Animal Defenders of Westchester

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We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


March of Dimes FACT SHEET

The March Of Dimes' Crimes Against Animals Experimenters funded by the March of Dimes have: sewn shut newborn kittens' eyes, then killed them after they had endured a year of blindness. put newborn kittens in completely dark chambers, then killed them after three to five months. removed fetal kittens from the uterus, implanted pumps into their backs to inject a drug that destroys nerves, then re-implanted the fetuses in the uterus. After the kittens were born, they were killed and studied. implanted electric pumps into the backs of pregnant rats to inject nicotine, even though the dangers of cigarette smoking to human babies is already known.

They injected pregnant rats with cocaine, though the dangers of cocaine to human babies is already known.

They injected newborn opossums with alcohol, decapitated them an hour to 32 weeks later, then removed and studied the gonads (immature sexual organs), though the dangers of alcohol to human babies is well known.

They transplanted organs from pigs to baboons, most of whom died within hours.

They transplanted organs from guinea pigs to rats. destroyed the ear drums of unborn lambs, then killed the mother sheep and lambs just before birth to examine the brains.

Despite these experiments, the Centers for Disease Control reports that birth defects are occurring more often. Of 38 birth defects studied over a 10-year period, an astounding 27 have increased in frequency, nine occur at the same rate, and only two have decreased in frequency.

There are many reasons for this, but the most important is that the human physiology is vastly different from the physiologies of other species. It's true that all animals are sentient beings capable of feeling pain, but the similarities essentially end there.

For example, testing chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs, and addictive substances on pregnant animals and then trying to apply the results to humans is a waste of lives and money because humans are so different from other animals.

Consider that:

humans have a longer period of fetal development, so may be more sensitive to birth defect-causing agents than other species.

genetic differences among species of animals affect the way they react to chemicals.

different species develop in utero at different rates and along different schedules, calling into question animal studies on chemicals that affect fetuses at different stages of development.

differences in the placenta may affect the absorption of chemicals among species. the route of administration of a potential birth defect-causing agent to the animal may not be the most common route of human exposure. For instance, animals may be given nicotine intravenously, whereas human exposure is through inhaling cigarette smoke.

animals are rarely given chemicals on the same time schedule as humans. Animals are usually given a large amount of a substance over a short period, while people are usually exposed to small amounts over a long period.

stress imposed by animal handling, food or water deprivation, and restraint have been shown to affect test results.

animals learn and show intelligence differently from humans, and animal studies usually cannot detect a substance's potential for causing learning or behavioral problems in babies.

Even birth defects researchers admit the difficulty of interpreting animal tests because any substance can harm fetal development if given in the right dose to the right species at the right time. This is called "Karnofsky's Law" and it's often used by experimenters to excuse the inaccuracy of animal studies.

Human Studies Save Human Lives

Virtually all known developmental hazards were identified through studies of human populations.

Human-based research identified:

The dangers of thalidomide, a drug commonly given to pregnant women in the 1950s that resulted in severe physical deformities; animal studies had shown thalidomide to be safe.

The risk of birth defects associated with rubella during pregnancy.

The association of folic acid deficiency with spinal cord abnormalities.

The disastrous effects of lead, methyl mercury, and alcohol on developing fetuses.

March of Dimes could save more babies put donations into under-funded programs that have been proven to prevent birth defects and help babies.

An estimated 25 percent of all infant deaths could be prevented if adequate pre-natal care were provided for the 1.2 million women who need it every year.

Infant deaths would decrease by as much as 10 percent if women who smoke (25 percent of pregnant women) gave up cigarettes during pregnancy.

Alcohol abuse during pregnancy is the leading cause of preventable birth defects, and there are not enough affordable addiction treatment programs for the women seeking help-yet precious resources are wasted injecting rats and other animals with alcohol.

The establishment of a National Birth Defects Registry can help to identify causes-and pave the way toward prevention of-birth defects. Data from the registry could be analyzed to look for possible patterns or clusters of birth defects that may be associated with certain environmental exposures or genetic traits.

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