Animal Activist Previously Sentenced Under AETA Released from Prison

Nicole Kissane, an animal rights extremist, was released from prison on July 20. The release was profiled via a support web page and Facebook page.

Kissane pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). Kassane admitted to illegally releasing minks from farms across the country and vandalizing the Furs by Graf store in San Diego. Further, she pled guilty to vandalizing La Mesa and Spring Valley homes of the Furs by Graf owner and the owner’s parents in 2013.

Kissane was sentenced to 21 months in January 2017 while her co-defendant, Joseph Buddenberg, was sentenced to two years in prison in May 2016.

Targeted Professor Pens Letter Defending Her Research

Dr. Tania Roth, the University of Delaware researcher who has recently found herself targeted by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), wrote a piece in Delaware Online standing up for her neuroscience research and the vital role that animals play in medical advancement.

Besides breaking down the legal and regulatory framework she must follow, Roth very astutely notes, “The use of animal models in the research process is pivotal, and provides us with the tools necessary to better study the brain. By understanding basic neuroscience, where scientific knowledge begins, we can discover breakthroughs that will eventually lead to new therapies and offer hope to children and families all around the world.”

Click here to read Roth’s piece, and please take a moment to leave a comment in support of Roth.

NIH Issues RFI on Assessing the Safety of Relocating At-Risk Chimpanzees

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a Request for Information (RFI) on June 11 in the Federal Register titled, “Input on Report from Council of Councils on Assessing the Safety of Relocating At-Risk Chimpanzees.” This RFI stems from the 2015 decision by NIH Director Francis Collins that all NIH-owned chimpanzees should be retired and relocated to the chimpanzee sanctuary, Chimp Haven, in Keithville, LA. However, many of the NIH-owned chimpanzees are of an advanced age and relocation has caused unnecessary stress on several of them. Additionally, there have been an alarming number of deaths of retired chimpanzees after relocation to Chimp Haven during the past several years.

The NIH posted the notice in the Federal Register to inform the research community, and other interested parties, that it has received a report from the Council of Councils Working Group on Assessing the Safety of Relocating At-Risk Chimpanzees. The NIH will consider the recommendations in the report and is inviting the public to comment in response the RFI. This RFI is open for public comment for a period of 60 days and comments must be submitted by August 10, 2018. Comments must be submitted electronically here: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/rfi/rfi.cfm?ID=72.

National Review Provides Positive Coverage of Animal Research and Testing

Research with animal models continues to be critically important for breakthroughs in modern medicine. Yet, it is frequently under assault by recognizable and lesser known animal rights groups who oppose the use of animals in ethical and humane research. Yesterday, the National Review printed a piece that we think you should read, covering the benefits of animal research and explaining why science needs animals for lifesaving and life-improving research.

A recent discovery in gene therapy to repair spinal cord damage in rats was notably highlighted as a prime example how animal research is vital.

Please click here to read yesterday’s National Review piece and feel free to share it with your friends, family, colleagues, and social media.

DxE Activists Charged with Multiple Felonies

Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) has been in the news lately for their self-publicized break-ins and thefts of animals in what they deem “rescues.” DxE co-founder Wayne Hsiung and five other activists are facing felony charges in Sanpete County, UT for theft from a turkey farm in January of 2017. It is also being reported that five DxE activists, including Hsiung, are facing new felony charges in Beaver County, UT for the July 2017 theft of pigs from Circle Four Farms, owned by Smithfield Farms. All five activists are being charged with engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, two counts of burglary committed against an animal enterprise, and theft of livestock. It was DxE’s own video, profiled by the New York Times, that is now serving as evidence in the theft.

The group brazenly claims to have engaged in several such thefts documented here: https://www.directactioneverywhere.com/open-rescue/#past-rescues.  DxE is using these thefts to push for what they call “Julie’s Law” at the municipal level, a proposal aimed at giving animals legal standing in local courts by granting rights currently reserved for humans.

DxE supports amending the U.S. Constitution to ban all animal research and animal agriculture. Hsiung expressly wrote of the hypothetical future he envisions: “The year is 2060. Four years ago, a constitutional amendment was passed enshrining animal rights in the US Constitution. And today, we are shutting down the last slaughterhouse on Earth.” DxE provides more detail in “The Roadmap to Animal Liberation.”

