I am afraid that Ian Tarplee (Spalding Guardian, July 16) is incorrect to claim that there are ready alternatives to using animals in medical research – it has been illegal to use an animal if there is an alternative since 1986.
The Dr Hadwen Trust that he mentions is searching for alternatives to animals, as are many universities and pharmaceutical companies, because nobody wants to have to use animals, but in the majority of cases we simply do not yet have a replacement.
Practically every medicine we have was discovered and developed uses animals
I don’t know who originally hoodwinked Mr Tarplee, but it sounds as if he spent his Saturday sharing his misconceptions with the people of Spalding. I would wish to make it clear that almost every medical research charity openly uses animals, and practically every medicine we have was discovered and developed uses animals.
The breast cancer drug Herceptin, for instance, is based on a mouse hormone, which is difficult to obtain without using a mouse.
Of course, nobody would use an animal if there was an alternative, but the fact that charities do at all points to the fact that, if we want to research and treat serious human and animal diseases, there is currently no other way.