The Best Docuseries of 2024, ‘The Failed Experiment’

As humans succumb to currently untreatable diseases and average life expectancies drop in the U.S., scientists waste time and taxpayer dollars creating and treating symptoms in animals in laboratories—even though modern, human-relevant testing methods exist. The medical industry is failing to find cures, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

In six brief but unforgettable episodes, The Failed Experiment stares down the status quo, questioning what’s not working with current systems and providing much-needed solutions for modernizing the world of medical research.

In The Failed Experiment, experts from an array of fields bring their firsthand knowledge of research, medicine, and technology to break down the numerous failures of animal experimentation. Providing a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of animals in laboratories, the series explores why decades of experiments on animals haven’t produced cures for humans, how killing animals has become an institutional gravy train, and much more.

The following experts—just some of the many featured in The Failed Experiment—have one thing in common: They agree it’s time to move away from humanity’s failed experiment of testing on animals.

John Gluck, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of New Mexico and Research Professor, Kennedy Institute of Ethics

Dr. John Gluck is a trained primatologist and a clinical and research psychologist focused on bioethics and research ethics. As a former animal experimenter, he spent years working closely with monkeys in laboratories. Today, he encourages his colleagues to reexamine their use of animals, and his work helped end a series of maternal deprivation experiments on baby monkeys at the National Institutes of Health.

Mitchell Klausner, President, MatTek Corporation

Mitchell Klausner is the president of MatTek, a global leader in supplying in vitro testing models that use real human tissue. Under his direction, MatTek helps companies and researchers in an array of fields and industries achieve their testing goals without using animals. Just one example of its innovative developments is the EpiDerm system, a 3-D model formed from human skin cells, which saves tens of thousands of rabbits from having potentially painful chemicals rubbed on their sensitive skin.  

Rolf Kleiner, Former President, InVitro International
Rich Ulmer, President and CEO, InVitro International

InVitro International develops testing methods for eye irritation, skin irritation, and skin toxicity to replace the use of animals in product safety testing. The company’s trailblazing work provides researchers with a low-cost method for examining chemicals that are potentially harmful to humans and the environment without using animals. As a pioneer of change, it invented the first non-animal test to be accepted by the U.S. government, which led many states to ban animal-testing requirements for skin corrosion tests.

John Pawlowski, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Director, Shapiro Simulation and Skills Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Dr. John Pawlowski is a specialist in anesthesiology with more than 35 years of experience in the medical field. His groundbreaking research on non-animal simulators aims to shift the global paradigm away from using animals in biomedical education, and his work has saved animals around the world.

“The members of the National Hispanic Medical Association have seen firsthand what ‘The Failed Experiment’ exposes—the current paradigm in biomedical research is failing their patients from Latin and other communities. The reliance on irrelevant experiments on animals is delaying the availability of treatments and cures, and it’s time to shift toward human-based research methods.”

Elena V. Rios, M.D., MSPH, FACP, President and CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association

“’The Failed Experiment’ powerfully exposes the bad science upon which animal experiments are based, explaining why so many diseases continue to lack treatments despite decades of taxpayer-funded research. Enough is enough. It’s time to stop wasting money and lives and impeding medical progress.”

Pandora Pound, Ph.D., Research Director, Safer Medicines Trust; Author of Rat Trap: The Capture of Medicine by Animal Research—and How to Break Free

“’The Failed Experiment’ pulls the curtains back on the cruel, heartless, and largely unnecessary world of animal experimentation. It is not for the fainthearted. But the film not only exposes the unsound status quo, it proposes realistic alternatives that are being developed and utilized. As a psychologist, not one second in my decades of practice has been guided or informed by animal experimentation. ‘The Failed Experiment’ shows us hope that those from many other fields and endeavors might one day say the same.”

Brent B. Geary, Ph.D., Behavioral Health Systems

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