French Veterinary Academy supports animal research!

I recently read a report called: Scientific research and animal experimentation – the state of the question or taking stock if you prefer. It was written in May this year and issued by the Veterinary Academy of France. The conclusion of the report was issued as an opinion to the General Assembly of the Veterinary Academy of France and adopted by it on the 21st of June, 2012.

The report is well written, concise yet articulated enough to take the reader through various aspects of animal research and why it is needed.  The report is unapologetic although accommodating in tone, if not spirit and an important step in the right direction by a scientific body in support of those that over many years are under attack by animal extremists. One can only wish that more entities will join the effort and stand up to animal research and highlight its contributions to society.  

The report contains a summary, an introduction, three chapters, a conclusion, bibliography, some annexes and a glossary, for a total of 109 pages. For those of you that master the French language you can read or download the report from here:http://www.recherche-animale.org/lexperimentation-animale-evaluee


From its summary one can read that in accordance with the societal needs of longevity and health, research in biological and medical sciences builds largely on animal research. In a society where the place of an animal has considerably evolved, the use of animals for research purposes is increasingly questioned despite its historical justification. The controversies, that oppose researchers to a part of society, have as origins convictions and beliefs that cannot be modified or changed by means of rational arguments. These beliefs are furthermore strengthened by a global sentiment of defiance towards science even though paradoxically expectations towards (medical) progress and safety (health) have never been as high.


The first chapter is called a societal debate and talks about the necessity of biomedical research to our societies of yesterday, today and tomorrow. It points to animal research as a fundamental aspect of the scientific approach towards health. Further subsections deal with the historical background to animal research and the different medical milestones achieved naming the animal species used and the resulting benefit. The positions of both researchers and their opponents are further discussed and elaborated upon. Regulatory instruments, oversight and amount of animals used are also provided. Not surprisingly here, rodents continue to be the flagship species and primates the exception rather than the norm.

In the second chapter animal models are discussed, as are replacement and alternative models in research. The conclusions from this chapter cast a light on animal research that is often overlooked, ignored or deliberately obscured by those that oppose animal use.

The complexity of organisms cannot be modeled through the addition of elementary biological systems. It is the highly integral nature of life that leads the disciplines of biology in general and the biomedical discipline in particular to the use of more complex systems found in animals that are similar to those in humans.

Furthermore results found through in vitro models must necessarily go through in vivo tests when integrated into an entire system.  This is true for fundamental research, be it physiological, immunological or genetic in nature and also applies to research concerning knowledge or understanding of physio-pathological mechanisms, the basis of surgical and medical therapies.

From the preceding two chapters, four main principles emerge to form the third chapter and that are cast as potential foundations of academic behaviour. These would be:

·         To re-affirm an undeniable preamble: in the current state of science, the use of animals in research is essential to progress knowledge and the advancement of medicine.

·         To express respect towards research animals based on their character of sentient beings and their common phylo-genetic origins with mankind.

·         To recognise that the experimental process in biology in general and bio-medical research in particular, uses without any preference and in an objective manner, the whole of the methodological possibilities created by it.

·         To define the conditions of a societal debate based on knowledge and mutual respect.

In its opinion on animal research, its role and perception in society the Veterinary Academy of France considers that (not an exhaustive enumeration- see document for full details):

In human and animal health, society expresses an increasing demand which in turn requires a considerable effort from research;

That animal research has played and continues to play a decisive role in the accumulation of biological knowledge and in contributions to the progress of medicine;

That experimentation on humans can only be envisioned on a limited number of situations, strictly defined by bio-ethical principles such as in clinical trials indispensible to the evaluation of new treatments and that as a consequence the use of laboratory animals in research remains unavoidable, in particular when evaluating harmlessness and efficacy of any therapeutic innovation.

The academy further re-affirms the irreplaceable role of animal models in research of life sciences, fundamental and biomedical; a research that would only rely on in vitro and in silico models would limit itself whilst ignoring the complexities of the biological processes at the organism level. 

In its recommendations the academy supports the further optimal and reasoned use of animals in research and that the societal dialogue continues in order for biomedical research to proceed with determination and in line with societal expectations whilst considering the concept of an evolving man to animal relationship.

As I said at the start of this post the report is a welcome step by a credible scientific body. As important is the need to refute animal extremist claims that are based on half truths, misinterpretation or simply spin. Whilst the popularity of fending for animals is undeniable so are the multiple actions undertaken by research to save the lives of us all, including animals. What prevents you to claim your right to fame or to simply stand up for the valuable work you do?

You can join the action by reading the posts on the blog roll (on the right), follow tweets by like minded organisations or individuals, educate friends, children and colleagues around you about animal research, contribute by writing a guest post on a blog, start a discussion on a Linked in forum or leave a comment on a web page when you see wrong or one sided information. Work with your industry associations and inform regulators of the importance of your work. Sign petitions in support of medical advancement and medical charities.

