QuotationsAysha Akhtar, MD, MPH
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Aysha Akhtar, MD, MPH
M.D., M.P.H., neurologist, public health specialist, author of Animals and Public Health: Why Treating Animals Better is Critical to Human Welfare
(1970- )

"We aren't dying because we inherited our mother's DNA. No, we're dying because we inherited our mother's cookbook."

"My motto has always been: by saving animals we save ourselves. Maybe that sounds a bit pollyanish. But it's true in its utter simplicity. In virtually every way in which we interact with animals as individuals or as a society, when animals are treated with basic kindness and respect, we also benefit."

"Science is showing how other animals are like us in morally relevant ways, but unlike us in medically relevant ways. Now that we are proving that other animals are indeed sentient beings with complex and rich emotional and cognitive lives, it's time for us to change our moral view and demand a more just approach to our relationship with other animals. The accumulating evidence mandates that we cannot continue to hide behind the veil of science to justify our exploitation of other animals for medical experiments."

"Every human life is now affected by the way we treat animals."

"It is time now for public health to continue its legacy of fighting for the underdog and in turn improve the health of all. Itís time to include animals as part of the 'public' in public health."

"In most cases where humans interact with animals, not only can we help people without harming animals, but we can best help people by not harming animals.  Our treatment of animals is integral to many of the causes of and potential solutions to some of the biggest human health threats we face today. In other words, not only can we save the dog and the child, but in order to save the child, we have to save the dog."

"A considerable amount of human suffering may be avoided if, rather than asking ourselves how to thwart an epidemic once it has begun, we instead ask ourselves whether we can prevent an epidemic by treating animals differently."

"Despite the link between human health and animal welfare, animal welfare issues have been, with few exceptions, notoriously absent from the public health dialogue. When the subject of animals does enter discourse on human health, it is usually to highlight how animals are sources of infection for and cause injuries to humans. There has been almost no discourse, however, about the fact that the way in which we treat other animals is often central to how and why humans are injured or catch infections. Moreover, such treatment is central to how and why we face a significant number of health threats."

"By ignoring the suffering of animals, we create conditions that cause our suffering. And rather than protecting us, our tax dollars are supporting the very industries that are killing us."

"By simply choosing one plate of food over another, you will single-handedly help prevent a pandemic. And, you will help protect the environment. And, you will protect yourself from a stroke. And, you will lose weight. And, you will save thousands of animals from a life of suffering and a horrendous death. How often are you given an opportunity to make such a profound impact with so little effort?"

"We have significant health threats before us. Our planet is perishing, our bodies are breaking down, and pathogens are proliferating. But the solution to these threats is not really a mystery. Itís been in front of us every time we greet our animals. The solution is this: whatís good for animals is good for us, too. By saving animals, we save ourselves."

"When we treat other animals with basic kindness and decency, there are direct and indirect benefits to human health. When we treat animals poorly, our health suffers. In other words, whatís good for other animals is also whatís good for us."

"Any experiment, no matter how painful or how much suffering it causes in animals, can be justified under the guise of 'science.'"

"Isn't it time we shake this habit of animal experimentation, take a stand against this senseless suffering and pursue science that represents us at our best? We don't have to choose between helping animals or humans and we never did. And I say this as a medical doctor, neurologist and public heath specialist: by ending the abuse of animals in experiments, not only do we save them, but we will also discover the most effective research methods that will save us."

"Animal experiments don't represent the pinnacle of scientific achievement, but the basement. Unlike the naysayers, I believe that we are capable of so much more. All we need is the courage, vision and resourcefulness to make it happen."

"I have come to the conclusion that not only is animal experimentation not good for animals, but itís also not good for humans. Because it is so unreliable and fails to accurately predict human outcomes, experimentation on animals needs to be replaced with better methods. Animal experimentation is simply outdated."

"When people try to argue against ending animal experimentation, I ask them this: where do you think our tax dollars should go? To the people who say they canít do away with animal experimentation and find better methods to study human illnesses? Or to the people who say they can and will? Do you want your money spent on the pessimists or on the Steve Jobs in the world? The latter are the folks who represent science at its best." 

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