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Animal Rights Myths FAQ v1.2 (2/2)

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Archive-Name: politics/animal-rights/myths/part2
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MYTH  2.11  "There  are  no  laws  or  regulations protecting
lab animals. "

In the UK, the  use of  animals in  research is  governed by  the
Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1996. This has been referred
to several times in  this FAQ  and is  worth looking  at in  more
detail (1).

The Act requires that animal procedures:

 *take place only in laboratories which  have appropriate  animal
accommodation  and  veterinary  facilities,  and  have  gained  a
certificate of designation

*are part of an approved research or testing programme which  has
been given a _project licence_

* are carried out by people with sufficient training, skills  and
experience as shown in their _personal licence_

Licences are only granted if:

*the potential results are important enough to justify the use of

* the research cannot be done using non-animal methods

*the minimum number of animals will be used

*dogs, cats or primates are only used when other species are  not

*any discomfort or suffering is kept to a minimum by  appropriate
use of anaesthetics or pain killers

*researchers  and  technicians  conducting  procedures  have  the
necessary training, skills and experience

*research premises have the  necessary facilities  to look  after
the  animals  properly  (laid  down  in  a  Home  Office Code  of

The Act is enforced by a team of Inspectors  (all qualified  vets
or  doctors).  They  visit  each  establishment an  average of  8
times/year, often without prior notice.  In addition, a named vet
must be on call at each establishment at all times. Animals  must
be examined every day and any animal in severe  pain or  distress
that cannot be relieved must be painlessly put down.

Other countries in Europe and North America have similar laws and
regulations governing animal research. for example the US  Animal
Welfare Act and the 'Guide  for the  care and  Use of  Laboratory
Animals' of the Public Health Service.

1) Description taken from 'Facts and figures  on animal  research
in Great Britain' (1995) RDS


MYTH 2.12 "Researchers don't care about the well-being of

Like most people, most researchers love animals and  care about
 their well-being.  Many have family pets, and unlike animal rights
organisations they  do not  wish  to  see  domestic  animals   eradicated.
That's   why scientists  and  doctors  support  the  principle  of  the  3  Rs
-Reduction,  Refinement  and  Replacement  -  a  principle  first
established by scientists themselves (1).

Scientists, like everyone else, will be happy to see the use of
animal in research stop.  However this can only happen  when it is
no longer necessary to advance science and medicine - and this
will not be possible in the foreseeable future.

1. Burch  R &  Russell W  The Principles  of Humane  Experimental
Technique (1959)


MYTH 2.13 "Animal rights is a 'progressive' philosophy"

There is nothing 'progressive' about depriving the seriously  ill
of  medical  advances.    Opposition to  the AR  cause cuts
across traditional the traditional left-right divide.  Indeed,
the  only modern regime to enact the type of legislation
demanded by the AR movement was Nazi Germany. The Nazis
enthusiasm for animal rights is illustrated by the news article
reproduced below (taken from the Animal Research Database cited
in Section 3):

The following is a translation of document #186 in Medizin im
 Nationalsozialismus by Walter Wuttke-Groneberg (Rottenberg:
Shwaebische  Verlagsgesellschaft) 1982.

Translator's remarks and literal German words in {}.

Vivisection Forbidden in Prussia!

The New Germany leads all civilized nations in the area of animal

The famous national socialist Graf E. Reventkow published in the
Reichswart, the official publication of the "union of patriotic
Europeans", the lead article "Protection and Rights {Recht} for
the Animal".  National Socialism, he writes, has for the first time
in Germany begun to show Germans the importance of the individual's
{italics} duty toward the animal {end italics}.  Most Germans
have been raised with the attitude that animals are created by God
for the use and benefit of man.  The church gets this idea from the
Jewish tradition.  We have  met with not a few clerics who defend this
position with utmost steadfastness and vigor, yes one could say
almost brutally.  Usually they defend their position with the
unstated intent of deepening and widening the chasm between man
who has soul and soulless (how do they know that?) animals...

The friend of animals knows to what inexpressible extent the
mutual understanding between man and animal and feelings of
togetherness can be  developed, and there are many friends of animals
 in Germany, and also many who cannot accept animal torture out
 of simple humanitarian reasons.  In general however, we still find
ourselves in a desert of unfeeling and brutality as well as sadism.
There is much to be done and we would first like to address vivisection,
for which the words "cultural shame" do not even come close; in fact it must be viewed as a
criminal activity.

Graf Reventkow presents a number of examples of beastial
vivisection crimes and affirms at the end, with mention of Adolph Hitler's
sharp anti-vivisectionist positions, our demand that once and for all
an end has to be brought to this animal exploitation.

