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Response or Comment

Publication Date



Over the past decade, the debate concerning animal use in biomedical research, education, and testing has contributed to an environment of public posturing on both sides. Many in the medical and animalprotection communities have come to view one another as adversaries with hopelessly different goals.

In the face of rapid and substantial increases in public concern over the wellbeing of animals, many in the medical community have sought to fend off what they see as an increasingly threatening social trend. Those who have spoken out on behalf of various medical organisations or institutions have generally been avid animal-research advocates. Those with dissenting viewpoints within the medical community have been labelled dangerous and have been discouraged from advancing their opinions publicly— developments contrary to the spirit of science.

Faced with this one-sided argument the broader medical community has failed to call attention to various untenable positions of many animal-research advocates, who have sought exclusive representation of medical science in this debate. Uncritical acceptance of these positions could substantially damage the credibility of medical science, fuel the fires of those seeking to characterise physicians as self-serving, self-righteous individuals who value their scientific careers above all else, and ultimately lead the public to withdraw control of this aspect of medical science from physicians.


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