Customer Reviews: Sacred Cows and Golden Geese: The Human Cost of Experiments on Animals
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on May 25, 2016
No book does a better job of explaining why we do not have to choose between protecting animals and humans. The husband and wife team, a medical doctor and veterinarian, make clear that not only have people been killed, but many opportunities to save people have surely been missed, due to the reliance animal testing. They show us that drugs have different effects on the cells and systems of members of different species, and they explain better ways to test. This is an engrossing and important read.
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on July 4, 2014
This is a must read for anyone who wants to know the truth about why medication tested on animals doesn't work. Drs Greek and Greek, with this magnum opus, say it like it is.
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on April 11, 2013
This book was filled with so much in-depth historical information and hundreds of clear and concise examples that show why we shouldn't be using animals for research. It will help/enlighten people who aren't informed/familiar about/with scientific or medical subjects, etc. I enjoyed the book thoroughly, and, as an animal rights advocate, I am much more confident about discussing this issue with ANYONE.

It is very fascinating and it will inspire (to action)!!
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on July 13, 2011
Not only do they pack a lot of information into this book, making it a very dense read, but they also invite their readers to access all of the sources in the bibliography, including those that are well established and pro-vivisection; thus making their information as transparent as possible. They treat the reader with the intelligence to stand back and look for themselves for the truth.

They give a wealth of examples for many of the major discoveries and treatments that have been credited to animal testing, demonstrating that animal testing played an unnecessary, sideline part in discovery, if not dangerous to the development of that knowledge.

The scientific establishment can often be heard calling for hard facts and no sentimentality over animals - and this book answers that call.
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on May 24, 2007
This is a well written and very readable book. It is, however, based on a seriously flawed premise which will become obvious to the discerning reader.

Their premise is that all medical research and testing that utilizes animals is totally useless as applied to humans, is immoral as it mistreats the animals, and wastes incredible sums of taxpayer funds that could be used for "real" research.

Since I have neither a medical nor scientific background I am not qualified to evaluate claims made by the Greeks as to the inappropriateness of specific tests or procedures. I will leave the scientific exposure of their statements and conclusions to those qualified in these fields. It is my understanding that just such a scholarly rebuttal is currently in the works.

I am, however, reasonably qualified, as are many millions of readers, in recognizing a "con" wherein we are supposed to believe that there is a huge conspiracy consisting of many thousands of professionals, doctors, scientists, graduate students and suppliers to the research industry, our neighbors, friends and relatives, that is lying to us about the effectiveness of animal research just to make a quick buck.

If we follow the principle of "Occam's Razor", paraphrased as "All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one", it is far more likely that the spinning of the facts here for a quick buck is by the authors.
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on September 9, 2005
This book is an excellent overview of the history of (the failures of) animal expiriments. I would recommend it to lawmakers, politicians, teachers and students, and ... well everyone in general. It gives concrete examples and all in terms that do not require medical or biological background yet well documented for those who wish to verify the sources.

It does not appeal to our emotions (no horrifying pictures, nor stories of the suffering inflicted on animals) but rationally clarifies and exposes the uselessness of experiments on animals (unless we are trying to find a cure for cancer for rats).

