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Petition demands no animal research at new St. Paul’s Hospital

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Plans for the new St. Paul’s Hospital shouldn’t include animal research, says an advocacy group with an online petition that’s gaining traction.

Organized by the Animal Defense and Anti-Vivisection Society (ADAV), the petition calling for an end to animal research has almost reached 30,000 signatures as of Friday morning. With a new building in the works, the animal rights group wants alternative research methods to be used instead of subjecting animals to “broken bones or strokes, swim tests in icy water, forced to inhale smoke,” reads the petition.

Laura-Leah Shaw, president for ADAV, argues St. Paul’s should know this type of research doesn’t work.

“Well, the polio vaccine was delayed for decades because it didn’t work on monkeys. Bypass surgery was delayed for years for heart because it didn’t work on dogs,” she says. “They can’t represent the reaction that humans will have because they’re not human. It’s bad science.”

Shaw says St. Paul’s partners with UBC to do the research, but can’t say how often it’s being done.

She claims that roughly 92 per cent of drugs that are developed and work on animals, don’t work on humans and never end up making it to the market.

Shaw points to the University of Windsor as an example, saying it does all its research without the use of animals.

“We encourage St. Paul’s to work towards the future and not build for the past,” Shaw adds.

Construction on the new hospital is expected to start next year, a few blocks northeast of Science World.

The petition is geared towards the provincial government.

-with files from Jonathan Szekeres

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