FBR Interviews the Beagle Rescue League’s Labs to Leash Division

As you've probably already seen and heard, there is a national organization with ties to the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and animal rights extremist terror that has disguised itself as a group seeking adoptive homes for dogs and cats used in research. Make no mistake: this is not their ultimate objective. They have used these animals as props in the media to vilify lifesaving animal and veterinary research and as fundraising tools to fund their expensive lobbying campaigns as they pursue anti-research legislation across the country.

There is, however, thankfully one group who makes it their mission to find homes for former research beagles after they have helped in the endeavor to improve human and animal lives. The Beagle Rescue League's Labs to Leash Division works tirelessly, day-in and day-out, without a political agenda to place the right dogs in the right homes. Last week, the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) interviewed Carolyn Sterner, President of the Beagle Rescue League, and discussed the Labs to Leash Division's valuable work to assist research institutions' adoption efforts.

To learn more about the Beagle Rescue League, their efforts, and how you can help, please click here.

NABR Congratulates AAALAC on 50 Years of Service to Science

Today, April 8, 2015, marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International.  AAALAC has worked diligently to improve research by encouraging responsible animal care through extremely rigorous accreditation standards. Today, more than 925 corporations, hospitals, educational institutions, and government entities in 40 counties have demonstrated their mission to animal care by earning AAALAC accredidation.

NABR congratulates AAALAC, its accredited organizations, volunteers and staff for all of their hard work and demonstrated dedication to laboratory animal welfare.

Click here to view AAALAC’s special anniversary message highlighting their important role for scientific research.

FBR’s Next Documentary, “Pat’s Story,” to Debut on Saturday

The Foundation for Biomedical Research’s "Pat's Story" is a 25-minute documentary about Pat Summitt, legendary head coach emeritus of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team, and her experience of living with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. Pat and her son Tyler are bravely fighting Alzheimer’s by raising awareness of the continued need for Alzheimer’s research.

"Pat's Story" features an interview with Dr. Ron Petersen, Director of the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, who talks about cutting-edge Alzheimer's breakthroughs that could help both Pat and others living with Alzheimer's.

Please tune in for the Tennessee premiere of "Pat's Story" on Saturday, March 28, at 1:00 p.m. on Knoxville's WATE (ABC Channel 6).

For a quick look at "Pat's Story," please click here.

Indiana’s Governor to Declare HIV Epidemic Health Emergency

It is expected today, March 26, that Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) will declare a public health emergency in the southeastern region of the state to address an HIV epidemic there.  Since December, 72 people in five counties, most of them in Scott County, have tested positive for HIV.  According to an article in The Indianapolis Star, all of the cases are connected to intravenous drug use.  The article even states that one diagnosed patient may have spread the virus to 75 truck drivers passing through the area.

To learn more about this public health emergency, please click here.

PETA Report of U.S. Research Animal Statistics Attracts Media Attention

Three staff members from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) authored a “Brief Report” titled “Trends in Animal Use at US Research Facilities” in the current issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics (subscription only), which has attracted attention from some scientific and other media. In short, a PETA “study” has found the use of vertebrate research animals by 21 of the top 25 institutions funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has increased approximately 73% over a 15-year period (1997-2012), driven primarily by increases in the use of mice.

While a significant increase in research mice would not be surprising during this timeframe as genetically-modified rodent models were developed and research opportunities proliferated, PETA’s method for gauging the increase is questionable. Using assurance documents filed by NIH grantees every 4 to 5 years, obtained by PETA under FOIA, the authors constructed an animal use “average” and “total” by species based on average daily inventory estimates provided during three time periods (1997-2003, 2000-2008 and 2008-2012). In a written response to the study provided to Science (subscription required), NIH’s Office of Extramural Research cautioned that using the inventory data to track animal numbers is “inappropriate” because the data don’t show usage, but are only a “snapshot” that NIH uses to make sure institutions have adequate veterinary care. Moreover, more than 1000 institutions have assurances to use animals and including only the 25 largest could be misleading, especially because some provide mice to other institutions.

In any event, it’s not possible to evaluate PETA’s averages without raw data and knowing whether they made accurate assumptions and categorizations. Also, there are obvious errors in the paper, such as citing an inflated number of USDA-covered species used for 2010 (later corrected by USDA). Some assertions are made without evidence and in other cases references listed do not support the statements made by authors. PETA calls the increase “staggering,” despite noting in their journal paper that the “sizeable growth” in animal use due to genetically modified (GM) mice has previously been reported.

Speaking of Research posted an excellent response on the subject, Animal Research Successes Spur Growth in Science…but PeTA Can only Complain. Some of the media outlets that have covered this story include CBS News, NBC News, the Chronicle for Higher Education, BuzzFeed and Yahoo Health.

Scientists Disappointed by Science’s Coverage of PETA Operative

NABR President Frankie Trull registered disappointment with Science for its decision to publish “The Insurgent,” a feature-length profile of Justin Goodman, the director of laboratory investigations at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The January 23 piece was later referenced online by Science Careers. For an “historical perspective,” the Science online daily news site as well as the careers section, ran a slideshow depicting some of PETA’s campaigns.

NABR’s January 27 letter to AAAS CEO Alan Leshner and Science Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt said in conclusion, “The Insurgent” is tantamount to an advertisement for both Goodman and PETA, serving only to boost exposure and give credibility for their long history of anti-science rhetoric and direct action against researchers. For years, many biomedical researchers, their staff, and their families, have been egregiously targeted by PETA and understandably are demoralized by the direction Science has taken. We are disappointed that Science chose to glamorize the actions of Goodman and PETA, and it is our sincerest hope that AAAS and Science will cease the promotion of those wishing us and our work harm.” NABR encourages others to express your opinion to Science about this article.

Please note that AAALAC Executive Director Christian Newcomer’s letter to the editor of Science, "A Defense of Animal Welfare Accreditation,” appeared in the January 16 issue. His letter responds to another controversial Science news article by the same author, David Grimm, which related Goodman and PETA’s criticism of the effectiveness of animal welfare accreditation. Among other excellent examples of the flaws in Goodman’s “study” of the AAALAC program, Newcomer points out that Goodman refused to share with Grimm and Science readers the actual data on which reported criticisms are based.

Poll: American Public Support for Animal Research on the Rise

According to a new poll conducted by Zogby Analytics released this week, almost 58% of adults surveyed support the ethical and humane use of animals in biomedical research.  Public support has jumped 12 points in the past five months.

"The rise in public opinion support seems to coincide with the arrival of Ebola to American shores and the emergence of a measles outbreak," says Paul McKellips, executive vice president at the Foundation for Biomedical Research in Washington. "When infectious diseases or other incurable conditions reach our doorstep, we're reminded that scientists and researchers need to use animal models to develop vaccines, antibiotics, therapies and cures that are safe and effective."

To read more about the poll, please click here.

NABR Members: Please Be Sure to Complete Your Membership Surveys!

If you belong to a NABR member institution, you should have received an email from us with an online survey designed to help us learn to better serve your needs.  If you have not already, please take a moment to complete and submit the survey to us.

If you have not received this email, please contact us at info@nabr.org to be supplied with the survey.

Thank you for your assistance!

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