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Stop Vivisection: Human Research
for Human Disease

Sydney Ross Singer
Medical Anthropologist
Director, Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease

September 13, 2018

Animal research, or vivisection, is the mainstay of modern medicine, and the bane of humanity. It’s the standard operating procedure for a medical system that is failing in its ability to prevent disease and understand the human condition. The only ones that truly profit from animal research are those who conduct animal research. As I will show, the best way to do human research is on humans.

The history of medicine is steeped in the blood of innocent creatures who are forced to endure pains and injuries and horrific deaths for the sake of knowledge about the human body. The reason for this is clear. It’s easier to experiment on a helpless animal than on another human being. This raises the main objection that many people have against vivisection, which is the immorality of causing suffering to another being. To vivisectors, it is far better morally to harm a mouse in the name of science than to harm a man. Since our culture has greater ethical concern for the treatment of people than for the treatment of animals, scientists believe that causing harm to animals is a lesser of an evil. And since their rationale for causing this harm is for the advancement of science, they justify this evil as a necessary one, potentially leading to some good.

As a result, the sales pitch for using animals in research is that the benefits outweigh the costs. And the public has bought the message, greedy for new discoveries that may cure human, or even animal, disease. Presented as a survival issue — “it’s a dog or your child” — vivisection has maintained its control over medicine. In the war on disease and death, vivisection is sold as a necessary “sacrifice” of animals. And despite the fact that many people love their pet animals, they accept this notion that their lives and those of their children somehow rely on research being done in the dungeons of medical centers where the suffering animals are caged.

Each species, and person, is unique

Over the years, intelligent and caring people have pointed out the flaws in this approach to healthcare. Scientists know that all species are different, with different anatomy, physiology, genetics, biochemistry, lifespans, natural environmental conditions, and more. Each has different diseases. Of course, there are some similarities between species that can allow for certain generalizations. But when it comes to things like drug testing, there is no way to predict human response from animal studies. To mitigate this shortcoming, drug researchers use multiple species for testing, to get a fuller spectrum of species responses to the drug. However, you will still not know how it will affect humans until it is tested on humans.

This means that there are drugs that may work on animals but not on humans, and conversely, that may not work on animals but might have worked on humans. Dangerous drugs get past the animal testing phase of research to be ultimately tried on humans. At this point, many drugs are shown ineffective or to have side effects that were not evident in the animals tested, and the drugs are abandoned. Sometimes, these adverse side effects are discovered only after the drugs have been released on the market to millions of people, allowing you to see more rare responses of people to the drugs.

This means that different people have different responses to drugs, which is why there are long lists of side effects for drugs that different people may experience. If we humans are so different from one another in response to a drug, then how can you expect to predict human response to a drug from the experience on a rat, cat, dog, monkey, or other creature?

And even the concept of “human response” assumes a homogeneity of response in people that doesn’t really exist. We all respond differently to drugs and in unpredictable ways. You can’t really tell if a drug that other people tolerate will be okay for you to take. Knowing that mice tolerate the drug should be of little comfort.

The real “guinea pig”

Why does this method of drug testing on animals go on despite the pitfalls? It’s because nobody wants to be the first human “guinea pig”. Of course, every time you take a drug you are doing an experiment on yourself to see how the drug works in your body. Does it improve your health as you hoped, or will it give you some nasty adverse reaction? This is what the doctor is trying to determine. We are all unique, and no doctor can know how you will respond to drug therapy until you take the drug. However, it’s easier to sell this hit-and-miss medical approach by letting people feel safer knowing that the drug has been tested on other species. Unless you have nothing to lose, nobody wants to be the first to take a new drug. That’s where animals come in. They provide a false sense of security for the first human tests.

Animal testing also allows for unlimited research, which means unlimited funding. So long as there are diseases, like cancer, that strike fear in the hearts of people, there will be animal studies looking into how to treat those diseases in animals. The hope is that these will someday apply to human treatment, but there is no guarantee. Since the application of animal research to humans is uncertain, and is often proven wrong, there is a constant clamor for more drugs and more research. So long as there are animals to use in the labs, there will be funding of more research. If vivisection is the only game in town for discovering the treatment of human disease, then the desire for cures will trump concerns over morality and even efficiency.

