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Animal Rights Organisations Unite In Support Of COVID-19 Research Without Animal Experiments

This World Week for Animals in Laboratories, the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) has joined a global coalition of Anti-Vivisection organisations representing supporters in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S. Coalition members are uniting to support ethical researchers around the world who are embracing modern methods to accelerate research for COVID-19 vaccines.

“We’re combining forces with international allies to encourage an important shift away from animal testing. We need to change how drugs, vaccines and treatments are developed for human use. This currently involves using animals in cruel and invalid tests which is something that we neither support nor think is effective or necessary”, said NZAVS Executive Director, Tara Jackson.

The National Institutes of Health in the United States has made a significant move to acknowledge the lengthy and unreliable nature of animal ‘models’ of disease by beginning human clinical trials without waiting for all the results from animal experiments.

As the global health crisis continues, there has never been a greater need for fast-moving and effective research. The unprecedented demand for COVID-19 treatments necessitates an urgent shift towards reliable, human-relevant medical studies for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, as well as for the prevention of similar pandemics in the future.

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The innovative research by key institutions – Epithelix, MatTex Life Science, Immundnz, STEMCELL Technologies, IIVS, Yumab and InSphero - being thanked by the coalition to study COVID-19 includes three-dimensional human respiratory tissue models and human liver models, which provide real hope of combatting COVID-19 and inspires better preparation to address future pandemics.

A plethora of ethical and effective research methods are available to study human diseases that do not require animals such as epidemiology studies, computer-based techniques, human cell and tissue cultures, organ-on-a-chip microfluidics, and many more.

While many researchers are using non-animal methods, the COVID-19 outbreak has also triggered the approval of millions of dollars in grants to fund animal-based research using primates, ferrets, and mice. Not only will any information from this research not be available for years, but animals also are not predictive models of the human response. Fewer than 12% of drugs entering clinical trials result in an approved medicine, despite showing positive results for safety and efficacy in animal experiments.

Those in favour of human-relevant research are being asked to sign a letter of support thanking research institutions pursuing innovative and ethical research. This research provides real hope of combatting COVID-19, and better prepares us to address future pandemics.

“The scientists that are using ethical and valid models without animals are blazing a trail, forging a better scientific future for all of us. They deserve our thanks,” added Jackson.

“Using non-human primates, mice and any animals to find a cure for viruses, such as the coronavirus, which won’t be the last one we see, is not only unethical but produces vastly inaccurate results and quite simply takes too long,” urges “Project Nim” primatologist, Robert Ingersoll, who is backing the call for ethical research.

#United4AnimalsInLabs is a movement that encourages scientists around the world to continue ethical research that eliminates reliance on outdated animal experiments so that human health, animal rights and the economy may benefit.

The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) is New Zealand's primary non-profit organisation defending animals used in science.

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