Experiments on animals are cruel and unethical, but did you know they don’t even lead to treatments and cures for humans?
Studies show that a staggering 90% of basic research, most of which involves animals, fails to lead to treatments for humans. Yet the biggest funder of research in the U.S., the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spends nearly half its annual budget on animal studies. That’s $19.6 billion down the drain every year.
Why is half the research budget wasted on studies that fail 90% of the time?
We need a better way—and PETA scientists have come up with it. The Research Modernization Deal outlines a roadmap and strategy for optimizing our nation’s investment in research to cure disease—by ending funding for strategies that don’t work (experiments on animals) and investing in research that’s relevant to humans. PETA has given the strategy to NIH and other federal agencies—except for the Environmental Protection Agency, which has already worked with PETA scientists to begin phasing out animal tests.
The Current System Is Broken.
NIH has failed to take effective steps to address the following problems:
- Ninety-five percent of all new drugs that test safe and effective in animal tests fail or cause harm in human clinical trials.
- In specific disease-research areas, the failure rate of new drugs developed using animals exceeds 95%. Here are a few examples.
- HIV vaccine: 100% failure
- Strokes: 100% failure (based on 1,000 new agents tested in animals in 100 clinical trials)
- Alzheimer’s disease: 99.6% failure
- Cancer: 96.6% failure
- Eighty-nine percent of preclinical experiments can’t be reproduced, even though reproducibility is a critical criterion for scientific research.
- Reliance on animal models diverts funds from more promising areas of research and delays the development of effective drugs and treatments.
© iStock.com/mr.suphachai praserdumrongchai
The majority of Americans oppose animal experiments. A 2018 Pew Research Center poll found that most Americans (52%) oppose the use of animals in experimentation. People who continue to support it —who are in the minority—assume that the harm to animals is outweighed by the benefits to humans. But now we know that animal experiments don’t actually help humans.
What’s the Research Modernization Deal About?
PETA’s Research Modernization Deal maps out a strategy for replacing the use of animals in experiments with human-relevant methods. It includes the following:
- Eliminating the use of animals immediately in areas where they have already shown to be poor surrogates for humans
- Critically reviewing additional areas of research to determine where animal use can be phased out
- Introducing an ethical cost-benefit analysis system into U.S. policies governing the use of animals in biomedical research
- Promoting the international harmonization and acceptance of non-animal testing methods among government agencies and research bodies
- Redirecting funds from animal experiments to the development of non-animal methods
It’s Time for the Research Modernization Deal!
Compassion and scientific progress aren’t mutually exclusive. Good science and sound ethics can propel us toward our shared goal of achieving better health.
What Scientists Say:
“The National Medical Association strongly supports the vision and plan articulated in PETA’s ‘Research Modernization Deal’ that offers a step-wise guide to eliminate misguided experiments on animals and instead prioritize more effective, ethical and economical non-animal research methods that will better advance human medical research for all.”
—Martin Hamlette, JD, MHA, Executive Director, National Medical Association
“On behalf of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) representing the interests of 50,000 licensed Hispanic physicians in the United States, I write to share our organization’s strong support of PETA’s ‘Research Modernization Deal.’ ”
—Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, FACP, President and CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association
“The enterprise of science prides itself on being evidence-based. However, in recent years, mounting evidence has suggested that data from animal research cannot be applied reliably or confidently to humans. PETA’s ‘Research Modernization Deal’ distills this evidence into a short but powerful report that will help steer biomedical research along a more human-relevant and humane course.”
—Rear Admiral Marion Balsam, MD, Medical Corps, U.S. Navy (RET), Former Commander Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
“Speaking as an academic physician neuropathologist researcher with over 30 years of experience in diagnosis and treatment of degenerative brain diseases, and as recognized by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease as one of the top 100 Alzheimer’s disease investigators, I applaud PETA’s ‘Research Modernization Deal.’”
—Lawrence A. Hansen, M.D., Professor and Director of Neuropathology Fellowship Program, Department of Pathology, University of California San Diego School of Medicine
“As a physician and person with a fatal disease for which there is no cure, I support a plan to redirect research funding toward human studies aimed at treating human problems that are amenable to amelioration or cure and away from experiments on animals. PETA’s Research Modernization Deal provides such a plan.”
—Thomas J. Poulton, MD, FAAP, FACP, FCCM
What Congress Says:
In September, U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) confronted NIH—the largest funder worldwide of experiments on animals—about its failure to keep and make public a basic inventory of the number and species of animals it uses in research. She called on the agency to count the animals and provide a plan to reduce the number it uses. See her letter to NIH Director Francis Collins.
—What You Can Do—
We need lawmakers to understand how much money NIH currently wastes. Please send a polite e-mail to your members of Congress, urging them to mandate that NIH stop throwing away tax dollars on cruel and useless animal experiments and instead focus on modern, non-animal research methods.
Putting your subject line and letter into your own words will help draw attention to your e-mail.
This action is limited to residents of the United States.