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Animals in Labs

Story ID:7210
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various USA
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This is for you Jack - my one-eyed black bunny and all the poor rabbits, dogs
primates, mice, and rats used so cruelly in animal research by the biomedical
community for well over 50 years.

Jack was rescued by a mother and her children in December when they found
him enjoying their vegetable garden throughout the summer. No, he was not
a research rescue from these cruel labs where so many of them for years and
years have been used in cosmetic testing. Cosmetics are smeared on a shaven
portion of their sides to observe any reactions. Can you imagine how painful
this must be for them? And if I remember correctly, eye make-up was smeared
on their eyes which became painfully red as a result.

Jack was probably an impulsive Easter bunny buy. When will people learn? You
never buy an animal unless you are willing to make a long term commitment. I
read somewhere recently that there are over 5,000 new homeless bunnies in shelters
since this past Easter because of this irresponsibility.

I never had a bunny before but I quickly learned about bunnies in general. The
experience was enlightening. Some bunnies can be held, but I am afraid to try this
with Jack. Even lifting him up into the two joined cages proved to be a challenge
as Jack was a very wriggly subject.

Jack lives in what I hope is a "cozy" basement with five rescued cats - two of them
feral and yes, I found them different. Still I love Patrick, one of the ferals, who is
the only one who doesn't run from Jack when I let him out of the cage for exercise.
In fact, he licks Jack's head and Jack loves it!

Today I learned about a bunny who suffered a cruel, miserable death in research at the
Virginia Commonwealth University. This rabbit was killed after his cage went through
a washer, while he was still inside. But you may say - this was an isolated incident and
an accident, but I think you would be wrong. Many, many innocent animals still suffer
greatly in a research setting- starved, blinded, irridiated, forced to run, and God knows
what else. In my opinion, these questionable protoculs are done just because animals
are readily available and we have resisted adopting new non-animal alternatives.

Many of us have been reading accounts of research cruelty for the last 40 years and more.
We have been writing letters to Congress and the National Institutes of Health to stop using
live subjects and to develop other humane alternatives.

Still the use of live animals pursists, though we are grateful to the Physicians for Responsible
Medicine for convincing many teaching universities to close the dog labs and use life-like
mannequins instead like Trauma Man. Made with imitation human tissue, this mannequin
is designed to be used for surgical dissection.

Who knows how many thousands of unlucky dogs were subjected to countless "practice"
surgeries before they were put down? Who knows how many lost family dogs ended up in
these places of suffering? I learned that ONE surgery was enough for me, and these poor
dogs were surgically operated on many times over before they were finally killed.

Sadly there are still many research universities using animals. You can find the ones
in your state by clicking the HSUS post "Humane Society slams VCU." I believe I
found at least 20 in Ohio alone. We have been brainwashed into believing that this
research is necessary for improving our health. I think if you would read the research
protoculs of many of them, you probably wouldn't agree. A couple of years ago, I
remember reading in horror that Boys Town of Nebreska - yes Boys Town, was doing
research and in this particular research little kittens were purposely blinded for a
blind research protocul.

Before he died, Hans Reusch, a Swiss, wrote "Slaughter of the Innocent." For anyone
interested, his book enumerates many of the cruel and even unnecessary animal
experimentation carried on daily in his own native Switzerland pharmaceutical
companies as well as in the US and perhaps throughout the world.

Most of us have been conned into believing that this animal research is necessary for
promoting good health. But sadly it seems to some of us that it is a process which
oftentimes involves researchers getting lucrative grants and monetarily profitable
for people who engage in raising animal research subjects.

It's not that animal rights orgs and their members have lagged behind in writing their
concerns in this regard because we have. Thanx to Senator Robert Dole, an Animal
Welfare Act was approved by Congress during his tenure. Sadly though, it is by and
large pitifully enforced.

Matt Rossell who had first hand experience as a primate technician in an Oregon Primate
Center for two years (1998-2000) wrote "Letter to the Editor to the Scientist." His letter
is very long and worth reading in its entirety, but I have chosen to relate only the accounts
of two conscientious and respected people - Dr. Isis Johnson Brown and Dr. Jane Godall.

Dr. Isis Johnson Brown, a dedicated and committed USDA inspector in Oregon resigned
from the USDA after telling her story at a press conference. She gave her reasons for quiting
in frustration after her supervisors at the USDA failed to support her efforts to enforce the
minimal requirements of the Animal Welfare Act. She said:

"While working for the United States Department of Agriculture as the inspector in
Oregon for the Federal Animal Welfare Act, I was dedicated to providing the animals
the protections, minimal as they are, that are stipulated by law. This is no easy task.
As Oregon's only inspector, I was responsible for the oversight of over 120 facilites
throughout the state. I barely had time to visit each facility as required.......What was
surprising to me was my own supervisors were disappointed and unsupportive of my
efforts to simply enforce the bare minimum standards in the Code of Federal Regulations.
The USDA has a good ol' boy relationship with the research industry and the laws are
nothing more than smoke and mirrors."

She also said that she was instructed by a supervisor to make a list of violations of the
law - cut that list in half, and then cut it in half again before writing up her inspection
reports. I hope the reader is angry by the revelation of this brave inspector. Any one
with the least bit of integrity should be incensed that we have a USDA of this calibre.
I know that many of us were, but until she bravely came forward with this, we only
speculated as much. And why wasn't there a hue and a cry for heads to role at the USDA?
I don't know, but I can only imagine that it was not important to the President, the
Congress or people in general.

Michael Conn wrote a book "The War on Animal Research" as a way to lesson the
impact of Matt Rossell's accusations re the cruelty in the Oregon Primate Center
where he had workd. Rossell had captured the plight of the primates on camera
but Conn dismissed the video as "extremist."

Rossell observed in response that video doesn't lie nor does the world's most renowned
primatologist. Dr. Jane Goddall. She had this to say after viewing the film:

"I have heard that there are people at the Primate Center who have suggested that
the images on your video had been faked. Well, the images that I saw - a baby monkey
rolling up into a ball and sucking his penis, an infant monkey with (the disease (shigella)
crawling about in his own filth, an adult rhesus who was so crazy that he had bitten
his arms, bitten off almost all the flesh, an individual capuchin who had been used in
drug research sitting with starring eyes, clearly in the last stages of depression, a monkey
strapped down and submitted to a horribly painful electro ejaculation process with
electrodes strapped on his penis, just to get a semen sample - these things could not
have been faked. There's no way they could have been faked. No, these monkeys
were being tortured."

Really there isn't anything more I can say though there is a lot more I could write. Books
and internet sites can provide so much more on the subject of animal cruelty in our
labs. However there is just one question I would like to ask the reader:

Which camp do you belong to?

The humane camp of people like Matt Rossell, Dr. Isis Johnson Brown, and Dr. Jane

The USDA officials who told Dr. Brown to falsify her reports on primate cruelty
and Michael Conn who wrote "The War on Animal Research" who tried to discredit
the incidence of animal cruelty in research.

But sadly, there is also yet another camp, and that is the camp of DO NOTHING PEOPLE.
I'm afraid to say that I believe there are many who belong to this camp as well.