Written by Paula Clifford
Recently, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie did something rarely seen in Washington, D.C., these days. He told the truth despite pressure from special interest groups to do otherwise. Mr. Wilkie explained that, like many other Americans, he is a dog lover. However, he also supports health studies in a limited number of canines to develop new therapies aimed at helping American veterans injured on the battlefield. Read more.
Written by David Grimm
The number of monkeys used in U.S. biomedical research reached an all-time high last year, according to data released in late September by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The uptick (see graph below)—to nearly 76,000 nonhuman primates in 2017—appears to reflect growing demand from scientists who believe nonhuman primates are more useful than other animals, such as mice or dogs, for testing drugs and studying diseases that also strike humans. Read more.
Written by Rob Schultz
MOUNT HOREB — Among the dozens of local referendums on state ballots next week is a hotly contested question in this Dane County village that is raising awareness of a little-known area business that breeds, sells and uses dogs for medical research.
The referendum is largely symbolic: The facility in question, Ridglan Farms, isn’t even in the village but in the nearby town of Blue Mounds so it can’t be affected legally no matter what happens in the election. If the referendum passes, the village will amend the language in an ordinance so that facilities that sell or use dogs or cats for animal research qualify as a public nuisance. Read more.
Written by Jim Newman
Becoming the next big animal rights target is a major concern for any health research institution which studies animals in order to advance human and veterinary medicine. Too often, organizations are slow to react, assuming the traditional crisis communications rules apply.
They don’t, which is why an increasing number of research institutions are taking a new approach.
So, what can you do to respond more effectively when animal rights allegations surface? Read more.
Written by David Grimm
A last-ditch attempt by biomedical science advocates to force airlines to transport nonhuman primates and other research animals appears to be facing stiff headwinds. Last week, four international carriers strongly urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to summarily reject a plea from a leading research advocacy organization to order the airlines to resume flying animals to research facilities around the world. The request is “misguided,” “far-fetched,” and contrary to laws that allow airlines to decide what kinds of cargo they will carry, the companies argued. DOT has not said how it will respond. Read more.
Written by Cindy A. Buckmaster
Approximately 68 percent of us have pets and we collectively spend about $70 billion on them annually.
Know what else Americans love? Science.
Polling from the advocacy group Research America shows that 81 percent of the public says it’s important for our leaders to make science — along with technology and engineering — a priority.
Our passions for science and animals demonstrate that we are a caring and thoughtful nation. They also highlight why many of us are conflicted when these two issues intersect. I’m referring to health research involving animals. Animal studies explain how our bodies work. They help us identify disease origins and they provide clues to help us combat sickness. Read more.
Written by Jim Newman
For several decades, public and private research organizations adopted a “less is more” attitude when it came to communicating about animal research. And for a long time, the approach made sense.
Many universities and research institutions assumed the majority of Americans understood and supported scientific progress via animal studies. After all, health advancements continued at an astounding pace, so surely the public understood the basic process of moving from lab bench to animal studies to bedside. Also, it was assumed that there was broad acceptance of the fact that cutting edge therapies and medications must first be safety tested in living systems before being offered to living patients—including children. Read more.
Written by Jim Newman
Recently, nearly 600 American scientists, including four Nobel Prize winners, took a stand. They issued an open letter to the rest of the country’s science community on the need to communicate more openly about the critical role of animal studies in developing new treatments and cures. Serious and real security concerns have prevented many universities and other research centers from doing this in the past. However, decades of experience show the old approach does not work. It’s obviously time for a change in tactics.
But America’s scientists and research organizations aren’t the only ones who need to rethink their approach. Animal activists should also do a bit of soul searching. Read more.
Ryan Moore’s guest column, “Stop animal testing. Do your part with a single scan,” on OrlandoSentinel.com has misleading statements that could convince readers to reject critical research that would save lives and end suffering.
For example, he conflates cosmetic testing with cutting-edge disease research as if they are one and the same. Developing a new kind of toothpaste is not the same as unearthing new cancer therapies. Furthermore, animals currently play a critical and irreplaceable role in helping us understand, treat and hopefully defeat this large family of diseases and countless others.
We are surrounded by the evidence that research in animals generates critical health treatments for humans and animals alike. The tangible proof includes vaccines, new surgical advancements and countless medications. These are all developed through animal studies that reduce suffering and extend lives. Read more.
Written by Bob Tedeschi
In 1995, when Anthony Bellotti was 17 and slogging through a summer internship in an animal research lab, he was struck not by how the work could help the millions of people suffering from heart disease, but by the plight of the pigs being hoisted by their hind legs onto tables.
“They were always screaming,” he said. “I thought, ‘Something’s wrong with this picture.’”
He still hoped to one day join his father in the medical field, but the experience triggered a more lasting ambition: rolling back animal testing, which helped refine vaccines that saved millions from polio and smallpox, among others, as well as treatments for many other diseases. Read more.