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Episode 601: The Shift Away from Vivisection ft. Aysha Akhtar

By Jasmin and Mariann — July 17, 2021

Our Hen House is excited to welcome back Aysha Akhtar, MD, MPH, to the podcast this week for a critical conversation about animal testing and experimentation. President and CEO of the Center for Contemporary Sciences, Aysha outlines how the Center is working with academic institutions, governmental agencies, investors, and researchers to catalyze a shift away from the outdated use of animals in science and towards animal-free research methods that are not only more humane but are far superior. Aysha discusses the extraordinary scientific developments that are changing the attitudes of many scientists and also shares her opinions on the development of the COVID-19 vaccines and why she believes they could have been produced without testing on animals.

Aysha Akhtar is a double-board certified neurologist, preventive medicine specialist, and serves as president and CEO of the Center for Contemporary Sciences. She is a former Deputy Director of the U.S. Army Traumatic Brain Injury Program where she developed the Army’s brain injury prevention and treatment strategies. As a Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Aysha was frequently deployed to assist with national public health emergencies. She is also a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and author of the two books, Our Symphony With Animals: On Health, Empathy and Our Shared Destinies and Animals and Public Health, which argues for the need for health institutions to include animals as part of the “public” in public health.

“We want to build the next generation of scientists and create academic curriculums that are integrated into programs so that the next generation of medical students are trained in human-based testing methods and not in animal testing.” – Aysha Akhtar


  • Why Aysha believes we need to get back to studying human biology instead of creating artificial models and using animals to study human disease
  • Whether animal research is actually reliable in predicting human outcomes
  • Why the Center for Contemporary Sciences is a proponent of human-based technology and what that means in terms of research
  • Who the opponents of their mission are and why some people are still fighting to keep animal research
  • Why Aysha believes the Center’s primary purpose is supporting and educating the public about the shortcomings of animal testing
  • How the Center is working on policy changes to open the door to allow for more innovation and more governmental funding for non-animal testing methods

Connect with the Center for Contemporary Sciences:

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This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at


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Don’t forget to tune into Our Hen House’s other two podcasts: The Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan Podcast, and The Animal Law Podcast.

The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.

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