‘Rat Trap’: An Unflinching Exposé of 150 Years of Failed Animal Experiments


In her newly published book Rat Trap: The Capture of Medicine by Animal Research—and How to Break Free, Dr. Pandora Pound takes a fine-toothed comb to the animal experimentation industry, teasing out stark evidence that testing on animals is failing to benefit human health.

Rat Trap lets the data speak for itself, from pointless tests to shamefully poor experiment designs, plainly revealing how 150 years of animal testing have succeeded only in thwarting medical progress and lining the pockets of an industry that just wants to maintain the status quo.

Dr. Pandora Pound next to book Rat Trap with colorful wood background

Dr. Pound’s historical investigation explores how animal experimentation became the default method, despite an overwhelming lack of reliable, systematic evidence to support its effectiveness.

Nearly Two Decades of Research

Dr. Pound has a Ph.D. in the sociology of medicine and is research director at Safer Medicines Trust, a patient-safety charity in the U.K. that promotes human-based approaches for testing the effectiveness of medicines.

In 2004, she began to question the effectiveness of animal research and coauthored “Where Is the Evidence That Animal Research Benefits Humans?” in The British Medical Journal. Her findings revealed a laundry list of failures, sending shockwaves through the scientific community. Dr. Pound found that sloppily conducted experiments on animals that failed to adhere to minimum scientific standards to prevent bias were informing human studies and therefore endangering human health.

Despite attempts by the animal experimentation industry to delegitimize her work, a decade later Dr. Pound followed up with a second article in the same journal, “Is Animal Research Sufficiently Evidence Based to Be a Cornerstone of Biomedical Research?” Her findings once again emphasized that animal studies weren’t translating to human medicine, revealing even more evidence that animal experiments were being conducted poorly, had weak reliability, and were hindering human health by preventing the development of safe medicine and treatments.

A Welcome and Urgently Needed Wake-Up Call

There are humans who suffer every day from common diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer, but there are few effective treatments available to ease their suffering.

Rat Trap provides a much-needed solution to combat the unfaltering public health crisis, showcasing revolutionary modern research methods, such as 3-D cell models, organs-on-a-chip, and artificial intelligence. These superior, human-relevant methods are already being used, but institutional, social, and economic barriers have prevented their complete acceptance. Humans and animals suffer greatly from this obstinance.

Support Animal-Free Science

Rat Trap underscores a fundamental scientific problem: Animal studies fail to translate to humans because of significant differences between species. That’s why PETA scientists developed the Research Modernization Deal, which offers a practical strategy for optimizing research to cure disease by pivoting toward animal-free, human-relevant methods. Please ask your members of Congress to support the Research Modernization Deal today:


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