Animal research in doubt

There is a buzz going on about a recent article in the New York Times that deals with mouse models and their validity as models in some disease research. You can read the article here.

Scientists are quickly pointing out that the use of a single inbred mouse strain as was the case in this study, is not representative. Furthermore it is known that certain inbred mouse strains are resistant to septic shock, whereas others are much more susceptible. So yes the use of a certain inbred mouse strain in one study failed to translate into medicines for mankind and illustrates the limits of this particular strain for a given research or disease, however in my mind the article also reminds us of the importance of choosing the adequate or most valid animal model for a study. If I am not mistaken certain countries demand the use of two different animal species in studies such as for example rodents and primates. I now better understand the logic behind such a policy.

For a further in depth look at the article and its shortcomings, read this piece below. http://community.jax.org/genetics_health/b/weblog/archive/2013/02/13/why-mice-may-succeed-in-research-when-a-single-mouse-falls-short.aspx

All of this to say that in Science there are questions and it is only in attempting to answer them that discoveries and shortcomings come to light. Obviously Peta has a different take and calls the whole exercise a waste. Oh wait a minute if you are a firefigther and victim of skin burn, an unlikely incident for Peta staff writing from their cozy offices, I guess having a cure or treatment available is not important nor valuable, just let them people suffer! Animals aren't ours to experiment on.

Talking of animal research and its benefits I invite you to read this piece by Denise Beckfield whom says that whilst she opposes animal cruelty in research she benefits from it through surgery and medication.
Paralysed people too hope to one day find the use of their limbs back. Here's what's happening in research to assist those afflicted.  And here too http://ht.ly/hQY2D , or if you prefer the video click below. Still convinced that animal research is a waste?



Protecting the public - Do no harm

Speak up and act for medical progress

Airlines play a critical role in vaccination campaigns for they transport many of the vaccines that are manufactured worldwide. It doesn't matter where it is manufactured chances are that at a certain point because of a disease outbreak and local supply doesn't suffice, medication will have to be brought into a country. There's plenty of examples that come to mind such as SARS or H1N1. A lot of temperature controlled drugs too end up flying in the bellies of aircrafts.

All of these medications need to be tested though, both in humans and animals. Of course I strongly disagree with those that say animal testing is not necessary or outdated because a solid public health policy needs to be supported by scientific facts and evidence. This testing is true also for new medical procedures and medical devices. A public health policy also requires the funding of fundamental research at Universities, public institutions and private initiatives because as concerned citizens we all require medical progress not only for ourselves, our friends and relatives but for the overarching aim of protecting the public at large and finding cures to diseases that claim many lives. It doesn't matter who you are, where you live nor what the color of your skin is, health care is based on a sound public health policy. This policy should not be affected or impacted by email campaigns by non governmental organizations that oppose animal use and therefore seek to stop the transport of animal models such as non human primates.

 Perhaps to come back to vaccination campaigns, graphical illustration of the results of vaccine use in the US might be more appropriate to illustrate the above facts!

Besides supporting public health policy one also needs to understand the critical role in funding research (animal based or not) by listening to the institutions affected. As is voiced here for Emory University by Raymond J. Dingledine, Dean for Research in Medicine.

Medical progress is not achieved by chance. It takes a lot of people and effort for it to happen and to one day perhaps save your life, if that is not already the case since most of us are vaccinated against major diseases. So please do remember that whilst you may think having drugs or treatments available at your local drugstore or hospital is normal, there are many things going on on your behalf to ensure you have the protection or treatment you need.
Do not let those that oppose animal use ruin this global worldwide effort that benefits us all.


Animal Legal Defense Fund  Action Alerts target airlines

Animal Legal Defense Fund : Action Alerts

Looking for a cause involving animals? ALDF has it up and running on their web site.

What does it mean for Airlines? Well click on the link under 'Animals on Airplanes need your help' and you will end up at Regulations.gov to submit a comment to a docket by the US DOT on a proposed rule regarding reports by air carriers on incidents involving animals during air transport.

Here's the link if you want to avoid visiting ALDF

I did have a previous post on a similar issue with service animals and the US DOT, however this time around it is the general public that is made to believe that Airlines kill your pets or that they loose large numbers of animals, or mistreat them whilst in their custody (remember the BUAV cargo cruelty campaigns). The facts however are different as the reports have demonstrated.

The time has come to pull the plug on needless red tape! Whilst the public has a right to know, it is now clear that Airlines do an excellent job in moving animals safely and with extreme care. As is the case with non human primate movements, the Airlines can decide to stop transporting animals including your beloved pet. Airlines have been deregulated a long time ago therefore commercial decisions  apparently  involve excluding certain animals from one specific shipping community such as research as we have seen at Air Canada and United.

Irony has it that certain carriers spend a lot of money on equipment carrying horses, whereas with monkeys no such investment is required. It's just a question of policy I guess and of being politically correct!

Nevertheless as it has been said before by many and at various levels of society:


and there is support towards the continued movement of lab animals for research ! Read this op-ed piece by Michael Goldberg and Larry Swanson, both are members of the US National Academies of Sciences and University professors.

And if you want to give your hard earned money to protect animals or the environment please do think twice. Evidence has it that your money may just go to killing the very animals you thought you were trying to help as my colleagues at Speaking of Research found out for you!

In the meantime as you probably need to refocus on why all of this animal research does take place,
read this blog post about a mother and her son finding out about Autism.


Growth factor aids stem cell regeneration after radiation damage

Growth factor aids stem cell regeneration after radiation damage


Above please find two well written articles, each one illustrating the use of animals in research and how animal research contributes to medical progress. And at the bottom take two minutes and have a thought for Reg Presley- The Troggs, whom lost his battle against cancer.

