Commentary by Physicians Committee director of academic affairs John Pippin, M.D.
Legislation to oversee federal experiments on farm animals such as those at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center is long overdue. But let’s take the Animal Welfare Act a step further and include all animals who suffer in experiments.
The current Animal Welfare Act fails to cover 95 percent of animals used in laboratory experiments. Farm animals, cold-blooded animals, birds, rats, and mice lack regulatory oversight because they are excluded from the Animal Welfare Act’s definition of “animal.”
It’s senseless. Up to 96 percent of drugs tested successfully on animals fail in human trials. A study in Cell Metabolism recently invalidated many years of diabetes studies due to the inherent biological differences between humans and mice. The answer is to end bad science rather than to tweak it. Perhaps stern tightening of regulatory oversight and accountability will move us in that direction