To the Editor.—In response to Harken and Harken's1 article in the December 1989 issue of the Archives, I find the sweeping statement "... the biological sciences are bereft of relevance without animal validation and experimentation" to be quite open to question. Many colleagues who rely on clinical observation and research would disagree.
The implication that animal research has made "our world dramatically more civilized and humane" is grossly incorrect. Melvin Konner,2 in a recent New England Journal of Medicine book review, states, "The great declines in mortality from infectious diseases preceded the development of antibiotics and even most vaccines; they resulted instead from changes in sanitation, nutrition, and other socioeconomic measures." Vincent J. Knapp3 states, "The initial decline of tuberculosis within European society was evidently not the result of any medical miracle... the disease was in eclipse because of rising levels of immunity within the general population