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Initiatives leading to even modest reduction in animal use at major U.S. universities are likely to continue to face strong opposition. At least, that’s the conclusion the author draws from his efforts at Northwestern University. In fact, despite a growing body of evidence that animal-based research is flawed at best and misleading or un-scientific at worst its use is growing at Northwestern and elsewhere. Moreover, recent discoveries concerning animal consciousness and emotion have not led to notable improvements in the conditions in which AWA protected animals live at the Chicago vivarium. There, animals languish in featureless rooms or sterile cages without access to daylight and with little opportunity to express their natural behaviors and aptitudes. The writer’s public exposure of these conditions led to a fierce backlash. Unless there is a significant change in laboratory and university culture, reform will only come when the marketplace and funding agencies demand better and more reliable, non-animal models for the testing of drug toxicity and effectiveness.
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