Letter to the Editor: Mar. 4

Dear Editor,
 
Queen’s University now posts the number of animals they use in research, which is commendable but they don’t list the species. The primates referred to in the article, “The curtain on animal research at Queen’s lifts an inch” are likely in the category “Large Mammals”.  This approach hides which species i.e. cats, dogs and primates are being experimented on. 
 
Queen’s also experiments on dogs. We know this because of the 2017 Journal article entitled, “Fighting for transparency with Queen’s haemophiliac dog colony” about “a research colony of schnauzers, spaniels and beagles carrying the sex-linked gene for haemophilia”. We don’t know if they’re stray pet dogs or “purpose bred” dogs. From Ontario’s Animals for Research Act (Act) we know that over 4,700 stray pet dogs and cats are reported in Ontario laboratories each year. If you lost your dog or cat it may have ended up in a laboratory. Note that the species are listed in this government report. But, no one is allowed to know where the researchers take the stray pet dogs and cats from or what happens to them in laboratories. This information is kept secret by both the Act and the research industry organization, the Canadian Council on Animal Care. When you’re doing things to animals that people don’t support you need to keep it a secret.
 
Queen’s should be part of the movement to truly advance science for humans. As Charu Chandrasekera stated in the Journal article, “Ninety-five per cent of drugs tested—and found to be safe and effective in animals—fail in human clinical trials,” And, of the five per cent that make it to the market, another 50 per cent per cent are withdrawn or receive black-box warnings. It’s time for change.
 
Sincerely,
Ainslie Willock
Animal Alliance of Canada

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