Animal Rights Activists Discover the Truth After Touring Research Facility

It is a well-known fact that opposition to animal research has waged a long campaign of misinformation to misguide the public’s perception.  Recently the University of Guelph in Canada took invited individuals from an activist group to tour its facility.  As the blog Speaking of Research describes, the results were quite surprising.

The group, calling itself the Animal Rights Compliance, was given an insider look at the University’s operations giving a glowing, honest review of a research program striving to improve global human and animal health.  The group notes:

“Mary was very transparent with the University’s policies and I was given a tour of where, currently, only 6 dogs are housed. I was impressed with several issues; The University has extensive dogwalking/caregiving procedures, as well as adoption policies using staff, students and volunteers. It works in co-ordination with the local and area Humane Societies. My understanding is that their treatment models are evolving all the time, with the replacement of live animals with other means whenever possible. Another example is that spay and neutered pets are regularly returned to the Humane Society for adoption.”

These are strange words coming from an organization who states support on their Facebook page for “The complete abolition vivisection, animal research or drug testing cosmetics, testing of consumer products on animals. Infractions need to be dealt with by fines and minimum incarceration times.”

To learn more, please click here to read Speaking of Research’s account of the interaction.

Scientists Learn More about Human Cancers from Dogs

Researchers have successfully defined molecular subtypes of lymphoma from three separate dog breeds by comparing them to their human counterparts.  Lymphoma, a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system, is the most common cancer in dogs and develops in over 550,000 humans a year.

A paper on the research was published by Ingegerd Elvers, et al. in Genome Research on September 16, 2015 and clearly illustrates the importance of translational research benefiting both global human and animal health.  Senior author Dr. Jessica Alfoldi of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard notes, “Working with the tumor DNA of golden retrievers, cocker spaniels and boxers, we have identified genes with known involvement in human lymphoma and other cancers as well as novel genes that could help in the discovery of much-needed new treatment options for cancer.”

Dogs are becoming increasingly invaluable in cancer studies to understand the similarities of the disease in both human and dogs.  Hopefully, the findings from these studies will yield results that can be applied to novel approaches to treat and cure cancer. To read the publication in Genome Research, please click here.

UK Research Facility Explains Why Dogs Are Needed

Harlan recently opened the doors of its research dog breeding facility in Cambridge, England to The Sun, a major UK newspaper. The result was a balanced article describing the excellent facilities and reasons dogs are needed for research purposes. The article included many photos, a listing of drugs whose development depended, in part, on the use of dogs, and public opinions. Yes, research opponents are quoted, but so are medical researchers. A pharmacology professor states, “I’ve been in medical research for 30 years. I recently worked on a new drug for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. As part of the process of making sure it’s safe for man we commissioned experiments on dogs. You can’t just take people off the street and give them the drug straight away. This process is for the safety of the public. We don’t do these experiments on animals because we want to. [Government regulatory requirements for safety testing are mentioned elsewhere.] A lot of people, including me, spend their lives looking for alternatives to animals, but a single cell is not the same as a whole organism.”

Harlan’s communications director, Andrew Gay, is quoted extensively. He says, “The beagles’ role is vital in developing important new drugs for serious illnesses in humans — including high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, diabetes and also cancer.” Gay concluded, “These are working dogs. It’s an honorable thing for a dog to do and for us to ask a dog to do. The people who work here love dogs and while they are with us we want to make sure they have the best care possible. They are doing a great service for us.

Read the full article here.

U.S. Captive Chimpanzees Designation as Endangered Species Is Now in Effect

As of September 14, 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. With the new designation, it is illegal to sell chimpanzees in the interstate pet trade or to engage in commercial transport of the animals across state lines. Permits are now required for anyone wishing to conduct biomedical research involving captive chimpanzees, and will only be issued by FWS if it will benefit the survival of the species.

The effective date of the FWS action was welcomed by Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) CEO Wayne Pacelle in several blog messages (see here and here). It was also celebrated online by other animal activists. “It's so good to hear that unnecessary biomedical research on chimpanzees is coming to an end . . .” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) said on her Facebook page September 8 along with a picture of chimpanzees.

Meanwhile, there has been broad news coverage about the race to find an Ebola vaccine in order to save wild Great Apes, including chimpanzees, whose numbers are being decimated by the disease in Africa. The testing of vaccines in chimpanzees at the New Iberia Primate Research Center in Louisiana, and the question of whether that work would continue after September 14, was raised in a National Public Television Newshour segment. That question is still unanswered. The Atlantic Magazine raises more questions about how harmful the new restrictions on biomedical research with chimpanzees may be to wild populations in the story “Should Apes Be Saved from Ebola?

The Animal Research Behind the Top 25 Most Prescribed Drugs

Has Your Doctor Prescribed One of These Medications?

In an effort to continue educating the public and key decision makers about the importance of animal research, NABR and the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) have just posted a listing of the top 25 most prescribed drugs and the animal models that helped develop them.

Compiled using publicly available information from the FDA, the Top 25 Most Prescribed Drugs table is easy to read and clearly demonstrates the indispensable role animal models play in the drug development process. The table can be customized to sort by species so readers can learn which pharmaceuticals were developed thanks to the assistance of rodents, nonhuman primates (NHP), dogs, or rabbits.

Chances are someone you know is taking one of the most commonly prescribed FDA-approved medications on this list. These include medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, and diabetes; all of which could not have been developed without the assistance of animal research. Yet, a common tactic by opponents of lifesaving and life-improving biomedical research with animals is to attempt to discredit its effectiveness.  With this information, the evidence is irrefutable. Please share it with the public, your colleagues, and cross post on social media to help increase awareness of the necessity of animal models in drug development.

See the Top 25 Drugs:

Download PDF Copy:

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New Video Answers the Question, “Why Are Animals Needed in Research?”

Those of us in the biomedical research community are often asked by friends, family and acquaintances: why must we use animals in research?  The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) has just released a short new video that answers this very basic question and is designed to be a shareable teaching tool for the public.

Featuring several of the country’s leading scientists and medical experts, this video highlights why animal research is critical for medical progress and the advancement of both human and animal health.

Please take 5 minutes to watch and share it with those you know who may be curious about animal research. Share it with the public, your colleagues, and post it on social media to help increase awareness of the necessity of animal models in medical discovery.

If you appreciate this video and would like to help FBR continue educating the public on these critical issues, please make your tax deductible donation to the Foundation today.


Air France CEO Defends Transportation of Research Primates

(An abridged repost from Agence France Presse; "Air France to continue transporting lab monkeys")

May 21, 2015

Air France will continue to transport live monkeys for laboratory testing, the airline's CEO Alexandre de Juniac said at an Air-France-KLM shareholders' meeting held as animal rights activists protested nearby.

Juniac, who was re-elected by shareholders to remain at the helm of the French-Dutch company, said in response to an activist's question that the airline would defend the practice as long as it served the interests of science.
At the protest some of the around 30 activists donned monkey costumes and locked themselves up in a cage.

Challenged on the issue by a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Juniac said his company has sought advice from experts who believe "experimenting on primates with a similar genetic ancestry to human beings is indispensable" to research.
"So long as medical research for the improvement of human health requires these experiments, we will continue to transport them," he lashed out.

Juniac also said Air France applies relevant regulations and ensures the animals are well treated...