The New England Journal of Medicine has declared that 20 years of fighting cancer have been unsuccessful in significantly reducing the death rates from the disease. Despite a two-decade-long war on the disease, cancer remains our number two killer. Those who line their pockets with animals’ suffering are full of dire predictions that medical research will screech to a halt if we stop experimenting on animals. But animal experiments hurt humans as well as the animals who are burned, shocked, starved, cut open, and killed. While people and animals suffer alike, physiologically, different species vary so vastly that data can’t be accurately extrapolated from one species to another. Even chimpanzees, our closest living relatives—with whom we share 99 percent of our DNA—don’t sicken when infected with many diseases that are fatal to us.
Alternatives to animal tests are efficient and reliable and, in most cases, take less time to complete, cost only a fraction of the animal experiments they replace, and are not plagued with species differences that make extrapolation difficult or impossible. Today’s most forward-thinking scientists realize that we don’t need to choose between human health and compassion for animals.