Recently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Enterprise of the University of Otago, Professor Richard Blaikie released the following statement in the Otago Daily Times:
We are concerned with Richards claim that ”research using animal models has played a vital part in nearly every medical breakthrough over the past few decades and has saved hundreds of millions of lives worldwide”.
We do not think Richard is in the position to make such a claim.
We wonder if Richard is aware that:
- 9/10 experimental drugs fail in humans that have worked in animals 
- That we have already cured multiple different types of cancers in rodents and can“t extrapolate these findings to humans — Read more
- That 150 stroke treatments have worked in animals but failed in humans 
- That the use of penicillin by humans was delayed because of misleading animal experiments 
.-That the misleading results from animal based research hurts people (The TGN1412 and thalidomide catastrophe are great examples of this)
We sent out our own response:
Who is Richard Blaikie?
Richard is a professor in Physics, at the University of Otago. He received the B.Sc. (Hons) degree from the University of Otago, New Zealand, in 1988 and the Ph.D. degree in physics from the University of Cambridge, U.K., in 1992. For one year, he was a visiting scientist at the Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory, investigating single-electron transport effects in semiconductor nanostructures. He returned to New Zealand in 1993, taking up a position in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Canterbury prior to moving to his current role at Otago.
He clearly has a lot of knowledge when it comes to physics, but when it comes to animal experimentation and being an expert on the non animal based research methods that currently exist (or that could be developed), we feel he has a lot to learn!
If you think that Richard should do his research and look more into the flaws of animal experimentation and the potential benefits of non-animal based research, then send him an email — [email protected]
- Harding A. More compounds failing phase I. The Scientist 2004 Sept 13; available at http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/23003/title/More-compounds-failing-Phase-I/
- 1. Macleod M. (2005). What can systematic review and meta-analysis tell us about the experimental data supporting stroke drug development? Int J Neuroprot Neuroregener , 1: 201
- AKHTAR, A. (2015). The Flaws and Human Harms of Animal Experimentation. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 24(4), 407–419.