The flawed paradigm of animal 'models'

Blog entry posted by MeSci, Feb 11, 2014.

I am going to do a few blogposts on this subject and am working on one relating to 'modelling' the relationship between the gut microbiome and ME/CFS.

I have studied and worked in the field of species differences for several years.

I have recently observed significant parallels between the twin fallacies of the pseudoscience of the psychological model of ME/CFS and the pseudoscience of animal 'models'.

Both of these fallacies have permeated and saturated the scientific and public discourse so that most people don't think to question their validity.

But here are some quotes from people who have, many of them scientists:

from leaflet produced by Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine

Dr Madeleine Petrovic, Doctor in Law, Austria

Michael Mansfield, QC, Britain

Professor Pietro Croce, MD, pathologist, Italy. Member, College of American Pathologists.


Dr Max Mader, GP, Graz, Austria, 1908

Dr G.F. Walker, Medical World, Dec.8, 1933

Sir George Pickering, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, British Medical Journal, Dec. 26, 1964

Dr Peter Mansfield, GP, Founder President of ‘Doctors in Britain against Animal Experiments’. Animal Experimentation in Medicine: the Case Against, May 1990

Dr Andre Menache, MRCVS, Israel

from Dr Hadwen Trust Annual Review 2000

Dr Jane Goodall, primatologist

from Dr Hadwen Trust Millennium Review

Dr Walter Hadwen, physician, 1923

from booklet produced by the Humane Society of the United States “Experts’ Statements on Dissection"

David O. Wiebers, MD, neurologist

Eric Dunayer, VMD, veterinarian

Gloria J. Binkowski, VMD, veterinarian

from information sheet produced by Europeans for Medical Advancement (EFMA)

Dr Ray Greek, MD

from The Guardian (UK), Wednesday July 5 2000

Dr Ray Greek, Susan Green, EFMA

from 1997 Animal Aid report Human Tissue: the neglected resource

Professor Fox, University of Manchester Medical School

Paul Townsend, Plastic Surgeon, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol

from Liberating Science, Animal Aid’s manifesto for humane research

Dr Robert Sharpe, former scientific advisor to Animal Aid

Harold Hewitt, former animal researcher.

Dr Robert Sharpe

from 'Genetic Prediction: What are the Limits?', Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, vol. 32, Issue 4, December 2001 pp. 619-33

Andrew O.M. Wilkie, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford University

from the Seattle Post Intelligencer

Letters to the Editor, Thursday August 8th 2002
Neal Barnard, M.D.
President, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Washington, D.C.

from British Medical Journal

7 August 2002

Dr Pandora Pound, Research Fellow, University of Bristol, Department of Social Medicine, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS82PR
Professor Shah Ebrahim

from Cambridge News, 25 September 2002


Dr Pandora Pound

from website of Europeans for Medical Advancement (EFMA):

Professor Michael Balls (European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods ECVAM), Leading Edge, BBC Radio 4 March 2000.

from 'Animal Experimentation - the medico-legal alibi', a paper on website of Doctors and Lawyers for responsible Medicine:
Dr Ralph Heywood, past scientific director of Huntington Research Centre (U.K.), speaking at a 1989 scientific workshop held at the Ciba Foundation

W.C.Roberts, American Journal of Cardiology, vol. 66 p.896

(re research on strokes)
Researchers at the Mayo clinic, in D.O.Wiebers et al., Stroke, vol. 21 pp1-3

Thomas E. Wagner, senior scientist at Ohio University’s Edison Biotechnology Institute, in The Columbus Despatch, 20th March 1998, in Sacred Cows and Golden Geese

Dr Albert Sabin, developer of the polio vaccine, as quoted in Vivisection Unveiled (1997), Jon Carpenter Publishing, p.47

D.J.Galloway, Cancer Surveys, vol. 8 pp. 169-88

C.Dollery in Risk-benefit in Drug Research, ed. Cavalla, 1981 p.87

The Lancet, 25th June 1977 pp. 1348-9

Dr Irwin Bross, former director of the Sloan-Kettering cancer research institute (the largest in the world), Testimony before US Congress, 1981, cited in Sacred Cows and Golden Geese

