I was delighted to win, in the Ecologist magazine, a copy of Sacred Cows and Golden Geese by C Ray Greek and Jean Swingle Greek.
This book is a cogent exploration of how animal testing in medicine is not just ethically wrong but doesn't work.
A lot of people turn round to animal rights activists and say "but think of all the advances medical science has made because of animal testing, it has to be worth it for it's value for human health!" This book argues that no, it isn't worth it, because it's not effective.
The book looks at the history of animal testing and then explores specific human conditions (such as cancer, heart disease and AIDS) and their relationship with animal testing. Time after time they prove that advances have been made through clinical trials on humans and other alternatives that do not use animals.
It's a well researched and thorough book, though it only begins to examine the issue of how medicine is tied in with pharmaceutical companies. Also I was disappointed that although the authors were quick to list all the downsides of any drug mentioned that had been tested on animals they were oddly blind to the downsides of drugs that they claim haven't been tested on animals. They mentioned for example Prozac and statins as being fabulous drugs despite the fact that both are well documented to cause serious side effects for a large number of people who take them.
The book was written in 2003, so will be out of date on many details, but is still well worth reading. I was a bit surprised though that such an out of date book (where some of the information no longer applies) was being offered as a prize.
Sacred Cows and Golden Geese by C Ray Greek and Jean Swingle Greek with a Foreword by Jane Goodall, published by Continuum.
The Greeks work for the Americans for Medical Advancement which campaigns for medical practice and research that is not dependent on the use of animals.
I reviewed this book for Brighton Blogger's Reading Challenge 2012
As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks that take you to other websites where you can find out more.