Research Ethics News
Charity in the Truest Sense
Anita Magriplis, John Cielukowski, Meg Johnson, and Jennifer Wagner persuaded their employer to change policy and support only cruelty-free charities.
Sponsoring charities that squander resources on senseless animal experiments is no way to cultivate a good corporate image. With encouragement from PCRM supporters, sponsors of the March of Dimes are coming to that conclusion and will be sending their contributions elsewhere.
John Cielukowski, Meg Johnson, Jennifer Wagner, and Anita Magriplis, employees at a Fortune 500 integrated facilities management company in Florida, have kept up the pressure for two years, informing company decision-makers about disturbing animal experiments funded by the March of Dimes. The management finally agreed that the company's philanthropic efforts should not go to wasting money and animal lives. Instead, the recently formed Activities Committee has decided to support local schools and charities—including the humane society.
If your employers are sponsors of the March of Dimes, please suggest a switch to one of the many charities listed in our Guide to Cruelty-Free Giving that do not fund animal experiments, or to local organizations doing good work in your own community. Responsible giving is good business.
Tracking Down the Causes of Human Birth Defects
The key to preventing birth defects is to track down their causes in exposed populations, as was demonstrated in a recent study that found that women who were exposed to certain solvents were 13 times more likely to have a baby with major birth defects. Exposure to organic solvents—chemicals found in paints, pesticides, adhesives, lacquers, and cleaning products—is common among women who work in factories and printing houses and as lab technicians and chemists.
Researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto followed 125 pregnant women who had been exposed to organic solvents and 125 who had not. The exposed group gave birth to children with 13 major birth defects and 5 minor ones as compared to 1 major malformation and 1 minor one among the children of the women not exposed. In addition, many more babies born to exposed mothers were premature, underweight, or required resuscitation during delivery.
Khattak S, K-Moghtader G, McMartin K, Barrera M, Kennedy D, Koren G. Pregnancy outcomes following gestational exposure to organic solvents: a perspective controlled study. JAMA 1999 Mar. 24-31;281(12):1106-9.
University Stops Lethal Animal Experiments
University of Illinois first-year veterinary students will no longer participate in lethal animal experiments to learn basic physiology. After more than a year of urging by veterinary students and animal protection supporters who feel it is inconsistent to teach the proper care of animals through procedures resulting in the deaths of many dogs, pigs, and other animals, administrators agreed to take the issue seriously. They are now discussing whether to modify the curriculum or drop such experiments altogether.
Until now, more than 100 animals were killed each year, teaching students how kidneys and other organs work. Although protocol calls for those conducting such procedures to be "appropriately trained," the students were just days into veterinary school.
Alternatives such as CD-ROMs and videos are available, but students felt that they were not given enough information about these options.
Despite the change, a first-year lab experiment that requires killing up to ten rats is scheduled to continue. Many students intend to keep up the pressure so that alternatives will be offered for this as well. In other countries, including Britain, most animal experiments in veterinary schools have been banned.
Pound Seizure Update
The city of Dallas and surrounding Harris County no longer sell pound animals for medical research. The ban, proposed by Commissioner Steve Radack, came after five years of annual court battles which drew animal rights activists and prompted spirited debate. The county previously contracted with Baylor College of Medicine, Texas A&M University, University of Texas–Houston Health Science Center, and the University of Houston Animal Care Operations. Now, animals captured by the county have the opportunity to be picked up by an owner or adopted.
PCRM Billboards Challenge the March of Dimes
Timed to coincide with the March of Dimes' (MOD) WalkAmerica campaign in April, PCRM billboards went up in Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco. The signs encouraged support of charities which, unlike MOD, fund only progressive research that involves no animal experimentation.
Medical School Victories
Right on the heels of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine's decision to drop its dog laboratory, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Wake Forest University School of Medicine confirmed that they too have dropped all live animal laboratories from their curricula. Now, nearly 60 percent of all U.S. medical schools teach students to become physicians without the use of live animals. If you would like to inform medical students in your area about their rights and alternatives to animal use, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-686-2210, ext. 336.
|Top Ten Ranked U.S. Medical Schools*|
|2||Johns Hopkins University||No|
|3||University of Pennsylvania||No|
|4||Washington University (St. Louis)||Yes|
|5||Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons||No|
|7||University of California-San Francisco||No|
|9||University of Washington||No|
* Rankings from U.S. News and World Report's "Best Graduate Schools" 2001 edition.
Bill Maher PSAs
Bill Maher, host of ABC's Politically Incorrect, has joined PCRM's campaign to end live animal laboratories in U.S. medical schools. With more than half of the nation's schools now utilizing state-of-the-art simulators and interactive CD-ROMs, educating the others is key to a sweeping change. Mr. Maher's public service announcement, which will be seen and heard by thousands of students and faculty members, aims to do just that.
"This is Bill Maher of Politically Incorrect asking you not to let your medical or science education go to the dogs…or rabbits, rats, or other animals, for that matter. There are great new ways to learn that don't involve animals at all."
Alternatives to Kitten Intubation
Susan Canada contacted PCRM for information on alternatives after learning that Brevard Community College in Florida was using live kittens to teach infant intubation to respiratory therapy students. She provided the college dean with our alternatives information and explained that the American Association of Respiratory Care Technicians does not require the use of animals for certification. The dean immediately cancelled the laboratories.