Atlanta Journal Constitution, 21st September 1997

Dr Ray Greek, President of Americans for Medical Advancement, in ‘Monkeying with their lives, and ours...’, NAVS USA newsletter 2001,

...many experts agree that
Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 277 pp. 813-17

(Cambridge University) researchers claim their intention was to advance treatment of Huntington’s Disease, even while admitting that the brain damage they inflicted (on marmosets)
A.L. Kendall et al., Brain, vol. 123, part 7 pp. 1442-58

Other research shows a link between garden pesticide usage and Parkinson’s disease.
New Scientist, vol. 168: 2264 p. 16

Fisher, R.S. Brain Research Reviews vol. 14 pp. 245-78

T. Jacks, Science, 7th November 1997, vol. 278 p. 1041

Dr Richard Klausner, director of America's National Cancer Institute, Los Angeles Times, 6th May 1998

Philip Abelson, editor, Science, 1992, vol. 255 p. 141

Dr Moneim Fadali, MD, FACS, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon, USA, Animal Experimentation, A Harvest of Shame, Hidden Springs Press, 1996

Dr Irwin Bross, Fundamental and Applied Toxicology, November 1982

Journal of the American Medical Association, 1998, vol. 279, pp. 1200-1205 & 1216-17

New Scientist, 19th September 1998

According to Dr Ray Greek, our unscrupulous dependence on animal data means these deaths
Sacred Cows and Golden Geese

E.J.H. Moore, The Lancet, 26th April, 1986 p. 975

German surgeon Werner Hartinger, 1989, Sacred Cows and Golden Geese p. 77

British pharmaceutical company Pharmagene, New Scientist, 31st August 1996, vol. 151 p. 4

I. Asimov, Asimov's Biographical Encyclopaedia of Science and Technology, second edition, Doubleday and company, 1982
R. Greek, Specious Science, Continuum Publishers, 2002


Claude Reiss, Alzheim' R&D, Paris

from Why Animal Experiments Must Stop by Dr Vernon Coleman

Vernon Coleman, former GP, 1991

from 'Winning the Medical and Scientific Arguments' (2000) by Dr Vernon Coleman

from the Journal of American College of Surgeons, vol. 195 Issue 5 (November 2002) Pages 627-629


Dr James D Gallagher, Director of Medical Research at Lederle Laboratories, in Journal of the American Medical Association, 1964

from 'Alternatives to Animal Research'

Michael Balls, Ph.D., former Director, ECVAM, 2002

Michael Balls, Ph.D., former Director, ECVAM, 1998

William Russell, Ph.D., founder of modern alternatives movement, 2003

Nobel Prize winner Sir Peter Medawar

John McArdle, PhD

(all of which are 'tested' on animals) (BMJ, 1988, vol. 296, pp.761-764)

Dr Murry Cohen, past chairman of the MRMC (Medical Research Modernisation Committee) in the U.S., speaking at the International Conference "Future Medical Research Without the Use of Animals: Facing the Challenge" in Tel-Aviv, May 1990

Ganellin, C.R. (1994) 'Past approaches to discovering new drugs as medicines,' in Medicinal Chemistry - Principles and Practice, King, F.D. (ed.), Royal Society of Chemistry, ch. 13, pp. 189-205

R. Kumar, GlaxoSmithKline R & D, USA, Breast Cancer Research 2003, % (Suppl. 1): 15

Kathleen Murray, director of transgenic services at Charles Rivers, New Scientist, Feb. 4, 2002

from The Orlando Sentinel, June 25, 1990

“Animal Testing: Why a Doctor Opposes It"

Stoller, Kenneth, M.D.


Orest Hurko, MD, and J. Lynn Rutkowski, PhD, Translational Medicine Breaks Bottlenecks, Drug Discovery & Development
Michael O. Leavitt, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, at the FDA news conference.
Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 295, No 9, pp. 988-9

Re claim by Association of Medical Research Charities that
Advertising Standards Authority adjudication 5th October 2005


Sacred Cows and Golden Geese
Authors: C. Ray Greek, MD and Jean Swingle Greek, DVM
Publisher: The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc
ISBN: 0-8264-1226-2
1st Published 2000

from The Lancet, Vol 377, Issue 9781, page 1915, June 4, 2011:

We urge you to act now to ensure that the best technologies currently available are used to establish the safety of medicines for patients.

