Belgian scientists ask for ‘nuanced debate’ on animal testing

A group of scientists from Belgium say we need a “greater nuance” in the debate on animal testing.

Writing in Belgian magazine Knack, they say it is neccesary to test on animals in order to research cancer treatments.

The group said:

“Many people are critical of animal testing, and from an emotional point of view this is very understandable. Animals are living beings. They have basic emotions and they also experience physical pain.
“As researchers, we are not blind or insensitive to animal suffering, but neither can we ignore the pain of almost 10 million people who die of cancer worldwide every year.
“In 2018, some 70,000 Belgians received a new cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, their prognosis is in many cases a lot better than for people who received the same diagnosis 10 or 20 years ago. Thanks to advances in biomedical research – including through animal testing – the treatment options for cancer are rapidly expanding.
“Nevertheless, the number of cancer cases continues to increase as well, and the disease continues to take many lives.
“To the people who claim that we can face this challenge without animal research, we would say: please walk the talk. From our hands-on experience as biomedical researchers, we would like to argue for greater nuance in the debate against animal testing.”

The article was written by Professor Damya Laoui, from the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology, along with with Dr. Liesbeth Aerts and Dr. Jeroen Aerts from Infopunt Proefdieronderzoek.

They also say simulations can’t produce the same results as tests on animals and “many medical breakthroughs” have been achieved through this method.

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