their while?

Lastly ask yourself : since when does Peta directly or indirectly decide the fate of crucial research that benefits society now and the next generations? Did you vote for this? I certainly did not and it is time to change this. Let 2016 be the year of public support towards animal research !


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