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11 February 2001 Issue
Science Gone Over The Edge

from AAVSCM@aol.com 

The American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) expressed grave concern today over the ongoing uses of animals in biomedical research. This stems from recent published reports announcing the genetically altered monkey, "ANDi", and the intent to produce a human infant through cloning, as reported in last week's Science.

AAVS urged the American public to become more vigilant when it comes to genetic engineering, because it is no longer simply a question of scientific possibility; it is a moral one.

Within a few weeks of government funded researchers basking in the media coverage of their new animal creations, other scientists have reported their intent to clone a human baby within the next two years. In addition, Britain's Parliament recently voted to allow limited cloning of human embryos.

"We have always opposed the genetic modification of animals because it is morally wrong and because of the inherent animal suffering," said Tina Nelson, Executive Director of AAVS. "The fact that this research is now seeping towards the use of humans as experiments is extremely troublesome. We believe that this use of animals-both human and non-human-represents an overriding lack of ethical grounding and justification in scientific research. Where and when will they draw the line?"

"ANDi" was the object of scientists' manipulation of gene structure and is the result of an egg injected with a green fluorescent protein, like that of jellyfish. Though genetic alteration of animals has been ongoing since 1976, researchers believe that this latest discovery will allow them to specifically inject genes into animals that cause human-specific diseases and ailments.

"Considering that researchers are intentionally "creating" diseases in animals that would otherwise never suffer from them, makes the practice of using animals all the more unnatural," Nelson added. "Furthermore, once an animal's genetic pattern has been disrupted, new effects may very well occur that would not ordinarily be present in humans."

The American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) is a non-profit animal advocacy and educational organization dedicated to ending experiments on animals in research, testing, dissection, and education. Founded in 1883, AAVS is the oldest organization in the United States dedicated to eliminating experiments on animals. AAVS pursues its objectives through legal and effective advocacy, education, and development of alternative methods.

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