This is an extract from the book, What Really Makes You Ill? Why Everything You Thought You Knew About Disease Is Wrong by Dawn Lester & David Parker
This extract is copyright material. Permission is granted to share this extract under the proviso that it is shared in its entirety and that full credit is given to the authors of this work and the book title is referenced in full.
The Oxford Concise Medical Dictionary defines vivisection as, “a surgical operation on a living animal for experimental purposes.” According to the NAVS (National Anti-Vivisection Society) web page entitled Areas of Science that Use Animals, “The scope of animal use in science today includes virtually every field of investigation.” The scientific fields that utilise vivisection are categorised by NAVS under the general headings of research, testing and education. Investigations classified as ‘testing’ include experiments that are conducted to ascertain the ‘safety’ of chemical ingredients used in manufactured products, many of which are everyday items used by millions of people around the world. The widespread use of chemicals is discussed in the next chapter; however, testing their safety clearly relies on the idea that it is only the dose that makes a substance toxic; an idea that has been shown to be false. The category of ‘education’ is self-explanatory and mainly involves the dissection of animals in classrooms. The category of ‘research’ covers a range of fields of study, as described by the NAVS web page entitled Animals Used in Research, “Animals are used in basic and biomedical research, behavioural research, military research, agricultural research, veterinary research and drug development and testing.” The types of research pertinent to this discussion mainly involve biomedical research, drug development and drug testing, all of which can be combined under the general heading of ‘medical research’. However, some of the arguments used, whether to support or object to animal experimentation in medical research, are applicable to other types of research and to safety testing. The main justification for vivisection within medical research is that it is indispensable; it is claimed to be vital for the study of disease and for the development of effective drugs and vaccines to combat them. This argument is expressed by Dr Hans Selye MD in his book entitled The Stress of Life, “Yet, few antivivisectionists would consider it more ethical to stop medical research altogether and thereby expose countless human beings to unnecessary suffering.” This argument is encapsulated within the phrase ‘it’s the bunny or your baby’. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Although well-intentioned, this is a fallacious argument; no bunny has to be sacrificed in order to save babies. Dr Selye, whose important study of the role of ‘stress’ is discussed in chapter ten, was trained under the orthodox medical system that retains the belief in a number of flawed theories about diseases and their causes. In addition to the idea that ‘germs’ are the causes of ‘infectious diseases’, is the idea that ‘genes’ are relevant causal factors for a number of ‘non-infectious diseases’. But both of these ideas are erroneous; neither ‘germs’ nor ‘genes’ are the causes of disease. A wide variety of animal experiments have been conducted to investigate both ‘infectious’ and ‘non-infectious’ diseases over the course of many decades. Yet, there have been no significant reductions in morbidity or mortality; in fact, the statistics demonstrate that these problems are worsening. As indicated in the discussion about iatrogenesis, drugs and vaccines do not offer solutions to health problems; instead, they exacerbate ill-health.
Anti-vivisection organisations such as NAVS correctly argue for medical research without animal experiments; it is clearly unethical to inflict suffering on animals during experiments designed to relieve human suffering. However, concentrating solely on the cruelty of animal experiments misses the core issue, which is that the theories on which most medical research is based are fundamentally flawed. Unfortunately, there is an almost complete lack of recognition of the full extent of the flaws within the teachings of the medical establishment system; and also, to a certain extent, within those of the ‘alternative health community’. Although many physicians have recognised some of the problems, very few have recognised them all. However, although they support the idea that medical research is necessary, antivivisection organisations raise a number of valid objections to the use of animals for research purposes. The main objections are that animals suffer during the experiments and that they have an unnatural life in the laboratory environment. Another objection is that animals used in research are almost always killed at some stage of the experiment; to counter this objection, medical researchers often use the euphemism ‘sacrificed’ so that animal deaths are represented as a scientific necessity rather than cruelty. The reality is that, whether it occurs before, during or afterwards, the overwhelming majority of animals are killed so that researchers can examine them and determine the effects of the ‘experiment’ they have conducted. It is probably true to say that medical researchers perform their work under the impression that they are conducting ‘medical science’ and that it has a genuine and meaningful purpose; as expressed by Dr Selye, who refers to, “…one of the noblest and most human aspirations of man, the