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BLOG: Why We Question the Ethics of Charities! – Beckii Parnham

Health charities within the UK like Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and British Heart Foundation (BHF) are big business – with CEOs earning massive salaries, racking up millions in donations and spending hundreds of millions on research. It is easy to be fooled by their positive, persuasive, and apparently transparent websites that promote their successes towards cures and treatments. They even appear to be honest with dedicated pages on the use of animals in experiments, claiming it to be an ‘unavoidable evil’. So why are they the target of our Cures not Cruelty campaign?

The Cures not Cruelty campaign is calling out these charities for two reasons; their increasing use of animals in experiments, and their failure to promote a plant-based diet despite evidence suggesting it to be the most beneficial for our health.

On both CRUK and BHF websites it is claimed that their medical developments would not be possible without the use of animal experiments however, they have yet to provide tangible evidence to support this and instead hint that not using animals would result in more deaths. None of these statements have been supported. The charities have recognised the limitations of using animal ‘models’ yet do not fund or support the research into alternative methods. So, in affect, they are choosing to continue their animal experiments despite it producing results that lack usability. They are failing people who donate their money by making big promises of saving lives, without improving efficiency and developing better research methods. In effect, they are taking your money and using it on experiments they know only have a small possibility of being advantageous. This seems incredibly wasteful … criminal almost?

For those of you who are animal lovers, these charities have your concerns well covered. Their websites state that all animals used by them are cared for and live well. However, just some of the charity-funded animal experiments uncovered by Animal Justice Project include artificially inducing heart attacks in dogs and pigs, injecting cancer cells into the hearts of mice, and starving sheep of oxygen who were in late pregnancy. It is unlikely that any of this can truly be classified as humane.

BHF and CR do offer some guidance on how to eat to reduce your likelihood of developing cancer and heart disease. However, a lot of their information appears to be misguided. Neither charity promotes 100 per cent plant-based diets, despite the fact that people with this diet have the lowest blood pressure and a 19 per cent decreased risk of getting cancer. There is strong evidence to support that a plant-based diet goes a long way in protecting your health and neither charity appears to recognises this. If they do, they are not telling people about it.

Instead they promote choosing white meat like chicken, and eating eggs. Regardless of the evidence that infers eating just one egg a day reduces your life expectancy in the exact same way as smoking five cigarettes. They also suggest opting for leaner cuts of meat with less visible fat and fish, despite fish containing an excess in mercury, saturated fats and cholesterol. The diet with the least amount of cholesterol is a plant-based diet, yet the largest heart and cancer research charities fails to even mention this. This is not acceptable.

These charities have a huge platform that they SHOULD be using to promote the healthiest lifestyle possible. Instead they are promoting a diet of cholesterol and cancer-causing meat, whilst still claiming they are doing everything they can to fight disease. You can find all this information and more in the FREE downloadable Cures not Cruelty fact sheet.

Our Cures not Cruelty campaign urges activists to set up outreach events that engage with the public outside CR and BHF stores, to sign the petitions on our websites, to get active online with our hashtags, and to donate to support our work. With enough pressure, hopefully BHF and CR will turn their back on useless animal experiments and start promoting a plant-based diet. Only then can they honestly claim to be working the very hardest they can be to save lives.