Standing Tall Against Animal Rights’ Challenges to Research in the U.K.

Most of NABR’s members are familiar with the history of the animal rights movement here in America.  But how much do you know about their activities abroad, specifically in the United Kingdom?  How much do you know about those standing in support of animal research?

Speaking of Research, a pro-research blog, recently published a posting called, “Pro-Test: Tackling Animal Rights in the UK,” highlighting important events in the U.K.  It is important to understand the animal rights movement’s approach to animal research from an international perspective because, as the story points out, the U.K. has been a hotbed for activists since the 1970’s.  Having endured threats, violence, and intimidation, researchers there had been apprehensive about vocalizing the importance of their lifesaving and life-improving work.  They rose up and marched, in greater number than their detractors, showing the world their pride for their noble cause.  They spoke out in the media, snatching the headlines and public support from their opponents.  They worked to get political leaders, like then Prime Minister Tony Blair, on-record endorsing the importance of animal models.

These researchers are a shining example of how to effectively stand for the importance of ethical and humane animal research.  To read more about the community supporting animal research in the U.K., please click here.

Monkeys Influential in Regenerating Lost Limbs

This morning, CNN.com covered an interesting development in the research to develop regenerated limbs.  Thanks to animal research, science may be one step closer.

Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston are spearheading efforts to make limbs that can be transplanted in humans.  According to CNN, it is estimated that almost 185,000 amputations occur each year in America and that 2 million people are living with the loss of a limb.  Rodent and primate models have been important to the work at MGH to develop cells and structures to create a fully-functioning limb that would not be rejected by the body’s immune system.

To read CNN’s report and learn more about this breakthrough research, please click here.

Man’s Best Friend Helping Research for Kids with Spina Bifida

About four children are born every day in the United States with spina bifida, a birth defect where the baby’s backbone and its surrounding membranes fail to develop properly.  Thanks to animal research and the efforts of researchers at the University of California Davis and the University of Iowa, science has learned one more clue about the cause of spina bifida.

Through the use of dogs, specifically Weimaraners, these researchers identified the gene they believe is a risk factor for spina bifida.  The gene was identified in four Weimaraners with spinal dysraphism, a disorder causing impairment of motor skills and partial paralysis of the legs.  This gene could not be located in other dog breeds but a similar mutation was found in 149 people with spina bifida.

In the online journal PLOS Genetics, the researchers noted about the study, “Dogs are excellent biomedical models for humans since they receive comparable medical care, share our home environment and develop naturally occurring diseases comparable to those in humans.”

To read more about this step forward in spina bifida research, please click here.

New Ebola Vaccine Showing Promise in Monkeys

Late last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are working on a vaccine that has shown to protect macaques from infection from the Ebola virus within seven days.

Known as VSV-EBOV or rVSV-ZEBOV, the vaccine is the same one that was also reported by the LA Times to be effective in human trials in Guinea.  Andrea Marzi, coauthor of the study published in Science, told the newspaper that the next objective of the study was to observe whether the vaccine could work as a treatment for Ebola after exposure to the virus.

To learn more about the study, please read the report in Science and the LA Times’ coverage of the discovery.

Please Contact Your Congressman TODAY to Encourage Them to Support the Enforcement Transparency Act!

As we reported, bi-partisan, common-sense legislation was introduced on Capitol Hill to improve transparency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Because it is important in the early days of a bill's introduction that Congress hears from supporters, NABR asks that you please contact your Congressman and respectfully urge them to cosponsor and support, H.R.3136, the Enforcement Transparency Act (ETA).  NABR's Capwiz system is a quick, easy-to-use portal to send a pre-written message to your Congressman.

H.R.3136 will provide the research community and the public a much greater understanding of how penalties are calculated for enforcement actions by USDA.  The ETA 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.  To read NABR's talking points on the ETA, please click here.

Again, 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 urge your friends, family, and coworkers to do the same.

New York Judge Rules Against Habeas Corpus for Chimps

Today, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffee ruled against a writ of habeas corpus for chimpanzees.

