3rd February 2023
We, the Animal Interfaith Alliance, a group of faith-based animal advocacy organisations, write to you in your capacity as CEO to ask you to engage in a genuine dialogue concerning some of the corporate practices of your company.
We appeal first and foremost to your corporate social responsibility, generally defined as the self-regulation of a business model that helps a company to be socially and morally accountable to itself, its stakeholders and the public.
The specific issue we wish to raise is the use of animals in the development and testing of new pharmaceutical products intended for human use. We fully realise that the use of animals, where there is no other available replacement, is currently a legal requirement, based on national and international regulations. These regulatory requirements can be traced back to the Doctors’ Trial at Nuremberg at the end of the Second World War, 1946 (1).
Science has moved forward since then by 75 years, but the laws have not yet caught up with the science. The result of this legal inertia is a continued reliance on outdated and unreliable animal testing, which can be summed up in the following paragraph:
“In 2004, the FDA estimated that 92 percent of drugs that pass preclinical tests, including “pivotal” animal tests, fail to proceed to the market. More recent analysis suggests that, despite efforts to improve the predictability of animal testing, the failure rate has actually increased and is now closer to 96 percent. The main causes of failure are lack of effectiveness and safety problems that were not predicted by animal tests” (2).
Not only is the continued use of animals responsible for an enormous amount of avoidable animal suffering but it is also responsible for a significant incidence of human adverse drug reactions (3). This is not surprising in view of our current knowledge of inter and even intra-species differences, based on genomics, complexity theory and evolutionary biology (4).
The pharmaceutical industry is best placed to make the paradigm change needed to replace outdated and unreliable animal tests with cost effective human relevant test methods, including human 3D cell culture, organs on chips, pharmacogenomics, and similar 21st century technologies that were previously unavailable (5).
Only the pharmaceutical industry has the resources to scientifically validate human based test methods and steer them through the regulatory framework.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Dr Andre Menache BSc(Hons) BVSc Dip ECAWBM (AWSEL) MRCVS
AIA Chairman, on behalf of the Animal Interfaith Alliance
Dr Richard D. Ryder MA, DCP, PhD (Cantab), AFBPsS, FZS