Of course as always nothing beats a real life time example of medical progress as is illustrated here by my colleagues of speaking of research http://speakingofresearch.com/2012/12/17/brain-machine-interface-success-allows-paralysed-woman-to-feed-herself-for-first-time-in-a-decade/

Remember that without your informing the public what it is you do, ignorance will prevail and animal extremists will continue to claim high moral grounds unopposed!


Animal rights ID card and Research Chimpanzee Colony Valuable !

American Physiological Society Research Chimpanzee Colony is Valuable Resource


Why would you care about animal research? Why not simply speak on behalf of animals, show compassion and decry animal use as torture, vile and useless? Join the masses of self-proclaimed politically correct thinkers: our society should treat animals on an equal basis as humans.

These two articles above should make you think. Medical progress isn't a result of chance, it is a difficult process that involves many brilliant and dedicated minds. It is true that not all research leads to a drug, the vast majority does not but it certainly isn't an exercise in futility. Some discoveries are indeed a result of chance or are the basis for other research. It is a building process where knowledge and understanding are building blocks -each scientist being able to build on the knowledge and foundations of the others. That doesn't mean there is no room for disagreement but indeed little room for ignorance.

You may decide for yourself that you can not live with such a process and you prefer to opt out. That is perfectly fine when that decision affects you and only you. Whilst opting out as an animal rights activist and as the Americans for medical Progress suggests you should  sign and carry this card that specifies:

Animal Rights Identification Card

Animal Rights Identification Card

I, ____________________________________

hereby identify myself as a supporter

of animal rights and agree to live my life in

accordance with all animal rights principles.


So as not to violate my animal rights principles, I

hereby request that in the event of an accident or

illness, all medical treatments developed or tested on animals be withheld, including but not limited to:

blood transfusions, anesthesia, pain killers,

antibiotics, insulin, vaccines, chemotherapy,

coronary bypass surgery, reconstructivesurgery, orthopedic surgery, etc.

©1992–2010. Compliments of Americans for Medical Progress: (703) 836-9595


Urge Your Senators to Oppose the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act!

Urge Your Senators to Oppose the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act!

FASEB and NABR are asking you to contact your Senator and the congress to oppose this legislation. Here's why explained by FASEB President Judith S. Bond. You can also follow the link below and send a letter or email to your Senator by giving your zip code! Think of research on, and medical progress for those affected by,  HIV/AIDS - EBOLA MARBURG VIRUS ETC.
Dear Colleague,
We need your help to counter a serious threat to the humane use of animals in research. The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S 810), which would prohibit the use of chimpanzees in medical research, may be voted on in the Senate this week (it was approved by a Senate committee in July)! Passage of this bill could have devastating consequences for ongoing research into human diseases such as hepatitis C, as well as studies benefiting the great apes themselves. Even if you do not work with great apes, you should be concerned about this bill because it would end research deemed by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to be ethically sound and scientifically important and could pave the way for legislation to ban research with other species
Those who oppose the use of animals in research are making an aggressive effort to get this bill passed before Congress goes home for the year. We must let them know that chimpanzees are important animal models for research. Please take action now by going to http://capwiz.com/faseb/issues/alert/?alertid=62215781 to send an email to your Senators urging them to oppose the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act.
Judith S. Bond, PhD
FASEB President


Warning this medical progress is not supported by those that oppose animal USE such as PETA, BUAV and HSUS!   

If you prefer to write directly as opposed to using the FASEB site, here is some text you can use from the same site.
As a constituent and biomedical researcher, I am writing to urge you to oppose the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S 810). This legislation, which would ban all invasive research involving great apes, ignores the scientific advice of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), would halt valuable ongoing disease research, and could severely compromise human health in the face of a rapidly spreading infectious disease for which no other animal or non-animal model is appropriate.
The IOM does not endorse a ban on the use of chimpanzees in research. In its recent report, "Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity" the IOM recognized "how disruptive an immediate outright ban would be, affecting animal care and potentially causing unacceptable losses to the public's health." Its report concluded that chimpanzees may be needed to treat new, emerging, or reemerging diseases or disorders; to complete development of monoclonal antibodies aimed at treating cancers and autoimmune diseases; and for behavioral and comparative genomics research. Many of the IOM committee and numerous other scientists and physicians believe that chimpanzees are necessary for evaluating hepatitis C vaccines. 

