Written by PETA
Once upon a time, Congress came up with the good idea (strange, but true) to create an interagency committee to encourage and validate modern, animal-friendly testing methods for use by governmental agencies. Unfortunately, the committee, known by its acronym ICCVAM, or the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods, has been doing just the opposite—blocking scientifically sound and humane non-animal testing methods. For example, ICCVAM has done the following:
The ickiest thing about ICCVAM is its leader, Dr. William Stokes, who has pushed all of this unscientific and animal-unfriendly tomfoolery under his watch.
PETA is calling on Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the agency that oversees ICCVAM, to fire Dr. Stokes and replace him with someone who will actually VAM (validate alternative methods). You can help by e-mailing Dr. Birnbaum and seconding our concern.
Written by Philip Douglas
Pam (who also stuck around to lobby the guests alongside PETA VP Dan Mathews at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday) hand-delivered a PETA science report—the impetus for a recent front-page Washington Post story—condemning the failure of the Department of Health and Human Services to use sophisticated, non-animal test methods widely used in Europe, in place of decades-old, cruel and crude animal tests for toxicity. Asked about her decision to act as a courier on PETA’s behalf, she said, "Being a citizen excites me not just because I can vote, but because I can crack the whip on Capitol Hill to defend animals."
And she does it all with a smile. You rule, Pam.
P.S. If you want to help out yourself by contacting your members of Congress about this issue, you can do so through the webform here.
… So say a number of Canadian consumers, who have just filed a formal complaint against the Fur Council of Canada (FCC) with the Competition Bureau of Canada. The complaint—which has been signed by representatives of animal protection groups from British Columbia to Nova Scotia—alleges that the FCC has attempted to gain an unfair competitive advantage by using preposterous claims that fur production is “Eco-Friendly” and that people who choose fur alternatives are damaging the environment because of the energy that’s required to make faux fur.
In fact, the opposite is true. Not only are fur garments treated with toxic chemicals to keep them from decomposing, but fur production—which government agencies around the world have identified as a major pollutant—poisons waterways and consumes resources at an alarming rate. It is estimated that it takes 15 times as much energy to produce a fur coat from ranch-raised animals as it does to produce a faux-fur coat. Not to mention the pain and suffering and the existence of natural fibres like cotton, etc.
And it’s against the rules to lie in order to gain a competitive advantage. So the FCC needs to stop it. I’ll let you know how that goes.
You can take action on this issue here.
For reals. The thing is about 25 feet tall, all told, and he’s pretty tough to miss (I did a classic double take when I caught a glimpse of him peering through the window when they were setting up in our parking lot for a dry run last week). This big guy was outside the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services yesterday to remind U.S. government officials that testing on animals is about as progressive as the stone age. Yes, I know that dinos were extinct by the Stone Age, but I would hate to have to explain that to a 25-foot tyrannosaurus. He really does look pretty menacing.
For more info on the campaign that inspired these demonstrations, here’s a recent post about a Paleolithic government entity called ICCVAM, who have been making a royal mess of things for about a decade now.
The Washington Post has just released an investigation into the shocking lack of progress that exists in U.S. government policies on animal experimentation. The Washington Post began its own investigation after PETA presented evidence of government negligence. As the article points out, hundreds of millions of animals in this country are still being killed in gruesome ways to test substances like Botox, even though there are modern, non-animal methods available. Part of the problem is a categorical failure by the agency that’s charged with reducing the use of animals in toxicity testing—the folks over at ICCVAM (who I’ve talked about a bit before on this blog)—to actually do their jobs. As the Post article puts it:
"The controversy over the Botox test highlights the slow pace of government efforts to replace or reduce the large numbers of animals used by pharmaceutical companies, chemical manufacturers and consumer firms to ensure that their products are safe for people. A decade after Congress created a panel to spur the development of non-animal tests, only four such tests have been approved out of 185 reviews, according to the panel's records."
During the same period of time, ICCVAM’s European counterpart has recommended more than two dozen non-animal tests, and the U.S. continues to lag well behind Europe in adopting modern alternatives to animal testing, which—in addition to causing unnecessary suffering and death for countless animals—poses a significant threat to human health.
There is a bit of good news, though, in the form of a landmark report by the National Academy of Sciences, which indicates that the United States may finally be ready to start catching up to other nations by adopting modern testing methods. But this isn’t going to happen while groups like ICCVAM are allowed to stand in the way. We’re currently calling for a congressional investigation into ICCVAM's negligence, and asking that a new entity be created to oversee the implementation of the NAS recommendations. If you’d like to help out by contacting your members of Congress about this issue, you can do so through the webform here.
And definitely check out the Post article. This issue is monumentally important, but doesn’t get a lot of ink, so it’s great to see a publication like The Washington Post giving it its due.
The folks in our Regulatory Testing Division are pretty smart, I must say. They spend their entire lives neck deep in scientific papers that would squash the brains of most normal people, so to say that they’re a pretty serious lot is like saying Barry Bonds is kind of good at baseball. So imagine my surprise when I found out about their latest little stunt. Granted, it’s hard to make anything containing words like toxicogenomics and bioinformatics even the least bit fun, but I think they pulled it off here.
Yesterday, PETA sent these little alarm clocks to members of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods—the folks charged with helping streamline the validation and use of modern non-animal testing methods—to remind them that an animal dies every two seconds of every day in a US government mandated toxicity test, and to push them to do their job by helping to implement—not block—alternatives to animal testing.
Check out the letter they sent with the clocks here.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.