Antidote Europe (AE): At what point in your medical training did you begin to question the value of animal models with respect to human medicine?
Eva Katharina Kühner (EKK): I have always felt uncomfortable knowing that animal experiments are performed to test industrial chemicals and to develop pharmaceutical drugs. At the beginning of my medical training I knew nearly nothing about animal experiments. I thought that they were almost non- existent because of modern and new test methods that would have replaced them.
Later on, while searching for a topic for my doctoral thesis, I was confronted with more animal experiments because many of my friends and colleagues had to do such experiments for their doctoral thesis. At this point I decided that I would never advocate this system or even support it.
After I finished my studies I had more time to consider animal experiments and their consequences and so I decided to join Doctors Against Animal Experiments a non-profit organization I found on the internet. I have since been an active member I have learned more and more about animal experiments and why they are so harmful for biomedical research and for human health.
The scientific fallacy of animal experiment was completely revealed to me once I started to work professionally for Doctors Against Animal Experiments.
AE: What are your current views on animal experiments?
EKK: In my opinion animal experiments are senseless and an invalid scientific method. All animal experiments should be forbidden immediately and there is a need for a change in the whole scientific research system. A change in thinking has to be achieved to be able to revolutionize the scientific world in order to be able to obtain relevant, valid and reliable results. Research using animal experiments is obsolete.
AE: If you were Minister of Health today, what would your priorities be to improve the health of the nation?
EKK: My priorities would be to improve the health of the nation by changing nutritional patterns and encouraging people to enjoy sporting activities and to stop smoking. I would also promote a vegan diet and try to focus on the benefits of plant-based nutrition. People should be aware of the problems they cause to themselves because of their eating habits. I would try to achieve a change in mentality and a sense of responsibility. This would help to prevent a lot of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, dyslipidaemia (excess lipids in the blood) and hypertension.
AE: We thank you for giving your time for this interview. Are there any additional comments that you would like to include?
EKK: Yes, in my opinion animal experiments are one of the biggest mistakes in human history. This system of scientific research is absolutely absurd and totally wrong. I think that if we want to change the world and make it a better place for future generations, the complete abolition of all animal experimentation is an absolute necessity. Without empathy, understanding and tolerance we will never be able to achieve a peaceful coexistence with each other and with nature and animals. But this is what we should aim for.