The Ebola virus is ravaging wild populations of chimpanzees and gorillas. In 2010, the first studies were conducted on laboratory chimpanzees to test the safety of a potential vaccine that could be used to protect these animals from this deadly disease. This and other research aimed at protecting wild apes would have to come to an end if this bill is adopted.
The claim that the bill will save money is false. The Congressional Budget Office recently determined that the legislation will actually cost $56 million to implement.
Passage of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act would ignore the recommendations of the IOM and inhibit our efforts to improve human and animal health. I strongly urge you to oppose S 810, the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act.
NABR issued the following ALERT for US Constituents to act upon:
Urgent Alert:
Please Contact Your Senators Today to Oppose S.810,
The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act
Late last week, a few members of the Senate attempted to take a step forward in bringing S. 810, the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (GAPCSA), to the floor for consideration. The attempt failed, in part because many Senators had already left for the weekend. However, supporters of the bill are likely to continue these efforts in the waning weeks of the 112th Congress so it is crucial that you IMMEDIATELY contact your members of Congress in opposition to GAPSCA. THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW!
  • The legislation would take the unprecedented step of prohibiting the use of a research model, allowing public comment about the merit of specific research projects and protocols and opening the door for future prohibition of other research models.
  • Legislation is unnecessary as NIH is in the process of implementing the recommendations of the IOM study, which was requested by NIH.
  • Despite the fact that the bill claims to be a "Cost Savings" the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office determined the legislation would actually cost $56 million over the 2013-2017 period.
This legislation has serious implications for ALL biomedical research involving humane and responsible animal research, which is dedicated to improved treatments and cures for the many diseases afflicting both people and other animals. Not only will S. 810 prohibit the use of chimpanzees as a model for vital life-saving research, but it will subject scientific research (both private and federally funded) to the approval of the Secretary of Health & Human Services. Simply put, this legislation will put the future of biomedical research on dangerous ground.
Please click here to visit NABR's Capwiz page to send a letter to your representatives in Washington. If you would like to call your Senator, please click here to find their phone number. Please urge your family, friends, and fellow researchers to do the same as soon as possible! 
To find out more about the importance of research on Pan Troglodytes , read this fact sheet here!!

This post follows a previous alert / post I wrote 26.07.2012 that you can read here:




Death of a Hero who saved many lives! Yours??

There is a lot going on at the end of this Mowember month.

I'd like to start by mentioning the death of a hero - Dr. Joseph E. Murray- for a hero to mankind he was and he will sorely be missed. Even though most of us have never met him, his legacy will continue to serve numerous generations and every individual that has benefited of organ transplants.


Here's what Jacquie Calnan, president of Americans for Medical Progress has to say about him

Dr. Joseph E. Murray April 1, 1919 - November 26, 2012

Many of you will have already read of the passing of the surgeon who performed the first kidney transplant from a living donor, Dr. Joseph E. Murray, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1990 for his work in transplant research. Several links to articles follow.

A personal word, if I may.

As someone who conducted research with animals to unravel the mystery of organ rejection, Dr. Murray embraced AMP's mission wholeheartedly. He served on our Board of Directors for a quarter of a century, until his death this Monday. In the 1990s I was privileged to facilitate the publication of articles he wrote on the necessary use of animals in research for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and other newspapers. I learned that he was as precise and exacting with words as he was with a scalpel.

Despite his Nobel Prize and many other honors, Dr. Joe, as he asked to be called, was a humble man devoted to his family, medicine and his faith. In a statement released Monday night his son said that his father kept on his desk a quotation: Difficulties are Opportunities. Rick Murray said, "It reflects the unwavering optimism of a great man who was generous, curious, and always humble."

He is survived by his wife, Virginia 'Bobby' Murray, six children and 18 grandchildren.

We shall miss his sharp surgeon's mind, his passion for medicine, and his generous, caring heart.

Farewell, Dr. Joe.

Here are a few links to articles about the life and research of Joseph E. Murray, MD

Obituaries and Remembrances:
Boston Globe also here
Harvard Health Blog
New York Times
Associated Press
The Guardian

Source: Americans for Medical Progress

It is also high time to report on the online petition I launched a while ago:
we are now a growing community of over 400 supporters whom have signed on in support of medical advancement through science and animal research. Signatures are coming from all over the world and countries include Italy, USA, France, UK, Australia, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritius, Belgium, G.D. Luxemburg, Spain, India and many more. When signing the petition you will see regular updates.
The comments left are living testimony to the work done by researchers, medical doctors, surgeons and to all of those that in any way help save, or have been saved by, others including those working in laboratories, in pharmaceutical companies.

The petition will not be sent to anyone. It is there to be used to show there is support from the general public to medical progress through science and animal research.
If you want to read or pass on the original post in which the petition appeared click here.

I also want to mention and ask you to support an important initiative by the US Foundation of Biomedical Research that seeks compelling stories to tell from people like you for the  'Bench to Bedside' TV series (aired on ABC). To read the full story and what they are looking for specifically please follow this link.
We have all benefited of medical progress and animal research continues to contribute to saving lives. Those involved or saved have a story to tell as do those that are waiting for a cure or a life saving treatment. Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

Finally progress is always around the corner and this time I'd like to point to an article involving research by the University of Cambridge on dogs and spinal cord regeneration. Researchers have shown it is possible to restore co-ordinated limb movement in dogs with severe spinal cord injury (SCI).
An important breakthrough for those paralyzed.
Read it in english here and in french here.