desire to understand himself.” Although the dissection of dead animals can permit an understanding of the physiological effects of ‘disease’, it cannot generate an understanding of disease processes within a living body, whether human or animal. Furthermore, no experimentation conducted on living, or dead, animals can take ‘man’ to a better understanding of ‘himself’. Despite the belief that laboratory experimentation is an essential aspect of research, there are many limitations to the experiments conducted in the name of ‘medical science’, one of which is, as discussed in chapter three, the failure to appreciate that the procedures used in the preparation of specimens for microscopy can directly affect the specimens, whether they are tissues, cells, disease molecules, bacteria or the particles called ‘viruses’. This limitation was acknowledged by Dr Harold Hillman, who stressed that many of the ‘structures’ observed under microscopes are, in reality, artefacts that have been produced by the preparation procedures such as fixation, for example. An October 2011 article entitled Optimization of fixation methods for observation of bacterial cell morphology and surface ultrastructures by atomic force microscopy discusses fixatives and fixation methods and makes the extremely interesting point that, “The effects of different fixation methods on bacterial morphology were rarely studied, and thus research gaps still remained in this issue.” It should be noted that fixatives often contain toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, which will inevitably affect living specimens, especially pleomorphic bacteria. Although this may not seem to be relevant to a discussion about vivisection, it serves to highlight the existence of research gaps and limitations within medical research. The NAVS web page entitled Animals Used in Research recognises the existence of certain limitations and states, “Limitations of animal models are well documented, and reproducibility issues with animal experiments remain an ongoing issue for the scientific community.” Reproducibility is considered to be an essential feature of scientific experimentation. The existence of ‘research gaps’ is also recognised on the NAVS web page, which states that, “…a large gap remains between experimental findings with animal experiments in the lab and the intended application of this information in the clinic.” This ‘gap’ is immensely significant; it completely undermines the fundamental belief that animal experiments are vital to the furtherance of an understanding of human disease, and to the development of suitable ‘treatments’. The existence of these limitations and research gaps demonstrates that conclusions drawn from laboratory-based animal experiments are, at best, highly questionable, even from the perspective of the medical establishment. In reality, these gaps and limitations expose a poor level of understanding about ‘disease’; a situation that has been acknowledged by published ‘peer-reviewed’ study articles, as demonstrated by the numerous articles quoted throughout this book. Many of the cited articles admit that certain key aspects of the science relevant to the subject of the study are ‘unknown’, ‘poorly understood’ or even ‘rarely studied’. Nevertheless, the ‘information’ about diseases published by health organisations such as the WHO, CDC, NIH, NHS etc, implies that the ‘medical establishment’ is fully cognisant of all aspects of all diseases, including their causes and the appropriate methods with which to manage and treat them; the discussions in this book demonstrate otherwise. Another limitation to the use of animal experimentation in the study of disease is that only certain effects can be observed and objectively measured; as explained by the authors of Chemical Exposures who state that, “…rats, mice and other animals are unable to tell researchers if they have headaches, feel depressed or anxious or are nauseated.” These, and many other relevant but non-measurable effects, remain unknown to researchers. The existence of non-measurable effects is significant for animal experiments conducted to determine the ‘safe dose’ of chemicals. Animals cannot express many of the effects they experience; therefore, researchers cannot know all of the effects produced by any chemical. As the discussions in this book demonstrate, the environment in the real world is very different from that of the sanitised laboratory, in which the conditions are strictly controlled and animals are usually only exposed to single substances. In the real world, people as well as all other living organisms, are exposed to multiple substances simultaneously and in varying combinations, none of which has been thoroughly tested to determine the full range of their effects. Although most remain untested, a small percentage of substances have been tested more thoroughly than others, and an even smaller percentage of substances have been tested in a few limited combinations. The results from these tests have, however, demonstrated the existence of synergistic interactions between some substances. One substance in particular that reacts synergistically with certain others is mercury; as explained in the book entitled Uninformed Consent, in which the authors quote the words of Dr Boyd Haley PhD who states, “…the determination of safe body levels of mercury by using animal data, where the animals have not been exposed to other heavy metals, is no longer justified. Mercury is far more toxic to individuals when other heavy metals are present.”
