One of the biggest myths that animal rights activists promote is that animals and humans don’t get the same diseases, so it’s useless to do animal research.

Patently false. Scientists know that animals and people do get a lot of the same diseases, such as leukemia (cats get it), breast cancer (dogs) and polio (chimpanzees). In fact, animals and people are partners in research that can benefit both.

The One Health Initiative encourages collaboration between physicians, osteopaths, veterinarians, dentists, nurses and other health and environmentally related disciplines. In fact, many medical schools and veterinary schools work closely together.

For example, a new lab at the University of Florida School of Veterinary Medicine has veterinarians and physicians working together to study skin diseases. Opened last fall, the lab is co-led by a professor of small animal dermatology at the vet school, and the head of the medical school’s department of dermatology.

Co-Director of the lab Rosanna Marsella, D.V.M, Ph.D., said, “In the past, people looked at two types of medicine, veterinary and human, as really separate. As we learn more, however, we are realizing more about diseases, and the causes of diseases, that can be shared across species.”

One of the added benefits of this lab is that since many vet students and medical students rotate through the lab together, they are better informed about how the “other” medicine works.

So, if prominent veterinarians and physicians support the science behind animal research, why do animal rights groups continue to spread misinformation that ignores the truth, even when it means helping both people and animals?

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