We German friends of animals and anti-vivisectionists have
placed our hopes upon the Chancellor of the Reich and his comrades in arms
who are, as we know, friends of animals.  Our trust has not been

The New Germany brings proof that it is not only the hearth but
bringer of a new, higher, more refined, culture:

Vivisection, a cultural shame in the whole civilized world,
against which the Best in all states have fought in vain for decades,
will be banned in the New Germany!

A Reich Animal Protection Law which includes a ban on
vivisection is  imminent and just now comes the news, elating all friends of
animals, that the greatest German state, Prussia, has outlawed
vivisection with no exceptions!

The National Socialist German Workers' Party { NSDAP } press
release states:

"The Prussian minister-president Goering has released a statement
stating that starting 16 August 1933 vivisection of animals of
all kinds is forbidden in Prussia.  He has requested that the
concerned ministries draft a law after which vivisection will be punished
with a high penalty *).  Until the law goes into effect, persons who,
despite this prohibition, order, participate or perform vivisections on
animals of any kind will be deported to concentration camps."

Among all civilized nations, Germany is thus the first to put an
end to the cultural shame of vivisection!  The New Germany not only
frees man from the curse of materialism, sadism, and cultural
Bolshevism, but gives the cruelly persecuted, tortured, and until now, wholly
defenceless animals their rights { Recht }.  Animal friends and
anti-vivisectionists of all states will joyfully welcome this
action of the National Socialist government of the New Germany!

What Reichschancellor Adolph Hitler and Minister-president
Goering have done and will do for the protection of animals should set
the course for the leaders of all civilized nations!  It is a deed
which will bring the New Germany innumerable new elated friends in all
nations.  Millions of friends of animals and anti-vivisectionists of
all civilized nations thank these two leaders from their hearts
for this exemplary civil deed!

Buddha, the Great loving spirit of the East, says: "He who is
kind-hearted to animals, heaven will protect!"  May this blessing
fulfil the leaders of the New Germany, who have done great
things for animals, until the end.  May the blessing hand of fate protect
these bringers of a New Spirit, until their godgiven earthly mission is


*) As we in the meantime have learned, a similar ban has been
proclaimed in Bavaria.  The formal laws are imminent - thanks to
the energetic initiative of our Peoples' chancellor Adolph Hitler,
for whom all friends of animals of the world will maintain forever
their gratitude, their love, and their loyalty.

From: Die Weisse Fahne {The White Flag} 14 (1933) : 710-711.

This support for animal rights is also found in today's
fascists.  German neo-Nazis have used the slogan "Stop animal
experiments - use Turks instead" (1).

In the UK, the animal rights policies of fascist groups have been
documented by the internationally-respected anti-fascist journal
Searchlight (2).  A leading Green Party member was sufficiently
to concerned to say that "Eco-fascism is on the march" and noted
that "Despite their hatred of other races the far right have
become animal lovers" (3)

A group of UK fascists aligned  with Italy's neo-fascists
established an AR organisation called Greenwave.  Its aims

"Total ban on all animal experiments

Total ban on the use of animals in ANY form of entertainment

Total ban on ALL hunting or shooting of animals"

In its 4th issue, the UK AR magazine Arkangel published no less
than 5 letters from members of this group and other fascists,
defending the rights of fascists to take part in AR groups and
spelling out their AR credentials(4).

None of this is intended to imply that *all* AR supporters are
card-carrying fascists. However, it does make it clear that
support for AR is certainly not 'progressive' and in fact is
confined to the political fringes. No major political party of
the left or right supports the AR agenda.

1) Searchlight (1988) no.161:19.

2)'The Greening of the Brownshirts' Searchlight(1989) no.165

3)' The Green Shirt Effect' Searchlight(1989) no.168:4-5

4)'They're no Arkangels' Searchlight (1991) no.189:12


MYTH 2.14 "Animal rights groups' propaganda is truthful."

AR propaganda routinely makes fictitious claims, in order to  win
support, and of course money, from people who have  no access  to
other information.

In the UK material produced by  AR groups  has repeatedly  fallen
foul  of  the  Advertising  Standards Authority.  Aside from  the
examples cited elsewhere in this FAQ, the following AR claims (by
the National Anti Vivisection Society) were found not to meet the
ASA's 'legal,  decent, honest,  truthful' standard  in 1994  (ASA
ref. B93-00281):

"Animal experiments are...misleading and unproductive"

"Animal experiments are bad science"

"They [animals] suffer from different diseases [to humans]"

PETA  have also  fallen foul  of the  ASA with  their claim  that
thalidomide  passed  animal  tests  with  'flying  colours' (1)

When the group Anti Vivisection Agency placed  an advertisement  in several UK
newspapers in December 1992. Virtually every  sentence was found
to be in breach of ASA standards(2) !

