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26 September 2001 Issue
More on the Red Cross

There is still much controversy about animal advocates donating to the Red Cross. There is no other group that is prepared to handle blood donations like the Red Cross does it. But animal advocates still find the Red Cross' connection to animal research to be problematic. In an effort to bring you the whole story, please read the following letter that was sent to a subscriber's query by the Red Cross:

From: info@usa.redcross.org (info)

Thank you for writing to the American Red Cross with your concerns about animals. Some American Red Cross researchers conduct biomedical experiments
that use laboratory animals. These experiments allow discoveries that save lives and improve the quality of life for many patients with blood disorders or other diseases. Animals are used only when no useful alternative method exists that can provide the needed information. The animals used are mice, rats and rabbits, all of which are bred and made available specifically for research. No dogs, cats, or primates (i.e. monkeys, apes or related species) are used in Red Cross research programs.

All animal research is carried out in strict compliance with all federal regulations regarding animal care and use. The Holland Laboratory animal care program is reviewed at least annually, through unscheduled visits, by the United States Department of Agriculture to ensure compliance with federal standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture and Public Health Service. The laboratory's animal program is also accredited by the Association for Assessment and accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC International), an independent, non-profit organization that reviews institutional animal programs. Attainment of AAALAC accreditation demands a high regard for animal well-being and a commitment to maintaining a quality animal care and use program.

Funding for American Red Cross Research and Development does not come from
public donations that support disaster response, HIV/AIDS education, services to the American military, and first aid and CPR training. Over 75% of Red Cross research and development projects that utilize research animals are funded through the National Institutes of Health and other non-Red Cross sources. The remainder is supported by American Red Cross Biomedical Services, which operates on a cost-recovery basis through its distribution of blood, plasma, and tissue products. Although opponents of animal research have suggested that refusing to give monetary donations to the American Red Cross would deter animal research, this is not the case. Rather, such refusal would, in fact, hinder the ability of the American Red Cross to respond to human need in case of disaster, to educate the public in health-related areas, and to assist the American military personnel stationed here and abroad.

Sincerely,

N. Rebecca Haley, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Biomedical Services

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