Terra Sigillata

Great Animal Research Poster

Nick Anthis at The Scientific Activist had a great post yesterday on the fallacies in an article from the UK Guardian detailing a peer-reviewed publication on replacing animal research with in vitro and computational models. As much as all scientists would wish this were true, there are simply no replacements for animal research in many areas, as noted by PZ Myers.


One of my favorite sources for promoting the factual necessity for animal research (and exposing extremist groups for attacks on scientists) is the Washington, DC-based, Foundation for Biomedical Research. The poster above is one of their products, a 25th anniversary printing of a classic message (available for only $10 at their webstore.).

While I no longer conduct animal research directly, I know that none of my in vitro work will ever make it to human clinical trials unless animal studies are done. No matter how elegant the hypothesis or wizardry in the design of a drug molecule, the ultimate question from colleagues is, “But does it work in an intact biological system (an animal)?” No drug makes it to market without extensive animal testing and this is a requirement of federal drug regulatory agencies worldwide.

In basic research, federal grant guidelines in the US now include a very seriously-reviewed section on the justification of the need and number of animals used for a project together with the precise methods to be employed to minimize pain and suffering. Inattention to detail in this section can cause a grant to be delayed or not funded at all. Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs) provide a second level of animal use regulations and justifications that are sometimes so extensive, my colleagues say it is easier to complete the paperwork to do a human clinical trial than an animal study.

In any case, I simply wanted to draw your attention to the Foundation for Biomedical Research as an excellent source for information on the need for and benefits of animal research.


  1. #1 coturnix
    August 29, 2007

    Where can one find that poster to put up on the wall?

  2. #2 Natalie
    August 29, 2007

    Thanks for that link – I was looking for some pro-animal testing literature for one of the classes I’m teaching.

  3. #3 sweetpea
    August 29, 2007

    I am sure Erleichda would love to have this poster!!

    I have always wondered if there is a mouse conspiracy tho– a year or so ago– mice did 1200 dollars worth of damage to my car and I considered that it might be payback!!! (not really but it made it a better story)

  4. #4 Suzanne
    August 29, 2007

    For those interested in free pro-research posters and educational materials for classroom use, another source is Americans for Medical Progress. A review of a free DVD they currently have available was posted recently at http://scienceblogs.com/ethicsandscience/2007/08/dvd_review_physicians_speaking.php

  5. #5 Michael
    August 29, 2007

    Thanks for the hat tip….we appreciate the good word!

  6. #6 Abel Pharmboy
    August 29, 2007

    No, no, thank you Michael for all the work you do with FBR. I’m only too happy to promote your mission – thanks for stopping by.

    coturnix, I haven’t yet figured the HTMl tags to embed a URL into an image but did have the link above in the text. If you (or anyone else) want to buy the poster, go to the FBR webstore at:


    Addendum: Okay, I’ve got it figured out – you can just click on the poster image now and it will redirect you to the FBR store.

  7. #7 Joe
    August 30, 2007

    Thanks for this useful post,

  8. #8 Mags
    August 30, 2007

    Something just struck me as very sad whilst looking at the FBR web store page.

    It was the thought that, as much as I’d like one of their T-shirts, I wouldn’t like to actually wear it here in the UK – as I don’t want to get stabbed to death.

  9. #9 Paul
    August 31, 2007

    Has anyone else been following the situation at Dalhousie University? Apparently a group was set up on FaceBook that is spreading lies about animal cruelty there. Legal action will probably start against the people who made the allegations but in the mean time another group has started on FaceBook to oppose the lies and express support for the University

    You need to be registered on FaceBook to see it.

  10. #10 catherine
    June 9, 2009

    this poster is gold. pure gold

  11. #11 Annette Bryne
    July 15, 2009

    I’d rather have an end to all the torture of animals in laboratories and take my chances that I’ll die some years sooner. It’s morally abhorrent what some “scientists” are doing to animals around the globe. To experiment on animals one must have been born without a heart, or soul. Animal research is on the wane because the public demands it to be so, and although this poster obviously satisfies those who get paid to harm animals, the photos next to it speak far more loudly.

  12. #12 Amy
    October 2, 2009

    I find your comments really sweeping and offensive Annette. I don’t get paid to harm animals, I get paid to advance medical science. I do not torture animals, I treat them with respect and care. I am a big animal lover and have always had pets. I take it you have never had any medical treatment, taken pain killers, or had a vaccination? I think you need to do some more research.

  13. #13 Annette Bryne
    November 20, 2009

    Dear Amy, Advance science without killing animals. Use one of the many non-animal research methods. Please please find a cure for cancer! Why haven’t you yet via animal research? Sadly so many cancer researchers have chased their own tales for >50 years torturing animals and we currently have a higher number of cancer cases now than ever. Amy, animal research does not work, and even if you could “prove” it does ina particular case, it is morally reprehensible. It is simply not condusive with an ethical society. Someday, not in our lifetime, our civilization will look back at animal research with such disdain and shame, we will be shocked. The way we now look at slavery, the witch hunts, and The Holocaust.

  14. #14 Nomen Nescio
    November 20, 2009

    Advance science without killing animals.

    we do, whenever possible. why on earth would we not, if and when we can? killing animals is unpleasant, messy, and expensive, after all. it’s just not always avoidable, especially in biological and medical research.

    (saith the computer programmer, who’s never killed a vertebrate in his life. but it’s not too hard to find out the general outlines of what biomedical research involves, and why, even for a layperson like me.)

    Please please find a cure for cancer! Why haven’t you yet via animal research?

    you speak as if cancer was one single thing, against which nothing had as yet been done. wrong on both counts.

    animal research does not work

    it does, actually. working scientists would not waste their time and scarce grant money on it if it didn’t. but saying so…

    and even if you could “prove” it does ina particular case, it is morally reprehensible. It is simply not condusive with an ethical society.

    …is pointless, since you’re not listening anyway.

    we really should be talking bioethics 101 with you, since i suspect you haven’t thought about ethics much at all. i’ll admit you’ve probably thought a great deal about politics and activism, and perhaps you’ve mistaken those for ethics, but if you’d actually spent some effort on ethical philosophy you would not so blithely claim that the only ethical thing to do is to let human beings suffer and die for fear of harming and killing non-humans. harm is harm either way, you see, and by failing to save you can indeed destroy.

  15. #15 brittani maviglia
    February 2, 2010

    sir i’m not quite sure what you mean. you say you don’t hurt animals when you see the effects of what your high-paying job does to our biological conterparts. also, if your such an animal lover then how do you not see how this is wrong. think of your pet at home. would you be phyically and/or mentally able test on it like all the other animals in your lab? i’m sure that people wouldn’t care how much longer they lived if they put the pets into this situation. one Question: are you an athiest?
    p.s. i dont care if you respone to anything on here except the last question. i need that for something at school.

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