By Dr. Hope Ferdowsian and Dr. L. Syd M Johnson
The status quo of using animals in research isn’t working.
In this op-ed, PZI’s president, Dr. Hope Ferdowsian, and Dr. L. Syd M Johnson discuss the translational failures in medical research that are caused by focusing on using animals in research.
The authors use the example nonhuman primates—who became widely used in laboratory research starting in the mid twentieth century—and highlight how these translational failures harm both people and animals.
These failures, they note, are not just a scientific problem, but a moral problem as well—and they’re further exacerbated by individuals and entities that wish animal research to remain the norm.
As the authors say:
Failures to transform medical research are propelled by institutional biases and by limitations in transparency and in accountability for spending trends—all of which are complicated by long-standing relationships between the pharmaceutical industry, academia, and government. This network of influence has contributed to a shift away from health research and planning that was historically focused on the public interest to research priorities that are now largely driven by profit margins.
The authors emphasize the need to extend the principles in The Belmont Report—such as beneficence (do good) and nonmaleficence (do no harm)—to animals, and to transform medical research so that it protects and benefits both people and animals.
Watch PZI’s short video on why we need a Belmont Report for animals.