Ricky Gervais, with beautiful Beagle Betsy.

FLOE's Patron, Peter Egan, with Betsy.

Photos © Joseph Sinclair/FLOE

Letter for MPs providing no medical references in their refusal to sign EDM 278

Some MPs are refusing to sign EDM 278, and are sending their constituents a standard letter which makes flase claims about human medicine without providing any references.

If you have received such a response, please copy and paste this text, below, and use it as the basis of your reply.

Keep in touch with us, let us know how you get on!

YOUR REPLY – place your name and address here

Dear …………….. MP,

I’m shocked and disappointed to receive your reply, which ignores the wealth of evidence so carefully outlined in my first letter, asking you to support EDM 278 and its fair call for a public scientific hearing on animal experiments.

The EDM’s hearing is now supported by 110 cross-party MPs, who signed last session’s Early Day Motion 175 in recognition of the widely published reports on the failure of animal models, in human disease research and safety testing. By ignoring this evidence you appear to be helping your Party embed itself in cruel and outdated experiments on dogs, and other animals. I find this completely unacceptable.

I again refer you to the Daily Mirror exclusives revealing harrowing footage of the factory farming of laboratory dogs at MBR Acres, in the heart of the UK Cambridgeshire countryside. The second Mirror exposé shows these dogs being unloaded at Labcorp testing laboratory, Harrogate, Ricky Gervais says “it is heart breaking to hear these dogs crying out for mercy and help”.

Dogs are man’s best friend. They are loyal, loving, gentle and kind, but the MBR Acres’ Beagles are bred for horrific experiments that involve being force-fed chemicals every day for up to 90 days, with no pain relief or anaesthetic. It is shocking that this gavage procedure (shown in the Daily Mirror film) is only classified as ‘mild suffering’ by the Home Office.

The 1986 Animals in Scientific Procedures Act is now long out of date; it was surpassed in 2003 by the Human Genome project, bringing developments in evolutionary and developmental biology, genetics, gene regulation, gene expression, and gene networks – in addition to advances in understanding complex systems – all of which have significantly increased our understanding on why animals have no predictive value for human response to drugs or the pathophysiology of human diseases.

The failure of animal experiments, as predictive models of humans, is today carefully documented by an impressive wealth of experts, including Dr. Fiona Godlee, former Editor in Chief of the British Medical Journal, whose 2014 Editor’s Choice concluded: “if research conducted on animals continues to be unable to reasonably predict what can be expected in humans, the public’s continuing endorsement and funding of preclinical animal research seems misplaced.” [1]

Huge numbers of experts working in the pharmaceutical sector openly acknowledge the failure of animal models in their drug development process, and write about this often in the scientific literature. [2] The failure of animal models is also acknowledged by the US-based National Cancer Institute, which says we have lost cures for cancer because studies in rodents have been believed. [3] Vaccines have never been more important than they are today, and the failure of animal experiments in vaccine development was underlined by the inventor of the polio vaccine, Dr. Albert Sabin, when he testified under oath at the US House of Representatives, stating progress “was long delayed by the erroneous conception of the nature of the human disease based on misleading experimental models of the disease in monkeys.” [4] Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration states that nine out of ten new medicines go on to fail in human trials, because animals cannot predict human responses. [5]

Despite all of the above, and the medical evidence I provided in my first letter, you claim – without providing any refences – that ‘animal research plays a vital role in providing safety information for potential new medicines’.  This claim is entirely unacceptable. And given the clear wealth of evidence I provide, I’m asking you to please reconsider your position.

EDM 278 calls for a fair and transparent examination to enable independent experts, from the relevant science fields, to judge evidence from both sides and advise the Government accordingly. The hearing’s format is endorsed as “well set out and fair” by Michael Mansfield QC; it follows the tried and tested process of peer review: independent experts will judge two opposing position papers, one against animal experiments, the other for. Please find a full account of the hearing’s format here Animal Experimentation, working towards a paradigm change.

You are absolutely right when you state ‘it is worth remembering that, as a result of findings from animal studies, a large number of potential new drugs never get as far as being tested in humans’. I completely agree with this: misleading results from animal tests meant that penicillin was delayed for humans by ten years, because penicillin has no effect on rabbits. The polio vaccine was delayed by forty years because of misleading studies in monkeys. Tan Dheshi MP underlines examples of animal models stopping cures failing to reach humans, in his Westminster Hall speech here: https://tinyurl.com/2p9yk6zy I believe you are being advised by those with an outdated and cruel vested interest in the continuation of animal experimentation. As Patricia Gibson MP states in her Parliament address: no one should be afraid of an honest public scientific examination; your advisors should be supporting the EDM’s fair science hearing.

I must also clarify that human-based research is not an ‘alternative’ to animal experiments. Human-based research comes with a track record of success, not the 90% failure rate of animal tested medicines [FDA]. Human-based research is the opposite of animal testing, these are not interchangeable ‘alternatives’ for each other.

In closing, I’d like to emphasise that we have entered the age of personalised medicine. Gene-based medicine means that the individual DNA of each human patient is being mapped, as well as the individual DNA of that patient’s cancer (by way of example), and treatments are then administered to target the exact requirements of that unique person and their illness. Even identical twins are now accepted to respond entirely differently to drugs and disease. In light of this extraordinary medical knowledge and advancement, the continued funding of laboratory animal models, using a completely different species from humans, certainly belongs in the history books of 1847, when animal experimentation was first institutionalised by a French doctor, Claude Bernard, who went on to reject the Theory of Evolution.

Science often progresses through the inspired efforts of lone individuals. Albert Einstein brought us the Theory of Relativity; Charles Darwin wrote a book about the Theory of Evolution and changed the world. Similarly, medical doctor Ray Greek, with his late research partner Dr. Niall Shanks PhD, published the basis for Trans-Species Modelling Theory in 2009. [6] This is another overarching Science Theory based on evolutionary biology and complexity science. Trans-Species Modelling Theory explains why animal models have never demonstrated predictive value for humans, in medical research and safety testing, and never will.

The new Animal Sentience Bill enshrines in law the ability of animals to experience joy and feel suffering and pain. Finn’s Law, named after the brave police dog Finn, means that animal cruelty sentences have rightly increased to up to five years in prison. Your Party will not survive by putting its head in the sand. I ask you therefore to please reconsider your position and support the fair and independently judged scientific hearing called for by EDM 278, to enable its important, life-saving action.

Yours sincerely,

(Your name and address)


1. BMJ 2014;348:g3719 available here

2. Lumley CE, Walker S Lancaster, Quay, editors, 1990, ‘Clinical Toxicity – Could it have been predicted? Post-marketing experience’, 57–67; Heywood R. Animal Toxicity Studies: Their Relevance for Man.

3. 4. Gura T: Cancer Models: Systems for identifying new drugs are often faulty. Science. 1997, 278 (5340): 1041-1042.

4. Reference: Sabin. A: Testimony before the subcommittee on Hospitals & Health Care, Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, House of Representatives, April 26th 1984, serial no. 98-48.

5. FDA Issues Advice to Make Earliest Stages Of Clinical Drug Development More Efficient. FDA, June 2006   

6. Questions regarding the predictive value of one evolved complex adaptive system for a second: exemplified by the SOD1 mouse. Greek, R. Hansen L.


The Nuremberg Code subverts human health and safety by requiring animal modelling.

The following peer reviewed paper addresses the enormous financial benefits to society as a whole, if the funding of animal models stopped: Human Stakeholders and the Use of Animals in Drug Development.

Are animal models predictive for humans?

For more science, please visit this summary.