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Urge Taiwan: Halt Rabies Experiments on Beagle Puppies

This summer, Taiwan experienced its first case of rabies in more than 52 years. It is already well known that rabies infects all warm-blooded animals, and the best way to stop the spread of the virus is through vaccination. But the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture (COA) is planning to test the infectivity of the virus by injecting beagle puppies and other animals with rabies. The experiments are not supported by rabies experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since the experiments will not help outbreak control.

The Physicians Committee enlisted celebrity support from actors Alec Baldwin and Maggie Q and reached out to embassy staff. After the COA received a letter from Alec Baldwin in late October, officials announced their decision to temporarily postpone the experiments. Two additional Taiwanese celebrities recently joined us in this campaign, increasing media coverage for our position.

During a recent review of the COA operating budget, Taiwanese legislators recommended that the agency “carefully evaluate various expert opinions inside and outside of Taiwan” and not insist on moving forward with the experiments. At the end of 2013, the Taiwanese Congress passed a resolution urging the COA to halt the planned experiments. However, the agency is not obligated to comply, so we are continuing to mount pressure on the COA to halt plans for these experiments.

Join the more than 85,000 scientists and concerned citizens across the globe who have signed our petition urging the COA to halt the experiments:

Take Action

September 12, 2013

Minister Chen Bao-ji
Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, R.O.C.
37 Nanhai Road, Taipei, Taiwan 10014, R. O. C.

Honorable Minister Chen,

You may know me from the films Mission: Impossible III and Live Free or Die Hard or my long-running television series Nikita. I share your concern about the recent finding of rabies virus in ferret-badgers, but I must ask you to halt plans by the Council of Agriculture to expose unvaccinated beagle puppies merely to prove the danger of the virus. This experiment will cause the puppies unnecessary suffering and death and will only provide information that is already known among scientists – that all variants of the rabies virus are able to infect warm-blooded animals.

Having lived and worked in Taiwan, I know it to be a place of progressive ideas and practices. I am concerned that these experiments are a step backward, not forward. Vaccination of both domestic animals and wildlife has already been proven to be the most effective method of controlling rabies. I urge you to instead direct the COA’s efforts and resources towards an aggressive rabies vaccination campaign to make sure that all citizens of Taiwan have their dogs and other animals vaccinated by World Rabies Day on September 28. Vaccination of both domestic animals and wildlife has already been proven to be the single most effective method of controlling rabies.

I strongly believe that the lives of animals matter and that we must not cause harm to one to protect another when the only result will be to prove what has already been repeatedly demonstrated. The World Health Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health state that cell-based methods are preferable to animal-based tests. Infecting beagle puppies with rabies virus for testing vaccines is no longer considered necessary or ethical by rabies experts.

Please stop these tests, Minister Chen.

Sincerely,

Maggie Q


 

October 10, 2013

Alec Baldwin
Minister Chen Bao-ji
Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, R.O.C.
37 Nanhai Road, Taipei, Taiwan 10014, R. O. C.

Honorable Minister Chen,

Although I have worked in television and dozens of movies over the past 30 years, I’m about to start hosting Up Late with Alec Baldwin, a talk show where I address current events, such as Taiwan’s proposed and absolutely unnecessary rabies experiments on beagle puppies.

I have two dogs myself, and want them to be safe from the threat of rabies, so I understand your concern about the recent rabies outbreak in Taiwan and your desire to protect the city’s animals and humans. But infecting beagle puppies with this new strain of rabies isn’t the answer, since we already know that all variants can infect any warm-blooded animals.

I’m not alone in my concern. I join the Physicians Committee’s 150,000 members and nearly 40,000 people from across the globe who signed a petition asking you to stop the proposed experiments. International experts, invited to your country to recommend steps to prevent further spread of rabies, said the experiments will not contribute to rabies prevention. Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not recommend the experiments and emphasized that the experiments will not help outbreak control.

The best way to stem Taiwan’s recent outbreak is an all-out effort by the Taiwanese government to urge its citizen to vaccinate the country’s many vulnerable dogs and cats.

Sincerely,

Alec Baldwin



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Maggie Q Urges Taiwan: Halt Rabies Experiments on Beagle Puppies

Alec Baldwin Urges Taiwan: Halt Rabies Experiments on Beagle Puppies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


   
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