Fear sells

When people are feeling desperate for their lives or the lives of loved ones, they abandon civil rules and morality. They become willing to do things they would never otherwise do, like condone animal abuse. They will turn an eye to the suffering of the same types of animals that they have as pets, not realizing that the dog or cat that they rescued from a shelter might have been the subject of some heinous experiment. When our survival instinct is activated, we are  capable of killing anything.

This is why there are so many disease “awareness” campaigns. The purpose is to continually sow fear of disease and death. This taps into our survival instinct, so these research foundations can tap into our purses.

This is also why our medical system is failing in keeping us well. We are focused on disease, not health, and our research focuses on animals, not people. As a result, we have endless anxiety over disease, with only questionable and inefficient solutions offered by a medical system reliant on nonhuman science to solve human health problems.

Humans are cultural animals

The fact is that there is more to the bane of animal research than immorality and poor science. The focus on animals has made us forget something very important about people. It’s that we are not like any other animal in an important way. Unlike animals, we humans have a culture which defines and transforms our biology.

The assumption of animal research is that animals with similar biological systems will act in a similar fashion. For example, all mammals possess mammary glands to feed their offspring. Hence, there are some basic similarities between the mammary glands of rats and bats and moose and baboons. You might even say these are similarities to human breasts, which are clearly mammary glands, too. However, depending on their culture, there is something that women do to their breasts that no animal does. In the case of our culture, women wear bras. Why does that matter? The reason for bras is purely cultural, and for fashion purposes only.

There is no flaw to the design of the human female breast that requires 20th Century lingerie for “support”. Bras are designed to change the shape of the breasts, and this requires constant pressure from the bra on the breasts. This pressure can interfere with the breast circulation, particularly the circulation of the lymphatic system, which is responsible for removing fluid and toxins from the breast tissue. The lymphatics are actually the circulatory pathway of the immune system. Constricting the lymphatics with tight bras causes the breasts to accumulate fluid, resulting in pain and fluid-filled cysts, as the tissue progressively toxifies. Over time, this can lead to cancer.

Essentially, the wearing of constrictive garments around the breast results in changes in breast shape (anatomy) and physiology, and is a leading cause of breast disease. This means that to understand human breast disease you need to know what women are doing to their breasts.

Mice don’t wear bras      

Mice have mammary lymphatics, too. But they don’t feel a need to change their mammary shape to please other mice. You just don’t see mice wearing push-up bras. How can you study human breast disease if you use mice as your research subjects?

People alter other parts of their bodies with clothing, too, such as wearing tight jeans, which cause nerve damage in the legs; tight neckties, which cause increased head pressure by compressing on veins draining the brain; tight belts, which constrict the abdominal organs and interfere with digestion; tight shoes, which deform the feet, misalign posture, and cause skin cancer on the feet. Humans are fascinated with altering the shape and appearance of their bodies, and these alterations are all culturally defined and have health consequences.

Humans are artificial animals

In fact, everything we humans do is culturally defined, and often alters our anatomy and/or physiology. Take the way we eat. We are not feral humans hunting and gathering for our subsistence like monkeys. We humans have created a system of agriculture where we have altered the nature of our food itself, through farming practices and genetic modification. We grow food with chemicals that kill insect pests and fungi. We store food using certain chemicals as preservatives, and prepare food using artificial processes like cooking or microwaving. We extract consumables from certain products that are poisonous in large doses, as when we extract coffee and caffeine from coffee beans. We take drugs that are either extracts from natural substances, such as herbs, or are purely artificial creations from the laboratory. We bleach our hair with toxic chemicals, and rub other toxic chemicals on our skin to look more colorful. We live in artificial environments with heating and cooling systems to keep out the elements, creating an unhealthy internal environment of recirculating air filled with chemicals from our carpets, detergents and cleansers, perfumes, glues, and other sources of chemical contamination. Plastics fill our world, and we drink water polluted with all the plastics we have created. We work at jobs that are stressful and unfulfilling, worried about making a paycheck to continue living the artificial lives we have come to desire. We know that stress kills, but we don’t ask why we are stressed all the time.