Medical research experiments that are intended to ascertain the safety of a drug suffer from the same limitations as those for chemical testing. The ingredients of pharmaceuticals are chemicals, which interact with a variety of other chemicals and many of these interactions may be synergistic. The lack of testing of all possible combinations of all substances means however, that there is a major knowledge gap, with respect to all of the effects that may be produced by interactions between the many hundreds of thousands of chemicals that now pervade the environment. Animal research experiments are also conducted to determine the efficacy of a drug and its ability to alleviate a particular disease; but the limited knowledge about the effects of the drugs on animals means that their effects on humans remain unknown, until the drug reaches the human testing phase of clinical trials. It is claimed to be unethical to experiment on humans; however, clinical trials cannot be regarded in any other way than as human experiments. In the case of drug trials, people should not be poisoned in the mistaken belief that they are testing ‘medicine’. Another justification for the use of animals is that they are ‘lesser beings’, and therefore different from, humans; yet vivisection is justified on the basis that animals are sufficiently similar to humans to qualify as ‘suitable models’ for the study of human disease. This is a blatant contradiction. One of the most significant objections to animal experimentation is that animals are not suitable models for studying human diseases. Each type of animal is physiologically different from all other types of animal, as well as being different from humans; this point is explained by Dr Russell Blaylock in Health and Nutrition Secrets, “Many animals have physiological and biochemical systems quite different than humans…” These physiological and biochemical differences mean that conclusions drawn from animal experiments cannot be reliably extrapolated as if they are meaningful for human disease studies. Nevertheless, although the results are recognised to be ‘approximations’, medical research studies contain conclusions that are claimed to assist the development of knowledge about diseases and the appropriate measures with which to ‘treat’ them. The problem with vivisection in medical research is described by Dr Moneim Fadali MD, who is firm in his condemnation of the practice, and is quoted by Hans Ruesch in his book entitled 1000 Doctors (And Many More) Against Vivisection, to have stated that, “Animal model systems differ from their human counterparts. Conclusions drawn from animal research, when applied to human beings, are likely to delay progress, mislead, and do harm to the patient. Vivisection, or animal experimentation, should be abolished.” There is a fundamental error in the assumption that an artificial environment created in a laboratory can simulate the environment within a living organism; this point is also discussed by Hans Ruesch who also quotes bacteriologist Rene Dubos from his own book entitled Mirage of Health, “The experimenter does not produce nature in the laboratory.” It may be argued that researchers recognise this fact; nevertheless, they believe that the laboratory provides a sufficient approximation of nature and that this enables them to produce adequate experimental ‘evidence’ that can be reliably extrapolated and applied to the human body. These are erroneous beliefs and assumptions. Nevertheless, in the belief that it is more ethical to experiment on animals than on humans, researchers use many types of animals; rats and mice are the most common, although others include cats, dogs, frogs, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and monkeys. It may be assumed that the preference for rats and mice is because they are suitable approximations for the study of human disease; but this is not the case. Rodents are used because they are cheap, small and easy to handle, as Dr Selye admits, “Rodents also have the advantage of being small, inexpensive and singularly resistant to infections which make them especially suitable for large-scale experimentation.” Dr Selye is by no means the only physician to acknowledge that rodents are used for these reasons; but that does not make them suitable or even approximate animal models. Furthermore, the reference to rodents being ‘singularly resistant to infections’ indicates that from the perspective of ‘germs’, the rodent response differs from the human response; a situation that raises serious questions about the relevance of any rodent-based research for the study of human ‘infectious diseases’. In fact, rodents possess a number of significant physiological differences from humans, one of which is that humans have a gall bladder, but rats do not; this means that rats digest fats differently from humans. Another difference is that rodents manufacture Vitamin B in their appendix, whereas humans do so in their liver. Another difference is that humans do not manufacture vitamin C but rodents do. A further difference is that rats and mice cannot vomit, which means that they process and expel toxins from their bodies differently from humans. These differences clearly raise even more questions about the suitability of any member of the rodent family for medical research purposes. It may be suggested that primates would be far more suitable animal models for the study of human disease, on the basis that they share many similarities with humans and are far