Last but not least here's an interesting web site called  Xplore health where you can download educational materials for use in the classroom with kids or watch videos to discover the latest on health research. Available in several languages (Spanish, French, Polish, Catalan).



Toxins, Venoms and jellyfish

Toxins and Venoms - BrainFacts.org

Jellyfish-inspired device that captures cancer cells from blood samples could enable better patient monitoring (source sciencedaily)

Two articles that point to animal research and how such research can lead to improving lives or medical progress.

Did I mention before how important medical progress is to many of us? I think so but just in case you had forgotten about voicing your choice, do sign the online petition that supports medical advancement through science and animal research. Our online community does make a difference and there are many positive comments from people that value the work done by the research community through animal research in the search for cures and improving life.


You can now follow me on twitter (ERaemdonck) and on facebook under advancing animal research.

Remember as the Algerian Author Jasmina Khadra says, without the work done by previous generations we would not be where we are today! Lahi sahel.

Hope you'll enjoy the reads above! 


The undemocratic but humane society

I wrote about how necessary animal research is towards medical progress, how at some point our worldwide societies are confronted with new diseases, pandemics etc. and how there are so many questions that need answers. Writing remains easy. Sometimes though listening to others can help us advance. Moving forward through action rather than words is what many prefer and action there is. Much of it through medling and being present there where you and I can not vote nor exert influence except for here on a web page.

Here's an article about Ebola and the Reston Virus that affects primates but not these Asian Orang-Utans. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22465-orangutans-infected-by-mystery-ebolalike-virus.html
This kind of work is also animal research.

 And then you have people such as the HSUS and affiliated HSI that through clout affiliations and partnership impose their views on society through the back door. Not one of them has been elected, they are not part of the democratic process, yet their views and opinions are present in legislative proposals, in boardrooms, the US Congress , the United Nations and their influence leans on work by civil servants that are in favor of their views. Here is an excerpt of one such view and statement published on their web pages
(source : http://www.hsi.org/issues/chemical_product_testing/qa/troy_seidle_qa.html). Is this an example of a balanced debate? Is this what one calls positive change ? Who of you has voted for this?

One can only assume that those that suffer from HIV, Ebola or tuberculose or whatever other disease, malfunction or disorder will just have to fend for themselves once these extremists have eradicated any animal use (wool, fur, food, pharma, entertainment, conservation, re-introduction, etc).

Q: Where do you see animal testing headed over the next 10 years?

A: Towards extinction! The move to embrace “21st century” non-animal safety testing continues to gain momentum and has officially gone global. It’s already possible, for one-fifth the cost of a single animal cancer test, to screen up to 1,000 chemicals in 200 different robot-automated cell or gene tests in as little as 2 weeks.
In the face of these incredible gains in terms of cost, efficiency, and more human-relevant test results, coupled with the law-changing clout of organizations like HSI, I have every confidence in our ability to replace most, if not all, animal testing by 2025.

Q: Who are your heroes/heroines and why?

A: Many of the people I most respect and admire won’t be anyone you’ve heard of. They’re not high-profile politicians, celebrities or campaign figureheads, but the many hard-working political assistants, civil servants, company scientists, and others who work tirelessly behind-the-scenes to advance more humane and relevant approaches to testing and research for the betterment of both animal and human welfare.  


Animal extremists against saving lives and conservation

There are many terrible diseases and one doesn't get to choose. Many of us may be born with a disease as it can be carried in our genes. Perhaps one day we will be able to eradicate these diseases by manipulating them before passing on our genes. Neuroscience for example is an area where animal research is critical because it requires investigating complex functions in living species. You can find out about the animals used here on the brainfacts.org page. Or if you have a question send it from this page and an expert will answer you! Below you can see a vid on jelly fish from Romanian Neuroscientists (www.neuroscience-bucharest.blogspot.com).

Some of the articles found on the Brain facts web site about animal research success, relate to: pscychiatric disorders, polio, the brain's chemical code and stroke. Animals too benefit from the research as we learn to understand some of the more complex functions they possess; see this article about trouts and how some animals orient themselves using magnetism. Actually I had heard about this particular capacity before in birds as a means to explain how birds manage to migrate back and forth without getting lost. Although many questions remain and need to be proven, the subject remains fascinating don't you think so? As you can read in the article new techniques or technologies could be developed building on such findings. Imagine finding back or obtaining a sense of smell, viewing or hearing. All things many of us take for granted and if it weren't for such research WHO would help those that suffer, are incapacitated or have to live with cripling disorders?

