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Only humans naturally develop coronary artery disease, yet millions of animals suffer through painful experiments in the search for a cure. Dogs, rats, hamsters, and other animals are locked into laboratory cages and artificially manipulated to exhibit human symptoms of heart disease.

These animals endure:

  • genetic alterations;

  • manipulated diets;

  • manipulation and invasive monitoring of their metabolisms;

  • injections with vitamins, lipoproteins, drugs, and many other
    substances, in concentrated and high doses;

  • experimental surgeries on components of their cardiovascular system;

  • experimental transplantation of organs

Rabbits are commonly used in cardiovascular experiments, in spite of the fact that rabbits do not naturally develop heart disease. Researchers force their arteries to clog, which does eventually lead to plaque build-up in the thoracic aorta and aortic arch. In humans, however, plaque builds up in the coronary arteries. Rabbits’ artificial plaques do not break away as humans’ do--the process leading to heart attacks. Guinea pigs and mice respond similarly to rabbits.


Mice have been fed high-cholesterol diets in attempts to induce atherosclerosis. But unlike in humans, this result was not seen.2


Diabetic humans are predisposed to coronary artery disease, so rabbits were induced with diabetes and then fed high cholesterol diets. They actually developed less coronary artery disease.


Mice have been genetically engineered to acquire coronary artery disease. This is scientifically useless, since they still don’t succumb to heart attacks, a common result in humans.


Humans need less oxygen when there is a drop in body temperature, seeming to suggest the usefulness of hypothermia in heart surgery. When this idea was tested with dogs, most died, because dogs actually need more oxygen when their body temperature drops. The first human heart operation utilizing hypothermia proved successful.


Heart transplants are often cited by animal research advocates as a major success of vivisection--as the procedure was first tried on dogs. However, in a June 1, 2006 letter printed in The Guardian newspaper, Colleen McDuling, a member of the team that performed the world's first heart transplant states:


"Louis Washkansky, the world's first heart transplant patient, died from lung infection after only 19 days because of an overdose of anti-rejection drugs, whose calculation was based on animal data obtained from dog experiments."


She continues, discussing conversations with the team's leading surgeon, Christiaan Barnard:


"What really surprised me was Barnard's admission to me in 1985 that animal experiments cannot teach us all we need to know - and that whatever we discover through animal experiments we must re-discover in humans. Using animals in research represents unsafe science because one cannot safely apply data obtained from them to humans." 1

1. Colleen McDuling, "Animal Testing is Not the Answer," The Guardian (1 June 2006).

2. M.H. Moghadasian, et al., Lab Investigation 81(9) (2001): 1173.