The list goes on. From birth to death, our lives are defined by our culture. Even in the womb, the culture is there with ultrasounds and vitamin supplements and drugs and all the cultural stresses and realities that are affecting the mother. We go through life not as animals, but as human beings of a particular culture, at a particular time in the history of that culture.

Clearly, you cannot understand human health or disease without understanding what the culture is making people do to themselves that is altering their nature. We are artificial animals, re-forming the human animal into a cultural form.

Study culture to understand human disease

This means that you cannot understand human disease by looking at animals. It also means that the first thing you should do when you are sick is to ask yourself what you are doing to yourself that is making you sick. The cause is usually in our culture and the attitudes and behaviors it has given you that are harmful to your health.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization, the cause of the majority of disease and deaths in the world are caused by lifestyle. Human disease and death is caused by humans themselves and their culture.

We call diseases caused by the culture “culturogenic disease”. And the way to approach these diseases is to examine how we are living that may be causing the problem and remove the problem to let the body heal. Like other animals, humans have an effective biological system that fights disease and preserves health, if you let it function properly. The problem is that our culture usually gets in the way.

Self studies

For example, when you are looking into the cause of breast cancer, the first thing you should ask is what the culture is doing to the breasts. Women can perform their own “self study” by no longer wearing bras and seeing if their breast health improves. Most women who do this report that their breast pain and cysts disappear, which means that the fluid has finally been able to adequately drain from the breasts once the constriction from the bra ends. Over time, women also report that their breasts lift and tone without a bra, since their natural suspensory ligaments in the breasts regain strength again once the artificial support from the bra ends. This sounds simple enough. Eliminate the cultural source of problems and see what happens. However, when it comes to some cultural issues, such as breasts and bras, it’s not that simple.

Our culture has conditioned women to believing that they need bras, since bras make lots of money for the lingerie industry. Women have come to fear that their breasts may move when they walk, or that their nipples may show through their blouse without the bra. Some women feel extreme discomfort from their bra but feel compelled to wear a bra at work or risk losing their job. As a result, over half the women who wear bras are suffering from breast disease, which is considered “normal” in a bra-using culture.

The fact is that breasts have become fashion accessories as a result of the culture. The bra is a fetish object that sexualizes the breasts. This has obscured the normal function of the breasts, which is to feed babies. In our breast-obsessed culture, breastfeeding is considered taboo in many places, with women needing to hide their breasts while nursing. In many cases, artificial formula has replaced breast milk, depriving the baby not only of natural components of breast milk but also of the social bond created by breastfeeding. Meanwhile, some women pierce their nipples and tattoo their breasts for fashion reasons, or get silicone injected into their breasts to alter their appearance. Some get reduction surgeries instead. Meanwhile, the culture has a thriving pornographic industry that exploits breast obsession.

Clearly, you cannot understand human breasts without understanding the culture. Breasts are not mere biological organs. They are socially re-constructed to alter their anatomy and physiology for fashion reasons. Modeling this in animals is not only ridiculous, but diverts attention from the real cause of the disease, which is the culture. (To read more about the bra-cancer link, see How Bras Cause Lymph Stasis and Breast Cancer, and our book, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras.)

Once you stop looking for the cause of disease in animals and begin looking for the cause of disease in the culture, you will be amazed how much comes to light that has been kept in the dark by antiquated vivisection. For example, in addition to our research into the cause of breast cancer, we have done research into numerous diseases caused by sleep position.

