Voices

This page is dedicated to the voices of people acknowledging the necessity of animal research. By reading their personal accounts, you will find that each contributor has a unique perspective on animal experimentation. Their reasons for support are as various as the collection of people themselves. For instance, a doctor may agree with the need for animal research because he feels that his practice would not be as beneficial for patients without it. Or, a scientist may agree with the need for animal research because he has personally invested effort into the development of alternative methods that would not be possible without first animal experiments.

Pro-Test Germany wanted to provide a platform where people could voice their opinion to the public and share a side of the story that is not so often heard. This page will be continuously updated as more testimonials are reviewed and accepted by people all over Germany, and across the world.

Read their personal accounts and experiences to help you gain insight into the many reasons why people are in favor of animal experimentation for scientific progress. These individuals have something to say! Whether you yourself are a scientist, doctor, clinician or none of the above, you may find a way to relate, and also contribute your own voice as well.

Let your voice be heard!

 

“Grundlagenforschung bildet einen der wichtigsten Pfeiler unserer modernen Gesellschaft, auf dem ein Großteil unseres heutigen Wohlstandes beruht”. – Alexander Ecker

“I was aware of the importance of that work and that the respective questions could not be answered using non-animal alternative methods. I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to be the one to do it.”
 – Lars Dittrich

“In the end, these are personal questions, and moreover, questions that can only be answered on a case-by-case basis. I am glad that my work forces me to face these facts day by day.” – Paul Töbelmann

“It took me not too long to realize the biggest problem here is that not enough people are educated on facts about animal research.” – Renée Hartig

“Je mehr ich erkannte, zu welchen Erfolgen Tierversuche gegen viele Krankheiten in der Vergangenheit geführt haben, desto entschiedener stand ich und stehe ich heute noch für biomedizinische Versuche an Tieren ein.” – Astrid Kugler

We must not pretend to have fully understood the biology of the mammalian organism.” – Axel Haverich

“I don’t want to lose my mind as I grow old and lose the ability to recognize my children when they will pay me a visit. For this reason I chose to conduct research in life sciences, more precisely, in neuroscience.” – Joachim Bellet

“Our research would be impossible without working with animals directly.” – Diethard Tautz

“Ja wir haben die Pflicht, an Tieren zu forschen. Ich bin traurig darüber.” – Marie Schmidt

“I believe the main role of organizations like Pro-Test Deutschland is to uncover such links between the basic science and its potential implications.” – Arthur Pilacinski

“Mir liegt das Wohl der Tiere sehr am Herzen, ich bin mir aber der Notwendigkeit der Versuche bewusst, die so verantwortungsvoll und rücksichtsvoll durchgeführt werden müssen wie möglich.” – Tim Pock

“Those who are fundamentally against animal experiments and block them – be it by means of demonstrating or attacking scientists in their work, or through absurd or unreasonable bureaucratic hurdles – kill not only children and adolescents alike but also their parents and other adults equally.” – Hans-Georg Rammensee

“Die meisten, die diese Zeilen lesen, sind Gerettete ohne es zu wissen.” – Onur Güntürkün

“Animal testing should be done ethically and with max respect for animals.” – Annette Bakker

“Silence or noise – those two seem to be the only alternatives. That’s obviously nonsense. We have to talk about a difficult topic rationally and objectively.” – Florian Hohnstein

“However, I also want to clearly express that not only conventional cell culture but also 3D tissues produced from stem cells have clear limitations, and that they will never be able to replace animal testing completely.” – Ulrich Martin

“Scientific research is the foundation to develop ground breaking treatments, cures and diagnostics both for humans and animals.” – Emma Martinez Sanchez

 

 


alexander-eckerAlexander Ecker

Early-Stage Researcher | Pro-Test Germany

Tübingen, Germany


Vollkommen unbewusst und ohne jegliche Anstrengung verwandelt unser Gehirn die Bilder, die unsere Augen aufzeichnen in eine sinnvolle Interpretation unserer Umgebung. Was uns trivial erscheint, ist jedoch ein hochkomplexer Vorgang, der nach wie vor kaum verstanden ist und in künstlichen Systemen nur in Ansätzen nachgebildet werden kann.

