IT'S a sad fact that many people seem to show more concern for the rights and welfare of animals than they do for humans.

This can be demonstrated by the amount of public sympathy extended to the distorted campaigns of the animal rights movement who, by using emotional propaganda, sabotage the right to hope offered to people with serious illnesses by medical research.

The use of animals was vital for the development of the vaccines and antibiotics which have virtually eradicated polio, tuberculosis, whooping cough and diptheria. Drugs to treat heart disease, epilepsy, asthma and cancer could not have been discovered without animal experimentation. Modern surgery to transplant diseased hearts and kidneys, to replace crippled hips and knees and to insert life-saving pacemakers could not have been developed without the use of animals.

An ambition of mine is to see a treatment or cure found for a rare genetic disorder called Fredreich's Ataxia, a progressive inherited disease that appears in early childhood attacking the central nervous system and condemning the sufferer to life in a wheelchair and loss of physical independence.

I love animals, but believe people come first and those with serious illnesses should be more vocal in defending future medical progress.

Seriously Ill for Medical Research (SIMR) is a voluntary organisation founded to provide the patient's voice in this debate. For further information, please write to SIMR, PO Box 504, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 2LU.

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