PCRM Urges Texas Medical Center Not to Replace Animals Killed in Flood
In June, Tropical Storm Allison dumped 22 inches of precipitation over Houston in nine hours. Along with washed out homes and businesses, Texas Medical Center became submerged in a pool of rainwater.
Dozens of news stories followed, emphasizing the incredible loss of research, data, and scientific discoveries. But 35,000 mice, rats, dogs, and primates perished as well, bringing to light many fundamental vulnerabilities of animal experimentation.
PCRM physicians urged the president of the University of Texas Health Science Center and the president of Baylor College of Medicine, two of Texas Medical Center's institutions hit hardest by the disaster, not to replace the animals in their laboratories. They advised them instead to utilize human clinical trials, epidemiological studies, and in vitro research, and to embrace emerging sciences such as those developing from the human genome project.
The subject matter of the disrupted studies is worth investigating as well. PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., points to the fact that much of Texas Medical Center focuses on heart disease. "While millions of dollars continue to be spent in the name of prevention and treatment, the risk factors that contribute to heart disease were identified in human population studies and tested in human clinical trials. Animal studies offer no greater insight into this issue," he noted.
News reports also implied that the National Institutes of Health would provide assistance in rebuilding these facilities. Dr. Barnard urged its director to allocate any further funding toward nonanimal research methods.