Animal Experimentation

Robert W. Blair, M.D.
JAMA. 1962;182(6):700. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050450100024.
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To the Editor:—  A recent article in The Journal (180:671 [May 26] 1962) reports the results of what is to me an incredible experiment. Radioactive cobalt was applied in fatal dosage to the heads of 24 burros, and the animals were then observed during a protracted interval, until they finally died in agony.I have done a considerable amount of animal surgery and experimentation and I am certainly not averse to any bona fide research use of any animals, including humans, so long as proper anesthesia is utilized and a definite educational or investigatory purpose is served. The case in point does not answer these requirements. The use of 2 dozen animals is preposterous; the same meager information could have been obtained with a fraction of this number. Further, there was no reason for allowing the excruciating distress which must have been experienced; proper anesthesia could have been used.


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