Let's Exchange Opinions!
Our Opinion against The Physiological Society of Japan’s Opinion
Concerning Animal Testing
On April 16, 2004
, an article entitled "Animal Testing" was posted on the
website of the Physiological Society of Japan. Researchers tried
to speak against the opposing arguments concerning animal testing.
Not everyone will probably be convinced by our one-sided self-justification,
but we would still like to clarify our opinion and argument.
The following arguments are posted on the Physiological Society
of Japan’s website, http://wwwsoc.nii.ac.jp/psj/public/.
Please refer to their website for full text.
<What is Physiological Society of Japan?>
It is a group made up of people who study, teach, and conduct research
in physiology. Physiology is the study of structure and function
of the body. There are 3,500 members now, and most of them engage
in animal testing.
The Physiological Society of Japan’s claim
Medicine has advanced through animal testing.
Medical development doesn’t necessarily depend on animal testing.
, and traditional Japan
have done studies without animals. Medicine
relying on animal testing is the product of western materialism
which looks at living organisms (including human) as “things.” Traditional
medicine which doesn’t conduct animal testing is subsistent in both
West and East.
It is only natural to sympathize with lab animals, but it is
also important to judge rationally.
It sounds as if people who oppose the animal testing are simply
being emotional and lack ideal judgment. There are ethics and morals
in human society. Even if they are justified from the scientific
viewpoint, there are many things that cannot be accepted morally.
What is Animal Testing?
1. Purpose and Necessity of Animal Testing
Using animals for experiments is the same logic as using them
for food. It is one of the ways for humans to live.
Although animal testing and eating meat are the same in terms of
human utilization of animals, the degree of pain they experience
is profoundly different. Also, just like there are medicines that
don’t depend on animal testing, there are lots of cultures and regions
that do not consume animals. You cannot say it is a universal behavior
2. Usefulness of Animal Experiment
During the 20th century, extension of the average
life span and decline in the infant mortality rate were remarkable.
A great number of fields in medicine contributed to these advancements,
and they were based on animal testing. It’s not an exaggeration
to say that all medical treatments are built on animal testing.
Extension of the average life span and decline in the infant mortality
rate were brought about mainly through improvement in nourishment
and work environment. Advancement in medicine has also accumulated
through a great number of clinical experiences. You are overestimating
Are we seeing the end of animal testing? Has the medicine advanced
Advances in medicine and the need for animal testing do not necessarily
correspond to each other.
A lot of unsolved diseases remain and new sicknesses are appearing
one after another.
Industrial activities are polluting environment on a global scale.
It is a well-known fact that various serious diseases have come
out as a result of such pollution. We need to start making the preventive
medicine as our ground rule.
3. Physiology and Animal Testing
Animal testing is necessary and indispensable in all fields
of medicine, especially in Physiology. It aims to understand the
principle of life, and contributes to the improvement of health
The purpose of medicine is to save people from sickness and to
keep them in good health. Physiology starts researches by making
animals suffer from certain sickness. It does not connect directly
with people’s health and welfare.
4. Animal Testing Facts
90% of animals used in testing are mouse and rats. Dogs, cats,
and monkeys are about 1% of the total.
Even research institutions cannot figure out the number and kinds
of animals that are used for experiments. All experimental researches
should be brought forward so we become aware of actual figures.
We purchase animals that have been raised for experimental purpose.
For dogs, cats, and monkeys, there are times we legally buy them
from local government. Those animals are meant to be killed.
When we request research laboratories to present us with the purchase
invoice, addresses of dealers are always marked out. In other words,
researchers do not or cannot release purchase information.
When animals are used for experiments, researchers treat them
humanely and make best efforts not to cause pain.
Media has recently covered a university’s sloppy management of
experimental animals. This was also brought up at the Diet. We cannot
trust their claims unless we have outside inspection.
There are various kinds of experiment.
Type of experiment planned is not known to public. We should take
statistics of fields experiments are conducted. It is necessary
to have prior registration and license systems to that end.