However, first prize  for dishonesty has to go to the group Plan 2000. This AR group
produced fund-raising leaflets in which nearly every claim was found not to meet the ASA's

These are all examples of an independent body finding that claims
made by AR groups are dishonest and misleading.

In fact, such misleading material tends to be the rule rather
than the exception, leading to the conclusion that it is a
deliberate tactic rather than an unfortunate accident.

1) ASA Monthly Report no. 65 October 1996

2) ASA Monthly Report no. 19 December 1992

3) ASA Monthly Report no. 43  December 1994


MYTH  2.15 "Animal  rights groups  should be  supported by
animal lovers."

In fact AR groups such as PETA have many  extreme proposals  that
pet-lovers in particular should be shocked by:

"Pet ownership is  an abysmal  situation brought  about by  human
manipulation" (Ingrid  Newkirk, PETA  founder Washingtonian  Aug.

"In the end I think it would be lovely if we  stopped this  whole
notion of pets altogether" (Ingrid Newkirk Newsday, Feb. 21 1988)

"One day we would like an end to pet shops  and breeding  animals
[Dogs]  would pursue  their natural  lives in  the wild"  (Ingrid
Newkirk, Chicago Daily Herald Mar 1, 1990)

 "Eventually companion animals will be phased out...."  (Ingrid
Newkirk, "Just Like Us? Toward a Notion of Animal Right"
(symposium), Harper's, August 1988)

 "Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete
jungles- from our firesides, from the leather nooses and chains
by which we enslave it."  (John Bryant, _Fettered Kingdoms: An
Examination of A Changing Ethic_  (Washington D C, PeTA, 1982).
p. 15)

"The cat, like the dog, must disappear..... We should cut the
domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering, and
more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to
exist." (John Bryant, _Fettered Kingdoms: An Examination of a
Changing Ethic_ (Washington, D.C.: People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals, 1982), p.15)

From the above, it is clear that pet-lovers have a great deal  to
fear from the AR movement.

People who describe themselves as supporters of 'animal rights'
are often shocked to discover the real agenda of the AR
organisations. This is because being an animal lover is not the
same as supporting animal rights. Most people who describe
themselves as animal lovers, including most scientists, are in
fact supporters of _animal welfare_ rather than
animal rights.


MYTH 2.16 "Many scientists and doctors support the AR position."

Doctors  and  scientists  involved  in  biomedical  research  are
overwhelmingly  in  favour  of the  continued use  of animals  in

In 1988 and 1989 the AMA surveyed 500,000 active physicians,
both members and non-members.   97% supported  the use  of
animals  in medical research.

A survey of the attitudes of UK doctors was carried out by the British Medical Association in

Over 94% agreed with the statement that "animal experiments have made an important
contribution to many advances in medicine". Only 2.3% disagreed.

83% agreed that "animal experiments have an important role in developing new treatments.

The BMA produced an official statement on animal research:

"The BMA believes that animal experimentation is necessary at present to develop a better
understanding of diseases and how to treat them, but believes that, wherever possible,
alternative methods should be used."

Section 2.6 of this FAQ describes the British Association for
the Advancement of Science's Declaration on Animal Experiments
and its overwhelming support among eminent scientists and

The most recent survey is that of all living Nobel Laureates in medicine and physiology,
carried out in 1996 to commemorate the centenary of Nobel's death(2)  39/71 Laureates
replied and their responses are instructive:

100% agreed that "animal experiments had been vital to the discovery and development of
many advances in physiology and medicine".

100% agreed that "animal experiments are still crucial to the investigation and development
of many medical treatments".

100% agreed that "Because there is no complete alternative yet, a total and immediate ban
on animal experiments would hamper much medical progress".

From all of the above it is clear that the overwhelming majority of scientists and doctors
support the use of animals in biomedical research.

 More specific myths involving individuals are dealt with below.

1) BMA News Review, June 1993 (Representative sample of 800 surveyed/350 replied)

2) Centenary Survey of Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine (1996) SIMR


MYTH 2.16.1 "Charles Darwin opposed animal research"

In fact, he was a strong supporter of it.

In a letter to a Swedish professor of physiology in 1881, Darwin
wrote (1):

"I know that physiology cannot possibly progress except by means
of experiments on living animals, and I feel the deepest
conviction that he  who retards the progress of physiology
commits a crime against mankind."

1. The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (1959) Darwin, Francis,
ed. New York: BasicBooks, Inc., 382-383.


MYTH 2.16.2 "Albert Schweitzer opposed animal research"

In fact, he had the same attitude as today's scientists.

In a letter to the New York Times (1), James A. Pittman, M.D.,
recalled visiting Schweitzer in 1957 in French Equatorial Africa;
"At that time, I asked him specifically about his views on the
use of laboratory animals for biomedical research. His response
(as translated from the German) was: 'It is necessary for the
advancement of medical understanding.' There was absolutely no
equivocation in his statement."

