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Should animal testing be terminated for health studies? 800 experts say yes

Over 800 doctors, scientists, and health professionals have joined the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) to recall the medical journal Nutrients Discontinue publication of animal studies that violate the ethical guidelines of the publication.

NutrientsThe authors’ guidelines explicitly require “replace animals with alternatives where possible.” However, in a letter sent to the journal’s editor-in-chief, the group referred to a number of published studies in which small animals were tested even though alternatives were readily available.

“We would like to inform you that the magazine’s repeated publication of articles that violate its ethical guidelines and refusal to act on reports of such violations has caused us to lose faith in the magazine’s integrity,” the letter said. The letter indicates that by publishing these articles, Nutrients It shows young researchers that it is acceptable to violate ethical rules and that the journal will publish their studies anyway.

Vegetables, animal studies

For example, I published an article in March 2021 in Nutrients Focus on research on the antidepressant-like properties and behavioral effects of saffron. The study used 50 mice, who were forcibly fed saffron extract by gavage and then dumped them into a tank of water.

Janine McCarthy, MPH, of PCRM, said in a statement: “The forced swim test is used as an indicator of an animal’s desire for life, as if those who struggle longer are less depressed and those who give up more easily are more depressed.”

PCRM says the test has been decried by leaders in the scientific community, such as Bayer, Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline, and by several studies, concluding that it is not a valid model for depression. Furthermore, McCarthy said, there is little similarity between clinical symptoms of depression in humans and the behaviors measured in the test. She said it would have been better for the researcher to feed saffron to humans, and have them report their depression.

“We have found articles in almost every issue of Nutrients Where commercial supplement manufacturers, students, junior faculty, or others have graduated ethical research methods that would avoid animal testing,” McCarthy said. Send the results to Nutrients for publication.

Why is animal testing unnecessary?

The PCRM group says that for health studies like these, animal testing is unnecessary, unethical, and irrelevant. “When researchers use animals rather than human research methods that can ethically serve their research objectives, they push medical examination away from the species of interest and toward other species whose biological responses may differ and often use methods that are not scientifically satisfactory,” the letter says. “In some cases, objective observers may view study methods as sadistic behavior inflicted on young animals under the guise of science.”

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Feeders charge authors about $2,600 to publish their articles, which means the publication makes over $13 million annually in author fees. In 2018, the journal’s senior editors resigned, citing a lack of commitment to scientific integrity.

In addition to writing NutrientsPCRM Group also sent a separate letter to MEDLINE, the bibliographic database of the National Library of Medicine, requesting it to restrict or suspend Nutrients’ Share the database until the problem is corrected.

“It is imperative that the magazines stick to their ethical policies,” McCarthy said. “The publication of research of poor quality that does not contribute to the advancement of public health is detrimental to the scientific community.”

Conducting scientific research without animals

PCRM is a medical community of 17,000 physicians and 175,000 members working with government and industry to replace the use of animal testing with modern methods. In addition to lobbying, publishing research, training scientists, and attending and running scientific meetings, the group is also hosting physician-led protests in an effort to create positive change within the medical community, such as the one earlier this year that called for an end to the use of live animals in a surgery training program University of Cincinnati.

An accompanying petition asked the school to improve medical training by replacing pigs with the same human methods used by hundreds of other programs. The Doctors Group also purchased advertisements on 10 bus seats across the city.


At the University of Cincinnati, interns practice invasive medical procedures on live pigs before killing the animals, but a PCRM survey of surgical residency programs shows that 76 percent of responsive hospitals and universities — including the Cleveland Clinic campuses, Wright State University, North Carolina State University, and North Carolina State University. John Hopkins Animals. Instead, these programs use superior educational methods that accurately replicate human physiology and anatomy.

“Animal-based medical training is on the way out, and for good reason,” John Pepin, MD, FACC, director of academic affairs at PCRM, said in a statement. “Modern training methods in use across the country will benefit patients and future clinicians alike, allowing practice replication, human replicating anatomical composition, and more.”

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