April 1981. Amand Jammot, famous producer Screen Folders at Antenne 2 offered me to make a film on what is commonly called “vivisection”. The idea seems exciting to me. investigate the way Investigating money for a good cause is an invaluable opportunity. Except that at that time, the technical methods were not perfect. There is no camera the size of a jacket button to conduct “hidden interviews”, no shotgun microphone that allows us to learn from afar, no drone yet… So we must go forward with our eyes uncovered face Despite this handicap, the images we returned were unbearable. The laboratory animal christened “biological material” appeared in his terrible daily life. I was insulted, even more, because so many fake images hurt people’s consciences. My meeting with the neurophysiologist José Delgado was particularly questioned. A pioneer in the field of brain implants, it has an important laboratory in Madrid. When I go with him, he invites me to see his exploits. A 1963 film showed him in an arena in Cordoba. A bull, its skull full of electrodes, prepares to charge the scientist who, using a remote control, stops the animal in its tracks. Professor Delgado took me to his pet store. Magical, little monkeys from North Africa, belted in seats looked at us. By playing with his remote control, the scientist makes his guinea pigs raise an arm or a leg with obvious pleasure. Later, he invited the rats to fight or move away. Elsewhere, they are monkeys whose mouths are deformed by the amount of cigarettes they have to smoke under duress from researchers. And then there are the live pigs thrown against the wall to test seat belts.
After seeing the film, Professor Jean Bernard, member of the French Academy, specialist in hematology and oncology, warned me: “If you release this film, you will have children’s deaths on your conscience because the public will refuse to help with research”. “Autopsy of a Sacrifice” was broadcast and experimental methods were immediately taken to include some scientific conscience.
All this long opening to say how much I thought the worst page in the end. However, recently, reading an article published in The worldI learned that from Harvard experiments with macaques “provoke anger”. The prestigious American scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows, in fact, that Harvard University is engaged in incredible experiments. On the menu, macaques with eyelids stitched together for a year help raise awareness about blindness. Another laboratory thought it would be interesting to separate women from their babies just after birth by recovering from the disease with fluff. Purpose, to appreciate the bonds of attachment. Results collected by Doctor Livingstone: “Frustrated women attach themselves to soft stuffed animals rather than hard ones”. That’s why science has taken a huge step forward! The publication of these articles, of course, angered the associations but also the scientists who, in reaction, 250 criticized these experiments through a petition requesting the removal of the article. Closer to home, British primatologist Catherine Hobaiter concludes: “This article celebrates and dedicates obsolete methods”. So, what I believe in other ages remains a subject.
To find out more, I turned to the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, which has the obligation to publish statistics on animal experimentation every year. However, unless I’m mistaken, the most recent data dates back to 2020. There seems to be no control as it has been said “investigation (what survey?) is based on data sent by all establishments that use animals for scientific purposes.. Without doubting their integrity, therefore the laboratories themselves examine the use of the animal. Furthermore, it is specified that an animal is counted several times if it is involved in several procedures. However, the ministry is pleased, the total number of animals is decreasing. It reached 1,643,787 uses, compared to 1,865,403 in 2019 and 1,910,519 in 2018. This decrease is partly explained by Covid-19 which led to the suspension of many activities. However, mice were the most sacrificed (63%), followed by rats, rabbits, fish and chickens. Among the primates, which made up 0.24% of the items, macaques paid the heaviest price. Last precision, there are several types of methods classified according to their violence. We assure, “light seriousness” is the most with 80%. The “severe” concerns about 14% and the “no wake” procedures, 6.4%.
Beyond the grim balance, the question of the future brings the danger of the “chimera embryo”. Christine Laupie-Koechlin, general secretary of the scientific committee “Pro Anima”, has the category: “In other words, it’s about combining human cells with an animal embryo. So we cross the species barrier when there are alternative solutions, it’s unthinkable! » However, according to the commission, the future should be to eliminate sacrificed animals. Its directive 2010/63/EU sets as the ultimate goal the total replacement of animal experimentation. It remains to be seen when… •