The gravity of sleep

Humans, unlike four-legged animals, spend about 2/3 of their lives standing vertically while awake, and spend 1/3 of their lives lying horizontally while asleep. This change in orientation causes pressure changes in the body as a result of gravity. When the body is lying down, fluid shifts from the legs to the head. When the body is standing, fluid shifts from the head to the legs. This means that when you lie down your brain gets more pressure than when you stand up. How long you are lying down and how low your head is in bed will effect your brain circulation.

This effect of gravity on circulation is well known in space medicine, since there is zero gravity in space and scientists have observed that fluid shifts to the head of astronauts in space, causing various brain, ear, and eye problems.

We have discovered that excessive brain pressure from sleeping too flat for too long daily can cause a host of problems related to excessive pressure in the head, including migraines, glaucoma, sleep apnea, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and more. We asked volunteers to raise the head of their bed about 20-30 degrees to see if this eliminated their migraines, and it worked for over 70% of participants. We then discovered that this works for eye pressure, sinus congestion, baggy eyes, and morning grogginess, all associated with excessive head pressure from sleeping too flat. Elevating the head of the bed also is used for hiatal hernias and brain injuries, and for breathing easier. In fact, the researchers at NASA have discovered that a 30-degree head of bed elevation is optimal for both head and heart circulation.

Unfortunately, space medicine researchers do not communicate with doctors who treat disease. Raising the head of the bed to prevent or treat disease is low cost. There are much more expensive treatments available. Of course, unless you remove the cause, which in this case would be sleeping too flat, you will not cure the disease but will have to take medications for the rest of your life to constantly manage the disease. To read more about the link between sleep position and disease, see the article Heads Up! The Way Your Are Sleeping May Be Killing You and our book, Get It Up!)

And there’s more to sleeping than sleep position. People sleep during the day if their jobs require it, which throws off one’s circadian rhythm and alters hormone release and causes other physiological issues. Then there is the clothing you sleep in, which may be constrictive and which may have toxic chemicals from detergents and fabric softeners. Perfumes from detergents can cause skin and lung irritation and allergies, and yet people are exposed to these smells all night long in their pillow cases, sheets, and pajamas. Is human sleep something you can study in animals? Of course, not.

We could go on to discuss every aspect of human existence and realize that the culture in which we live is defining all of it, even the way we think about it. Most of the time we are oblivious to the obvious, since we take our culture for granted and rarely if ever question why we are dong what we are and what that means to our health.

The placebo effect is a human effect

However, there is one other aspect of being a human that makes us different from other animals and makes animal research inappropriate for understanding human health. We have a very strong mind with very powerful expectations. When we take a drug, for example, our response to the drug depends to a large extent on our expectations. This is called the placebo effect. Drug testing in animals does not account for a placebo effect, since animals have no expectation that the drug will improve their health. For humans, however, drug trials need a placebo for comparison to see the effect of the mind independent of the effect of the drug. The placebo, sometimes just a sugar pill, can be any substance that lacks any medicinal effect but has psychological power. The person taking it does not know that it is merely a placebo and not the drug, but belief in a substance having curative powers can be enough to effect a cure in some people. This is the power of the mind, and something that we cannot replicate in animals.

On the other hand, this mental expectation can have adverse consequences if the person taking the drug believes the drug will not work, and may actually make them sick. This negative placebo effect is called the “nocebo" effect. This means that if you don’t like traditional medicine and its drugs and you expect that taking drugs will harm you, then you are more likely to suffer harm from the drugs.

Faith in medicine

This mental expectation of the placebo and nocebo effect is extremely powerful. This is why people need to believe in their doctor and their drugs and surgeries if they want to get better. Our expectations highly influence how we react to treatments. This means it’s important to believe in whatever therapy you decide to use. Your belief in those treatments are essential for their healing powers.

This also means that it’s important for the medical system to convince patients that their medicines and therapies work. We want to believe in the doctor, too, and elevate the doctor to the status of a near god in order to fully have faith in their abilities. For many people, especially those who have come to rely on medicine to sustain them, their belief in their doctors is essential for their treatment. The more powerful the doctor is in our belief system, the greater his or her powers will seem, and the greater the placebo effect. We need faith in medicine to effect a cure. People who doubt their doctors and the drugs they give are more likely to suffer from adverse side effects from the nocebo effect.

