Maximum Tolerated Dose (2012)

“Currently, nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies.”

Michael O. Leavitt, former secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Run time: 1h 30mins

Director: Karol Orzechowski

Language: English

IMDb rating: 8.9/10

In One Sentence What Is Maximum Tolerated Dose About?

Researchers, laboratory assistants and an undercover investigator describe their experiences and those of the animals imprisoned, deprived and experimented upon in the name of science.

Brief Synopsis

For centuries, humans have tested scientific and medical procedures on a wide variety of animals. Over time, this selection was narrowed down to several species, with rodents, canines and primates given particular attention. Much of what is seen and discussed in Maximum Tolerated Dose applies to all species used in this way- laboratory animals are reduced to a mere means of obtaining data and research papers. But animal models are being increasingly viewed as unethical and indeed, scientifically unjustifiable.

The Trailer

Why Is Maximum Tolerated Dose A Vegan Documentary?

Maximum Tolerated Dose delves into more detail an aspect of being vegan or certainly something that vegans will think about. Animal testing is a controversial subject even for non-vegans although according to the documentary, 85% of the UK public questioned found it acceptable to carry out procedures on rats or mice that they wouldn’t be happy to see dogs or primates undergo. Why? Because rodents are considered vermin and humans perhaps fail to see them as individuals in the same way they would a dog or chimpanzee. But this is speciesism.

Researchers too, have their own ethical parameters. Some would carry out procedures or tests on particular animals that others wouldn’t. Morality is fluid. Some even develop an emotional connection to these unique individuals.

Those interviewed for the film talk about how they tried to convince themselves that what they did was necessary. A necessary evil.

And it’s not just the brutal testing itself. Animals are kept as prisoners, isolated, with little stimulation and enrichment. Many are born into these conditions and know of nothing else. Others are taken captive. Maximum Tolerated Does shows footage of macaques being captured from the forests of South East Asia. They are hounded out of the trees and grabbed by their tails, with their arms pinned behind their backs before being placed into polythene bags. Seeing the face of a terrified youngster pressed up against its plastic prison, eyes fixed on its captors, its fate no longer in its own hands, before being boxed up and shipped with dozens more, as if they’d just been ordered online, now destined for a life of torture.

A few end up rescued, most end up being killed, or ‘sacrificed’ as the industry calls it. Some animals are subjected to testing even after the products tested on them have already been given approval to be sold on the market.

Although most of us will have little input in terms of how medical research is carried out, choices can be made as a consumer when it comes to cosmetics. Yet many who disagree with animal testing and find it abhorrent will continue to eat animals.

Results from animal models frequently fail to translate into humans and it’s difficult to replicate experiments as there are more potential variables. It seems that variation in how an individual animal is handled can impact on an experiment- and it’s difficult to handle two animals in the exact same manner. And even if there were some benefit to humankind, is it worth it?

Where And How To Watch Maximum Tolerated Dose?

Watch on the Official Website here

Is Maximum Tolerated Dose On Netflix?


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