Those opposing animal research remind me of those that oppose vaccination.


I think there is an overwhelming majority (silent that is) of people out there that understand the need for animal research. Charities should be more forthcoming  about animal research as is suggested here in this article by Tom Holder of speaking of Research.

When disease strikes is perhaps not the best time to find out how your drug or treatment came about to be, however we should all take some time to think about it and realize how much is being done to keep you , your relatives or friends alive or to improve your life. Let's not take this for granted.

I did look at all I and my family have benefited from in terms of medical care and progress.  So my blog is just a little contribution and thank you to those that day in, day out are dedicating their time and efforts to save us all, animals and humans!  The list of those to thank is so long, suffice it to say that these words are there for you  as long as these pages don't disappear. I do hope my airline colleagues will follow me in supporting medical progress and perhaps cease imposing restrictive policies that hinder the search for cures!

!!! THANK YOU !!!

R.I.P Reg Presley - let's win the battle against cancer.



Say No to NHP Air Transport Ban

Campaign: Say No to Air Transport Ban of Non Human Primates destined for research

As a result of the Air Canada decision to ban non human primates destined for research, the Canadian Society for Neurosciences asks you to let Air Canada know you support research and the removal of the ban.
You should know that neuroscience researchers study to understand and find cures for important diseases such as schizophrenia or Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. This valuable research and the researches involved, as well as millions of patients waiting for cures, are affected by this decision. Alternative means of transport, by land or sea, are more stressful on animals and therefore less humane. Animal research is important to all of us and it is closely regulated in Canada.

Here's what you should do:

Posted below is a letter you could copy/paste and send to the President of Air Canada, Mr. Calin Rovinescu. You should consider personalizing your letter by indicating whether you are a researcher, a person who flies with Air Canada on a regular basis, a member of their rewards program, a person who benefits from medical research innovations, a physician who sees the benefits of research in your practice, or any other information you may find relevant. Make sure to sign your full name and to include complete contact information.

To: Mr. Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada

Dear Mr. Rovinescu,

I was troubled to learn that Air Canada has recently decided to halt transport of non-human primates for use in biomedical research. I urge you to reconsider this position, as animal models, including non-human primates, are essential to advancing our understanding of diseases and disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis that could lead to treatments and cures of these devastating conditions. Misinformation, spread by “animal rights” extremists, threatens to hinder research efforts, and must not be allowed to affect policy making in important Canadian companies such as yours.

The significant role that animal models play in lifesaving research is undeniable. Almost every major medical advance in the last century was made possible by carefully regulated, humane animal research. In Canada, the Canadian Council on Animal Care is responsible for setting and maintaining standards for the ethical use and care of animals in science in Canada, and institutions review all animal research to ensure the protection of the welfare of animals used for research purposes. Studies using animal models follows strict ethical guidelines. Airline transportation, provided by companies such as yours, ensures that laboratory animals are available for lifesaving biomedical research in universities, hospitals and research centers.
Highly vocal animal rights extremists are attempting to halt all research which involves animal models, and to sway public opinion in their direction. These people represent a very small number of individuals, much less than the millions who are dependent on the discoveries brought about by humane, well-regulated animal research – not to mention the tens of thousands of scientists who rely on air travel to attend scientific conferences and to conduct their research.

I hope that your personal commitment to advancing science, exemplified by your recent membership in the McGill University Health Research Center Board of Directors, will be reflected in policies at Air Canada that will allow important scientific research to move forward.
Name (First and Last)
Contact information: Email, Full mailing address.
Likewise please contact United's CEO Jeff Smisek, to let him know your support to animal research and the need for continued Air services and uplift for Non Human Primates. Here's what you can say- please personalize your letter and add your contact details when sending. For an automated version follow this link.
If you are not a US resident: please email the CEO directly by copying and pasting the letter below into your email program and sending it to jeff.smisek@united.com. And don't forget to let advocacy@sfn.org know that you sent a letter.

Message Recipients:
Mr. Jeff Smisek, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Airlines
Subject: Please consider changing your animal transport policies
As a scientist, I was troubled to learn that United Continental has decided to halt shipment of non-human primates for use in biomedical research. If that is the case, I urge the airline to reconsider its position. Animal models, including non-human primates, are essential to advancing our understanding of and eventually finding cures for diseases and disorders like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury. If "animal rights" extremists continue to sway airlines in the direction that your company is taking, the effects will be devastating.

Airline transportation ensures that laboratory animals are available for lifesaving biomedical research. Universities, medical and veterinary schools, and research centers are all dependent on your airline to continue their groundbreaking research. A small but vocal group of animal rights extremists have been pushing this issue in their attempts to halt all research which involves animal models. Their numbers are dwarfed by the millions who are dependent on the discoveries brought about by humane, well-regulated animal research – not to mention the tens of thousands of scientists who rely on air travel to attend scientific conferences and to conduct their research.

The significant role that animal models play in lifesaving research is undeniable. Almost every major medical advance in the last century was made possible by carefully regulated, humane animal research. Animal research around the globe is heavily regulated, as it should be. In the U.S., federal, state, institutional, and community review protects the welfare of animals used in research. Scientists involved with animal research understand they must use animals appropriately and humanely, using as few animals and as many alternative techniques as possible to achieve reliable results.

In your position on the Board of Trustees at the Museum of Science and Industry, you have demonstrated a clear commitment to the value of scientific innovation. Progress in biomedical research requires the use of animal models – including non-human primates. We hope that your personal commitment to advancing science will be reflected in policies at United Continental that will allow important scientific research to move forward.