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Why Heather Stopped Giving to March of Dimes

Written by PETA | May 3, 2007

Many of you will be familiar with PETA’s “March of Crimes” Campaign, which was launched a number of years ago to promote a simple message: Harming animals, whatever your ultimate intention, is harmful to people too. Sadly, charities like March of Dimes, which have a laudable goal of preventing birth defects, also have an ugly side, which the public rarely sees. Many of the experiments on primates, cats, dogs, rats, and other animals that have been funded by the March of Dimes are downright gruesome, and the frustrating thing is that, with so many effective, humane alternatives around, there was absolutely no good reason for these animals to have suffered and died in the first place. Anyway, the reason for all this March of Dimes talk right now is that their annual “WalkAmerica” fundraiser is taking place at the moment, and I’d like to encourage people who are considering giving them a donation to have a look at this great list of humane certified charities instead. These are groups that are doing the same important work as March of Dimes without torturing anyone, which is just a kickass way of getting things done, in my opinion. For a much more eloquent statement on the topic than I could ever muster, here’s an article by my good friend Heather Moore about her own unique experience with humane giving. It’s all pretty damn inspiring, if you ask me:

Health Charities: Helping or Hurting?

By Heather Moore
Senior Writer
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Heather and Carly Moore
Heather Moore2.jpg

WalkAmerica, March of Dimes’ largest annual fundraiser, is taking place now in cities across the United States. More than fifteen years ago, I participated in this event, believing funds would be used to fight birth defects. Since then, I’ve had three surgeries to correct foot deformities that doctors suspect were caused by Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT), a hereditary progressive nerve disorder of the feet, lower legs and hands. CMT is the most common inherited neurological disorder, characterized by a high-arched foot and gait disturbances.

Unbeknownst to many donors, a number of health charities, including the March of Dimes, waste time and money on animal experiments instead of devoting all of their funds to worthwhile projects that may truly help people with CMT and other disabilities or diseases.

This causes me far greater distress than any genetic defect ever could. It’s shameful that a health charity would inflict the same pain and suffering on animals that it wishes to eliminate in humans.

Animal research proponents often like to claim that animal rights advocates would change their minds about animal experimentation if they had diseases or disabilities. I didn’t. In fact, I find the implication that those of us with disabilities would automatically support animal experimentation insulting. It suggests that people with diseases and disabilities are selfish, callous, and desperate, and will support cruelty to animals in order to help themselves—no matter how futile the chance.

It’s simply unethical to cause harm to one species under the guise of helping another—unethical and ineffective. Although animals feel pain and fear like people, there are enormous physiological differences between animals and humans; data taken from one species cannot always be correctly applied to another. Vast differences exist even between mice and rats, let alone rats and humans.

Every dollar spent on animal research is a dollar that could have been better spent on humane, effective methods of fighting birth defects and helping people.

Relevant programs, such as the National Birth Defect Registry, improved prenatal care, counseling and education, and treatment for pregnant women addicted to nicotine, alcohol and drugs, can really help prevent birth defects and improve the quality of life for people with disabling conditions.

Many other charities, including Easter Seals, Birth Defect Research for Children, Heimlich Institute, and the Little People’s Research Fund, Inc., put all their funds into programs that directly benefit people and never waste a penny on animal experiments.

The next time a health charity stretches a hand in your direction, make sure the charity won’t waste your money on cruel animal experiments. After all, health charities are supposed to help stop suffering—not cause it.

Commenting is closed.
  • Chucky says:

    Andrew, I know your comment is from a while back, but I’d like to respond to make sure PETA’s point doesn’t get lost or misinterpreted. From what Ms. Moore says here and what I’ve read elsewhere on PETA’s website, I believe their point is twofold: 1) No one is saying that a mouse’s life has more value than a human’s life. But that doesn’t mean that it has NO value, nor that a perceived difference in value gives us the right to do whatever we want to do to other animals. After all, if my daughter was very ill, and a stranger’s organs could be transplanted to save her, I would value my child’s life more than the stranger’s — but that wouldn’t justify my killing the stranger to harvest his organs. Some things are just wrong on their face, and no amount of equivocation can make them right. 2) Even if it weren’t unethical, trying to apply results of experiments on nonhuman animals to human diseases is simply bad science. Birth defects are prevented when research funding goes to effective and relevant research, which comes from studying problems in human babies, not from sewing kittens’ eyes shut or addicting rats to cocaine, as the March of Dimes has sponsored. In fact, reliance on flawed animal tests often leads scientists in the wrong direction, holding back medical progress. Forward-thinking health charities fund humane, modern, and effective non-animal research like human cell and tissue cultures, complex computer modeling and scanning techniques, and human epidemiological studies, as well as administering care to people who are already sick. So by all means, let’s work to end birth defects, but donations are better used by charities like Easter Seals, Birth Defect Research for Children, Child Health Foundation, and the Heimlich Foundation, who put their funds into programs that directly benefit families affected by birth defects and never waste a penny on cruel animal experiments.

