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Animal Testing
Use of animals in medical research is unquestionably controversial. It is also unquestionably necessary. The importance of animal testing was highlighted by a recent declaration from the British scientific watchdog organization, the Research Defense Society (RDS).

The RDS declaration supporting the limited use of animals in medical research was signed by over 700 persons including 250 academic professors, 190 fellows of the Royal Society and the Royal Colleges, and three Nobel laureates. The signed statement follows a similar declaration 15 years ago.

The RDS declaration states, in part, "Throughout the world people enjoy a better quality of life because of advances made possible through medical research and the development of new medicines and other treatments. A small but vital part of that work involves the use of animals."

Importantly, the RDS statement also "calls for improved housing for animals and for animal laboratories to be more open about their activities and insists that all experimentation is justified in ethical reviews." The RDS website states that the organization "believes that research using animals should be well regulated, conducted humanely and only when there is no alternative. We work with welfare groups and government to promote good practice in laboratory animal welfare and the development of non-animal replacement methods."

There are responsible animal advocacy organizations that seek to ensure that animal testing in performed in an ethical and human manner. There are other NGOs that oppose virtually all animal testing but do so in peacefully. Unfortunately, there also exist extremist groups that use violence in support of their nominal goal of animal rights.

RDS demonstrates that it is possible to balance the necessity of using animals in some medical research with the necessity of ensuring appropriate humane treatment of test animals.

  • Click for Manchester Guardian article.
  • Click for Research Defense Society.

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