Letters: Other views on animal rights

The Detroit News

Neurological diseases need human research

In his misguided praise of animal testing in human neurodegenerative disease research (“Animal research key to ending Alzheimer's,” Dec. 26), Matthew R. Bailey proclaims that “a vaccine for Alzheimer’s could be within reach.”

The fact is, no effective new drugs for Alzheimer’s have been released in the past 12 years. Existing drugs only alleviate some symptoms and do nothing to slow the disease’s progression. And the near-certain failure of any treatment derived from animal testing has been repeatedly proven. The clinical failure rate for new Alzheimer’s treatments stands at a whopping 99.6 percent.

Alzheimer’s disease, along with Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), are human-specific conditions. No non-human animal walking the Earth develops these diseases naturally. Experimenters fiddle with an animal’s genome to produce symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s and then try to cure those.

When it works, it is working only for a disease that was never quite Alzheimer’s in the first place.

Animal experiments in general simply do not work. The National Institute of Health’s former director acknowledged this fact in 2013: “We have moved away from studying human disease in humans. We all drank the Kool-Aid on that one, me included. The problem is that it hasn't worked, and it's time we stopped dancing around the problem. We need to refocus and adapt new methodologies for use in humans to understand disease biology in humans.”

Giving false hope to the millions affected by neurodegenerative diseases is shameful. So is wasting precious time and resources on dead end experiments. If a cure comes, it assuredly will not come from animal testing but from solid, human-centric science focused on curing humans of human diseases, not from the senseless torture of animals.

Research associate Faye Mendelson prepares a piece of human spinal cord for analysis at the Program for Neurology Research and Discovery inside the Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Lawrence Hansen, director  

Neuropathology Fellowship Program 

University of California, San Diego School of Medicine

Veto of "puppy mill" bill a prudent move

On Friday, Dec. 28, outgoing Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed two bills that would have prevented local municipalities from regulating the sale of puppies in pet shops in their communities. House Bills 5916 and 5917 were sponsored by state Rep. Hank Vaupel, a veterinarian based in Livingston County.

As an animal advocate, I want to thank Snyder for choosing to buck the pressure from lobbyists representing animal breeders.

The inhumane treatment of farm animals, wildlife, and the dairy and meat industries is fast becoming a dividing line in the Legislature. Case in point, the 2018 Farm Bill voted into law during this lame duck session. 

Sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and passed by committee in the House of Representatives in a mostly Republican partisan vote, the Protect Interstate Commerce Act (HR 4879, nicknamed the “King Amendment”), would have stripped current laws at the state level protecting animals, children, families and the environment. In the Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill the King Amendment failed.

The King Amendment would have removed all state oversight, in every state, to control the retail sales of puppies and kittens. Too often these innocent animals routinely endure abuse and terror in puppy mills.

Snyder’s decision to veto HB 5916 and 5917 is a positive step in the humane direction.

Maureen Moore

St. Clair Shores