Meine Forschung geht der Frage nach, wie die abertausenden von Nervenzellen in unserer Sehrinde diese Meisterleistung vollbringen. Um einer Antwort auf diese grundlegende Frage näher zu kommen, messen wir die Aktivität von Nervenzellen im Gehirn von Rhesusaffen, die verschiedene Reize sehen und einfache Verhaltensaufgaben durchführen.

Natürlich wirft unsere Arbeit – wie überall wo Menschen Tiere nutzen – ethische Probleme auf. Unsere Gesellschaft macht sich Tiere in vielen Bereichen wie z.B. der Nahrungsgewinnung, der Schädlingsbekämpfung oder Freizeitbeschäftigungen (z.B. Haustiere, Zoo, Sport, Zirkus) zu eigen, deren Notwendigkeit nicht immer eindeutig ist. Grundlagenforschung bildet hingegen einen der wichtigsten Pfeiler unserer modernen Gesellschaft, auf dem ein Großteil unseres heutigen Wohlstandes beruht. Daher bin ich der Meinung, dass die Arbeit mit Tieren in der Grundlagenforschung durchaus gerechtfertigt, ja sogar notwendig ist.

Leider ist der Wert der Grundlagenforschung für die Öffentlichkeit oft nicht nachvollziehbar. Das liegt nicht zuletzt auch daran, dass wir Wissenschaftler uns zu lange aus der öffentlichen Debatte herausgehalten haben. Ich habe Pro-Test Deutschland mitgegründet, um dies zu ändern und unseren Mitmenschen zu erklären, was wir tun und warum wir es tun.

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Lars Dittrich

Postdoctoral Researcher at DZNE Bonn | Pro-Test Germany

Bonn, Germany


Early on, I have been fascinated by the idea that our consciousness, our Here and Now, our memories, and plans for our future, are all created by biological and chemical processes in our brain. Soon I realized that I wanted to study und understand how the brain works. In my diploma thesis (equivalent to MSc), I was suddenly confronted with the fact that this knowledge comes at a price. Now, I wasn’t studying facts from text books or the occasional animal preparation anymore, but I had to put down a frog with my own hands to study its brain tissue in vitro. Every week. I was aware of the importance of that work and that the respective questions could not be answered using non-animal alternative methods. I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to be the one to do it.

I still think these are two completely distinct questions. After long pondering, I decided I wanted to be the one. The exploration of the brain is my passion. Research is not routine work. I understood that everyone who carries it out with passion can contribute things that are not easily contributed by someone else. So I followed up with a PhD in neurobiology. I have never regretted this decision.

Today, I investigate how the brain can switch between the states of wake and sleep, and why it is doing that at all. To that end, I work with transgenic mice. I hope that my results will one day benefit people with sleeping troubles, including patients with the rare condition fatal familial insomnia.

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Paul Töbelmann

PR Spokesperson | Pro-Test Germany

Tübingen, Germany


First things first: I do not perform animal research myself. After all, I used to be a historian. Until a few years ago, I was happily doing research on rituals of power and social behaviour of the nobility in the late middle ages. Now I do science communication and public outreach for a neuroscience institute, at which most projects work with animal models. To top it off, I participated in the foundation of an initiative that openly says it is „pro test“. So what am I even doing here? And what does this have to do with me?

Well, leaving aside that I’m into this whole communication thing, and that everything about this institute is exciting, and that I actually love my job: I probably could have found some other place to work. It’s not as if public outreach was a small field. I could have looked for a workplace where all those things that pop up here don’t come up: a difficult topic, even personally; people as passionate and vocal as so many who are opposed to animal research seem to be; highly abstract yet very salient ethical dilemma.

But the questions surrounding animal research haven’t let me go. In some respect, it has become the core issue of my work: if I couldn’t morally support what happens at my institute, then I obviously couldn’t very well communicate it to the public. If I had arrived at the conclusion „No, we can’t do this, even if in ten or twenty years humans will profit from it, we must not breed, keep, train, operate and kill animals for any reason!“ – then I would have resigned my position, as this job would have been the wrong one for me, and I the wrong person for this job. But this job has also done something for me: it has forced me to intensively debate my own moral code. In the end, to me it boils down to two questions:

  1. Is a human being worth more than an animal to me?
  2. Where do we draw the line? And according to what, numbers, species, amount of suffering?

