The American Physiological Society (APS; www.the-aps.org) announced today the adoption of two new position statements on animals in research . . . “Advances in biomedical research depend on the use of animals in laboratory studies,” said APS Animal Care and Experimentation Committee Chair Bill Yates. “Animals are also needed to provide hands-on training for the next generation of medical and veterinary practitioners in surgery and other procedures.” (Emphasis added.)
The above is precisely the type of statement I frequently refer to. The APS is claiming that animals are necessary for breakthroughs, not that animals were used historically or that animals can be used but rather that research is dependent on animals. This statement is provided without references or other supporting evidence and I seriously doubt references or support will be forthcoming. If the APS, or other people with a vested interest in using animals, publish supporting statements, the references will look like what Dr Ringach frequently publishes; other people with the same vested interest agreeing with him, but providing no proof. (See my blog titled Claims Versus Proof. Also see my three-part blog on arguments from authority, beginning here.)
The equally unsupported and equally incorrect claim that medical and veterinary practitioners need to practice procedures on animals has been refuted by the veterinary and medical communities alike. A vast majority of medical schools have done away with the traditional dog lab and many (I believe most but do not have the actual data at hand) veterinary schools no longer perform nonsurvival surgeries. Other procedures, such as those used in Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) and new surgical procedures like laparoscopic surgery, can and are performed using cadavers. Imagine that, practicing on the species you will actually be treating.
The position of the APS is exactly what one should expect from any vested interest group that puts money before people.