  • Andrew says:

    I’m sorry but if you’re justifying that I should stop donating because some lab rat can live a better life when there can be actual tangible results from tests on animals to cure diseases? I cannot believe people are saying “well i’ll stop donating to save human lives That matter so that some lab rat can live peacefully. you people make no sense. have you no soul?

  • Uriel says:

    Ryan I am going to give you another point of view a very personal point of view. Most species lets take for example a dog or a cat have several puppies or kittens and from and evolutionary point of view this is to ensure that some of them will make it to the reproductive point of their lives and the life cycle will continue. The weaker will die and the stronger will survive this is to ensure that the next generation will be better than the previous one. Now lets take this example and put it in humans… and we actually cannot apply the example because humans have been doing whatever it takes to avoid the weakest to die and the proof of this is that we are now more than 6500000000 in the world. We have been taking more and more natural resources from the world just to satisfy our needs. That includes the extremely wrong idea of using animals as another resource. Maybe you or me or someone you know are some of those that should have been dead by now but we arent because we have been avoiding the inevitable let the weak die and let the stronger survive. This is what we should have been doing to ensure that the next generations will be stronger than us. Apoptosis is a cellular event in which when a cell have serious damage it is fragmented condensed in other words discarded but sometimes cells avoid Apoptosis and that is how cancer begins unregulated multiplication of damaged cells. That is the behavior of humans these days. And you my friend have a choice do you want to be a normal cell that multiplies in a regulated manner or do you want to be a damaged cell that multiplies in an unregulated manner not caring if they are damaging other species?

  • a very appreciative person says:

    I’m thankful for the info and for helping me make a more informed choice. Yeah PETA does some publicitygrabbing stunts but that aside this is what it’s all about education and a better life for the animals. We all deserve to be truly happy.

  • Ryan says:

    This will probably get filtered out since most groups like PETA are too narrow minded to allow an opposing opinion on their blogs but whatever. Look I am well aware that unnecessary torture is wrong but if a cure for serious ailments can be found at the expense of a few animals so be it. No matter how you want to look at it everything has a cost. without animal testing i’m sure that most of the birth defects and ailments of infants could be cured over time. But how much time? How many more parents would have to lose their children before a cure was found. Show me any parent that wouldn’t sacrifice a lab rat or cat to save their newborn child and i will show you the truly sick one. Medicine today wouldn’t be nearly as advanced as it is if it wasn’t for animal testing. Science of almost any biological field would be years if not decades behind if animals weren’t tested on. Personally I don’t approve of torture of any kind but if it has to happen for mankind’s progress then so be it. I would rather have things tested on our societies serial killers rapists or even willing volunteers who want to help save babies. If you all want to stop animal testing then simply build a stronger argument than the human rights organizations have or start offering to fill in for the lab rats.

  • Jean says:

    What IS the truth about dogs and cat are you talking about? PETA is an organization for ethical treatment of animals dogs cats fish snakes and all sorry if i couldn’t list all the animals on earth. Certainly owners are responsible for their pets. But we’re not talking about pets. We’re talking about animal testing.

  • Jacquie says:

    I think you people with your cats and dogs just don’t like hearing the truth from Roseanne. If they were sewing the eyes of snakes shut I bet you wouldn’t complain. Oh the poor kittens and puppies. Oh poor things but to hell with all other insects animals fish which you eat. That’s a good idea PETA should publish a list of what animals it’s OK to kill. PETA is a hypocritic joke. You just can’t handle the truth about the dog crap. That’s really what’s getting everyone reading this riled. Someone spoke the truth about your precious dogs. I live in NYC. Pounds of dog crap on steps sidewalks everywhere. If PETA would launch a campaign to reprimand dog owners for this pollution of our environment you might have more credibility.