The first answer, to me, is a resounding „yes“. Yes, a human being is always worth more to me than an animal. I would rather save even a convicted, unrepentant murderer from a burning building than a dog or a cat. This is based on a fundamental conviction that I can neither explain nor reason about. It’s just there like a belief in god or the love of another person.

But it is the second question that makes things difficult for me. If ONE human is more important to me than an animal – what about a very large number of animals? Does it make a difference to me whether we’re talking about flies or mice or monkeys? And also: How do we compare the suffering of animals with that of human beings? Which amount of suffering in a human will justify which amount of animal suffering to mitigate?

For a long time, I fiddled with criteria, absolute statements, benchmarks, but I have to admit: all this hasn’t helped at all. I am so glad that I don’t bear legislative or execute responsibility with regard to these questions! In my opinion, it is simply not helpful to apply numbers or scales to this kind of things. In the end, these are personal questions, and moreover, questions that can only be answered on a case-by-case basis. I am glad that my work forces me to face these facts day by day.

I hold animal research to be often useful and ethically justifiable – but not in every case. I feel that norms and legal control and bureaucracy are indispensable here, in principle. Benchmarks, catalogues of hard numbers, fixed criteria are necessary for this. Yet individuals cannot provide these from their own moral compasses. Therefore, I am convinced that all of us, scientists and laypeople, those in favour of animal research and those opposed, everybody including those who were not involved in the debate so far, need to talk about animal research.

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IMG_0488Renée Hartig

Neuroscientist | Pro-Test Germany

Tübingen, Germany


I’ll first start with a short recount of the early days of Pro-Test Deutschland. Before I got into Twitter, HTML coding or mass text translations. The whole idea began to manifest after a visit by Kirk Leech, public EARA speaker (European Animal Research Association), to the CIN (Center for Integrative Neuroscience, Tübingen). His talk on animal research and those animal activists was truly insightful, and I think it gave us “grass-roots” people the push we needed to finally get out there and do this. Imagine – the chance to speak openly about your research. As a young researcher, it’s a shame that I even felt like this so early in my career.

The feeling was like sitting next to a stranger on an airplane and avoiding that most common question of all: “What do you do for a living?” Well, if I had to give an answer from the days before PTD, it would be yes, I work with animals to advance scientific aims. And yes, I’m afraid to tell you out of fear of judgement and the inability to appropriately defend my position. Maybe I wasn’t the only scientist who felt like they were going into the line of public fire when it came to speaking about job responsibilities. It’s not like they taught me how to defend animal research in college. It was this feeling of being unprepared – and I hate feeling unprepared!

Skip ahead to 2016, almost a year after Pro-Test Deutschland was founded and I am a new person. When I sit next to that person on the airplane now, I am ready to educate. It took me not too long to realize the biggest problem here is that not enough people are educated on facts about animal research. The public hears too much of the emotional activist group and not enough of the actual science. But we can’t blame the public! How often are scientists making a ruckus on the streets? Hardly never!

This is the second part to the big problem. We should all be trained on this topic and get ready to speak out on the prevailing truth. What I like most about Pro-Test is that it not only educates people from all sectors about animal research, it provides an outlet to speak out!

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Astrid Kugler

Managing Director at “Forschung für Leben”

Basel, Switzerland


Als ich den Job als Geschäftsführerin von Forschung für Leben vor 14 Jahren übernahm, wusste ich noch nicht, dass das Thema der Tierversuche zu einem der Hotspots bei meiner täglichen Arbeit werden würde. Damals stand vielmehr die Gentechnik noch im Fokus. Doch dann war es unerlässlich, dass ich mich intensiv mit der Forschung an Tieren auseinandersetzte. Ist das wirklich nötig, muss das sein, fragte ich mich. Je mehr ich erkannte, zu welchen Erfolgen Tierversuche gegen viele Krankheiten in der Vergangenheit geführt haben, desto entschiedener stand ich und stehe ich heute noch für biomedizinische Versuche an Tieren ein.