We promptly put animals to sleep after the experiments.
As a matter of course, this is stated by the law.
A sequence of action towards animal testing needs to be approved
by ethical committee. This is carried out in response to related
Those are no more than guideline and not the regulations. Also,
there is no outside inspection to check whether they comply with
regulations. In addition, the ethical committee is made up of insiders.
Unless we observe the regulations, we are not allowed to present
our researches to scientific journals and convention.
Since there are no legal regulations on animal testing in
Japan , reliability
and the evaluation of the experiment are low.
5. Animal Testing Q and A
1. Is Animal Testing Useless?
It’s been insisted that results of animal testing cannot be
applied to humans since we are different species, but this is not
right. Also, new drugs become available to humans after tested on
When looking at the action of medicine, one study showed that only
27% agreed between the humans and animals. Also, it has been shown
that when human tissues are used, metabolism of drugs can be tested
in a short time with high accuracy. In addition, researchers have
a tendency to quote only good data. Lastly, the side effects of
the new drugs are not proved by animal test – they must go through
2. Can Animal Testing be Replaced by Alternative Method?
The studies which analyze the function of the body or examine
the cause of illness need to rely on animal testing. We cannot expect
the alternative method to entirely replace the animal experiments
in the near future.
The main purpose of the alternative method is to reduce number
of animals sacrificed. There are no standards or incentives to adopt
the alternative method.
3. Can we only trust data collected from animals raised for
Some claim that experimental data that came from cats and monkeys
of unknown origin cannot be trusted. They also cannot be published
in international journals.
Who is claiming this? Some researchers are claiming that pets are
suited for experiments because they show individual specificity.
However, when pets show different characteristics in age, medical
history, origin, taste, or heredity, the experimental results become
inconsistent. According to the researcher survey, one of the factors
when purchasing the lab animals was “price”. As a matter of fact,
animals with unknown original are merely cheap and disposable.
4. Shouldn’t wild animals or animals taken into the health centers
be used for experiments?
, a large number of wild monkeys are captured and killed because
they are harmful. We believe that by using animals that are meant
to be killed, we can reduce number of additional animals sacrificed.
Extermination of wild animals is conducted as one of the measures
to reduce agricultural damage. As damage caused by wild animals
disappears, so does extermination. Researchers lean on agricultural
damage to get experimental materials. Even some researchers are
saying that they would rather use clean animals which have been
raised at the breeding facility. They are horrified by infectious
disease such as hepatitis and tuberculosis.
It is thought that animals kept at the health centers can be
used for experiments because they are meant to be killed. Last year,
many local governments stopped disposal of dogs and cats for researches.
Parvovirus and distemper virus were detected at many facilities
where dogs and cats were kept. Don’t they know that many animals
that were handed over to researchers died prior to experiments?
Currently, number of dogs taken into the facilities is decreasing
dramatically. Many local governments have abolished disposal of
dogs and cats from the animal rights viewpoint.
5. Animals are used unnecessarily due to duplication of experiments.
One study is insufficient for a scientific truth to be established.
Additional studies, which will apply different methods from different
angles, are necessary. Sometimes the same method is used again to
confirm the result. Even after truths are established, some experiments
are practiced by students all the time. These are necessary duplication.
There is no end to researches. However, those studies are supported
by our tax. We believe people should decide if such studies are
6. Animal testing in Japan
do not have any regulations and
they are at large.
Just like the Unites
Europe , animal testing in
Japan is regulated. However,
the framework and the ways regulated vary from country to country.
