Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 17 April 2001 Fact Sheet:
THE FALLACY OF ANIMAL TESTING AND VIVISECTION
Today myself and staff member, [email protected], would like to write about the use of animals in lab testing and vivisection. We will present facts that prove these practices are not only inaccurate but a billion dollar business disguised by a false premise that nonhuman animals can accurately predict the effects of medications and chemicals on a human.
The FDA, originated by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862 to assess adulterated food and drugs has evolved into an inadequate means in which to assess human health and safety. Operating under the Public Health Service, they encourage manufacturers to conducts tests on non human animals even though many of these test have proved inaccurate and even cost human lives. They do this even now, disregarding the facts that new, numerous and more accurate alternatives are available.
Take for example the corrosivity test. Corrosive chemicals are placed on the shaved body parts of such animals as rabbits and the level of damage is then assessed *"In 1993 the Corrositex alternative method could be used in place of actual animal test. Corrositex is an in vitro test that uses plant based cell membrane to assess possible corrosivity of a products. The test is simple to use, less expensive and easily reproducible". *AV Magazine, Winter 2001
Test Alternatives for vivisection are also available for the classroom and medical use. These will be discussed as we proceed.
Before I begin to present all of this information let us explore first the source of the animals used. Though many lab animals are bred in the actual laboratories, large subjects, such as dogs and cats are usually acquired from Class "B" Dealers. The family pet that disappeared one day, the dog you no longer wanted, left at an animal shelter, these are the hapless recipients of medical tests and vivisection.
Please read the flowing article about Rodney, the dog. Where Rodney came from is unknown, that he suffered terribly is now documented.
Here B Dealers make their money, selling unwanted and abandoned pets to laboratories. Lets see what happens when a family pet becomes a B. Dealers' meal ticket.
What We Did To Rodney
We called him Rodney. He was a tall, gangly, flea-bitten shepherd mix. One ear stood up, shepherd style, and the other flopped over and bounced against his head like a rag doll when he ran. His head and feet were too big for his thin but muscular body. A stale, musty odor accompanied him from flea-infested skin and neglected ears. Altogether, he wasn't much to look at, one of thousands of dogs facing the world without the luxury of an owner.
I was in my third year of veterinarian school and he came from the local dog pound. For the next quarter, four of us students would practice surgery techniques on him, the first of our small animal surgery training. The first thing we did was neuter him, a seemingly benign project, except it took us an hour to complete the usual 20-minute procedure, and an anesthetic overdose kept him out for 36 hours. Afterward he recovered his strength quickly and felt good.
Two weeks later, we did an abdominal exploratory, opening his abdomen, checking his organ inventory, and closing him again. This was the first major surgery for any of us, and with inadequate supervision we did not close him properly. By the next morning, his incision had opened and he was sitting on his small intestine. Hastily, we sewed him up again, and he survived.
The following week, again when he was under anesthesia, we broke his leg and repaired it with a steel pin. After this, Rodney seemed in almost constant pain, his temperature rose, and he didn't rebound so easily as he had in the past. His resiliency gone, despite antibiotic treatment, he never recovered.
The quarter was ending, and Rodneys days were numbered One afternoon we put him to sleep. As the life drained from his body and his eyes lost their focus, my attitude toward animal research began to change.
I am a scientist, weaned on the scientific method .. But after 15 years in the veterinary profession, I now believe there are moral and ethical considerations that outweigh any benefits. Because we happen to be the most powerful species on Earth, we humans have the ability- but not the right- to abuse the so-called lower animals. The ends do not justify the means.
~Peter M. Henricksen, D. V. M.
Sadly, there are thousands of companion animals just like Rodney. Everyday they are taken from pounds to be sold to research facilities all over the country. Like Rodney, dogs and cats who were once well loved companions suffer the double trauma of confinement to a laboratory cage and the loss of their human friends. Once living the typical joyful life, the victim of pound seizure will live the rest of their life in a grim atmosphere. There will be no more green grass to walk on, no more car rides and no more freedom. They will never feel loved again, or be loved. Their new life is a frigid room with strangers ripping their bodies apart, taking away their spirit. The ultimate fate of these animals is finally death.
Many states have laws that require local pounds to turn over to laboratories on demand those animals who remain unclaimed five days after their arrival. This practice is called "pound seizure." The animals, mostly cats, dogs, kittens and puppies-are used in medical experiments (3).