Ich denke an die vielen Impfstoffe, die unsere Kinder vor schlimmen Krankheiten schützen: Pocken, Kinderlähmung, Masern, um nur einige zu nennen. Oder an die AIDS-Epidemie, die für Tausende von Menschen ein langsames, furchtbares Sterben zur Folge hatte. Heute dürfen diese Menschen – auch dank Tierversuchen – erwarten, ein annähernd durchschnittlies Lebensalter zu erreichen. Krebs ist heute vielfach zu einer chronischen Krankheit mit Aussicht auf eine gute Lebensqualität geworden. Eine nicht zu unterschätzende Zahl von Erkrankten können sogar geheilt werden. Ich staune auch über die vielen komplizierten Operationen, die heute den Ärzten erlauben, erkrankte Menschen wieder vollständig zu heilen. Ohne Versuche an Tieren unmöglich!

Deshalb sage ich JA zu Tierversuchen, verweise aber gleichzeitig darauf, dass die europäischen Gesetze von jedem Forscher verlangen, dass die Tiere nach den Regeln der 3R (Reduce, Refine, Replace) behandelt werden. 3R bedeutet, es sind möglichst wenig Tiere zu gebrauchen, die Versuche sollen so schonend wie möglich durchgeführt werden und es dürfen nur Versuche gemacht werden, deren Fragestellung sich nicht mit anderen Methoden (z.B. im Reagenzglas, Computermodell) beantworten lassen. Ausserdem müssen die Tiere gut gehalten werden. Diese Vorgabe ist schon allein deswegen wichtig, weil nur Tiere, die sich wohl in ihrer Umgebung fühlen, verwertbare Daten liefern.

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Axel Haverich

Professor at Medizinische Hochschule Hannover

Hanover, Germany


The growing heart valve

Children in particular benefit from a growing heart valve that was developed in Hannover. Valve prosthetics available up until recently could not grow naturally because they are made from synthetic materials or fixed organic tissue. The growing heart valve, however, adapts to the growth of the patient, sparing the patients repeated risky and burdensome medical interventions.

The heart valves adapt to growth. In experiments, the valves were implanted in 20 kg sheep and removed from 70 kg sheep. The growth of the sheep was accompanied by a growth of the heart valves.

We must not pretend to have fully understood the biology of the mammalian organism, because all studies we conduct, for example on immunology, transplantation, or blood coagulation, cannot be carried out in a laboratory without including larger animals. As an alternative, patients would be exposed to a risk that would not be justifiable in my eyes.

We surgeons are careful to talk about “cures,” even with cancer surgeries or complicated heart surgeries. Actually, we repair. HOWEVER: I believe that we can speak of a cure in the case of the growing heart valve replacement, because we do not have to do surgery on the young patients again, and they also do not have to take any medication for the rest of their life.

Until today, more than 160 children have received a growing heart valve and all of them are well. Without the respective experiments in sheep, this would not be possible.

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Joachim Bellet

Neuroscientist | Pro-Test Germany

Tübingen, Germany


For some aspects of our lives we don’t need to kill animals. We don’t need to eat meat for example. We are omnivorous and all the nutrients we need to survive can be found elsewhere, especially nowadays thanks to our understanding of nutrition. So far, humanity’s survival strongly depended on it’s ability to generate and transmit knowledge . We are now facing new challenges like global warming or epidemics in third world countries. But people in industrial countries are still prone to develop horrible diseases.

I can’t stand the idea that the ones I love and myself will die in pain or go insane like what happened to my grandparents. I don’t want to lose my mind as I grow old and lose the ability to recognize my children when they will pay me a visit. For this reason I chose to conduct research in life sciences, more precisely, in neuroscience. In this field a lot of the understanding can only be made by working with living animals.

I would consider myself a sensitive person and I believe the animals I work with are sentients too. I truly try my best to prevent their stress, pain and suffering. At the end of the day, I feel that I am doing the right thing. I believe my research will contribute to the understanding of the brain functions. I feel at peace because I do my bit for mankind.

