Tag Archives: animal cruelty

Speak up for animals in labs

Have you read the Herald’s article, Inside the Monkey Lab? It’s about SNLB, an animal research facility in Everett, WA, and it’s terribly one-sided.

Please write to Peter Jackson (pjackson@heraldnet.com), the editorial page editor, and tell him the article was not fair or balanced. You can also add your comments at the bottom of the article, but a letter to the editor will have more impact. For talking points on why we don’t need animal testing, here’s some info:

Animal testing is bad science, based on outdated ideas, and it’s a money-making racket. Researchers applying for grants, can secure more money when they use animals in their experiments. And Mark Crane, the SNLB VP interviewed in the article said his company breeds and sells research monkeys to other labs for about $3,500 each. It’s big business. Careers depend on it.

If animals are so different from us (different enough for us to justify experimenting on), it also means they’re too different to gather relevant, conclusive evidence drawing of a monkey being operated onthat would apply to us. If they’re similar enough that the experiments would actually be useful and relevant, then they’re just like us and it’s unethical to test on them. Either way, it’s wrong.

The cost of experimenting on animals is high and the benefits are minimal. Non-animal testing is usually cheaper and more accurate than animal tests, which can be unreliable. Animal tests are misleading because they’re not good at showing how humans will respond.

With animal testing, illness is induced, and then a cure is sought. That’s an unrealistic and unnatural environment and doesn’t translate well to humans. According to the AAVS, nine out of ten drugs that appear promising in animal studies go on to fail in human clinical trials.

For example, the polio vaccine was delayed by decades because of animal testing. Monkeys respond differently to the virus. Penicillin almost didn’t see the light of day because it was ineffective on rabbits (and killed guinea pigs). It wasn’t until Alexander Fleming gave it to a dying patient (as a last-ditch effort) and she recovered that it was proven acceptable for human use.

Thalidomide, a drug used in the 1950s to treat morning sickness, was proven harmless in dogs, cats, rabbits, monkeys, and rats, and was cleared for human use. It wasn’t until over 10,000 children were born with severe birth defects that it was pulled from the market. Animal tests didn’t warn us.

More recently, Vioxx, a painkiller for people with arthritis, was taken off the market after it caused up to 320,000 heart attacks and strokes. The drug was tested on animals but those tests never revealed the danger to people.

We have the technology to use alternatives to animal tests–and there are many! We have mathematic and in silico (computer models), genomic tests, in vitro (test tube) on human cell cultures, and medical imaging.

UW Considering Animal Lab Expansion

A recent Seattle Times article describes the University of Washington’s plans to build a new underground animal research facility. The UW already tortures thousands of animals and the article states, “The new building would allow the UW to increase the number of rodents it uses in research by 10 to 20 percent, and the number of rabbits, pigs and primates by 30 to 50 percent.”

But the facility plans have not yet been approved!

Because the cost of the facility rose from $83 million to $123 million, the UW Board of Regents pulled the approval of the facility. The UW is working on proposal revisions to reduce the cost and gain the Board’s approval.

We must use this delay to convince the UW Board of Regents to NOT approve the new animal research facility.

Speak Out NOW!

  1. Contact the Board of Regents by emailing regents@uw.edu. Politely write about why you do not want the board to approve the new animal research facility and your email will be shared with the Regents. Encourage your friends and family to also email.
  2. Make a public comment at the UW Board of Regents’ meeting THIS Thursday, October 10th, at 1:00 pm.
    If you are able to attend the meeting:
    ~
    Sign up to make a public comment at the meeting using this online form.
    ~ Each speaker will be allowed two minutes, so prepare your comment before the meeting.
    *Please email amanda@afa-online.org when you’ve signed up so that we know how many people will be speaking.*

Talking Points:

1) The new animal research facility will cost more than just the price of the facility. Other expenses will include:

  • Paying for fines: The UW has already been cited by the USDA multiple times for neglect and improper care of animals; such violations would increase if the UW uses more animals in research. You can see additional info about UW’s treatment of animals here.
  • Combating the negative press that both local and national animal rights groups and other concerned citizens will create in response to a new animal research facility.
  • Dealing with the loss of alumni support and potential students who don’t want to be involved with a university whose record of animal neglect and torture is refreshed in the public eye.

2) Since the UW is considered a leader in scientific research, the UW should be dedicated to pushing advancements in research technology rather than expanding its reliance on outdated and unethical animal research methods that produce inaccurate results.

If you are or have been a student at the UW (or have some other relationship to the UW), make that relationship clear in our email or public comment. Also keep in mind that the Board cares about the expense of the facility and its impact on the UW’s future.

** Special thanks to Action for Animals for leading this action alert and getting this message distributed (the content in this post is from AFA). You can find out more about the lab expansion on AFA’s Facebook page.