The number of animal experiments conducted annually in the world, otherwise, vivisection, is almost 100 million. At the same time, a large number of experiments are explained by the requirements of legislation. Regulatory agencies require chemical companies to conduct these experiments to verify exposure to toxic substances.
Animal experiments conducted by automakers, throw light on the industry, which prefers to carry out their activities covertly, reports the German edition of Handelsblatt.
“No signage, instead many video cameras and a few checkpoints,” is what the Lovelace Labor lab in Albuquerque in the southern United States looks like. “This is the most dangerous area of the city,” jokes Jake MacDonald, the head researcher of the laboratory.
The Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI) Laboratories of the Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI) is the center of animal experiments. In secret studies for the American Army, various substances are tested on rats, dogs and monkeys. The laboratories of this particular institute were assigned by German automakers to conduct a study of the effect of exhaust gases on monkeys, which caused horror around the world, the newspaper reports.
The US Department of Agriculture in recent years has imposed several penalties on the company due to animal abuse. Here they drill heads into dogs to introduce the virus directly into the brain. Cats are kept in fully enclosed premises, the article says.
“The research that the German automotive industry has commissioned has horrified even those scientists who are not fundamentally opposed to animal experiments. Allegedly, exhaust effects studies have served no medical or environmental progress. For Volkswagen, it was solely about marketing such a supposedly clean diesel engine, ”the authors note.
“Around the experiments, a sphere with billions of dollars was formed — a difficultly recognizable network of customers, private and public laboratories, breeders and suppliers of animals for experiments,” the publication journalists say. “However, if we look closer at the field of animal experimentation, unnecessary experiments can be encountered in order to market or research products that have no clear benefit,” journalists say.
“Animal experiments are scientifically binding, and they are required by law,” says Fridtjov Traulsen, Development Manager at Boehringer, the second largest pharmaceutical group in Germany.
Boehringer and other pharmaceutical companies use thousands of animals in their experiments: in one Roche company, a world leader in research, 300 thousand animals are used in experiments every year.
Today, for the most part we are talking about the use of genetically modified mice and rats in studies, by the example of which we can simulate human diseases as accurately as possible by “inserting” a certain gene into animals or, conversely, “turning it off”. Also, in many cases, human tumor cells are grafted onto animals, the article says.
The largest suppliers of animals for experiments are in the United States, “scientists can practically choose and order animals for experiments, as in the catalog,” the authors note.
How useful experiments actually are to drug development is a controversial issue. Thus, according to animal protection organizations, such as Peta or Ärzte gegen Tierversuche (“Doctors against animal testing”), complex diseases and methods of treating people cannot be reproduced using animals as examples.
For the high number of experiments carried out is the responsibility and public need for security. Thus, animal testing is prescribed by national regulatory authorities and the standards of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In Germany, medications must first be tested on at least two types of animals before they are tested on humans, the article says.
For example, each batch of Botox is tested before selling – a means by which vain people smooth out wrinkles on their face. The Swiss concern Nestlé, one of the largest suppliers of Botox, came to the attention of animal advocates in 2017, as one of its subsidiaries used millions of mice in their experiments.
Private companies offering animal testing services are difficult to verify, they avoid the public, including because they fear attacks by animal advocates, the publication notes. For example, only two such laboratories are known in Germany: LPT Laboratory in Hamburg and Covance in Munich and Munster. According to the organization Doctors Against Animal Experiments, in the laboratory in Münster, up to 2 thousand monkeys are killed each year, while pregnant monkeys, injected with drugs and chemicals, are the main victims of the experiments, the newspaper reports.
“In international comparison, the regulations governing animal experiments are relatively strict in Germany and in Europe. Not like in China or Singapore: in recent years both states have become a favorite location for laboratories receiving orders for conducting experiments. There is no open discussion about animal protection – about animal experiments, and even more so, ”the journalists write. In China, the number of annual experiments on animals is 16 million – and the country, therefore, ranks second in the world in this indicator.
However, most animal experiments are carried out in the USA, due to the fact that medical research is particularly well developed there. It is estimated that the number of experiments conducted here is 20-25 million per year.
Experiments in the LRRI cost the German automotive industry 718 thousand dollars. As head of the laboratory Robert Rubin stated in a conversation with Handelsblatt, humane and ethical treatment of animals is of great importance for the institute. However, in the laboratories, deadly viruses and bacteria, such as the Ebola virus, were investigated in the laboratory. In addition, an important customer of LRRI is the US Department of Defense, the article says.
“Experiments on animals for the needs of the army have a long and inglorious tradition, which reached its apogee at the height of the Cold War. The US Army in the early 80s investigated the effects of neutron bombs on monkeys. In the Soviet Union, animals were infected with anthrax to test its effect as a biological weapon, ”the publication says.
Nevertheless, one industry shows how a focused search for alternatives can make animal testing unnecessary.
The EU has gradually limited the conduct of experiments on animals in the field of cosmetics, and in 2013 they were completely banned. The ban forced scientists to find alternative research methods.
Thus, the manufacturer Nivea – the company Beiersdorf – has developed a new way to test the allergenicity of various substances, which uses artificially created skin and cell cultures. True, such methods are not recognized in all countries. In the US and Japan, experiments on animals in the field of cosmetics are still possible, if not prescribed at all, the article says.
“Alternative research methods are hard to break into the market,” says Axel Radlach Prize, dean of the Berlin Charite university clinic. – It is also associated with the support of research. In the instances there are many scientists from the generation for whom experiments on animals are natural and which require their implementation. ”
Hope placed on modern technology.
Researchers are betting on cell cultures, artificially grown organs, or computer models that can be used to predict the toxic effects of various substances. However, in legally prescribed studies of new drugs, new technologies take root hard. Regulators around the world are demanding more and more animal experiments, journalists conclude.
By the way, according to the information found by “NO”, not only Volkswagen conducted experiments on animals, but also other German auto giants Daimler and BMW:
The American edition of the New York Times claims that it has a court record and government documents. They say that Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW jointly funded the research organization European Transport and Environmental Research Group
Here is how “The New York Times” describes the experiment (we do not recommend reading the following to impressionable people):
Volkswagen took the lead in the study. The company’s engineers controlled the installation of a treadmill that would allow cars to run on rollers while the equipment sucked the exhaust gases from the exhaust pipes. Then the gas was diluted and fed into the chambers in which the monkeys were found. In order to calm the animals, for four hours while they inhaled smoke from the exhaust pipes, laboratory workers arranged for them a television show of cartoons.