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Diethard Tautz

Director at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology

Plön, Germany


Diethard Tautz investigates the genetic differences between individuals and groups. The technique of DNA fingerprinting is based on his research and used for paternity tests and in forensic sciences worldwide.

As evolutionary biologists we try to understand how animals adapt to their environment and how new species develop. The adaptation process of animals to changing environments is also reflected in and inherited through their DNA and the main focus of our research is to identify those changes. At the same time, evolutionary adaption does not only take place in each animal individually, but also in whole populations. Thus, we like to work with animals caught from wildlife, but also with lab animals (flies, fish and mice). We are not only interested in the differences in physical appearance of the individuals of a species, but also in their genetic differences. Our research to find these differences let us to the development of genetic fingerprinting, which is also applicable to humans. In our current research we are trying to understand how the head shape of mice changed during evolution. While doing this research we are identifying genes that are also relevant for humans and might give us greater insight into human birth defects and genetically inherited diseases. Our research would be impossible without working with animals directly.

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Marie Schmidt

Student | Pro-Test Germany

Luxemburg


Ich bin Vegetarierin. Weil ich kein Tier essen kann, das eingesperrt gelebt, gelitten hat, damit es auf meinem Teller landet und mich satt macht – für einen Moment. Einen Moment für ein Leben? Ich will das nicht.

Dass Tiere nicht leiden, ist falsch. Zwar wissen wir nicht, wie sie empfinden, aber etwas empfinden sie. Sie haben Ängste, wenn sie aus ihrer Umgebung gerissen werden und zum Schlachthof drängen, während die Rufe ihrer Artgenossen das letzte ist, was sie hören. Tiere spüren Schmerzen, und es kann Schmerzen verursachen, sich gegenseitig zu treten und zu beißen, weil kein Platz da ist; oder auf einem Gitterboden zu leben, weil das hygienischer ist; oder im CO2 zu ersticken.

Es macht mich traurig, dass in Deutschland jedes Jahr über 750 Millionen Tiere sterben für den Appetit von 80 Millionen Menschen – 80 Millionen Menschen, die die Wahl hätten, so vieles anderes zu essen, aber für die ein paniertes Schnitzel nichts vom Tod erzählt.

Wir nehmen uns als Menschen das Recht, zu entscheiden, wofür ein Tier zu leben hat, wie es zu leben hat und wann es sterben muss. Ich finde, dass das in gewisser Weise überheblich ist. Zur Ernährung sterben Tiere für einen Moment. Ein Moment, der beim nächsten Hunger wie für umsonst erscheint. Seit ich das in Erwägung ziehe, kann ich kein Tier mehr essen.

Warum erzähle ich das? Weil es der Hauptgrund ist, warum ich über Tierversuche nachgedacht habe. Es ist ein tiefer Widerspruch, den Tod von Tieren zur Ernährung abzulehnen, zu Forschungszwecken aber zu unterstützen. Denn ich sage nicht, dass Tiere in Laboren nicht auch zum Teil leiden: Labormäuse, die oft nichts Besseres zu tun haben, als im Kreis zu laufen oder Kaninchen, die keinen Hakensprung machen können… Und dann gibt es noch die Tiere, die als Modell für eine Krankheit dienen. Wir müssen bedenken, dass es einer Maus mit Lungentumor oder einer Ratte mit Parkinson genauso schlecht gehen kann wie einem Menschen mit dieser Erkrankung. Es wäre ebenfalls überheblich, dies zu verneinen. Nur wenn wir die Leidensfähigkeit der Tiere eingestehen und – obwohl wir es nicht wissen – der des Menschen gleichsetzen, können wir versuchen, sie zu verringern.

Menschen haben das bereits getan. Es gibt nun Zellstoff in den Mäusekäfigen, damit sie ihrem Nestbau-Verhalten nachgehen können, und Kaninchen haben einen Unterschlupf, weil es in ihrer Natur liegt, sich tagsüber im Bau zu verstecken oder in erhöhter Position die Umgebung zu bewachen. Aber warum Tiere überhaupt so leben lassen? Muss der Mensch das tun?

