Animal Activist Pressure Results in House Appropriations Report Language

A months-long, multi-pronged campaign by a variety of animal rights groups against some National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported research projects involving nonhuman primates has resulted in a reference made in the report accompanying the House Committee on Appropriations bill for FY 2016. Included with many other comments and issues raised in the 263-page report, is this paragraph:

Review of Maternal Deprivation Studies.—The Committee is aware that prominent experts and animal advocacy organizations have raised concerns about the scientific and ethical justifications for maternal deprivation studies involving baby monkeys being conducted in both intramural and extramural NIH funded laboratories. The Committee is further aware that the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare opened an investigation in response to these allegations on September 9, 2014. The investigations consulted with research investigators, the USDA, nonhuman primate center scientists, veterinarians, animal care staff and other relevant experts. As a result of the investigation, several modifications were made to the protocol and several procedures removed. Accordingly, the Committee requests NIH to conduct a review of its ethical policies and processes with respect to nonhuman primate research subjects, in consultation with outside experts, to ensure it has appropriate justification for animal research protocols and to provide an update on these efforts in the fiscal year 2017 budget request.

NABR Releases Analysis of Animal Rights Federal FOIA Requests in FY14

You have received a FOIA request.  You know what they want from your research institution.  But do you know what animal rights groups are looking for from other research institutions?  Do you know how many such requests were filed at federal agencies?  Do you know which groups are the most frequent requesters?  Do you know how much these requests cost the agencies?  Now you will.  Following on the heels of NABR’s successful analysis of animal rights FOIA requests in 2013, NABR has released “A Review of Animal Rights FOIA Requests FY14.”

This is an in-depth report of each and every Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made in FY14 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Institutes of Health by animal rights groups that you won’t find anywhere else.  NABR’s experts have broken these requests down in an easy to read format to quickly understand the commonly requested information, frequency of requests by party, and an examination of the cost to NIH and USDA.

As animal rights groups continue to rely on FOIA to gather intelligence about research institutions for targeting purposes, it is important to understand their tactics and the true impact of such requests.  Please download “A Review of Animal Rights FOIA Requests FY14” by clicking below and share it with your staff and FOIA offices.

 
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Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Pens Letter to Science on Researcher Harassment

On May 8, Steven Hyman, President of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) and SfN Committee on Animals in Research Chair Michael Goldberg submitted a letter to Science in response to the article, “Researcher Drops Primate Work.”  The letter was printed in the June 12 issue of Science.

The letter highlights the great value of humane animal research in the endeavor for medical progress in the fields of animal and human health.  Drs. Hyman and Goldberg write, “Research on animals, including non-human primates, provides the basis for breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and devastating infectious diseases like HIV, Ebola, and influenza. Monkey research played a key role in the development of deep-brain stimulation for treating conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.”

Most importantly, Drs. Hyman and Goldberg point to the troubling and disruptive actions by extremist elements seeking to derail the hunt for cures and therapies.  “It is unacceptable that researchers worldwide are subject to harassment, threats of violence, illegal taping, and property damage, and we urge aggressive enforcement of laws that protect responsible research, scientific institutions, and scientists,” they write.  This behavior, they continued, “will only lengthen the time needed to better understand complex neural systems, which are crucial to find treatments more than 1,000 disorders.”

To read the letter, please click here.

Editorial: Increase in Animal Research Leads to New Treatments, Cures, and Better Lives

Yesterday, February 25, Speaking of Research published a piece entitled, “Animal research successes spur growth in science…but PeTA can only complain.”

In his piece, David Jentsch answers a report by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) which notes that the number of animals involved in research has grown by over 70% during the past 15 years.  Jentsch discusses how this increase is due to an acceleration of innovation and discovery in unlocking many of the world’s health questions.  He writes, “Thanks to the researchers that occupy laboratories around the world, scientific discoveries are coming faster than ever, and all of us benefit. It’s not just that there is more research being done – it’s that the impact of the science is better than ever thanks to more advanced technologies, accumulating knowledge of how the body works and more advanced animals models, including ones that mimic human disease processes in increasingly sophisticated ways that promote new discoveries and new opportunities to develop novel drugs.”

“What is the consequence of the growth in animal research? The answer is: new treatments, new cures, less sickness and longer, healthier lives,” says Jentsch.

To read Jentsch’s submission to Speaking of Research, please click here.

Research Responds to Critics in Today’s “Congress Blog”

Today, February 23, the Congressional news website, The Hill, featured an insightful and interesting pro-research piece in its “Congress Blog” entitled, “Childhood adversity needs more research, not less.”

In the op-ed, Paul McKellips, the Executive Vice President of the Foundation for Biomedical Research, defends the humane use of animal models, like primates and rodents, in studying childhood stress to help determine and treat behavioral and emotional problems in adulthood from critics. Animal rights groups like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have targeted this important effort with advertisements, letter writing campaigns, and Congressional staff briefings.

McKellips writes, “Unfortunately, that research is under attack. Some activists claim that it's needlessly cruel. It's not. What is cruel, however, is shutting down a line of scientific inquiry that may help scientists mitigate -- or even reverse -- the effects of childhood psychological adversity.”

To read McKellips’ piece, please click here.

British Heart Foundation Responds to Opponents of Animal Research

Last weekend in the United Kingdom, the Waltham Forest Animal Protection group mounted a demonstration against the British Heart Foundation (BHF) over funding cardiac research with animal models and the BHF responded.

Simon Gillespie, the chief executive of BHF, responded to protesters saying, “The majority of lifesaving medical advances that today benefit millions of heart patients involved research involving animals,” adding, “At the BHF, we’re dedicated to saving lives by developing better treatments and cures for heart and circulatory conditions that affect the lives of more than seven million people across the UK.”

To read the February 18 news report, please click  here.

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