A recent New York Times article indicates that using the mouse as a model for studying certain human diseases has been “totally misleading…As a result, years and billions of dollars have been wasted.”
Time and again we find research done on animals to be of little to no use when applied to humans. In addition, some of these studies have actually put humans in harm’s way. Some examples of substances tested on animals that did no harm to them but did to us are: cigarette smoke, benzene, thalidomide, diethylstilbestrol, and asbestos, to name just a few.
Why do researchers continue to waste time, lives, and money on animal models that simply don’t help protect humans from life-threatening diseases? One reason is entrenched thinking. We’ve done research this way for years; we’re going to keep doing it this way. Another is money. There’s a great deal of money tied up in laboratories, salaries, equipment, and the never ending need for animals. But should history and money continue to direct our scientists? It’s time to find nonhuman animal methods to test drugs and procedures. It’s time to realize that a mouse is not a human. It’s way past time. Because, when you think about it…mice are not humans.