GB No. 3(22)/96


The editorial staff of the "Anestezjologia, Intensywna Terapia" quarterly, a periodical of the Polish Society of Anesthetists, reminded recently, as the first and so far the only one in Poland, of the necessity of the humane treatment of lab animals which are experimented on for the good of men.
Believe me son. It's a risk to be a big fish.

It is an important manifestation of the humanization of medicine. This quarterly ( starting from Vol. XXVI, No.2 of 1994 ), in point 3 of the regulations concerning the publication of works, states that clinical works should stay in accordance with ethical rules set by the Helsinki Declaration and be accepted by the Ethical Committee of a mother university. But most important of all is the statement : In case of experimental works on animals the evaluation of the methods is subject to the editors of the periodical that have the right to reject them in cases when the work concerned is painful for animals or causes permanent handicap. This demand, so clearly formulated by the Editors, puts the quarterly of anesthesiologists very high on the scale of medical periodicals in Poland as far as humanitarian treatment of animals is concerned. I have checked all of them, and nowhere else have I found similar restrictions.

This demand corresponds well with the formulations of The World Declaration of Animal Rights, announced by UNESCO in Paris in 1970, which states at the very beginning that :...Each animal as a living being has its moral rights... the unacquaintance and ignoring of this fact led a man to a way of crimes against nature and animals...the respect for animals by a man is connected with the respect of people for one another...Some articles of the Declaration are worth mentioning:

1. All animals are born equal in relation to life and have equal rights to exist.

2 c. Each animal has the right to expect from a man respect, care and protection.

3 a. No animal can be the object of torture and acts of cruelty.

b. If the death of an animal is necessary its life should be terminated quickly, without causing pain and fright.

8 a. Experiments on animals which are connected with physical and mental suffering are the violation of the rights of the animals both in cases of medical, scientific, commercial and all other experiments.

b. Alternative methods should be used in such cases.

11 l. Each action which leads to the killing of an animal without necessity is considered a murder, that is a crime against life.

14 b. The rights of animals should be protected by law, in the same way human lives are.

(I want to apologize to my readers here for my own digression concerning point 3a. An animal is a creature that feels, so it is the subject and not the object of human actions).

I would like to inform all those who may not know, that about one third of all scientific works of anesthesiologists is the result of experiments held in vivo on laboratory animals; of course, for the sake of most important values - namely the health and life of human beings. Anesthesiology has been a separate medical discipline in Poland since 1952. The Society of Polish Anesthesiologists was founded in 1958; since 1983 it has been called The Polish Society of Anesthesiology and Intensive Therapy. Since 1968 it has been a member of The World Federation of Anesthesiological Societies. Two professors at the Silesian Medical Academy, whom I mentioned in my previous article, namely Stanisław Mieczysław Szyszko and Kornel Gibiński are honorary members of the Silesian Division.

The chief editor of the mentioned anaesthesiological periodical is Prof. Dr. Zdzisław Rondio.

Among anesthesiologists and other medical doctors in Poland one may find many friends of animals and defenders of their rights who share my gratefulness for the editorial staffs of both periodicals : "Anestezjologia, Intensywna Terapia" for setting a humanitarian demand and "Zielone Brygady" for spreading this information in our country.

dr Andrzej Kopliński
1 Maja 46/6
41-300 D±browa Górnicza

reprinted from Zielone Brygady July '96

GB No. 3(22)/96 | Contents