Image courtesy Brainfacts.org

Many argue animal research is unethical, it is torture, it is not necessary or no longer necessary. Scientists however disagree and so do patients - those that are waiting for a cure and those that have survived from diseases such as Cancer and many others. Actually so does a silent majority - all of us except those that oppose any animal use. Somehow this minority of extremists, just want to turn off the light for all of us including the animals they say they speak for...do not let them use sentiency, animal welfare or calls from the wild as arguments against animal research nor animal use for that matter!
If you care to take this a step further, make sure you sign this online petition:  http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/support-medical-progress-through-science-and-animal-research because medical progress matters to all of us and so does animal conservation in zoo's and aquaria. No animal use means we will no longer be able to keep them in such places that have put animal conservation at the center of their concerns and actions. Be mindful of what you wish for others. Especially when they do not have the ability to speak for themselves!



Air India blocks research.

Important Update!
Now that Air India has decided to continue laboratory animal transportation, they have become the target of  those that oppose animal use. The battle rages on Air India's Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/air.india.airlines#!/air.india.airlines and PETA has a campaign up and running for all to lobby the airline. Of course PETA doesn't just stop there it lobbies Airlines to stop COVANCE from doing research on animals and introduces resolutions to shareholders meetings - read here http://www.peta.org/features/covance-incs-cruel-animal-experimentation.aspx/

Please go ahead and show your support to Air India by leaving positive comments in support of their decision to continue transporting laboratory animals. Also make sure you sign the petition towards medical advancement through science and animal research - because medical progress matters to all of us!!

Reading this article , should send shivers down your spine!

An Air India cargo manager issued , or most likely was asked to issue, a circular in which staff were instructed not to accept laboratory destined animals on Air India flights. The article furthermore says that appeals from the scientific community, the secretary of the Biotechnology department and the head of the Scientific Advisory Council to India's Prime Minister appealing the decision have all fallen on deaf ears. Even the Minster of civil aviation could not change the poorly conceived decision.
The Times of India in this article, not surprisingly mentions PETA involvement. (SEE Comments section for an update as to Air India's decision to re-instate the carriage of laboratory animals)

Again a perfect example of a minority dicating their views onto a silent majority. None of these animal extremist groups, be they PETA, HSUS, BUAV or HSI have been elected to implement their views or their agendas. Their tactics are well known and their aims are to stop any animal use by direct and indirect actions. For examples of indirect actions please read my post called Animal welfare unpopular. Their affiliations and sharing of resources are known too, read here.

In the US, Camille Marino of Negotiation is over (NIO) has been imprisoned according to the extremist web site.  Cyber threats have to stop and those that incite others towards commiting this kind of intimidation actions should be sued - see for example smash hls south florida and their target list. The fact did not go unnoticed as is reported here in Nature's blog.

The fact of the matter is that animal research follows stringent rules , don't take my word for it read this article and make your own opinion. It also remains necessary as is illustrated by the Cancer Research blog in the article that relates the creation of a life saving drug Imatinib (Gleevec/Glivec) against Cancer. Read the story of those that were involved. Perhaps you or a family member, a friend or a relative have been saved by what was then called a miracle drug in Time magazine?

Remember, animal research is important because it contributes to finding cures and medical progress matters to all of us! If you agree with the above, if you support animal transport regardless of its purpose or if you disagree with Air India and all those taking us hostage and preventing medical progress to take place, please take a few minutes and sign the online petition that supports medical advancement through science and animal research. Thank you!



David Willetts opens press conference on attitudes to animal research | Understanding Animal Research

David Willetts opens press conference on attitudes to animal research | Understanding Animal Research

For new treatments animal testing is a legal requirement in the UK and that is the way it should be! There was a time when charlatans could sell 'miracle' products to anyone. That time is long gone. In fact if you want to read about what the current expectation is, look at this article from a Washington college student majoring in behavioral neuroscience .

Actually the tone of the article is a bit apologetic and perhaps it illustrates the current mindset of those in research. They know the value of the work, the importance of it to those that are suffering, their compassion and care for the animals they have to use. Those going into such a career should be especially proud. There is no reason not to be and people like me support what you are doing one hundred percent because we know it is necessary, there are no alternatives and what you attempt will benefit generations to come. If one  were to cease the questioning and allow outcome only type research (an oxymoron by itself) research and medical advancement would be stiffled and severely hampered. It is by understanding life sciences, the processes and the mechanisms in living species that real progress occurs.

And if you want to find out about recent progress, read up on how a lab grown kidney does its job in animals.

There are also some excellent comments on the petition page in support of medical progress through science and animal research- take a look here, sign the petition and show the world you care! Signing does make a difference because medical advancement matters to all of us. There are too many waiting for a cure and there are so many that have been saved. Support those that day in day out do this critical work for us and the animals! Cat research on cataracts saves elephant eyesight (courtesy speaking of research).


