This week, the first people were vaccinated against Covid-19, giving us all new hope for the future. For the past 10 months or more, we have been privileged to have scientists, doctors, nurses and so many other wonderful, selfless and compassionate people fighting to protect us and save our lives.
However, one thing I would ask: please spare a thought for the thousands of laboratory animals who have been subjected to painful, often invasive, experiments to develop these life-saving vaccines, then have either died or been killed afterwards. In much the same way, I hasten to add, as happened to those animals who suffered and died to develop the treatment that pushed back my multiple myeloma, giving me extra years with those I love.
The saddest thing is that here in the UK - and in other countries across the globe - the testing of drugs and medical procedures on animals is a legal requirement. It's also bad science - in more ways than one - which could be replaced with animal-free experiments that would offer more accurate results.
People could be forgiven for thinking that, after having undergone chemotherapy with superb results, I would condone experimentation using animals. But having experienced first-hand the sorts of treatments that will have been tested on animals, I am more determined than ever that vivisection should end.
Besides, I have seen the photos showing the fear and despair in the eyes of those non-human persons whose healthy bodies are poisoned, scarred and destroyed by researchers seeking to save the lives of those of us who are privileged enough to be deemed 'worth saving'. The same fear and despair that I recognised staring back at me in the mirror when I was diagnosed and preparing to undergo treatment.
The Covid-19 virus - like so many other viruses - arose as a result of humankind's abuse of animals. And the weapons to fight it have arisen in the same way.
We deserve better. Animals deserve better. So, let's get involved in ending ALL abuse - abuse of people AND animals. As for medical research, let's end the use of animals in labs in favour of the clean, compassionate and effective alternatives that deliver accurate results without inflicting fear, pain and death.
After all, we have been spared for a reason.
Tracy J Holroyd, Cert Ed, BA(Hons) Member of the Society of Authors
Co-author The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy and Belinda Fellgate Novella Series