Sir Paul McCartney: "Animal Tests Are Unreliable and Cruel"

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In an exclusive interview with PETA, Sir Paul McCartney sounds off on vivisection.

Just after firing off a letter urging Arizona Governor Janet Neapolitano to block Covance from building a new animal-test laboratory there, Sir Paul McCartney sat down with PETA's Dan Mathews over tea and soy milk last week in London to talk about the waste and cruelty of experimenting on animals.

Sir Paul actively supports PETA's fight against experiments on animals. Years ago, he signed on to our successful campaigns to stop General Motors from pummeling pigs and baboons in outdated crash tests and to persuade Gillette to stop poisoning and burning animals with chemicals. Since then, PETA's list of companies that have permanently banned tests on animals has grown from a few dozen to more than 550, and we continue to pressure chemical and consumer products companies through protests and shareholder resolutions. In a recent breakthrough, DuPont agreed to work with PETA to develop an animal welfare policy and reduce the number of animals it uses.

"[T]he sooner we consumers demand change from cruel companies, the better off we'll all be," Sir Paul said, adding that consumers also have the power to influence health charities that fund cruel, wasteful animal studies.

"Sometimes people place too much faith in people in white lab coats and assume that there's a need for animal testing just because it has been going on for so long," he said. "I believe this to be a holdover from the dark age of medical science, and more enlightened scientists nowadays believe they can get more reliable results with more modern methods."

After the death of his first wife, Linda, from cancer, Sir Paul realized - as many researchers did - that animals aren't good models for people. Thirty years after President Nixon declared the "War on Cancer" in 1971, audits from almost every media outlet showed that the most progress came from prevention and early detection rather than from animal experiments, which, sadly, were where the bulk of billions of dollars were spent.

"Vivisection has long been presented as a solution to health problems, but trying to mimic human diseases in animals is a costly, cruel diversion," he said. "If the amount of money poured into animal experimentation was spent instead on prevention, we'd have much better results to show."

Donations from Sir Paul to cancer charities come with the stipulation that no animal studies be funded with his gift. At least two cancer charities, the Garland Appeal and The Cancer Project, don't waste a dime on animal studies, choosing instead to put their resources into more effective and more humane treatments and cures. PETA has helped companies and health charities eliminate their use of animals by funding the development of non-animal tests.

When asked about the government's role in promoting non-animal tests, Sir Paul was clear. "I wish that the government would step into the 21st century and recognize that animal tests are unreliable and cruel," he said. "I call upon the governments to validate the more modern non-animal tests and move away from torturing our fellow creatures."

We couldn't agree more. The U.S. government is now sponsoring several massive animal test programs that will mean misery and death for millions of animals. Working with scientists from around the globe, PETA is pushing for non-animal test methods instead and has already convinced some agencies to eliminate some animal tests.

Please join Sir Paul and PETA in our work to replace animal laboratories with cutting-edge research facilities that focus on saving lives, not ending them. Learn more today.

Sir Paul McCartney



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