Class "B" dealers are licensed by the USDA to purchase animals for the purpose of selling them to laboratories. Dealers obtain animals from unclaimed animals at pounds, from people who decide to relinquish guardianship of their pet, through "free to good home" ads and by picking up stray animals who are lost or homeless. Some of the animals are brought to the pounds and shelters by guardians who can no longer keep them (1). Usually the guardians hope that they will be adopted to another family that will give their pet a loving and trusting environment. In communities where pound animals are sold to research, some guardians will leave their pets on the streets to fend for themselves, afraid that their pet will not be humanely euthanized at the community pound, but instead sold for research.
There is little supervision as to where these dealers obtain animals or in what kind of surroundings the animals are kept in before they are sold to the laboratories. Complaints of filthy conditions, inhumane methods of transport, and lack of veterinary care are common. Having a pound, shelter or humane society that practices pound seizure in your area means that every pet is worth money, and increases the chances of pet theft occurring in your community (4). It is suspected that some Class "B" dealers traffic in stolen animals (3).
Experimenters tend to choose animals who are medium-sized, docile, and well socialized-those who have the greatest chance of leaving the shelters with a new family and experimenters take that chance away (2). They don't want the sick, injured, or aggressive dogs and cats. The more socialized and friendly they are, the less chance the animal will turn against the hand that tortures them. Sadly, that is the reason why the pound animals are so "popular" in the world of experimentation.
The animals are victims of physical pain and emotional suffering being used for practice surgery by medical and veterinary students. Thousands more are used in long-term and/or painful experiments or programs by researchers studying everything from the effects of radiation to behavioral abnormalities.
Animals who have been socialized have built a trusting and loving bond with humans and most people who have pets come to regard them as a member of their family. Dogs and cats should be allowed to be euthanized in a humane manner at a shelter or pound, not deteriorate in research laboratories for months and years, enduring pain and distress at the hands of animal researchers. Until Pound Seizure is banned in every state, companion pets will always be at risk to end up in a research laboratory just like Rodney was.
1.. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
2.. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Neal D. Barnard, M.D. founded the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in 1985. Karen M. Pirozzi is a writer in Albany, New York.
3.. National Anti-Vivisection Society
4.. In Defense of Animals
5.. What We Did to Rodney: http://www.peta.org/pubs/at/atsm00/viv.html
*Fourteen states forbid pound seizure. These states are: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, South Carolina and Hawaii (3).
Letter protesting pound seizures at end of factsheet: PLEASE WRITE
STAFF: [email protected]
Chemical Tests on Animals Are Ineffective and Inhumane
Washington,D.C.Three new animal testing programs initiated by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)are inhumane and ultimately useless,said the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). In a letter sent Friday to the agency s new administrator,the nonprofit health organization urged Christine Todd Whitman to rethink the controversial programs initiated by the Clinton-Gore Administration.
The programs which encourage chemical companies to conduct years of redundant toxicity tests on animals are allegedly supposed to protect human health by determining the risk of various chemicals,yet PCRM and other organizations have proven that the programs are deeply flawed.
"These programs are doomed to failure because animal tests are not the most effective way to determine whether a certain chemical is toxic to humans,"says PCRM staff scientist Nicole Cardello,M.H.S.,who has conducted an extensive review of the test plans."Instead of doing anything to protect human health or the environment, the programs will waste vast sums of taxpayer dollars and millions of animal lives."
Ms.Cardello and other PCRM researchers have gathered evidence showing that many of the chemicals slated for testing already are well-documented carcinogens,yet the EPA has failed to take any serious action against them.In fact,the agency has not banned a single toxic industrial chemical under the Toxic Substances Control Act in the past ten years.
PCRM,along with a number of environmental and animal protection groups,has been campaigning against the three programs since their inception.The organizations want the EPA to stop delaying and take regulatory action on chemicals that are known hazards,end duplicative testing,and employ alternative,more effective testing methods.The three programs are known as the High Production Volume Challenge Program,the Voluntary Children s Chemical Evaluation Program,and the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program.
PCRM is a plaintiff in three lawsuits against the EPA.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Ms.Cardello, please call PCRM communications director Ms. Simon Chaitowitz at 202-686-2210, ext.309.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a Washington,D.C.-based nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine,compassionate medical policy,and higher standards in re-search. PCRM is comprised of 5,000 physicians and more than 100,000 laypersons.
Simon Chaitowitz, Communications Director
Tel: 202-686-2210, ext. 309
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