How does my work in the vivarium help others? | ALN

How does my work in the vivarium help others? | ALN

Please read this story of how Brian Anderson's daughter was saved and how it triggered his interest in drugs and treatments and the link with animal research.

I have blogged about this before, we take a lot of what surrounds us for granted and even more so when it comes to medicines, vaccines and medical progress. Not only does it matter to us as humans but also for animals.

Do not let a virulent minority own the moral grounds of what is right or wrong in science (using animals or not) and medical advancement. Ask yourself how you will behave when confronted with a terrible disease or disorder. We all wish to live a long and healthy life, preferably disease or disorder free. The reality however is different, at some point in our lives we all turn to health care and medical advancement!  Count your blessings for society has not gotten there by chance.

Science and medical advancement has no morals, no ethics but we do and safeguards are built into the processes. Take away animal research and you take away a safeguard that benefits millions of us, ask any toxicologist. Perhaps many fail to make it past animal research into clinical trials however this particular aspect remains part and parcel of the safeguard process. Moreover failure can lead to future success.

In a hospital there is lots of pain and suffering but most of the patients live through it to tell their stories as Brian did for his daughter. Others are not that lucky but their organs give us and scientific research a second chance. Surgeons too live with this predicament on a daily basis. Does it prevent them from returning to the operating table? Thankfully not - like it or not we all live with the risk.
All of these people need to be supported and thanked for the valuable work they do day in, day out.      

You too can make a difference. You can tell your story, you can sign a petition, you can educate your friends, colleagues and neighbours or you can donate to health care charities. Find your own inspiration as did the most honorable Arlen Specter, may his soul rest in peace.


Animal welfare unpopular

Strange but true! Animal welfare is no longer popular.

There is so much pressure from animal rights activists. There are too many regulatory initiatives that seek to change laws, regulations or directives. Not that they all succeed but the fact of the matter remains: animal welfare is no longer popular. I hear people complain about how many initiatives are well intended but not really thought out as they should be. Often the initiatives back a hidden agenda of no animal use,  animal liberation or animal rights. If you are confused by any of these concepts and the blurying of the boundaries, don't worry that too is part of the exercise because all that matters to animal extremists is to win and for you and all others to loose.

Take for example space allowances for animals. There is a direct link between space per animal and cost of exploitation. Increasing space allowances has an impact on commercial viability. Increase space per animal too much and the economic entreprise may be challenged. The impact of increasing space is not on the middlemen such as transporters for example. No the impact is on the producer (the seller) and on the buyer. Therefore the impact is also on you as a consumer if the costs can be passed on. In the case where costs can not be passed on the commercial viability is challenged and the operation stops.

Everyone looses, except those that oppose animal use.

Exactly the purpose of such initiatives when the aim is to stop animal use or to render animal use more difficult, more complex. Now multiply the initiatives,  fuel them through savy marketing campaigns (use of actors, painting the opponent into the corner as the bad guy, playing with emotions etc), petitions and social media use and you more or less get where we are at now!

In case the initiative does not succeed there is always the option to increase costs through the middlemen, for example by increasing the documentation requirements such as when one needs to obtain permits or certificates. Or to try and include additional species in existing laws, regulations,  directives or appendices.
It all works and victories are loudly proclaimed. In fact a victory is a driver towards new or greater membership contributions or donations. It is their lifeblood.

Are you still surprised to hear animal welfare is no longer popular? And here I have only mentioned the legal activities. Add to the above the continuous harassments, the arson, the threats, the verbal and physical aggressions many have been subjected to (and still are), the hokum, the disclosing of private life details and the list goes on to get to the full picture of why animal welfare is no longer popular. Because of all of this animal welfare has been brought into disrepute!

Another victory for  minorities that proclaim to speak and act on behalf of animals? Or a loss for us - a silent majority - that are waiting for cures, searching to feed the planet or trying to run a legal business in research, conservation, agriculture, clothing, entertainment, cosmetics or healthcare?

Remember Animal Research Saves Lives of Animals and Humans Alike !

Image copyright and courtesy of speakingofresearch.com

Since I don't like to leave you on a negative note, here's a positive story about a potential drug , Alzheimers new brain cell connections and rats.

Image courtesy of researchsaves.org



50 entries is a landmark

For those of you that have read me since April of this year, you will have read 50 blog entries. I think it is a landmark I should underline. What better way to underline animal research by showing you that we too care about animals.  

This Birds of paradise video is part and parcel of a joint project between two well known and respected entities: National Geographic and Audubon. Here's how Cornell's lab of ornithology describes it:

The Most Decorated Birds on the Planet

This fall, we invite you to experience the Birds-of-Paradise Project through dazzling photos and video from Cornell Lab scientist Ed Scholes and National Geographic photographer Tim Laman. During an eight-year quest, they captured images of all 39 species for the first time. This fall, they will share their story as part of a National Geographic Society-wide effort in collaboration with the Cornell Lab.

