FBR Releases Updated Informational Tools for Public Education

Time and time again, animal rights narrators give inaccurate information about the ethical and humane use of animals in lifesaving and life-improving biomedical research. Therefore, the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR), has released newly updated versions of their widely acclaimed “Fact vs. Myth” and “Proud Achievements of Animal Research,” pamphlets to help address perpetually repeated falsehoods and present the truth to the public.

“Facts vs. Myth” challenges misrepresentations by animal rights groups with facts showing the importance of animal research for human and animal benefit, while highlighting the imperative of excellent animal care. To further these points, FBR updated “Proud Achievements of Animal Research,” which dives deeper into the role played by these models in most medical breakthroughs. Antibiotics, analgesics, antidepressants, organ transplants, joint replacement, and other therapies have all been developed with the humane use of animal models. In fact, the Top 25 Most Prescribed Drugs were created with the assistance of a wide range of laboratory animals.

Please share these pamphlets with your friends, family, neighbors, and on social media. Online versions are available at the links above or, if you’d like hard copies for your school or events, please contact FBR at (202) 457-0654 or email info@fbresearch.org.

Official at University of Washington Vocally Defends Animal Research

In an interview printed yesterday in The Daily, the student newspaper of the University of Washington, Dr. David Anderson voiced his support for animal research at the university, stressing the immense importance of ethical and humane medical research with animal models.

The Q&A with Dr. Anderson, the Executive Director of UW’s Health Sciences Administration and Institutional Official of the Animal Care and Research Program, clearly and concisely outlines the value of animal models in modern day biomedical research.  He highlights such points as the impact on modern day healthcare, use of alternatives, oversight, and animal care.  After reading the piece, one commenter wrote, “Thank you for presenting a balanced story on a challenging issue. I appreciate you showing the truth about animal research in response to the misinformation routinely stated by the animal activism leadership. Biomedical research will save lives and improve health in both human and animal populations and should be supported. The University of Washington is a world leader in medical advances and I'm proud to be an alumni.”

NABR applauds Dr. Anderson for speaking out in support of the issue as he, himself, has been the target of animal rights protests.  According to the article, his home has been targeted by protesters over the construction of a new lab animal facility on the UW campus.

To read, “Moment of science: Why animal testing is essential for medical progress,” the question and answer session with Dr. Anderson, please click here.

Is AAAS Anti-Science?

NABR and its members have been watching with growing concern as Science and ScienceInsider have repeatedly covered animal research issues from the perspective of anti-animal research sources such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Beagle Freedom Project (BFP).

As a result, NABR President Frankie Trull again has written to both the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Science news editor expressing disappointment with the coverage starting as early as 2010, but increasing in frequency during 2015. Her letter contains a partial list of 16 examples that have tended to portray certain animal research models in a negative light, whether directly or by implication. She provides not only the basic reasons many of the news features were objectionable, but also questions why Science chose not to report on other important animal research stories, which were found newsworthy by major media such as The Atlantic, PBS Newshour and the New York Times. Trull concludes, “ . . . AAAS publications seem to have spoken with their silence by providing no coverage on this contentious debate. Many biomedical researchers are now questioning whether AAAS publications have abandoned their biomedical research constituents in favor of groups with animal rights agendas.”

Please read the full NABR letter, review the Science and ScienceInsider coverage and decide if AAAS’ commitment to scientific rigor and factual evidence is lacking. NABR would appreciate hearing your opinions on the subject and receiving any suggestions for further actions at info@NABR.org.

New York Times Features Guest Column Highlighting Problematic FWS Chimpanzee Rule

As NABR reported on September 21, 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.  The rule went into effect on September 14.  Just this past weekend, Peter Walsh, a lecturer in primate ecology at Cambridge University penned an opinion piece in the September 26 edition of the New York Times outlining potential problems resulting from the FWS decision.

Protecting Apes Could Backfire” discusses several unintended consequences that could have detrimental effects to health advancements not just for humans but for great apes, as well.  Recently, much has been made about the ancestor of the HIV virus, Ebola, and anthrax in humans but little has been mentioned about infections in great apes like gorillas and chimpanzees.  Researchers are racing against the clock to stop these naturally occurring threats to preserve the species but that may all cease because of the importance of captive animals to research.  Not a single research program has applied for a permit and it is uncertain as to whether any will.  The piece also makes several other interesting points pertaining to the shockwaves that will be sent through research benefitting humans.

Feel free to read “Protecting Apes Could Backfire” by clicking here.

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.

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?

Will a Ban on Chimpanzee Research Actually Do More Harm than Good?

Time and time again, animal rights supporters have stated that a ban on animal research is the best solution for the animals.  But is it really?  Debora MacKenzie with New Scientist published an article today that answers that important question with a surprising answer.

In her story, “Ban on chimp testing puts wild ape vaccine for Ebola at risk,” MacKenzie points out the devastating toll of the Ebola virus on both humans and wild chimpanzees in Africa.  After a 17 month outbreak claiming more than 11,000 victims, promising human trials are now underway across West Africa.  But what about the apes?  They too are susceptible to Ebola and according to the University of Cambridge, one third of the world’s gorilla population has been eradicated because of the virus, leaving the western lowland gorilla critically endangered.  Thanks to research at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana, an edible vaccination is in development to prevent apes from spreading Ebola to each other.

This research may end because of a long campaign by animal rights supporters.  On September 15 a ban by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is set to begin on the use of captive chimpanzees in biomedical research.

To read the article and learn more about this important research and the impact of the ban, please click here.

New York’s Highest Court Deals Serious Blow to Chimpanzee “Personhood” Movement

Earlier today, the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, declined to hear appeals brought forward by animal rights lawyer Stephen Wise and the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP).

Previous attempts by Wise and NhRP to seek a writ of habeas corpus for privately-owned chimpanzees had failed in lower courts. Wise argued that chimpanzees were denied their basic legal rights, comparing them to slaves and prisoners.  Previously, three justices in a midlevel court denied legal standing for chimpanzees by saying the animals "cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions."  Most recently, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffee noted in Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) v. Stanley that, "Animals… are accorded no legal rights beyond being guaranteed the right to be free from physical abuse and other mistreatment.”

To read more about today's developments, please see the coverage by U.S. News & World Report and ABC News.

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.

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.

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