closer to man ‘genetically’. However, although primates are used in some experiments, they are not more suitable models for the purposes of human disease research. Professor Vernon Reynolds, a primatologist and professor of biological anthropology, provides his response to this suggestion with reference to man’s closest primate ‘relative’, the chimpanzee. On the website of the Vivisection Information Network, on the page entitled Medical quotes, he is quoted as stating that, “No chimps ... have been of any use in the experiments they were used for ... The whole wretched business (and it is big business) should be stopped and stopped now.” One of the most fundamental points that needs to be emphasised is, that using an animal as a model for investigating a particular human disease would only be relevant if the animal also suffered from the disease under investigation; but this is not the case. In fact, research studies often require the disease to be artificially induced in the laboratory animal; the methods employed to do this frequently involve the use of chemicals that are known to be toxic and the cause of illness. In the study of ‘genetic diseases’, the methods can involve the use of radiation to produce mutations that are claimed to resemble certain diseases, especially cancers. It is claimed that disease conditions are induced in order to facilitate the study of various pharmaceutical chemicals, to discover if any have the potential for development into a ‘treatment’. It is also assumed that the animal response will be indicative of, or at least similar to, the human response, should the drug reach the stage of human clinical trials, in which the human response is investigated. But, as previously discussed, unintended reactions are labelled ‘side effects’, whereas, in reality, all reactions are direct effects. These artificial methods of inducing disease in animals are claimed to be useful, even though it is admitted that they do not produce exactly the same ‘disease’ conditions that are suffered by humans. However, this exposes one of the major problems with the medical establishment understanding of ‘disease’; the idea that there are distinct disease conditions is fundamentally flawed. As will be explained and discussed in detail in chapter ten, people do not suffer from the same diseases; a fact that undermines all disease-based medical research studies. The use of chemicals and radiation to induce ‘disease’ in animals is a clear indication that these are relevant, and highly significant, factors in the causation of ill-health. Organisations such as NAVS have stated unequivocally that no animal species is suitable for the study of human disease, and that humans are the only appropriate models. This important point is also explained by Professor Pietro Croce, a former vivisectionist, who states, in his book entitled Vivisection or Science: A Choice to Make, that, “Even the choice between different species of animal is illusory: actually one is not even speaking of there being a choice at all, but of a kind of fishing blindly among different possibilities in a haphazard way or, worse, according to opportunistic criteria in deciding which animal is more or less convenient: the mouse, the rabbit, the guinea pig are ‘convenient’ because they are easy to keep; cats and dogs because they are easily and cheaply obtainable: everything except the one element which ought to be the deciding factor: an animal having morphological, physiological and biochemical characteristics applicable to man. However, such an animal can only be man himself.” This argument should not be interpreted as a justification for human experimentation. It should be clear from the discussion in this section, that neither humans nor animals should be used for any experimental research purposes, including medical research that attempts to understand disease, but cannot do so because it is based on fundamentally flawed theories that are unsupported by empirical evidence. Unfortunately, one of the reasons that animal experimentation continues is unrelated to notions of altruism, or the belief that the medical establishment will find the cures for all of mankind’s ailments eventually, given enough time and money. Hans Ruesch is one of the many scientists and researchers who have objected to vivisection over the course of many decades; he encapsulates part of the underlying problem in the following powerful statement, “The investigator, who dares to question the official brainwashing that human or animal health was in the past, or currently, or will, in the future be based on vivisection, can quickly and easily arrive at the truth, which is increasingly welldocumented. If vivisection is to survive, the public must be kept ignorant of the truth. There is no money in hygiene or prevention. The unscientific and obscene institution of vivisection is protected and promoted solely by those in big business who make fortunes from it at the expense of true medicine.” The important role of ‘hygiene’ is discussed in chapter ten, in which it will be shown that no ‘medicine’ is required for health. Furthermore, the influence of ‘big business’ within the medical establishment, and especially within ‘medical science’, is discussed in detail in chapter nine. Although discussions in previous chapters have referred to some of the causes of certain diseases, the next chapter discusses in greater detail the major factors that contribute to, and even directly cause, a great deal of human illness and suffering.