“Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) co-founder Ingrid Newkirk has famously said. With abolition in mind, PETA has long waged its crusade against using animals for (human) life-saving medical research, even protesting the military’s use of pigs to allow soldiers to practice combat medical training. And PETA’s lab-coated allies at the phony “Physicians Committee” for Responsible Medicine are also dedicated to beating the “liberate the lab animals” drum.
Thankfully, there are two sides to this debate, even if PETA pretends otherwise. Nancy Haigwood, a scientist who uses animals in her research, takes to the page of The Oregonian today to clarify why she does what she does. She highlights the medical progress gained by animal research in just the last three weeks alone—including advances in the medical understanding of Parkinson’s disease, cancer tumors, the flu virus, and Down syndrome. But as Haigwood also writes, even this won’t satisfy the abolitionists:
Animal activists often reject these kinds of discoveries, claiming that animal studies are outdated and that all of these breakthroughs could be made in test tubes or with computer models. But in reality, no test tube can simulate the complex immune response of an animal, and no computer can mimic a real, breathing lung. Before we can try therapies in real human patients, we must study a similar living system first.
Regardless of the benefits to people, the medical profession’s needs, and the nonsense of its own claims, PETA will continue its jihad against critical medical research. Here’s one example: Last week the USDA and NIH investigated the University of Utah’s animal research program following PETA’s allegationsof animal abuse. The inspectors found the program to be “in good order,” in stark contrast with PETA’s gloomy claims.
Of course, it’s always ironic when PETA makes claims of animal cruelty, considering its own track record of killing nearly 30,000 animals. And according to this entertaining infographic about PETA’s hypocrisy, PETA spends less than 1 percent of its budget actually helping animals. (Which also sounds an awful lot like another animal rights group we know.)