In this audio segment, Dr. Spiegel criticizes a research study which was published in a US based medical journal, in which eye muscle surgery on rabbits was performed. Since the paper’s authors wrote that the results could not be generalized to human eyes, Spiegel and colleagues penned a letter to the editor of the publication, explaining the research consisted of unnecessary vivisection. This led to two letters defending the paper, both of which we found unpersuasive. I invite you to listen and comment. The references are below. Please excuse the sound quality of this piece, as it originally broadcast on am radio. Below is our letter to the editor, published in April 2012:
To the Editor: We were disturbed by the last paragraph of “Globe perforation during strabismus surgery in an animal model: Treatment versus observation,” by Bagheri and colleagues.1 It stated, “Due to anatomical differences between human and rabbit eyes, we cannot generalize the results of this study to human subjects.” We ask, if not to help humans, then what was the point of the study? Rabbits do not need strabismus surgery, so understanding complications caused by eye surgery offers them no benefit. If the results could not be generalized to humans upon conclusion of the study, what was proposed at the onset of the research? Was proper review by the committee(s) responsible for monitoring the use of animals in experiments made with the knowledge that the conclusions would not have relevance to humans?
It seems to us that the use of the term animal model, which really means animal model of human disease, seems inappropriate in this instance. We are physicians and advocates for animals. We oppose unneeded vivisection, and this study is exactly that.
Lori Kirshner, MD, Peter Spiegel, MD and Lawrence A. Hansen, MD
Link to this letter:
Bagheri, A., Erfanian-Salim, R., Ahmadieh, H., Nourinia, R., Safarian, O., and Yazdani, S. Globe perforation during strabismus surgery in an animal model: Treatment versus observation. J AAPOS. 2011; 15: 144–147
Photo credit: All-creatures.