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But the author, Gavan McNallyprovided no scientific references to support his claim. The best available evidence Those in positions of authority who publicly claim important social benefits from research upon which their careers are dependent have a moral obligation to ensure those claims are supported by sound evidence.
The best evidence we have about the social utility of animal research comes from systematic reviews. Such analyses aim to include all relevant scientific publications such as animal studiesand include multiple steps to minimise bias.
The research question being investigated must be clearly defined in advance, and at least two scientific literature databases must be comprehensively searched, using a thorough and transparent search strategy, to minimise any risk of missing relevant reports.
Hundreds of reports of animal experiments are commonly identified in these reviews — sometimes more than 1, Where resource constraints prevent examination of all experiments located, any subsets selected for examination must be chosen using randomisationor similarly impartial and methodical means.
Finally, the whole process must be conducted with a level of scientific rigour sufficient to ensure subsequent publication of the review in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
In I comprehensively searched the scientific literature to locate successfully published systematic reviews.
Among Did the cost outweigh the benefits 20 I found that examined human clinical utility, animal models appeared to demonstrate significant potential to contribute toward the development of new clinical interventions in only two cases, one of which was contentious because the study results did not support the conclusions.
Included among those 20 reviews were animal experiments that should have been most likely to yield tangible benefits — such as experiments expected by ethics committees to lead to medical advances, highly-cited experiments published in major journals, and chimpanzee experiments — that investigated the species most generally predictive of human outcomes.
In each of seven additional reviews I located that examined toxicity prediction, animal models failed to reliably predict the most important human toxicities — carcinogenicity or teratogenicity, the propensity to cause cancer or birth defects, respectively.
Results in animal models were frequently ambiguous or inconsistent with human outcomes. Weighing costs and benefits Nevertheless, Professor McNally was correct to assert some value may accrue from animal research.
Unless experimental results are not obtained, or are unreliable or duplicative, animal research can usually be argued to have advanced scientific knowledge in some way and, therefore, to have some degree of scientific merit.
But this ignores the costs incurred by such research. Those costs may include animal lives, the consumption of considerable financial and scientific resources and, potentially, even adverse impacts on patients and consumers, when human results differ from those predicted by animal models.
John McGuire Keeping it real Overestimation of the social benefits of invasive animal research appears widespread.
This was exemplified in a review of research using non-human primates NHPsin which a panel of eminent scientists examined virtually all UK primate research conducted during a recent decade, only to report that: In most cases […] little direct evidence was available of actual medical benefit in the form of changes in clinical practice or new treatments.
The same report, again with regards to research on NHPs, stated that: This contrasts with the emphatic public statements about the medical benefits of NHP research made by some of the funding bodies and by grant applicants.
The panel — comprising experts in neurobiology, neurology, psychology, zoology, reproductive biology and translational research — recommended that: In their public engagement, the funders and researchers should avoid overstating and generalising the medical benefit of NHP research, since this cannot be substantiated in many cases.
These funds are exceptionally hard-won. The idea that research funded via these agencies lacks significance and scientific excellence is absurd. At first glance, it appears McNally may be right.
As scientists in this field, our main regulatory instrument is the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes.
Replacement of animals with non-animal models Reduction of animal numbers Refinement of experimental procedures to decrease suffering, wherever possible But unfortunately, as I have described in detail elsewhere, the protection actually afforded to laboratory animals differs significantly from its prima facie appearance.
As outlined above, a large and remarkably consistent body of evidence indicates that resultant social benefits are rarely, if ever, sufficient to justify the costs incurred by animals subjected to invasive research.
Therefore, rigorous regulatory adherence should result in minimal invasive animal use. And yet, Australia is one of the leading international users of laboratory animals.
Despite data from multiple Australian states or territories remaining publicly unavailablemy calculations have revealed that, even when limited to states releasing figures, Australia was still the fourth largest user of laboratory animals worldwide, both overall and per capita.
Only the US, Japan and China used more animals, overall. Significant bias of ethics committees in favour of animal research is the obvious, and most likely, cause. Animal welfare representatives invariably constitute a small minority, and documented irregularities have included disproportionate numbers of researchers on committees, and supposedly independent representatives appointed from within the university concerned.
In short, contrary to the poorly-substantiated claims of animal researchers, the overwhelming majority of invasive animal experiments do not pass the cost-benefit test required by regulations and expected by society.But "the scientific evidence is clear that the benefits outweigh the risks," added Mermin, who oversees the agency's programs on HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
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Do these outweigh the benefits?
It’s a big step and likely feels a little overwhelming — there are a lot of benefits that you might provide and you need to familiarize yourself with the options for each one. Not to mention, providing benefits will cost your growing business. But providing benefits that your employees can’t. Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.