Ich habe lange darüber nachgedacht und meine Antwort kann leider nur ja lauten. Ja wir haben die Pflicht, an Tieren zu forschen. Ich bin traurig darüber. Aber noch trauriger als die Lebensbedingungen der Labortiere macht mich das Leiden unzähliger Menschen, die auch heute noch an Krankheiten leiden und sterben müssen, für die es Heilmittel gibt, die wir nur noch nicht gefunden haben. Meine Oma, die mit Mitte dreißig an Krebs starb oder meine Freundin, die unter einer sogenannten schweren psychischen Erkrankung leidet: sie und andere verpflichten uns, die es können, nach Lösungen zu suchen. Ich sehe es als meine Pflicht, meinen Mitmenschen gegenüber, zu forschen und hoffentlich dazu beizutragen, Krankheiten in Zukunft heilen zu können. Ich möchte, dass kein Mensch leiden muss.

Deshalb muss ich ja zu Tierversuchen sagen. Diese Entscheidung widerstrebt mir tief im Innern, aber sie ist unumgänglich. Und weil mir die Entscheidung selbst schwerfällt, bin ich Mitglied bei Pro-Test Deutschland. Ich möchte mit euch, denen es vielleicht genauso geht, darüber sprechen, wie wir bestmöglich mit der Tatsache umgehen, dass wir weiter an Tieren forschen müssen.

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Arthur Pilacinski

Neuroscientist | Pro-Test Germany

Tübingen, Germany


In my work as a researcher, I use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The fMRI is based on measuring blood oxygenation changes caused by brain metabolic processes. While it is popularly considered an alternative to invasive electrophysiological recordings, and despite the efforts of researchers like Nikos Logothetis, we are still far away from bridging the gap between the brain blood oxygenation and electrical activity of single cells.

This means, that in my own field of research (neural mechanisms of motor control), the invasive recordings are vital for understanding of the processes used to encode the way our bodies move. The basic understanding helps in turn to implement more pragmatic techniques like advanced neuroprostheses that are the only hope for countless numbers of patients.

I believe the main role of organizations like Pro-Test Deutschland is to uncover such links between the basic science and its potential implications.

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timTim Pock

Student at University of Münster Pro-Test Germany

Tübingen, Germany


I am currently a Master Student at the University of Münster, and since the beginning of my bachelor thesis I worked with animal models in the field of basic research. When it comes to the topic of using animals for research purposes it is very important to me that my counterpart is accurately informed about what type of work I perform and why it is necessary. For me, it is also important to inform people who have never been in science about these topics, because the counter-movement is always trying to imply a wrong image of animal testing.

I am often shocked by the public view on animal testing, which is often based on false or misleading information and is strongly influenced by the counter-movement. As a researcher, I can say that I am concerned about animal welfare, but I am aware of the need for animal testing. It is my responsibility to treat the animals in the best possible way. Furthermore, animal testing in Germany is performed under very strict regulations and animals are protected by the animal welfare act.

I believe that transparency and enlightenment are the best ways to improve the image of animal testing in the public view. This can only be achieved if researchers take over responsibility for their work, and if both sides accept that it is not only black and white.

For these reasons, I joined the Pro-Test Germany team!

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Hans-Georg Rammensee

Professor at Tübingen University, Dpt. Immunology

Tübingen, Germany


Most of the people alive today would not even exist without the animal experiments of the last 218 years, because their ancestors would have died of infectious diseases. Even for the smallpox vaccine, which was tested on humans in 1798 by Edward Jenner, cows had to be used for attaining the vaccine. The development of all further vaccinations is based on research on mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, horses and other animals.

Furthermore today’s insights in biosciences and medicine are based on animal experiments in basic research. Just think of monoclonal antibodies, without which the major part of our biomedical progress would not have come to be. There are a lot more diseases for which treatments can be improved by further research. This is especially true for deadly diseases in children and for persons in their family phase. Therefore, those who are fundamentally against animal experiments and block them – be it by means of demonstrating or attacking scientists in their work, or through absurd or unreasonable bureaucratic hurdles – kills not only children and adolescents alike but also their parents and other adults equally.