The video is just the tip of the iceberg—this fall, the Birds-of-Paradise Project will go public with a gorgeous coffee-table book copublished by National Geographic and the Cornell Lab (available for preorder), a major exhibit at the National Geographic Museum, a TV documentary on Thanksgiving Day, articles in Living Bird and National Geographic magazines, and a North American lecture tour.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at http://www.birds.cornell.edu.

Copyright © 2012 Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All rights reserved.

Actually there are many of us reading, writing about or working in animal research and this in no way precludes liking, loving or caring about animals and humans alike! If you agree with me, don't forget to sign my petition and to ask your colleagues , friends and relatives to do so too!  Remember that if you stop animal research, who will stop the real killers??


Support medical advancement through animal research!

You can make a difference. A huge difference.

The difference between remaining silent or to voice your opinion.

To cast a vote towards medical advancement through science and animal research. Support the tools that are at our disposal.

To support those that day in day out are looking for cures, for treatments, drugs or vaccines and that are improving the lives of millions of us, including animals. Perhaps a close relative of yours or yourself.

Show your support and sign my petition.

Help spread the word.




Image courtesy of Foundation for Biomedical Research


AUTISM needs YOU and Research

Some people have disabilities, like autism for example. The lives of those affected aren't easy. Not for them and not for their families.

But you can make a difference. You can make sure there is healthcare coverage for those affected. You can make sure research is funded. You can make sure families get help because as with many disabilities help is needed. To those of you involved in translational research and advancing medical science I say thank you.

We should all know that research helps too. As is the case with translational research. AUTISM SPEAKS is looking for postdoctoral fellowships in translational research. Here's how the need is defined:
Autism Speaks is pleased to announce the third year of its postdoctoral fellowships in translational research. This program supports promising and well-qualified postdoctoral scientists pursuing training in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) translational research. We invite applicants from public or private institutions working in preclinical or clinical research arenas. Successful applicants will detail a project that bridges basic laboratory research and behavioral or biomedical clinical research, with a training plan that includes mentoring in both basic and clinical research environments.
We encourage “bench-to-bedside” approaches that delineate a path from preclinical models of ASD to well-defined patient populations, as well as “back-translational” projects that enrich the skills of behaviorists and clinicians through basic research on ASD biology and mechanisms of therapeutic intervention. The results should have the potential to promote preclinical or clinical trials that improve outcomes for individuals with autism.
More details and instructions for applying can be found in the RFA here.
One child in 88 is linked to autism.There are other disabilities linked to the brain.  Add those affected to the 88 and you will start to get the picture of those that one day may get a cure. I am not against saving non human primates nor against the use of  animals in research. I support those that are looking for cures.     



Primate liberation week targets transportation and animal research

With primate liberation week upon us (see here on facebook) and the soon to be released movie
maximum tolerated dose (see here for trailer) with footage courtesy of BUAV, the activists are preparing to re-ignite the debate about animal testing. For a full schedule of events planned for the primate liberation week go to the SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now page here.
Or perhaps your name as a university researcher appears on the list of animal abusers for fellow activists to take note of and get organized? Likewise PETA is getting ready too by claiming victories over airlines such as Fedex, UPS and DHL as you can read in my post here .

According to all creatures .org Remember: The primates who are suffering in laboratories as you read this letter are depending on us to work together to fight for their freedom. We must exercise our rights (free speech, freedom of assembly, etc.) so that we can fight for the recognition of their rights. They have no voice but ours. They have no protection, no hope, unless you act. For every activist that does nothing, more primates suffer and die.
The decision is yours. You have the choice to do nothing, but your decision has consequences for the primates. Your inaction condemns primates to suffering and death. Your hard work can bring their freedom closer. The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation should be really proud of hosting such valuable contributors!  

I do wonder what debate they are talking about? Is there a debate when any animal use has to stop?
The debate has turned into calling people targets. As is the case here with Janice E. Grooves a member of an IACUC committee. Or committing arson to 'liberate' animals as Camille Jenkins or Peter Young call it, by destroying property of perfectly legal companies. Supporting such acts that have led perpetrators, rightfully so, to jail.  

On the negotiation is over site, ground carriers are also cited as stopping their activities of transporting primates.

Smash HLS too want a piece of the victory against airlines as is quoted below from their facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SouthFloridaSmashHLS). The goal however is to shut these companies down, no matter what.
Strategically targeting infrastructure increases our ability to force progressive change. Smash HLS has been involved in stopping 5 local Florida companies from transporting nonhuman primates for use in vivisection. http://www.nature.com/news/lab-animal-flights-squeezed-1.11433

 And for those of you who want to read about joint action take a look at the air souffrance page
http://www.airsouffrance.fr/ . The latest protest in front of an Air France agency in Paris is available on youtube - click here.

