National Academies Press: OpenBook

Science, Medicine, and Animals (1991)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 1991. Science, Medicine, and Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10089.
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SCIENCE, MEDICINE, AND ANIMALS

Prepared for the Councils of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine

Committee on the Use of Animals in Research

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C. 1991

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 1991. Science, Medicine, and Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10089.
×

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Avenue NW Washington, DC 20418

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Science, medicine, and animals / Committee on the Use of Animals in Research

p. cm.

“Prepared for the councils of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.”

ISBN 0-309-04439-1

1. Animal experimentation. I. Committee on the Use of Animals in Research (U.S.) II. National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

III. Institute of Medicine (U.S.)

HV49156.S35 1991

619—dc20

90-27785

CIP

Copyright © 1991 by the National Academy of Sciences

No part of this book may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic, or electronic process, or in the form of a phonographic recording, nor may it be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or otherwise copied for public or private use, without written permission from the publisher, except for the purposes of official use by the United States Government.

Printed in the United States of America

COVER PHOTO:

Photomicrographs of the drug AZT, which was tested and developed in animals for the treatment of AIDS in humans, taken at magnifications of 30x and 50x and illuminated with polarized and darkfield lighting techniques.

PHOTO CREDITS:

National Cancer Institute (cover and pages 3, 5, 6, 8-9, 16, 21, 26, and 27)

Delta Society and People, Pets, Partnership (page 14)

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 1991. Science, Medicine, and Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10089.
×

Committee on the Use of Animals in Research

Kurt J. Isselbacher,Chairman,

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Charlestown, Massachusetts

A. Clifford Barger,

Department of Physiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Pedro Cuatrecasas,

Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Franklin M. Loew,

School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, Massachusetts

Dominick P. Purpura,

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York

Richard F. Thompson,

Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Staff

John E. Burris, Study Director

Steve Olson, Writer and Editor

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 1991. Science, Medicine, and Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10089.
×

Acknowledgment

The National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine gratefully acknowledge the support of The Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Inc.; the foundation consortium of the National Research Council Fund, consisting of Carnegie Corporation of New York, Charles E. Culpeper Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; and the Academy Industry Program.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 1991. Science, Medicine, and Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10089.
×

Preface

If human beings had chosen a hundred years ago to stop using animals in scientific and medical research, the world would be a very different place today. Many of us are here because we did not die as children, or our parents did not die, from diseases that have been controlled through the knowledge gained from animal research. The biological information that has unlocked the secrets of genetics, shed light on the workings of the brain, and made it possible to understand new diseases like AIDS would not exist. Even the animals that we keep as pets and raise for food would live shorter and less healthy lives, because many of the vaccines and treatments that have become staples of veterinary medicine would never have been developed.

Scientists assume two major responsibilities when they study animals in research. The first is to ensure that the use of animals contributes to the advancement of knowledge. The second is to minimize any possible pain or distress that the animals may experience. Researchers take both of these obligations very seriously.

Scientists and nonscientists alike have been working for well over a century to promote and formalize these responsibilities. The first humane societies were established in the 19th century, first in England and then in the United States. Similarly, researchers have followed formal guidelines at least since the 1890s, when the Hygienic Laboratory, the forerunner of the National Institutes of Health, adopted a statement on humane animal care. To this day, researchers and animal welfare advocates have worked to establish standards that ensure the humane care and use of animals while permitting research to proceed, and the well-being of research animals has increased as a result.

We recognize that the use of animals in science may not always have been as well-justified or well-executed as today's sensibilities require. Yet such use today in the United States is as well-regulated and overseen as any in the world. In such a setting mistakes are rare, and the benefits to our society are actually and potentially very great.

In recent years, a new voice has increasingly made itself heard in discussions of animal research. Many of the proponents of this new viewpoint are motivated not by a desire to see that research animals are treated humanely but by a desire to eliminate all uses of animals, whether for research or food production. Some of these individuals deny, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that animal research has improved human and animal health. Some accuse scientists of routinely mistreating animals and of conducting research that is unnecessary, although they are unable to provide evidence to support these accusations. The number of people who take this position is small, but they have had a considerable impact on the public and on the research community.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 1991. Science, Medicine, and Animals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10089.
×

These individuals have adopted a new banner, that of “animal rights,” to describe their movement, but actually they are an extension of an old tradition. In England, proponents of the idea to eliminate animal research totally have traditionally been known as anti-vivisectionists. At the end of the 19th century, the anti-vivisectionist movement was strong in England and the United States, before declining in the 20th century as biomedical advances dependent on animal research became increasingly obvious. Now the anti-vivisectionist movement has returned with a new name and an even broader agenda.

The sentiments may not be new, but the tactics being employed by animal rights advocates are thoroughly modern. They have skillfully used the media and the political process to advance their position. They have taken their message to the schools, presenting to children an inaccurate and emotionally distorted picture of animal research. Elements within the animal rights movement have even resorted to violence, breaking into laboratories, setting fires, destroying records, and harassing researchers.

The National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine view these developments with growing alarm. Despite the remarkable progress that animal research has produced, many diseases and illnesses still remain largely untreatable, and significant progress toward prevention or treatment will not occur without further animal research. Furthermore, even though only a small percentage of the members of the National Academy of Sciences or Institute of Medicine use animals in their research, our institutions are concerned about the animal rights movement because of the broad antiscience message implicit in its position.

The Councils of the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine have prepared this position paper to present our view of animal research. We have sought to answer the most commonly asked questions about animal research and to depict some of the many ways in which animal research has benefited, and will continue to benefit, human and animal health and well-being and advance our knowledge of biological processes. We have used real people in the introduction to emphasize the fact that, behind the statistics of lives saved and illnesses reduced, lie real stories of human triumph and tragedy.

In writing this position paper, our intention has been not to end the debate on whether and how animals are used in research; rather, it has been to inform that debate. By describing the history, status, and potential of animal research, we hope to make it possible for people to judge for themselves the necessity and merit of continuing that research.

FRANK PRESS

President

National Academy of Sciences

SAMUEL O. THIER

President

Institute of Medicine

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The necessity for animal use in biomedical research is a hotly debated topic in classrooms throughout the country. Frequently teachers and students do not have access to balanced, factual material to foster an informed discussion on the topic. This colorful, 50-page booklet is designed to educate teenagers about the role of animal research in combating disease, past and present; the perspective of animal use within the whole spectrum of biomedical research; the regulations and oversight that govern animal research; and the continuing efforts to use animals more efficiently and humanely.

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