Letters, Monday, July 6, 2015

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Test list is not correct

Campaign group Animal Aid recently wrote urging readers not to support medical research charities looking into diseases such as cancer and diabetes, in favour of bodies such as the British Homeopathic Association, on the grounds that the latter does not use animals in its research.

 However, of its list of 140 ‘approved’ charities, 93 are not medical research charities but organisations that provide patient care and support or are education services.

 Of the remaining 47, six conduct animal research, 12 don’t mention whether they use animals or not, one is a conference not a charity, two are marketing fronts promoting a diet book, and one ceased to exist in 2007.

 This leaves 25 medical research charities which don’t use animals, usually because they have a particular focus, for instance using proton beams as a therapy, or looking at disease in newborn babies. Most don’t use animals because they are looking at a different stage in the process, in the same way somebody painting a car doesn’t concern themselves with engine design.

 What Animal Aid has done is conflate the work of all charities connected to health, but the bottom line is that Macmillan nurses are providing palliative care, not searching for a cure for cancer, and Diabetes UK doesn’t fund the same sort of activities as the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children.

 Nobody relishes the idea of using an animal for research. Indeed, it is illegal to use an animal for research if a viable non-animal method is available.

 However, the fact is animals remain an essential part of medical, veterinary and environmental research, and most of our current medicines and medical treatments were discovered and developed using them. This is why 97% of the charities listed would use animals if such research was necessary.

Chris Magee,

Head of Policy Understanding Animal Research

A lot more to the battle

In letter,W Quinn was on the button with his opinion that the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo should be celebrated.

 But, personally, I think mainly from the perspective of the establishment. As they said it was Britain’s duty to defeat Napoleon as he represented the French Revolution – a revolution that got rid of the monarchy.

 What was not mentioned, was that at this time Thomas Paine wrote The Rights Of Man. He called for the end of the power of the monarchy and suggested plans for the vote and a welfare state.

 After Waterloo the government ordered an attack on a demonstration in Manchester insupport of the vote and 13 protesters were killed including John lees, a soldier who’d fought at Waterloo.

 As much as Waterloo was a great victory, let’s not forget history should be explained by both sides and there was so much more going on then.

Ged Taylor