UAR forces Daily Mirror to correct misleading article

Posted: by Chris Magee on 15/12/23

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UAR forces Daily Mirror to correct misleading article

The Daily Mirror, and its parent group Reach Plc, appear to be supporters of anti-animal research activism, since they regularly give a platform to the myths and pseudoscience promoted by activists. Several of these myths were combined in a recent article which IPSO, the press regulator, has now ruled to be inaccurate following a complaint by UAR, forcing the Mirror to publish a correction. 

UAR’s major claim, that it is false to say that there is a ‘vast body of empirical evidence’ that animal experiments are poor predictors of human outcomes, was upheld. The regulator noted that the only evidence in support of the assertion, made by veteran activist Ray Greek, came from another activist, Andre Menache, who was himself quoting Ray Greek in an example of circular referencing. 

Frustratingly, some of the myths in the article were nonetheless allowed to stand.  For instance, it is a persistent animal rights myth that penicillin was delayed for a decade because animal tests made its discoverer, Alexander Fleming, doubt its efficacy. This is a blatant falsehood. Several primary sources, including Fleming’s own papers, presentations to international scientific meetings and the testimony of his students, show that Fleming was convinced that penicillin would offer huge medical benefits if only it could be purified and produced in sufficient quantities. 

Unfortunately, IPSO chose to put aside this overwhelming evidence and accept the campaigners’ claims that there was sufficient doubt about Fleming’s beliefs, claims that were based entirely on a single book that lightheartedly, and inaccurately, recounts apocryphal tales of how various medicines were discovered.  

UAR challenges untrue claims in media outlets several times a week. While we normally assume the journalist has made an honest mistake and corrections are usually made without further incident, we will occasionally experience pushback, at which point we will take a complaint to the press regulator if they are signed up to be independently regulated, making sure that dishonest and inaccurate reporting on animal research is never allowed to stand. 

UAR Daily Mirror IPSO complaint.png

Last edited: 3 January 2024 12:32

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