This letter was sent on 4th February to all RSPCA Council members.

So far we have received replies from just three members of the RSPCA Council.

And nothing has happened.

by Dr Vernon Coleman MB ChB DSc

Dear Council Member

I was recently sent an RSPCA Memorandum dated 14th November 2000 and entitled The Sunday People article on Pigs and Mustard Gas which had been circulated to all council members by P.R.Davies, the RSPCA Director General.

The Memorandum contained several sentences which concerned me greatly.

To begin with I was surprised to see the comment on page 1 which reads 'As usual the People article is a distortion of the facts'.

I was surprised by this both because The Sunday People is the RSPCA newspaper of the year and because I have, for many years, written about animal issues in my column. I have been attacked by hunters, vivisectors, farmers and butchers for my views but I have never been found guilty of distorting the facts.

Far more important however are the comments on page 2, in which the author of the Memorandum, writing under the heading 'Is it justified?' remarks that 'This clearly depends on your point of view regarding the use of animals for human benefit...I suspect the justification would be considered to be high in the cost/benefit assessment...'

I wrote to Mr Davies about this report and pointed out that there is now incontrovertible evidence showing that animal experiments are of no value whatsoever to human beings.

Mr Davies wrote back to me saying: 'I note the breadth of your statement 'that animal research has been proven to be of absolutely no value whatsoever to human beings'. The weight of scientific opinion would appear to be against this.'

I then wrote back to Mr Davies pointing out that his assumption is entirely wrong. Here is a direct quote from my letter to him:

'I have debated with vivisectionists who hold the opinion to which you seem to adhere and have always defeated them. The weight of evidence showing that animal experimentation is of no value is utterly convincing. For example, I could give you the names of fifty drugs on the UK market which are known to cause cancer (or other serious disorders) in animals. These drugs are sold for human use because doctors accept that animal experiments are misleading and irrelevant.'

I then asked Mr Davies a simple question: 'What is the source of the 'weight of scientific opinion' upon which you have based your assumption?'

I have received no answer to this question.

I am greatly concerned that the RSPCA should still hold to the view that animal experiments are of value. The medical and scientific evidence proving that animal experiments are worthless is overwhelming and irrefutable. It really is about time that the RSPCA caught up with the facts and pursued an honest and more caring policy.

As a Council Member of the RSPCA you have an opportunity to help make history. How can the RSPCA still support animal experimentation? It really is an anachronism bordering on a disgrace.

Vivisectors and vivisectionists who claim that animal experiments are of value are, in my view, very poor scientists. I used to debate with vivisectionists. But no more. Why? They refuse to debate this issue with me because they always lose.

Let me remind you of two very simple things:

1. I can name over 50 drugs which are currently on the market in the UK and which cause cancer (and/or other serious diseases) when given to animals. The drug companies who make these drugs and the doctors who prescribe them will all argue that animal experiments are irrelevant (and can be ignored) because animals are different to people. If animal experiments are of value why are these drugs on the market?
2. Even the most optimistic and aggressive vivisectionist will not claim that more than 10-20% of animal experiments are of value. When pushed they will admit that most animal experiments are misleading and worthless. But even if it were true that 10-20% of experiments were of value there is a simple flaw here: how do you know which vivisection experiments are of value and which are misleading? The answer, of course, is that no one does know. And if you don't know which experiments are of value, and which are dangerously misleading, then all the experiments done on animals must be worthless. Think about it: if you are given 100 pieces of information and told that 80 pieces of information are wrong - but you aren't told which 20 are right, how can you possibly trust any of the information you are given?

I suggest to you that it is now time for the RSPCA to abandon its fence sitting - and to come down against all animal experiments. Staff members who do not accept the truth that animal experiments are worthless should be asked to leave. And the RSPCA should campaign against all vivisection.

All the scientific evidence you can possibly need is available in my books Why Animal Experiments Must Stop, Animal Rights Human Wrongs, Fighting for Animals and Betrayal of Trust which are available for free downloading on my website . You can also find clear evidence supporting my viewpoint on  (another of my own websites).

I look forward to hearing from Mr Davies that the RSPCA Council has decided that the RSPCA should in future be entirely opposed to animal experimentation. This is something the RSPCA is going to have to do sooner or later. Why not make it sooner? If you aren't against vivisection then you must be for it. You can go down in history as the RSPCA Council who recognised and stood up for the truth.

Because I believe that this issue is of enormous public interest I will, in due course, place this letter on my websites (and summarise it in my column).

Yours sincerely

Vernon Coleman