Schweitzer's own words on animal research can be found in  The
Teaching of Reverence for Life  (Holt, Rinehart, Winston; 1965).
Schweitzer makes the same  moral distinction made by the research
community: while all life is meaningful, the goal of improving
human and animal health requires the sacrifice of some life in
order to preserve others.

1. Letter from James A. Pittman, M.D., Dean, University of
Alabama School of Medicine, to
the New York Times, May 26, 1990, p. 22.


MYTH 2.17 "Many lab animals are used in testing tobacco

In fact, just two project licences for procedures connected  with
tobacco were issued in the UK in  1995 (1).  Both were  concerned
with investigating  the link  between smoking  and Sudden  Infant
Death  Syndrome.  The  experiments  did  not  use  dogs,  as   AR
literature likes to imply, but embryonated chicken eggs .

1.  Report of  the Animal  Procedures Committee  for 1995  (1996)
HMSO, London

MYTH 2.18 "The number of animals used in research each year is 100 million/250 million/ a

AR groups make a habit of exaggerating the numbers of animals used in research.  The UK
AR group Plan 2000 fell foul of the Advertising standards authority for that very reason (see
Myth 2.14 above). The true world figure is around 50 million.  In other words, one rat, per
person, per 100 years.

That breaks down as follows (figures in millions):

USA           22 (1)
EU             11.8 (2)
Japan*         2.5
Canada         2.1 (3)
Switzerland   0.86 (4)
Australia       0.75(5)
others*        10

total            50.01

* Estimated on the side of caution

NB UK figures have shown a steady decrease over the last 20 years and in line with that it is
likely that the world total is now considerably lower that 50 million.

1. US Congress Office of Technology Assessment (1986)

2. Commission of the European Communities (1994)

3. Canadian Council on Animal Care (1995) Resource 18

4. Swiss Federal Office of Veterinary Care (1993)

5. Report of the Australian Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare: Animal
Experimentation (1989)



Americans for Medical Progress

AMP is a  wonderful organisation that campaigns on behalf of  the
seriously ill and others who benefit from  medical progress  (i.e.
all  of  us!).   Many  will be  familiar with  their   successful
"Hollywood Hypocrisy" campaign and  other actions  in support  of
AIDS  sufferers.    The  AMP  WWW  pages  have  a  great deal  of
information  about  the  AR  movement's  aims  and  tactics,  the
benefits of biomedical research, AMP campaigns and much else. Why
not visit them  and join  in their  fight to  stop AR  supporters
halting medical advance.  Their URL is:

Research Defence Society

The RDS is a UK association of doctors and biomedical scientists.
It  produces  a great  deal of  carefully researched
information  showing how the use of animals has been  essential in  biomedical advance.
The RDS also runs proactive campaigns to bring this home to the public. The RDS WWW
site is an invaluable resource for all
those interested in defending biomedical research.  Their URL is:

Biomedical Research Education Trust

BRET produce excellent material aimed at schools and non-scientists. Their material
explains the need for animals in research in an informative but jargon-free way.
Recommended. URL:

Foundation for Biomedical Research

The FBR is  a sort  of American  RDS and  produces an  impressive
selection  of  education  and  publicity  material.  If  you  are
interested in the truth about the  use of  animals in  biomedical
research, this is another URL you should have  in your  bookmarks

European Biomedical Research Association

This site contains a wealth of detailed information about animal use in the EC, and  the EC
regulations governing it. You can find it at

Other useful WWW resources:

The Animal Research  Database, compiled  by Greg  Popken, can  be
accessed  at:     This
contains a great deal of useful  material, including  information
about Nazi support for animal rights, from which the translated
document reproduced in 2.13 was extracted.

The Mouse and Rat Research Home Page

This is the place to go for scientific information about how 85% of lab animals are used.  The
URL is

I  am always happy to hear about other resources - if you know of
any you think should be included, please send me the details.



The material collected here has been  compiled from  a number  of
different  sources.  A   significant  amount   was  taken   (with
permission)  from  material  produced  by  the  Research  Defence
Society, much of it by Dr J. Botting.   Material  was also  taken
from  the  web  sites  of   Biomedical Research  Foundation and
Americans  for  Medical  Progress.   I  would like  to take  this
opportunity to thank those who work for these fine organisations,
often at some personal risk. Their activities are helping to make
this world a better place.

I  take  responsibility  for   any  mistakes   and  the   overall


The    author    of     this    FAQ     is    Kevin     O'Donnell
(      Permission   is  granted   to
reproduce and distribute this  FAQ providing it is copied in  its
entirety, including the Acknowledgement and copyright notice
and provided no charge is made.

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