Two Plead Guilty to AETA Conspiracy Charges; Federal Prison Sentences and Nearly $400,000 in Restitution Expected

Two animal extremists pled guilty to federal criminal charges and entered plea agreements according to the San Diego Unit-Tribune.

Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane each admitted in San Diego federal court last week to conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). Prosecutors and defense lawyers reportedly plan to jointly recommend a two-year sentence for Buddenberg and six months for Kissane. The pair also admitted that their actions caused more than $100,000 in damage. They have agreed to pay $398,000 in restitution to several victims, including Furs By Graf, a San Diego business that was vandalized, and to seven mink farms and two other businesses around the country.

A previous AETA indictment of Buddenberg was ultimately dismissed for insufficient details.  The same cannot be said about the indictment in this case.  It is extremely thorough, documenting the pair’s four cross-country trips to terrorize fur farms as well as their financial dealings, including selling stolen goods on eBay to pay for their travels, among other pieces of evidence.  A long list of potential prosecution witnesses was also presented.

Animal Research Could Have Helped Star in Prominent TV Show

The benefits of animal research are everywhere, even on television dramas.  They serve as reminders of how far mankind and science has come to help treat disease and improve life.  One instance was highlighted by the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) in an episode of the critically acclaimed PBS show, Downton Abbey.  The show, which has won a Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, follows a fictional set of characters living in a 1920’s estate in Yorkshire, England called Downton Abbey.

One of the characters, Lord Grantham, learns that he has a stomach ulcer after suffering from mysterious chest pains.  That ulcer later bursts but Lord Grantham survives after surgical intervention.  The condition, known as a peptic ulcer, is well understood today and effectively treated thanks to biomedical research with animal models.  Proton pump inhibitors like Nexium and H2 blockers such as Tagamet were brought to fruition thanks to mice, rats, rabbits, dogs, and monkeys.  Even the surgery that Lord Grantham was portrayed to have benefitted from was refined using animal models.

To learn more about the animal research and animal model connection to Downton Abbey, please click here.

The Role of Animal Research in the President’s Cancer Moonshot

During his final State of the Union address to Congress, President Barack Obama announced the creation of the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force to make stronger strides to defeat cancer.  The White House hopes to achieve this by accelerating the understanding of cancer, improving patient access, encouraging the development of innovative treatments, and by identifying and addressing any unnecessary regulatory burdens that delays research.

Once crucial element that will undoubtedly be a critical piece of the puzzle is animal research and just yesterday the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) took a detailed look at the discoveries brought to fruition thanks to animals.  Whether it be immunotherapy, epigenetics, or cell-based therapy, animals like rats, mice, zebrafish, and fruit flies have helped pave the path to healing and recovery and will likely continue to be influential during this campaign.

FBR’s review of animal research in the President’s cancer initiative can be found here.  We encourage you to comment with your thoughts and to share FBR’s posting on social media with friends, family, and colleagues.

Latest Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) Chimpanzee Lawsuit Rejected

A New York judge on Friday, January 29 blocked an animal rights group from pursuing a new lawsuit seeking release of a chimpanzee from a Niagara Falls sanctuary, despite support from primatologist Jane Goodall.

State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe refused to sign an order sought by Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) to force facility directors into her Manhattan courtroom to defend keeping the animal in captivity. Judge Jaffe is the same jurist who granted a hearing requiring Stony Brook University to “show cause” for maintaining two research chimpanzees. Following that hearing, the court denied NhRP’s petition for a writ of habeaus corpus and Stony Brook subsequently returned the two chimpanzees to their owner, the New Iberia Primate Research Center in Louisiana.

According to the UK Telegraph, Judge Jaffe said the group previously filed four similar petitions in other federal courts in the state and, despite the new affidavits from Goodall and others, did not show why its latest request to release the Niagara Falls chimpanzee belonged in Manhattan. Copies of NhRP documents related to this case, including new supporting affidavits, are available here.

Animal Models Helping to Combat Zika Virus

The Zika virus has reached pandemic levels in Latin America and experts believe that it will spread to all of North America, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to recently declare the virus a “global public health emergency.”  Spread mainly through mosquito bites, Zika typically causes an illness similar to a mild form of dengue fever but the most urgent concern is a possible connection to microcephaly in infants and Guillain–Barré syndrome in some patients.  At the moment, no treatment or vaccine for the virus is available but rest assured researchers are working diligently to combat the pandemic with animal models on the front lines.  Yesterday, the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) released an interesting overview on the animal research involved in Zika research.

