The epidemiological link between red meat and cancer is no longer debatable – what remains uncertain is how exactly this happens, and why the human species appears to be unique in its susceptibility.
This is a story of mice and men. It is not a happy story – not for us, and not for them. It is estimated that about 115 million animals are used annually in biomedical research and drug testing around the world. Is this justified? Many of the diseases which are studied using animal models do not even naturally occur in animals. Owing to inherent genetic differences, the ability of animal models to predict human drug responses is tenuous at best.
Why is it that we recoil with visceral disgust when we see a man kicking a dog in the street, but not when we see a man in a clean white coat injecting a toxic substance into a mouse, or even a beagle, in a clean white laboratory? Is humanity suffering from a case of moral schizophrenia?
Heart disease is the number one human killer, but most other members of the animal kingdom are much less susceptible to it than we are. What is it about other animals that has allows them to dodge this epidemic while we humans suffer? Linus Pauling thought Vitamin C was the answer; Robert Sapolsky has pinned the blame on stress. But what theory do you believe?