I would summarize their concept thus: "Experimenting on animals to understand humans is like having race car technicians study bicycles to understand race cars."
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on December 26, 2004
This book is not the easiest read, but it does methodically reveal both the faulty logic in play as well as the very powerful economic motives that really drive medical research. I recommend this to anyone considering donating money to any charity or organization for the purposes of "finding a cure" for any disease. Our tax dollars are mostly funding useless ego-enhancing science projects for which many animals are being tortured and killed. Whether you care about animal suffering or care more about where your tax dollars go, you will find reason to question the status quo in this book.
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on October 18, 2003
The Greeks believe computer models and in-vitro work with isolated cells can solve our health problems. Perhaps they are right. But then, I suggest they hit the Lab and show this line of research is feasible. If they can do so, GREAT! I am pretty sure they will then get the attention of Washington to shift funding to such models. Until then, let Science work of us and wait patiently for the Greeks to cure cancer on their PC, or by drawing on the back of their napkin.
Regarding their qualifications: I quick search on [...] shows that "Anesthesiologist Ray Greek and veterinarian Jean Swingle Greek" (as they present their credentials) have produced a total of 0 (yes, that's a ZERO) pieces of research and 8 opinion letters sent to various scientific journals arguing against animal research.
It seems weird that someone without any research experience can write such a book...
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on July 13, 2003
This book stands virtually alone as a well-reasoned defense against vivisection (a.k.a. animal research). The authors make no appeals to emotion. They do not deny that animal research is sometimes cruel. However, compassion and cruelty have nothing to do with their argument.
Greek and Greek-a medical doctor/ veterinary team-argue that animal research hurts people. They point out the countless ways in which animals differ from humans. Veterinarians know that, although the same drugs are used in multiple species, these drugs behave differently and achieve different results in different kinds of animals. Mammals are alike only on the level of gross anatomy. Biochemically, even rats and mice differ enormously, to say nothing of humans and mice.
Tracing the history of western medicine, Greek and Greek show how animal models for disease became part of the expected protocol. They show how these models have hindered doctors and scientists far more than they have helped. They point out that nearly all major breakthroughs in medicine have been initiated not by study in animal models, but by autopsy and clinical studies. Careful observation of human beings by doctors and caretakers has, time and again, led to medical breakthroughs which are later "confirmed" or "substantiated" by animals research. The vivisectionists then claim the laurels for these discoveries when the animals were, in fact, superfluous. Greek and Greek also point out the tremendous harm that animal models have caused. Such models lead to a sense of false confidence that drugs will not be harmful or that the risk is low. In fact, the recall rate for drugs is 50%. Fifty percent have adverse, unexpected side affects after they are loosed on a population that has trusted in animal models. 50% is the toss of a coin! Millions upon millions of dollars are poured into animal tests yearly.
In addition, animal models have slowed the recall of harmful drugs. Thalidomide is one of many examples. This drug causes hideous birth defects in humans, but no birth defects in rats, mice, most rabbits, guinea pigs, and other animals. Doctors realized that the drug was causing birth defects and warned the company, but thalidomide could not be recalled until an animal model was found in which the drug caused birth defects! So thalidomide remained on the market, causing children to be born with flippers, until an obscure species of rabbit was found who also produced deformed kits when given the drug. Only then could thalidomide be recalled!
Greek and Greek show how the idea of the animal model is based on greed and bureaucracy, not good science. They explain that, while scientists of the past were primarily wealthy people doing a hobby they enjoyed, today's scientists are required to continually produce statistically significant results in order to keep their jobs. Just to graduate with a PhD requires a candidate to perform meaningful research. Under these conditions, the temptation to reach for something quick, easy, and difficult-to-disprove are enormous. Rats and mice fit the bill. They breed rapidly, are easy to house, and it takes a long time to show that the result of research in rats does not actually have any useful application for human beings. Clinical students in human beings, on the other hand, can take decades. In addition, human beings are far less corporative than rats, and there are limits to what you can legally do to them and what they will allow you to do. The catch, of course, is that clinical studies in human beings actually produce useful results, whereas animal models very often lead nowhere. Yet university professors anxious to keep their jobs and young students desperate to get their degrees continue to reach again and again for cheap and easy research models. In addition, huge companies manufacture expensive equipment for miniature surgeries on rats, dogs, cats, birds, mice, monkeys, goats, guinea pigs, rats, and all manner of other beasts. These creatures require all manner of housing, some of it vary expensive, and human-type surgeries on them require very specialized and expensive instruments. Animal models are a multimillion dollar industry.
With today's technology, even many clinical studies could be circumvented by using invetro methods. Human cells can be cultivated on a Petri dish or in a test tube and then exposed to various drugs. There is no reason to keep using the clumsy and inaccurate barometer of four-legged creatures.
Greek and Greek fill much of their book with one example after another. Their research is superb. I began the book as a skeptic and ended it as a believer. I have a degree in biology, and I could find nothing wrong with their research. I passed the book on to one of my college biology professors. He was impressed and decided to start including the material in his ethics course.
Whether you are a member of the medical community or merely a consumer, I strongly recommend this book. Whether you agree with all of the Greeks' conclusions or not, they certainly make some valid points and have taken pains with their research. Read the book.
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on May 22, 2003
After reading this book, I was horrified to learn just how wasteful and archaic live animal research is. I also began to realize just how ridiculously illogical it is. What is the value of using a mouse or monkey model for medical research when it is *humans* that the research is supposed to be benefit?
This also makes great reading because as, one reviewer already put it, it doesn't tackle the ethics of animal research or at least not in the way most would expect it to. There is no room for the reader to whine "I hate that little bunnies are killed but how are we going to cure caaaanncer?". The Greeks deftly show that no, animal research will not cure cancer, at least for humans.
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