Kathy Archibald, Robert Coleman, Christopher Foster, on behalf of 19 other signatories who are:

1. Dr Kelly BéruBé (PhD), Director, Lung & Particle Research Group, Cardiff
2. Dr David Bunton (PhD), Chief Executive Officer, Biopta, Ltd, Glasgow
3. Dr Margaret Clotworthy (PhD), Director, Human Focused Testing, Cambridge
4. Dr Ann Cooreman (PhD), Chief Operating Officer, Tissue Solutions Ltd, Clydebank
5. Professor Anne Dickinson, Director, Alcyomics Ltd, Newcastle upon Tyne
6. Professor Barry Fuller, Department of Surgery, UCL Medical School, London
7. Dr B J Nathan Griffiths (PhD), Commercial Director, Abcellute & Abcellute Tissue Bank, Cardiff
8. Dr Morag McFarlane (PhD), Chief Scientific Officer, Tissue Solutions Ltd,
9. Professor Chris Hillier (PhD), Professor of Physiology, Glasgow Caledonian University
10. Anup Patel, Consultant Urological Surgeon, St. Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Chairman of Clinical Studies Committee, European Association of Urology Research Foundation
11. Professor Barbara Pierscionek, Head of Vision Science Research, University of Ulster
12. Dr Cathy Prescott (PhD), Director, Biolatris Ltd, Cambridge and Chair of the UK National Stem Cell Network Advisory Committee
13. James Root, Senior Scientist, Pfizer, Sandwich
14. Professor Gerry Thomas, Chair in Molecular Pathology, Imperial College, London and Director of Scientific Services, Wales Cancer Bank
15. Dr Katya Tsaioun (PhD), Chief Scientific Officer, Cyprotex, Macclesfield
16. Dr J Malcolm Wilkinson (PhD), Chief Executive Officer, Kirkstall Ltd, Sheffield
17. Professor Sir Ian Wilmut FRS FRSE, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh
18. Dr Amanda Woodrooffe (PhD), General Manager, Asterand UK Ltd, Royston
19. Dr Karen L Wright (PhD), Peel Trust Lecturer in Biomedicine, Lancaster University

Scientist Tony Baxter, who runs a research lab in Cheshire said June 2011:

Joh likes this.

About the Author

Hopeful leaky-gut healing enthusiast!
  1. MeSci
    There is only one suitable species for studying human illness, and that is the human.

    Study methods include epidemiology, use of existing clinical data, clinical studies, in silico studies (computer modelling), in vitro studies, ex vivo studies (looking at materials taken from patients and control subjects), analysis and collation of patient-reported data on what they have tried (successfully and unsuccessfully), genetic/nutrigenomic profiling, biopsies, autopsies, body fluid samples, etc. A lot of this is already taking place, but more could of course be done with more funding. Many studies have been inadequate because they have not involved a wide-enough range of tests, e.g. omitting genetic tests, urine tests, gut flora tests, etc. Research studies need to be more comprehensive in that respect, rather than piecemeal as they usually are, testing just one or a few parameters and failing to identify subgroups. The latter failure often confounds the statistical analysis. As another ME scientist on here pointed out, if some study subjects have abnormally-high levels of a biochemical, and others in the same study have abnormally-low levels, the statistics may show that the subject group has normal levels, as the results are averaged. Error margins are often given in results, which show the range of results, but these are not sufficient.

    Correlating findings from various methods will give us a much clearer picture than we have now. Clinical trials can be carried out based on what patients have found safe and helpful. Patient sub-groups will have to be identified based on tests such as those listed above, so that the appropriate interventions are applied to appropriate subgroups.

    The various microbiome studies under way and planned should be of great help.
    Jon_Tradicionali likes this.
  2. Jon_Tradicionali
    Incredibly impressive compilation of evidence that simply quashes any arguments one may have pro animal testing!

    Ok MeSci, in order to progress with scientific research, we shall need other guinea pigs which best resemble humans in order to maximise validity of results.

    What do YOU recommend?