Over 60 Institutions Sign Letter to Congress Supporting H.R. 3136

Today, NABR delivered a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives announcing support for H.R. 3136.  This letter, signed by over 60 universities, scientific societies, associations, and companies, urges immediate passage of this important transparency improving legislation.

The Enforcement Transparency Act (H.R. 3136) would require the USDA to release the guidelines used by Investigative and Enforcement Services (IES) at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in the formulation of any civil penalties for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

This common-sense, bipartisan bill will provide the research community and the public a much greater understanding of how penalties are calculated for enforcement actions by USDA.  Currently, USDA subjectively determines AWA penalties on a case-by-case basis, and the results are unpredictable and inconsistent. These guidelines were once publicly available, but in recent years USDA has chosen to deny the research community and Members of Congress access to them. The last available AWA penalty guidelines are now outdated.

To read NABR's talking points on the ETA, please click here.

Please contact your Congressman TODAY and urge him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 3136.  Click here to use NABR's Capwiz system to send an email directly to their offices and please encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to do the same.

Official at University of Washington Vocally Defends Animal Research

In an interview printed yesterday in The Daily, the student newspaper of the University of Washington, Dr. David Anderson voiced his support for animal research at the university, stressing the immense importance of ethical and humane medical research with animal models.

The Q&A with Dr. Anderson, the Executive Director of UW’s Health Sciences Administration and Institutional Official of the Animal Care and Research Program, clearly and concisely outlines the value of animal models in modern day biomedical research.  He highlights such points as the impact on modern day healthcare, use of alternatives, oversight, and animal care.  After reading the piece, one commenter wrote, “Thank you for presenting a balanced story on a challenging issue. I appreciate you showing the truth about animal research in response to the misinformation routinely stated by the animal activism leadership. Biomedical research will save lives and improve health in both human and animal populations and should be supported. The University of Washington is a world leader in medical advances and I'm proud to be an alumni.”

NABR applauds Dr. Anderson for speaking out in support of the issue as he, himself, has been the target of animal rights protests.  According to the article, his home has been targeted by protesters over the construction of a new lab animal facility on the UW campus.

To read, “Moment of science: Why animal testing is essential for medical progress,” the question and answer session with Dr. Anderson, please click here.

Is AAAS Anti-Science?

NABR and its members have been watching with growing concern as Science and ScienceInsider have repeatedly covered animal research issues from the perspective of anti-animal research sources such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Beagle Freedom Project (BFP).

As a result, NABR President Frankie Trull again has written to both the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Science news editor expressing disappointment with the coverage starting as early as 2010, but increasing in frequency during 2015. Her letter contains a partial list of 16 examples that have tended to portray certain animal research models in a negative light, whether directly or by implication. She provides not only the basic reasons many of the news features were objectionable, but also questions why Science chose not to report on other important animal research stories, which were found newsworthy by major media such as The Atlantic, PBS Newshour and the New York Times. Trull concludes, “ . . . AAAS publications seem to have spoken with their silence by providing no coverage on this contentious debate. Many biomedical researchers are now questioning whether AAAS publications have abandoned their biomedical research constituents in favor of groups with animal rights agendas.”

Please read the full NABR letter, review the Science and ScienceInsider coverage and decide if AAAS’ commitment to scientific rigor and factual evidence is lacking. NABR would appreciate hearing your opinions on the subject and receiving any suggestions for further actions at info@NABR.org.

NABR and Florida Research Primate Breeding Facilities Featured in Bloomberg Business

An in-depth article about four facilities providing nonhuman primates (NHP) for research, “How Monkeys Became Big Business in Florida,” appeared in yesterday's Bloomberg Business. While the piece is accompanied by some good photos of NHPs, the “moving” picture shown on the opening webpage stands to be misinterpreted. Nevertheless, the story by Felix Gillette is balanced and provides insights into a local situation receiving public attention. The sub-headline summarizes the situation: “The breeders are proud. The activists are mad. The neighbors are confused. And the monkeys still have good aim.”

Early in the article, NABR executive vice president Matthew Bailey explains the critical role monkeys play in basic scientific and medical research as well as in testing new drugs and vaccines before they are marketed. “The use of monkeys has been essential,” said Bailey, “in developing cures for everything from typhus to polio and is integral to the study of currently incurable diseases such as Alzheimer’s and AIDS.” He further suggested, “If you agree with the animal rights narrative, open up your medicine cabinet and throw out all your pills, including your child’s pain reliever. Because without animals in preclinical research and testing, we wouldn’t have them.”

To read this article, please click here.

Our Four-Legged Companions Are Helping Lick Cancer

Another publication has written about the importance of canine models in cancer research.  In the current issue of the ASBMB Today, the newsletter for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology featured a story titled, “Chasing cancer with dogs” focusing on the connection between dogs, humans, and cancer and the exploration for a cure.

Cancer is rampant among humans and dogs.  Cancer occurs in one in every three women and in half of all men.  According to Michael Kastan, the Executive Director of the Duke Cancer Institute, it kills half of all dogs under the age of 10.  Because cancer is naturally occurring in dogs, studying canines with cancer may help answer questions that remain unanswered from studies in humans and rodents.  Humans and dogs share many similarities with the disease, such as tumor genetics, recurrence, metastasis and therapeutic response.

Please click here to read and discuss the story and to learn more about the animal research involved in curing cancer.