I guess it is the end of the year and a good time for donations before the holiday season starts. A good time to remember all of achievements during the year and to make that so needed donation! Who cares about cures, about patients or medical advancement? As long as the money flows in and a few animals are liberated, that is all that matters.


Lost a battle but remember to win the war!

There is no victory in the announcement from PETA against Fedex, UPS and DHL.

Neither is there one as a result of this article in Nature called lab animal flights squeezed.

There is a set back, a battle has been lost. Patients have been silenced again by a radical minority.
But let's take a closer look at what has been written:
neither transporters are big players in the movement of animals. Why?
Well because mail or courier companies do not operate the same way as passenger or cargo airlines. They have sorting facilities that handle small parcels and therefore are not set up to handle live animals. Take a look at the videos below.

They may fly a charter here and there as Fedex does for larger zoo animals for example and as  the passenger carriers do. This kind of work attracts a lot of positive PR for them and the animal is treated with the red carpet, a VIP treatment of sorts.  Carriers involved in the movement of an endangered species, a repopulating effort, a re-introduction into the wild or an animal rescue attract positive support. Ask WWF or the Association of Zoo's and Aquariums, they know the value of the contribution of air carriers. Even PETA acknowledges this fact. So what is this double language? A double standard ? One for the public and one for when the issue suits the goal?

Gone is the cruel cargo, the crammed cages, the inhumane transport conditions, the suffering. Same aircrafts, same transport conditions. Airlines around the world follow identical rules and standards in terms of containers for air transport of live animals. All countries signatories to the Washington Convention known as CITES, accept, recognize these standards and airlines enforce them. But that is not what BUAV or PETA want the public to know. Why would one donate $$ when the facts are not the reality they want the public to believe? 

Remember to stand behind your industry associations and make sure transportation is on their agenda. Communicate achievements, breakthroughs and contributions to medical advancement to the general public, speak out about what it is you do and why. It is the credible way to win the war.



Science, medical progress, animals and YOU

Dear reader,
I am concerned about what is happening in Montreal with pharmaceuticals and their R&D centers. Aren't you?
The latest announcement came from Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) in Laval - 170 jobs lost at their Virology research facility, a well known center of excellence with a focus on translational research.
The 36$million investment was discribed as follows by BI in 2008 at the time of opening

"On behalf of Boehringer Ingelheim, I am proud to be in Laval to mark this historic day within the company as we celebrate this new expansion project," said Christian Boehringer, Chairman of the Shareholders Committee Boehringer Ingelheim.
"The Laval facility has contributed to scientificdiscovery in the area of virology that may not only help patients in Canada,but around the world. This site is expected to make an even greater contribution to the translation of scientific discoveries into drugs which help patients. And that is what Boehringer Ingelheim stands for, research into health areas of unmet need."
As one of the four principal research centers for Boehringer Ingelheim worldwide, the Laval facility focuses on the discovery of new treatments for Hepatitis C and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, which causes AIDS)infection, diseases for which either no vaccine exists or current therapy is unsatisfactory. The new laboratories will allow Boehringer Ingelheim to continue to contribute to and complement its existing product portfolio, which includes HIV treatments VIRAMUNE(R) and APTIVUS(R).

Neither of the diseases mentioned have been cured as far as I know and the quality of the research nor the researchers are at cause for the announced 2013 closure.
So what is happening in the pharmaceutical world? Is research being delocated? Is there no more translational research taking place in Montreal, or is the industry increasingly being prevented from bringing in crucial research animals such as non human primates? In the United Kingdom because of animal rights actions, the situation has deteriorated to such a point that there's no UK based carrier available to transport research animals such as non human primates into the country. Non human primates are critical research models used in the search for cures against both deseases (Hep C and HIV).
I think it is time for the general public to better understand how animal research is linked to medical progress and why we need to have research centers in Montreal, Québec and abroad if we want to continue to be important players in the search for cures and medical advancement.
An initial piece of information can be found here http://www.pro-test.org.uk/MAAR.pdf
What can you do to help?
1/Stand by the pharmaceutical and airline industry and voice your support through associations such as AALAS – American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (www.aalas.org), CALAS—Canadian Association for Laboratory Animal Science (www.calas-acsal.org) ICLAS – International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (www.iclas.org) and other scientific and professional organizations that advocate for both biomedical research and laboratory animal welfare. Ensure that the issue of protecting humane research animal transportation is on their agendas.
2/Ensure that your elected officials appreciate the importance of research centers and animal research. Ask them to look into the problems of delocating research and the declining pool of available airlines for the continued transport of research animals.
3/Inform others as to the humane and judicious nature of animal research, and why it is still needed. Underscore its achievements and the medical progress to which it has contributed. Information and links to resources to get you started are available from Speaking of Research site, and on my Advancing Animal Research blog at http://research4drugdiscovery.blogspot.ca/