Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 25 June 2002 Issue
Doctors Declare Victory as Cruel Drug Abuse
Experiments on Cats Are Halted
Washington, D.C.-The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) today declared a victory in its two-year battle to stop federally funded
experiments at Ohio State University (OSU) in which cats were dosed with
methamphetamine ("speed"), infected with a disease-causing virus, and finally
The beleaguered experimenter, veterinarian Michael Podell, had begun the
experiments attempting to mimic the combined brain-damaging effects of drugs
of abuse and HIV, using feline immunodeficiency virus instead of HIV, to
which cats are resistant.
However, PCRM doctors called foul over the experiments in complaints to OSU and to the National Institutes of Health, which had committed $1.7 million to the project that was slated to kill 108 cats. The doctors group pointed out that Dr. Podell had failed to consider alternatives to animal use, as
required by law. Most notably, HIV-positive human patients who have used
methamphetamine are already under clinical study, and the brain-damaging
effects of drugs and the virus are well known. Ohio-based animal protection
organizations, particularly Protect Our Earth's Treasures also sharply
criticized the study.
"This experiment was not only cruel, but also needless," said PCRM president
Neal D. Barnard, M.D. "Dr. Podell should have considered more ethical means of research, and there is no question that they were available."
PCRM has a pending lawsuit against the National Institutes of Health for its
refusal to release unredacted copies of Dr. Podell's research protocol.
Rumors that Dr. Podell had abandoned the controversial experiments had been
circulating for weeks. Confirmation that they had, in fact, ended came in an
announcement from his contacts at a research advocacy organization, the
Foundation for Biomedical Research, which attempted to defend the
experiments. Dr. Podell is reportedly leaving Ohio and moving to Chicago.
"These experiments should never have begun," said Dr. Barnard. "We are
delighted that no further animals will be used and that these funds can be
freed up for more useful research purposes."
Staff: [email protected]
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