Animal Justice Project’s science advisor and esteemed figure in veterinary medicine and research, Andrew Menache, believes the legal concept of ‘silent fraud’ can help us make stronger arguments against animal-based research.
But, first of all, what is silent fraud?
Basically, the concept describes the plaintiff (a person who brings a case against another in a court of law) who claims the defendant kept silent about a crucial fact to lead said plaintiff to believe the opposite of that fact is accurate.
Andrew believes the animal research community is in crisis since scientists have to not only contend with how they acquire funding and disapproval from the animal rights movement, but now face poor quality data and the inability of animals who cannot predict what will happen to people.
This has lead to ‘sloppy science’ as around eighty-five percent of investment in animal-based research is wasted due to only half out of a hundred research projects actually being published. Of those, half have major flaws which makes their results unreliable.
There have even been significant findings where scientists have unconsciously biased their studies which leads to wasted investment and an end-game in the search for effective drugs.
Even if researchers stuck to the guidelines and performed their research without a hitch, would the results of their data be any more relevant to the diseases they are supposed to find treatments for? Andrew says no.
We have a very strong case against the use of animals as models for human disease since animal testing can hardly be predicted since most animal tests are conducted because of legal reasons, not scientific ones.
Andrew believes the solution is to amend current legislation. The submission of human data replacing animal data is already available in the form of organ donations, stem cells and 3D cell structures. This technology will continue to evolve and make animal testing look primordial in years to come.
How will researchers justify animal testing then?
To simply use animals in the discovery of knowledge is no longer a justification that can be used in the search of a medical breakthrough. Animal testing cannot be a solution to our health crisis because not only is the exploitation of animals immoral and wrong, but the evidence proves that almost zero treatments conducted on animals actually produced clinically useful results.