This explains part of the psychology in accepting vivisection. People don’t want to question the methods of their doctors. They want to believe that animal research is the answer to their prayers because they are told it is by researchers and doctors, who are like priests in this sacred profession. When animals are said to be “sacrificed” in the name of science, it reinforces the perceived sanctity of the research and the purity of this pursuit.

People suffering from culture-caused disease, however, need to address their own lifestyles and ask some uncomfortable questions about their choices. They need to examine the assumptions and dogmas of their culture that brainwash people into believing and behaving in self-destructive ways. It means questioning authority and being willing to define your own way. And it means that you awaken to the fact that medicine is a business that makes money when you are sick and not when you are well, and which sees you as analogous to rodents and other animals.

Vivisection cannot continue without our support. We pay for the research through taxes and donations and fees for medical services that use products derived from animal research. We need to begin asking the important questions that can help us prevent disease by eliminating the cultural cause.

Animal research emphasizes treatment over prevention

And this brings us to another aspect of animal research that is antithetical to health. You cannot prevent disease by animal research. It’s all about looking for treatments. The money is on treatment, not prevention, since prevention means you don’t get sick and medicine does not make any money on you. People who are sick and afraid of dying will do anything or pay anything to be cured. That’s where the money is. Even if the cure doesn’t work because it was developed on some other species, it still makes money for the practitioner. Preventing disease, on the other hand, is a personal responsibility. It means you need to stopdoing things that are making you sick, whether it is changing your clothing style, changing the way you sleep, changing your job, changing your relationships, changing the way you eat, or changing the million other things that make up the details of your life that are defined by the culture.

So long as we believe in the pills and the pill pushers, animal research will continue to misdirect our attention from the cause of disease to its treatment. We will continue along the misdirected path of equating culture-defined humans with non-human organisms. The endless search for the treatment of disease will continue so long as we ignore the cultural cause and search for treatments in animal models of human disease.

The good news is that you can stop participating in this medical tragedy by doing some simple “self studies” on yourself. If you stop harming your body with certain cultural practices, you will see your body heal. To know if something is causing you harm, simply stop doing it and see what happens. Your body will know the difference. That’s why we have feelings and a sense of comfort and discomfort. That’s the body’s way of communicating with our minds, giving us feedback on what we are doing to ourselves.

Nature over culture

Our culture discourages people from listening to their feelings. From toilet training onwards, we are trained to suppress our urges and suppress our natural selves. We are supposed to eat when it is time to eat, not when we are hungry. We are supposed to sleep when it’s time to sleep, not when we are sleepy. We are supposed to work when we want to play, and be indoors when we want to be in the sun. We are expected to be born, live and die according to our culture. We are trained to accept the yoke of the culture despite how it feels. No wonder why we have a medical culture steeped in animal research. We are as cruel to ourselves and to one another as we are to animals. How can we be sensitive to the needs of animals when we are not sensitive to our own needs?

We can eliminate the majority of human disease by simply altering our culture. It’s not a dog or your child; it’s the culture or your child. We either change the culture and make it something that respects our natural needs, or we suffer the consequences of living in a culture which makes you sick, and where you are brainwashed into believing that the drugs offered you by the priests of medicine are sanctified by the blood of innocent animals that were sacrificed so that you might live.

Wake up! Take control over your life and change it for the better! Defend the animal within you that wants to, and needs to, live a natural life the way Nature designed you to live. Believe in yourself and your body’s ability to heal. In the end, the prevention and treatment of disease is up to you eliminating the cause of disease.

Human research is the only way to understand humans and their culture-caused diseases. Self studies are the only way to study yourself, eliminating the cause of disease by changing your personal choices and feeling the improvement in your health. As we reduce the burden of disease by improving the culture and our health, animal research will lose its fear-factor appeal, and will fade into the past along with all the other errors and fallacies of mankind and science.