Animal testing list is not correct

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Campaign group Animal Aid recently wrote urging readers not to support medical research charities looking into diseases such as cancer and diabetes, in favour of bodies such as the British Homeopathic Association, on the grounds that the latter does not use animals in its research.

 However, of its list of 140 ‘approved’ charities, 93 are not medical research charities but organisations that provide patient care and support or are education services.

 Of the remaining 47, six conduct animal research, 12 don’t mention whether they use animals or not, one is a conference not a charity, two are marketing fronts promoting a diet book, and one ceased to exist in 2007.

 This leaves 25 medical research charities which don’t use animals, usually because they have a particular focus, for instance using proton beams as a therapy, or looking at disease in newborn babies. Most don’t use animals because they are looking at a different stage in the process, in the same way somebody painting a car doesn’t concern themselves with engine design.

 What Animal Aid has done is conflate the work of all charities connected to health, but the bottom line is that Macmillan nurses are providing palliative care, not searching for a cure for cancer, and Diabetes UK simply doesn’t fund the same sort of activities as the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children.

 Nobody relishes the idea of using an animal for research, even though the animals used are mainly mice, rats and fish. Indeed, it is illegal to use an animal for research if a viable non-animal method is available.

 However, the fact is animal models remain an essential part of medical, veterinary and environmental research, and most of our current medicines and medical treatments were discovered and developed using them.

 This is why some 97% of the charities listed would use animals if such research was necessary.

Chris Magee,

Head of Policy Understanding Animal Research

Bin collection is to blame

Surely, I can’t be the only one who links fly-tipping to fortnightly bin collections ?

 I’m lucky that I have transport and can get to the “recycling village” (or tip as normal people call it).

 However, many people can’t and what else can they do with their excess rubbish ?

 I wonder if the ridiculous amount spent on court cases is more than it would have cost to keep our weekly bin collections?

 And while I’m in rant mode the price of having items removed by the council is hefty to say the least, which is why we’ll continue to see back lanes filled with old sofas , beds and broken furniture.

How can the cutbacks be justified when it leaves our town a mess and costs so much to prosecute people ?

Heather Curry,

South Shields