The rats/mice/birds exclusion intentionally obfuscates the true numbers of animal used in research. And, it lends credence to the claims of animal rights groups that research institutions have something to hide.
Many psychologists and psychiatrists are justifiably horrified at the central role members of their own profession have played in these torture experiments. Unfortunately, our biomedical profession has a long history of experimentation on humans.
How much closer would we be to a cure today if instead of wasting millions of dollars on failed animal experiments, the money had been used to create more effective human-based testing methods that accurately recreated the disease?
I have tried to draw attention to the general ineffectiveness of animal experiments and how they impede our chances of finding cures. I have focused on the human side of the equation. But just who are these animals abused in experimentation?
Unlike the humble mouse, primates are afforded at least some protection under the Animal Welfare Act. Unfortunately, even the most prestigious universities have shown the inability to care for their primates without extreme and deadly consequences.
It is hard to quantify how many missed opportunities there may have been because of misleading animal experiments. However, there are plenty of examples that demonstrate how lucky we are that researchers did not believe the animal tests.
The NFL continues to fund misleading head injury studies on animals that will not get the league closer to identifying the precise causes of brain trauma in football players and how to prevent and treat it.
The need for Oreos to be indicted of war crimes before we acknowledge we are eating too many of them, and foods like them, says something profoundly disturbing about our culture. How bad is bad enough?
Regardless of whether or not this controversial research continues, you can bet one thing: Our risk for a deadly form of the "bird flu" virus and other pathogens remain high as long as we don't improve our treatment of animals.