Tag Archives: Animal rights

Marten Kats – candidate for South Derbyshire

Marten Kats – candidate for South Derbyshire

I’m 36 years old, male and was born in The Netherlands. I’ve been living in Derbyshire for many years now and made it my home. I want to be able to stand up for the area in Parliament, which is why I’ve put myself forward as a Parliamentary Candidate. I work in export finance and outside of work I’ve been involved in various local organisations, like Derby Stand Up To Racism and Derby Animal Rights. I’m an active local campaigner on issues I care about, such as animal rights, racism, environment, fracking, the NHS and education.

Email Marten: marten.kats@greenparty.org.uk

Advertisements

Want to Live Longer? Don’t Ask a Mouse

Laboratory RatThe leading causes of death have changed markedly over the years. A century ago, infections were the leading causes of death. Today, we will probably survive much longer than our ancestors but it is more likely we will die of age-related diseases like mobility problems, arthritis and Alzheimer’s or other chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer or stroke. What is evident is that different factors in our individual genetics and lifestyles are coming together to shape the ultimate cause of each of our deaths more than ever before.

Just like the causes of death have progressed so too must our approach to their research and treatment. We need to question the continuous use of traditional research models that are unable to reflect today’s complex, chronic and individually unique diseases. Instead, we should exploit the latest scientific alternatives that are far more representative of modern diseases and take a more personalised approach to medicine; one that recognises that disease risk and response to treatments vary greatly from person to person.

Take identical twins, you can’t get much more similar than that. They develop from a single fertilized egg which means they have the same genes. And yet, despite their identical gene set, if they were both to grow up and develop breast cancer, say, it is quite probable that they will each have a different type of breast cancer that responds to a different class of drugs. This illustrates the influence of factors other than genes in our environments that are involved in disease progression.

So if differences in disease between genetically identical twins can be so profound then it is understandable that they are even more diverse between individuals of the same species but who have different genomes. Imagine, then, the differences with other species with whom we share even less genetics, biochemistry and lifestyle. Results from animal models have always been unreliable when transferred to humans, but they are simply unable to mimic the multitude of factors that influence us over an entire human lifetime to culminate in the kinds of diseases we are dying of today.

In 2010 the Coalition Government promised to reduce the number of animals used in medical research. It has broken that promise five consecutive times as numbers of animals used each year has consistently increased. This highlights not only another five broken promises of this untrustworthy Government but it prolongs the suffering of people waiting for effective treatments and it subjects millions of animals to pain and death unnecessarily. Any Government must have the courage to honor the obligations of researchers to scientific integrity, fulfill their responsibilities to the public who fund their endeavours and, above all, remember the hapless patients and families.

On World Day for Animals in Laboratories on Saturday 25th April, please bear in mind that the forthcoming general election presents parties with the opportunity to turn the hopes of our patients into reality by committing to modern, more personalised human-relevant research that can offer answers to the big health killers of today.

The political systems of the other parties all prop up the gratuitous institutionalised violence of animal research; giving them your vote is giving the thumbs up to continue. But just like there are alternatives to animal models, no matter what the people who govern will have you believe, so too is there an alternative system that makes the current one obsolete:

  • It’s a system that stands up for the common good which includes other species too.
  • It’s a system that realises that animals have an intrinsic value of their own and their purpose on this planet is not all about human satisfaction.
  • It’s a system of common sense that recognises that the answer to our longevity doesn’t lie in a mouse.
  • It’s a system that recognises that animal experiments are unreliable and dangerously misleading for patients because non human species are different from us and they don’t get the same diseases as we do or respond to drugs in the same way.

This system is the Green Party’s system and, unlike other parties, our policies are based upon evidence and come with scientific backing. As far as medical research goes, we will fulfill patient hopes by ensuring that research funding is directed away from failing animal disease models and towards modern human specific techniques which offer greater opportunities to cure our killer diseases and improve drug safety.

We will achieve this with a step by step strategy that phases out animals alongside increased funding for modern non animal alternatives and updated regulations to see their quicker development, validation and approval. It’s a system that works for people, animals and the environment in recognition of the connection between all three. Now, isn’t that a system worth voting for in May?

Victoria Martindale
Green Activist

Animals at war by Jane Reynolds

A bronze packhorse at the London ‘animals at war’ memorial

On remembrance Sunday, Derbyshire green party chairwoman Sue Ledger and I visited the Animals in War memorial on Park Lane, London. It’s an impressive monument – a curved stone wall with images of various animals, along with two heavily laden bronze mules progressing up the stairs of the monument, and a bronze horse and dog beyond it looking into the distance. It bears several inscriptions, but the one that  struck straight to the heart for both of us was “They had no choice”. A more fitting statement also for many of those humans who lost their lives to war than the words inscribed on the Cenotaph – “The Glorious Dead.” Other inscriptions on the memorial are less clear about the exploitation of animals for war – an exploitation that continues today as dogs and dolphins are trained to detect mines. On the far side of the monument we read that animals “played a vital role in every region of the world in the cause of human freedom”.
We arrived at the monument at 10.30 and It was a moving experience to join with others in remembering these victims of war who are not so much forgotten as simply disregarded. The general direction of the service, however, was a romanticised vision of animal heroism rather than a reflection on the suffering of these animals and the morality of forcing them into wars that for the most part have little to do with human freedom, and certainly have nothing to do with animal freedom.
Perhaps it is natural to search for something positive in the face of loss and suffering, but war must not be seen as glorious either for humans or animals. To quote Harry Patch, last surviving veteran of World War I, who died in 2009, “War is organised murder and nothing else”.

Remembrance day is important and should be marked as a time of mourning for all those who have died in wars, not because they were heroes but because they were living beings whose lives were cut short. It should also be a time for regret and shame that we continue to consider war and preparation for war as acceptable.

Sue at the memorial 11/11/2012

For all humans and animals who have died, or are dying in wars.
For all those who have died or are dying because resources to feed or house them have gone to war preparations.
For all those who will die until we learn to live in peace.

[Jane Reynolds is a technical author and lives in Stuttgart.]