Will Rick Hansen Stop Supporting Vivisection?

Dear Rick Hansen:

I hope that during your next 25 years of raising money for spinal cord research (SCR) we will see the end of inhumane, scientifically fallacious spinal cord experiments on animals. It was 25 years ago when Lifeforce, a Vancouver based ecology and animal rights organization,  gave you extensive data about the failure of “animal models” but you went on to fund animal experiments. Your Boards have had many vivisectors directing your funding priorities. You have raised millions of dollars for SCR as the “Man in Motion”. Your "dream" for a cure is a nightmare for animals.

It is time to stop the barbaric experiments that have been repeated for over 50 years. New technologies, clinical/ epidemiological studies permit humane studies with humans. That is how breakthroughs are discovered!

Your money raised for SCR includes experiments on animals in which they are intentionally paralysed and subjected to abusive tests. Numerous doctors agree that vivisection retards scientific progress because these animal models are unlike naturally occurring human diseases or injuries. Furthermore, methodologies tested, such as drug therapies, react differently between and within various species of animals. Data obtained from animal models cannot be reliably extrapolated to solve human problems.

Lifeforce has been studying the history of spinal cord research for over 25 years. Spending millions of dollars and wasting hundreds of thousands of animal lives has not cured spinal cord injuries. The discovery that has helped people has come from the studies of human injuries. The mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs, Canada Geese (rounded up in Stanley Park), non-human primates and others suffered needlessly. Researchers at Vancouver’s International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) and others have recognized the failure of “animal models” but they will repeat the history of failure if they keep their plans to try to find better “animal models”.

Let's look at one SCR example. For over 50 years cats have been intentionally crippled and forced to attempt to walk on treadmills. This is done to see if exercise improves motor function recovery. Well the benefits of such human rehabilitation were and are already known. One UCLA researcher alone can use approximately $1 million and one hundred kittens every year.

Lifeforce will continue to help people and animals by promoting humane, reliable non-animal spinal cord research. The time has come to stop the animal cruelty and to stop wasting health care monies on this vivisection. See experiments that have continued for over 25 years> Please watch “Broken Promises” http://lifeforcefoundation.org/ecotv_play.php?id=19 and see the Facebook Rick Hansen and Lifeforce 25th Anniversaries at


Many health organizations do not support or are associated with this vivisection. The Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine has those listed on their “The Humane Charity Seal of Approval”: http://www.pcrm.org/resch/charities/guide.html

Animals are not commodities for speciesists` profits. They are not things that researchers can painfully injure, test, and dissect in wet labs. Wet lab dreams for cures are nightmares for sentient animals. 

Will you immediately implement a policy to stop your support of animal experiments? Will you make a commitment to advise other organizations, such as the Christopher Reeves Foundation, to phase out the use of “animal models” in SCR? Will you support Cruelty Free Research?  In so doing, the future will bring greater hope for cures for spinal cord injuries.

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