Nevertheless, there are certain animal experiments which are unreasonable. These include so-called cancer immunotherapy models in mice, which are supposed to predict how the respective therapy is going to take effect in humans. Since the immune systems of humans and mice differ in a great number of molecularly known features, such experiments in mice are not only futile, they are even deleterious because they can drive clinical research in the wrong direction and waste public money and that of  charitable research associations – not to mention the torture which the mice undergo.

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Onur Güntürkün

Professor Biopsychology at Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience

Bochum, Germany


Tierversuche haben mein Leben gerettet. 17.500 Affen starben bei der Entwicklung der Polioimpfung. Als der Virologe Jonas Salk am 12. 4. 1955 in einer Pressekonferenz verkündete, dass die Impfung funktioniert, läuteten überall in den USA die Glocken. Millionen Menschen wurden durch die Polioimpfung vor Tod oder schwerer Behinderung gerettet. Drei Impfungen waren anfangs notwendig, um den notwendigen Schutz aufzubauen. Ich infizierte mich mit Polioviren nach der zweiten Impfung. Jonas Salk hat mein Leben gerettet, konnte aber meine Behinderung nicht verhindern.

Die meisten, die diese Zeilen lesen, sind Gerettete ohne es zu wissen. Ohne das ganze Arsenal der modernen Medizin hätten die meisten von uns niemals gesund oder zumindest lebend das Erwachsenenalter erreicht. Tiere starben, damit wir leben. So war es, so ist es, und so wird es noch eine ganze Weile sein.

Ich mache Tierversuche. Meine Forschung ist von Neugier getrieben; ich arbeite in der Grundlagenforschung und möchte die Prinzipien des Denkens verstehen. Dabei untersuche ich Tauben, weil deren Gehirn dem des Menschen sehr unähnlich ist. Die Analyse der Ähnlichkeiten und der Unterschiede in den Hirngrundlagen des Denkens werden uns einen vollkommen neuen Zugang bieten, um das Denken zu verstehen.

Für meine Forschung sterben Tauben. Doch meine Experimente helfen uns zu erkennen, wie unser Denken funktioniert. Wie immer in der Forschung, werden Grundlagenerkenntnisse irgendwann gezielte Anwendungsforschung ermöglichen. Diese wird die Gesundheit von zukünftigen Menschen retten, die vielleicht noch gar nicht geboren sind. Dazu trage ich mit meiner Forschung bei, und ich bin stolz darauf.

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  CTF_Logo_118wChildren’s Tumor Foundation

Neurofibromatosis Research Non-Profit

New York, New York, USA


AnnetteBakker (1)Annette Bakker – President and Chief Scientific Officer
I love animals… but animal models are essential to make sure that one knows what a future drug candidate may do to the ‘whole body’ before giving it to a patient. The animal testing should be
done ethically and with max respect for the animals – the use of imaging will be able to significantly reduce the number of animals used but until a major breakthrough happens (a new predictive non-animal model), we will unfortunately not be able to cure disease without passing through the animal models.

I however am completely opposed to the use of animal models for cosmetics and would be an activist in that case but to cure patients, I am afraid that we have no choice.
I invite the activists to rather spend their energy on developing new imaging methods, so we can follow the same animal throughout the whole study or develop the new technologies that are needed to avoid animal model testing.

I think it is very cheap to just complain without positive action. I will be the first to defend the abolition of animal testing if we can replace them with adequate predictive models.

PamKnight (1)Pam Knight – Clinical Program Director
Not only humans, but also animals – pets, livestock and wildlife – benefit from animal-based research. Almost every discovery (antibiotics, anesthetics, surgical techniques, imaging modalities, etc.) developed through studies with animals also has a positive effect on veterinary medicine.