Animal research will be a critical component in discoveries leading to preventing the spread of Zika.  Dr. Franics Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) agrees: “It is now critically important to confirm, through careful epidemiological and animal studies, whether or not a causal link exists between Zika virus infections in pregnant women and microcephaly in their newborn babies.” Researchers at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) highlighted their intent to expedite Zika research and noted in a release, “Studies to develop animal models to study ZIKV pathogenesis (especially neurological manifestations and teratogenic potential) and evaluate candidate therapeutics and vaccines.”

As with every challenge to global health, animal research will be an indispensable resource at every stage of the Zika outbreak.  To learn more and to read FBR’s overview, please click here.

BREAKING NEWS: White House Announces Specifics of Cancer Moonshot Task Force

As you’ll recall, President Barack Obama announced during his January 12 State of the Union address the creation of an initiative to make stronger strides towards curing cancer.  Today, the White House released specific details on how this “moonshot,” as the President put it, would take shape.

The White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, a collection of over thirteen science and research oriented entities, will be established within the Office of the Vice President and be funded and managed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The Task Force will work in conjunction with many departments and agencies to accelerate the understanding of cancer, improve patient access, encourage the development of innovative treatments, and to identify and address any unnecessary regulatory burdens that hinder research.

To learn more about the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, please see news coverage in The Hill or click here to read today’s release from the White House.

#ThrowbackThursday Video: “Hope”

Throwback Thursday is a social media phenomenon where users share items from the past.  A couple of weeks ago for Throwback Thursday, NABR shared a 1984 educational film by the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) created to show the public the critical importance of animal research in discovering new medicines, treatments, and surgical techniques to better improve global human and animal health.  We dug into the archives to share another FBR video vignette, “Hope.”

Hope,” also produced by FBR, is narrated by Dr. Judson Randolph who discusses a number of lifesaving and life-improving developments in pediatric medicine and their implementation at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.  Dr. Judson speaks of the value of sheep in the creation of ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) and its crucial use in saving a young girl’s life.  Research with primates, mice, dogs, and pigs were also important models in the development of bone marrow transplants to cure a young boy with leukemia.

To watch “Hope,” please click here or view the video below.  Also, please share this video with your family, friends, colleagues, and on social media.

 

Tuesday’s Webinar Now Available for On-Demand Viewing

Did you miss Tuesday’s webinar?  Want to see it again?  Do you want to do a training session with your entire staff?  You’re in luck.  "The 2015 USDA Inspection Data: Reporting from a Different Perspective" is now available for online viewing in the Members Only section of NABR.org.

Please click here to view "The 2015 USDA Inspection Data: Reporting from a Different Perspective."  You will need your NABR members-only log-in credentials to watch the presentation.

If you have problems logging in, please contact us at info@nabr.org.

#ThrowbackThursday Video: Will I Be Alright, Doctor?

“Will I be alright, doctor?”  This is a question that doctors in America hear thousands of times through the course of their medical career. But did you know it is also the title of the Foundation for Biomedical Research’s (FBR) first educational film on the subject of animal research?

Will I Be Alright, Doctor?” first premiered at a Capitol Hill reception in Washington, DC in 1984 to great acclaim.  The video, narrated by pediatric cardiologist Dr. Allan Goldblatt, was created to show the public the critical importance of animal research in discovering new medicines, treatments, and surgical techniques to better improve global human and animal health.

Please take a few minutes to watch this highly regarded documentary and please share it with your family, friends, colleagues, and on social media.  To view, “Will I Be Alright, Doctor?” please click here or view the video below.

 

 

Big Milestones in the Race for President Just Weeks Away

This year is an important election year as Americans will go to the polls in November to elect the nation's 45th President. The race will start with a fever pitch in 2016 with two key contests: the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucus.

The Iowa caucus is scheduled for Monday, February 1 and the New Hampshire primary is slated for the following week on Tuesday, February 9. "Super Tuesday," a day of 14 primaries and caucuses, is a few weeks later on March 1. Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia will hold contests on Super Tuesday.

The results of these dates will be important in deciding the candidates for each party so please be sure to go to the polls or caucus to make your voice heard.

For the most up-to-date election results please check your inbox for the NABR Update or check your favorite local or national media outlet.

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