Neurologist and author of Animals and Public Health: Why Treating Animals Better Is Critical to Human Welfare
Con to the question "Should Animals Be Used for Scientific or Commercial Testing?"
"Regardless of any role animal experiments may have played in the past, the mounting evidence shows that using animals today is largely ineffective in helping us understand human physiology, predict human toxins and find useful drugs. Despite some similarities between humans and non-human animals, medicine now deals with the subtle nuances of physiological mechanisms and genetics that are unique to humans. While animals may be 'whole models,' they are the wrong whole models because of inter-species differences.
Failures of animal experiments have led to human harm. Moreover, misleading animal experiments may have caused the abandonment of effective drugs and cures. One can’t help wonder: how many people would have been saved if we used more effective human-based testing methods?
Animal experimentation is a relic of the past. Instead of wasting time, human and animal lives, and our tax dollars on misleading animal experiments, we must devote our resources into finding and using sophisticated human-based tests that mimic the whole human body. Our lives depend on this."
Email to ProCon.org, Oct. 21, 2013
[Editor's Note: Dr. Akhtar has asked and we have agreed to add her clarifying statement: "The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the US Government or the FDA."]
Experts Individuals with PhDs, MDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to animal testing issues. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to animal testing issues.
Involvement and Affiliations:
Board certified neurologist and preventive medicine physician
Medical Officer, Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
LCDR (Lieutenant Commander), US Public Health Service
Co-Chair, FDA-Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Medical Countermeasure Surveillance Action Team
Co-Chair, Pediatric and Maternal Public Health and Security Action Team (PHSAT)
Member, Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) Pediatric and Obstetrics Integrated Program Team (IPT)
Member, Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) Chemical Integrated Program Team (IPT)
Fellow, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics
Contributor, Huffington Post
Former Research Advisor, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
General medicine internship completed at Washington Hospital Center
Neurology and preventive medicine residencies completed at University of North Carolina Medical School
Appeared on TV program 30 Days (FX)
MD, Eastern Virginia Medical School MPH, Bioethics, University of North Carolina School of Public Health
"Why Animal Experimentation Doesn't Work -- Reason 2: Animals Don't Get Human Diseases," huffingtonpost.com, Aug. 27, 2013
"Why Animal Experimentation Doesn't Work -- Reason 1: Stressed Animals Yield Poor Data," huffingtonpost.com, July 31, 2013
"Want to Improve Medical Research? Cut Out the Animals!," huffingtonpost.com, July 11, 2013
"We Are Not Safe from Bird Flu as Long as Factory Farms Exist," huffingtonpost.com, Mar. 4, 2013
"The Need to Include Animal Protection in Public Health Policies," Journal of Public Health Policy, 2013
Animals and Public Health: Why Treating Animals Better is Critical to Human Welfare, 2012
Cowritten with Sean T. O'Leary, et al., "The Risk of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura After Vaccination in Children and Adolescents," Pediatrics, 2012
Cowritten with Daniel A. Salmon, et al., "Immunization-Safety Monitoring Systems for the 2009 H1N1 Monovalent Influenza Vaccination Program," Pediatrics, 2011
Cowritten with Steven Black, et al., "Importance of Background Rates of Disease in Assessment of Vaccine Safety During Mass Immunisation with Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Vaccines," The Lancet, Dec. 19, 2009
Cowritten with Michael Greger, et al. "Health Professionals' Roles in Animal Agriculture, Climate Change, and Human Health," American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Feb. 2009
Cowritten with J.J. Pippin and C.B. Sandusky, "Animal Studies in Spinal Cord Injury: A Systematic Review of Methylprednisolone," Alternatives to Laboratory Animals (ATLA), 2009
Cowritten with J.J. Pippin and C.B. Sandusky, "Animal Models in Spinal Cord Injury: A Review," Reviews in the Neurosciences, Apr. 2008