JuliePantoliano (1)Julie Pantoliano – Community Relations
I do not know much about the details of science, I have never been in a lab. BUT I do know one thing: hope. I know that when I work with family after family and child after child, my heart leaps with joy every time we have a new clinical trial. I also know that clinical trials are not possible without mouse models and other animal research. So from all of us working with people, hugging them and wiping their tears, we know that animal research is more than important… it is our only hope to end neurofibromatosis.

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IMG_0857Florian Hohnstein

PhD Student | Pro-Test Germany

Leipzig, Germany


I try to explain what this “Pro-Test Germany” does to my friends and family. “We are supporting animal experiments”, I say lapidary. The answers I get in return are comment like “But animal experiments are bad, aren’t they?”.

I start to realize two things. First, how deeply embedded this image seems to be in most people. “Animal experiments are bad.”, easy as that. No differentiation, no pondering, no questioning. Second, that this topic is delicate to such an extent that even the wording of a statement can make the difference between both sides having an open mind and being interested in each other’s opinions, and having insults and moral accusations lead the conversation.

Of course, this affects me personally, too. Some accusations or allegations really annoy me. In these moments, I’m having a hard time getting my point across calmly. Maybe say nothing at all instead? That’s not so easy either if your counterpart starts yelling at you, too. Silence or noise – those two seem to be the only alternatives.

That’s obviously nonsense. We have to talk about a difficult topic rationally and objectively. Especially, if the topic is as delicate and at the same time as important for our society as animal experiments. We all benefit from animal experiments, but some still seem to fail to recognize their importance for our modern health standards.

By contributing to Pro-Test Germany, I want to help reach the point where everyone can make an informed decision and where we will ultimately find an adequate volume for our debates.

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Martin_Ulrich_2015_2Ulrich Martin

Stem Cell Researcher, German Stem Cell Network

Hanover, Deutschland


Als Stammzellforscher arbeiten wir seit Jahren mit Hochdruck daran, Stammzell-basierte Zellkultursysteme zu entwickeln, mit denen wir vor allem im Bereich des Medikamentenscreenings und der Toxikologie Tierversuche ersetzen und reduzieren können. Ich persönlich bin überzeugt davon, dass solche Testsysteme in Zukunft viele Tierversuche überflüssig machen werden.

Ich möchte aber auch deutlich feststellen, dass nicht nur konventionelle Zellkulturen sondern auch aus Stammzellen hergestellte 3D-Gewebe klare Limitationen aufweisen, und wir damit Tierversuche nie vollständig werden ersetzen können. Die Komplexizität eines lebenden Organismus hat doch noch eine ganz andere Dimension als ein relativ kleines und letztlich recht simpel aufgebautes Stück Gewebe in der Zellkultur! Außerdem muss betont werden, dass Tierversuche zur Erprobung neuer Zelltherapien, innovativer Implantate und chirurgischer Interventionen auch in Zukunft unvermeidbar sein werden. Ohne Tierversuche würde man den Patienten, der ja eigentlich von neuen medizinischen Innovationen profitieren soll, unabwägbaren Risiken aussetzen!

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ems_oct-2015-bw_smallEmma Martinez Sanchez 

Molecular Biologist and Speaker of the European Animal Research Association (EARA) 

Britain


The use of animals in research has facilitated major breakthroughs in medicine which have transformed human and animal health. Thanks to research using animals we could develop the breast cancer therapy Tamoxifen, which decreases the chances of developing breast cancer by 38% in high-risk women; test on mice aided the development of penicillin, antibiotic that saved countless troops’ lives during WWII and is still commonly used in clinical practices; the VSV-EBOV vaccine was found to be highly effective against the Ebola virus in animal models before it could be tested in humans (Phase III clinical trials).

Scientific research is the foundation to develop ground breaking treatments, cures and diagnostics both for humans and animals. To make progress in this direction, we need to continue increasing our understanding of biology in health and disease. For some complex processes such as neurological, mental and behavioural disorders or infection diseases, alternative methods are not suitable and scientific research still rely on the proof of concept provided by animal models.

Research using animals is only performed when alternative methods are not available, when the potential benefits to health are compelling, and when acceptable ethical and welfare standards can be met. I am familiar with the benefits of animal research and the stakes at risk if no animal models were used in research, which is why I support animal research.

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