VCU Researcher Reminds the Public Why Animal Research is Necessary

"We gotta get people out of the hospital. It's why we do research." That’s what Dr. Bill Dewey, Chair of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Pharmacology and Toxicology Department, said in a Richmond news article about animal research aimed at curbing the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic.

Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the opioid epidemic kills 115 people per day in the U.S., and WRIC in Richmond, VA reports there are five ongoing studies at VCU funded by the NIH. In the piece questioning VCU’s research, Dr. Dewey explained that the purpose of VCU’s research with primates is to find pain relief without addiction, a much-needed medical objective.

When asked about the opposition of animal rights groups, he responded, "I disagree with that because I think it's like the story of giving a man a fish… Teaching him how to fish is better." To read and watch Dr. Dewey’s salient comments about the value of animal research studies, please click here.

Court Ruling on PETA ‘Monkey Selfie’ Case

As CNN said, “Monkey ©. Monkey don't.” On Monday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that monkeys can’t own copyrights or bring copyright infringement suits. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) brought the case forward on behalf of Naruto, the Indonesian macaque who became a sensation when he snapped a selfie with the unattended camera of wildlife photographer David J. Slater.

The level of criticism the court leveled against PETA was surprising. According to the court, PETA “failed” as a friend of Naruto noting, “Puzzlingly, while representing to the world that ‘animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment or abuse in any other way,’ PETA seems to employ Naruto as an unwitting pawn in its ideological goals.”

Slater, who reached a settlement with PETA in October to donate 25% of earnings from his book to charities “that protect the habitat of Naruto and other crested macaques in Indonesia,” told the Washington Post he was “thoroughly delighted” with the outcome of the case and that attorneys’ fees were granted.

Time, USA Today, and NPR also covered the ruling.

HSUS Admonished by Illinois Legislature

Late last week, a resolution was introduced by State Representative Daniel Burke (D) admonishing the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The resolution encourages residents of Illinois to support local humane societies given the “disrespectful work culture” and “lack of commitment to supporting animals.” It explained only 1% of donations to HSUS in 2016 funded efforts or programs to provide care for animals.

HSUS, one of the largest animal rights organizations in the world, has historically been a staunch opponent of animal research and has a section of its website devoted to the “troubling issue of animal research.”

HSUS CEO Resigns Amid Harassment Allegations

On Friday, Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) resigned amid numerous claims of inappropriate behavior. Pacelle’s resignation comes after HSUS’s board voted to keep the CEO, prompting seven board members to issue their resignations. Kitty Block has been named interim chief executive.

HSUS, one of the largest animal rights organizations in the country, has historically been a staunch challenger to animal research and even has a section of its website devoted to the “troubling issue of animal research.”

To read POLITICO’s coverage of the claims of harassment at HSUS, please click here.

CNN Features NABR, FBR President in Coverage of FDA Nicotine Research

This morning, Matt Bailey, NABR and Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) president, expressed concerns in an article by CNN covering the recent decision by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to end nicotine studies with primates.

Countering claims by Justin Goodman, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy of the animal rights organization the White Coat Waste Project (WCW), that such research is a misuse of federal tax dollars, Bailey said, “Research into the effects of nicotine is indeed a public health issue, especially given the rise in popularity of vaping devices among teenagers.” Adding, "My understanding is that the research project in question aimed to determine whether there is or is not a safe level of nicotine absorption by young people." "That's an important question," said Bailey.

Bailey also addressed concerns regarding additional regulatory burden, saying any efforts to augment animal care must be done without impeding the speed of finding breakthroughs. "Additional oversight efforts need to be balanced by efforts to reduce the significant amount of regulatory burden felt daily by research scientists in the US."

"Animals played a role in the development of each of the top 25 most prescribed drugs in America," Bailey said. Adding that our pets, farm animals and wildlife also benefit from medical treatments developed in part from animal research, he noted, "Farm animals and wildlife are routinely vaccinated against any number of diseases, but those vaccines wouldn't be available without animal research. So if you love animals, you really should support animal research."

"Undoubtedly, some will argue that this recent action by the FDA is a reason to end research with animal models. But given the inextricable role humane and responsible animal research plays in the health of the overall population, and the health of the animals about which we care so deeply, that is a very dangerous proposition," he said.

Please click here to read Bailey’s interview by CNN

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