They are reflected in culture, religion, and custom. The way animal
testing is regulated in Japan
resembles that of the
There are no regulations on animal testing in
Japan . Regulation
is a law established at the Diet and represent people’s will. The
“animal protection law” simply says to minimize the pain and to
euthanize the lab animals after the experiment. There are no penalties
even if you go against these rules. Other standards and notice from
Ministry of Education are only guidelines and not enforceable. In
addition, animal testing committee is made up of insiders, and there
are no standards as to how they are examining. We cannot say that
has similar regulations as Europe and the
. Moreover, in the US
, animal testing facilities are required to
register in accordance with animal welfare laws. Animal testing
facilities in the US
need to establish committees which are made
up of people with no connection to research organizations. The committee
is also required to include at least one representative from general
public who is concerned about animal welfare. Research facilities
are investigated at least every six months and in case of violation,
they could lose funding. Lab technicians are required to go through
animal welfare training. These are established by the laws in the
, and they differ from Japan
7. Cruel experiments are conducted in behind the locked doors?
Do we describe people’s surgery conducted behind the locked
doors as “cruel practice” or “vivisection”? Just like surgery for
people, researchers use anesthesia or painkiller to take strong
measures to reduce pain.
The purpose of people’s treatment is recovery and that of animal
testing is researching.
8. Primates should not be used?
Because monkeys are close to humans in terms of anatomy and
function of the body, they play very important role in field of
life science. They are essential to studies of infectious diseases
such as SARS and hepatitis. Their necessity has increased more for
higher brain function studies.
Monkeys are significantly close to humans in terms of process of
evolution. Therefore, their physical and psychological distresses
are also close to humans. Nevertheless, no welfare consideration
close to that of humans is given to them. In addition, monkeys are
on the CITES list (Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora）.
9. Why use a wide variety of species?
We use suitable species for research according to the problem.
For example, dogs, rabbits, and cats are used for studies of heart
and blood vessels related illness. For cancer and infectious disease
studies, mouse, rats, rabbits, and monkeys are used. Then rats,
cats, and monkeys are often used for nervous system studies.
The animals used for experiments are pets and domesticated animals
that have been living with humans. They are familiar and easy to
handle. It is inevitable that the public sympathize with those animals.
10. What does 3R mean?
It stands for Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement. It could
also include either Responsibility or Review to make it 4R. The
Physiological Society of Japan is conducting animal testing based
on this 3R principle.
It is not known exactly how 3R was adopted. It is unreliable as
there are no standards to adopting 3R.
Complaint from the Physiological Society of
1. Our opinions toward protesters
We think the majority of protesters would like to eat meat and
receive medical treatment. Then they want to stop experiments out
of pity for animals. These wishes are incompatible.
The reason we oppose to animal testing is not simply because we
feel pity for adorable animals. It’s because humans are using, exploiting,
and torturing animals excessively. Reducing animal testing will
avoid unnecessary medical products or medical treatment. Meat production
is not only destructing our environment, but also impairing our
Needless to say, the researchers value animal welfare and are
treating animals kindly and humanely. We would like the public to
realize that our association and researchers have been trying the
best to improve the animal welfare.
There are no facts that back up their claim.
2. Stable Securing of Animals
In recent years, securing medium-sized experimental animals
(dogs, cats, and monkeys) has become a crisis situation. We need
to establish a system where experimental animals can be secured
stably. Recently, Ministry of Education has started “National BioResource”
to stabilize supply of experimental animals. We will be counting
on its accomplishment for stable animal supply, and will also continue
to put effort into improving maintenance of experiments.
As far as the purchase record shows, we do not believe it is in
a “crisis situation”. Researchers continue to obtain animals without
reaching a consensus with the general public on necessity of a particular
experiment. On top of all that, they injected billions of tax into
“National BioResource Project” – a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Let’s Think Together
We will continue to explain the necessity and significance of
animal testing as much as possible. Because we are questioning pros
and cons of killing animals, it is certainly an emotional subject.
However, we want everyone to hold opinions once they rethink about
the fact that humans live on the sacrifice of animals. We would
like to think about this matter with everyone.
Humans and animals live by helping each other. We are not living
on the sacrifice of animals. We would also like to think about this
problem together with researchers. This society is not made up of
researchers and pundits; therefore, we would like them to provide
us with specific data and to explain in words easily understandable
to the public.