Action Required: WHO International Ketamine Rescheduling

The World Health Organization (WHO) is considering a change to the international scheduling of ketamine, proposed by China. YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED to ask the FDA to protect doctors’ and veterinarians' access to this critical drug. Elevating international regulation of ketamine as a Schedule 1 drug could mean that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for U.S. practitioners to use.

On October 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a request for comments regarding the abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking and impact of scheduling changes on the availability for medical use of 10 drug substances – including ketamine. The comments, DUE THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15, will be considered as FDA prepares a response to the WHO regarding the abuse liability and diversion of these drugs and will be provided to the 36th Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD), which will meet in Geneva November 16-20.

NABR has drafted a letter to the FDA that generally explains how critical ketamine is to veterinary and human medicine and how important it is that it remain accessible to biomedical research. We encourage you to use this template as a starting point to submit your own letter to the FDA. Below are the question(s) WHO has asked be addressed in your response:

  • Ketamine use in clinical settings - when is ketamine the anesthetic, sedative or analgesic agent of choice for any of the following: emergency situations; conducting procedures with pediatric patients; short surgical procedures; long surgical procedures; surgery conducted outside a hospital without respiratory support facilities; and other.
  • Veterinary therapeutic indications approved for ketamine (choices offered: anesthesia; pain management; sedation; no approved uses; other).
  • Current use of ketamine in medical or scientific research (including clinical trials).

Comments can be filed at Regulations.gov.

comment now

Animal Research Plays Key Role in 2015 Nobel Prize Awards

Today, the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three researchers for their efforts to conquer parasitic disease: William Campbell of Ireland, Satoshi Omura of Japan, and China's Youyou Tu.

Campbell and Omura discovered and developed Avermectin, a new drug which has helped reduce the incidence of River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis, also known as elephantiasis.  When discussing their work, the Nobel Assembly noted, "The importance of Ivermectin (the American derivative of Avermectin) for improving the health and wellbeing of millions of individuals with River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis, primarily in the poorest regions of the world, is immeasurable. Treatment is so successful that these diseases are on the verge of eradication."  Animal research with cattle, sheep, dogs, and chickens played an important role in this discovery.

As most already know, Malaria is mosquito-borne disease caused by parasites and it kills almost 500,000 people worldwide every year.  Using the Artemisia annua plant and mouse models, Tu discovered that purification of the plant yielded an agent called Artemisinin which the Nobel Assembly calls “a new class of antimalarial agents that rapidly kill the Malaria parasites at an early stage of their development.”

NABR congratulates this year’s Nobel Laureates and applauds them for their important research that will improve the lives of millions globally.

To learn more about these Nobel Laureates and the animal research in their groundbreaking developments, please read CNN’s report or click here to read Speaking of Research’s analysis.

Sign-Up Today for NABR’s Next Exclusive Webinar!

On Tuesday, October 20, join NABR for our upcoming webinar, "It's Not the Same Old Same Old: Completing Your 2015 Annual Report."

This NABR-exclusive webinar will cover the changes to Chapter 7 of the Animal Welfare Inspection Guide (AWIG) and highlight the new requirements for completing and filing the USDA's Annual Report (Form 7023).

"It's Not the Same Old Same Old: Completing Your 2015 Annual Report" will give these changes and their impact on the USDA annual report process a thorough review.  The webinar will also provide another look at the importance of compiling a report accurately reflecting the activity at your institution without unnecessary details that could place you in jeopardy.

All of those responsible for compiling and submitting the annual report should be aware of the changes, namely the clarification of reportable exceptions, and be adjusting their internal policies and procedures to incorporate those changes.  THIS WEBINAR SHOULD NOT BE MISSED! 

Space is limited for this webinar and will likely run out quickly so please register ASAP!

 

Join us on October 20, 2015 by reserving your spot today!

register now

Michael Lauer to Serve as NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research

Michael S. Lauer, MD, is to be the new NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, replacing Sally Rockey, PhD. He is expected to assume this new position in the coming weeks.

From 2009 to the present, Lauer served as Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), where he began his career at NIH in 2007. He was most recently named the NIH Co-Chair for the President's Precision Medicine Initiative. Dr. Lauer has been actively involved and a strong advocate of human subjects protection. He is also very familiar with animal research issues given the reliance on animal models of many NHLBI-supported programs. As NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, the Office of Laboratory Animal Research (OLAW) will report to him.

For more background, please see the complete appointment announcement here.

New York Times Features Guest Column Highlighting Problematic FWS Chimpanzee Rule

As NABR reported on September 21, all chimpanzees are listed as endangered under U.S. law, both wild and captive, as the result of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision earlier this year.  The rule went into effect on September 14.  Just this past weekend, Peter Walsh, a lecturer in primate ecology at Cambridge University penned an opinion piece in the September 26 edition of the New York Times outlining potential problems resulting from the FWS decision.

Protecting Apes Could Backfire” discusses several unintended consequences that could have detrimental effects to health advancements not just for humans but for great apes, as well.  Recently, much has been made about the ancestor of the HIV virus, Ebola, and anthrax in humans but little has been mentioned about infections in great apes like gorillas and chimpanzees.  Researchers are racing against the clock to stop these naturally occurring threats to preserve the species but that may all cease because of the importance of captive animals to research.  Not a single research program has applied for a permit and it is uncertain as to whether any will.  The piece also makes several other interesting points pertaining to the shockwaves that will be sent through research benefitting humans.

Feel free to read “Protecting Apes Could Backfire” by clicking here.

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