The case, Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) v. Stanley, brought forward by animal rights lawyer Stephen Wise and the NhRP, sought to establish legal rights on behalf of two chimpanzees currently located at Stony Brook University.  Wise and the NhRP had argued that these animals were denied their basic legal rights, going so far as to compare them to slaves and prisoners.

In her decision, Justice Jaffee defined "persons" as those who have "rights, duties, and obligations" and noted that, "Animals, including chimpanzees and other highly intelligent mammals, are considered as property under the law. They are accorded no legal rights beyond being guaranteed the right to be free from physical abuse and other mistreatment.” She also wrote, "The past mistreatment of humans, whether slaves, women, indigenous people or others, as property, doesn't, however, serve as a legal predicate or appropriate analogy for extending to nonhumans the status of legal personhood."

Justice Jaffee's decision is available for viewing here.

To read more about today's ruling, please see the coverage by The Wall Street JournalReuters, The New York Daily News, and The New York Post.

Please stay tuned for a more in-depth legal analysis from NABR.

Setting the Record Straight on Animal Research

In a story published today on The Conversation website, Lauren Emily Wright focuses on animal research, its value, and how best to ensure that animal care and scientific discovery can continue to blossom.

Wright’s article, “Animal research: varying standards are leading to bad science,” makes very good points in her discussion on the importance of animal care and the direct connection to accurate scientific results.  She goes on to note that good training and reasonable scientific policy is the best approach for research going forward.

To read, “Animal research: varying standards are leading to bad science,” please click here.

Dogs Helping in Development of Cataract Treatment

According to an article published by Science on July 22, a team of researchers and ophthalmologists at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) are working to tackle cataracts, a condition effecting humans and dogs, with the assistance of man’s best friend.

These researchers have been able to develop eye drops that have shown potential in rabbits and dogs, specifically black Labs, Queensland Heelers, and Miniature Pinschers.  The results have been nothing short of remarkable.  According to the article, “Eye drops could dissolve cataracts,” researchers could tell just by looking into the dogs eyes that the cataracts had decreased.

These developments are especially exciting considering that the only current treatment for cataracts, which effects tens of millions of people across the globe and approximately 17.2% of Americans over 40, is surgery.

To learn more about this discovery and to read the article, please click here.

Op-Ed on HIV/AIDS by NABR, FBR President Featured on Philly.com

An opinion piece by Frankie Trull, President of the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) and the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR), has been featured in a major daily newspaper.

This morning, Philly.com, the website for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, printed her opinion piece, “Animal research crucial to creating AIDS treatments,” a telling discussion on the importance of animal research in the war on HIV/AIDS.  Nonhuman primates (NhP) have been a crucial cog in science’s efforts to discover a cure to this horrendous virus and thanks to the work at the Wistar Institute with these animals, we could be on the cusp of eradicating AIDS.  Additionally, let’s not forget that these studies could yield results to successfully treat SIV, the variant of HIV that effects monkeys.

To read the story, please click here, and feel free to share it with your friends, family, and colleagues.

Speaking of Research Stands-Up for Dog Research in the U.K.

Last week, in response to public outcry against the opening of a research beagle breeding facility in the U.K., Tom Holder penned a detailed analysis of the importance these models play in biomedical research in The Huffington Post.

Holder, the Director of Speaking of Research, highlights the discovery of insulin and the development of the rabies vaccine along with current achievements in perfecting artery to vein blood transfusions and a novel stem cell transplant treatment that allowed 23 pet dogs with paralyzing spinal injuries to regain some use of their rear legs.

He goes on to note that 20% of the dogs used in U.K. research are imported because U.K. breeding facilities cannot provide all of the dogs used.  Holder writes, “These dogs have to endure long and potentially stressful flights from other countries. Surely it is better to breed them here in the UK, where we have some of the highest standards of laboratory animal welfare in the world and where our facilities can be easily monitored by the Animals in Science Regulation Unit inspectors? The new breeding facility offers animal welfare standards above and beyond those demanded by the Government.”

To read Holder’s posting, “Why People Are Wrong to Oppose the New Beagle Breeding Facility,” and to view some informative videos, please click here.

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