  • Rose says:

    Well written Andi. Roseanne you live in a dark world. Take your meds and sleep tight.

  • James says:

    Just goes to show you can’t trust everything. i pray everyday that these people start waking up and realize what they are doing before its too late. Knowledge is power best thing we can all do is spread the word. Make them listen. peace and love

  • Rita says:

    Roseanne It’s so sad your line of thought. The most sad is that there are so many people thinking the way you do and that’s why there’s so many cruelty against animals in the world. I’m not talking about steping on ants lions do it too you know… i’m talking about selecting animals and inflict torture consciously when there’s other ways to do the research… what sick pleasure do these people have in killing kittens puppies etc? In what sake? Human sake? What about animal sake? What makes us humans so special that we think we’re allowed do to this things? Certainly is not intelligence ’cause this is not an intelligent behaviour. We don’t own the animals we’re not more important we’re as important as they are. but we keep on thinking we can do anything. the ends don’t justify the means… not when it comes to torturing animals or people for that matter… but some people think it’s ok that you can torture somenone in order to get informations… collateral damage… to you agree with that too? i bet you do. rita lisboa Portugal

  • Andi says:

    Roseanne I believe the thread of your argument is that even though someone is trying to help ease the suffering of another species and doing it in the most effective way possible they surely must be a hypocrite in some way. Perhaps you yourself feel guilty that you would not eat a dog or a cat but would eat another animal like a pig or cow. Is not that hypocritical? No one is perfect. We all have our flaws. Or perhaps you work for March of Crimes in some capacity and therefore have a vested interest yes I said March of CRIMES. Why else would you defend this organization? Calling it “CRIMES” is not meanspirited but sadly true. I’ve seen the videos of the “work” they do and it is a CRIME what they do to these animals in their labs. Does it make me a flawed human being that I cry when I watch these videos? Should I turn my eyes away and convince myself that “somehow what they are doing here is helping little human babies” ?? No I don’t work for PETA but I will not contribute to an charity organization that hurts and abuses animals. P.S. You mentioned meat in dog food but there happens to be vegan diets for dogs cats on which they are actually healthier than the commercial type.

  • Roseanne says:

    Geoff I am thankful I touched a nerve and have caused you to think. Do you work for PETA? Your last sentence is clearly their mantra literally and figuratively. PETA advocates or at least comes across to the public as advocating ZERO TOLERANCE for the killing of “any” animal. Most of the rest of us are not so naive so as to express zero tolerance for anything in our lives. Therefore yes I can attend a peace rally in opposition to a war and then go across the street to support necessary military action in Kosovo or Rwanda for example. I can pick and choose the charities I support because I scrutinize and don’t decry all charities. Perhaps PETA should list the animals they consider okay to kill and the ones they don’t. Then the public would understand. Extremism begets extremism. My comment is the price PETA pays for its extremism. And mean spiritedness begets mean spiritedness March of Crimes I mean really…

  • Geoff says:

    Here’s the problem with your stupid meanspirited argument Roseanne What you are implying is that unless someone can demonstrate that they are 100 percent perfect on an issue themselves they’re not even allowed to talk about it. So by your logic if you’re not vegan you can’t have a discussion about animal cruelty if you’ve ever turned down a homeless person begging for money you shouldn’t donate to charities that help the homeless if you’ve ever expressed support for a war you can’t attend a peace rally. What you’re advocating Roseanne is a society that does nothing at all to help the less fortunate because those who attempt to do so are to be ridiculed for any contradiction in their lifestyle that cynics like you can dig up. It’s a shitty selfinterested society that you’re arguing for which makes sense given that you’re clearly a shitty selfinterested individual.

  • Roseanne says:

    PETA is out of touch with reality. I just stand and laugh at my friends who claim to be vegan or vegetarian but who feed their dogs food made from beef turkey duck and venison. Why dogs eat more meat than most of us! Check the bag next time you buy dog food. Did you ever kill a spider? step on or poison ants? a cockroach? These are animals too. Is this “ethical” behavior or are PETA people allowed to pick and choose the animals they kill? I just don’t understand it. While thousands of pounds of dog feces are washed into the ocean each day from NYC alone PETA is worried about a rat in a lab. Their are billions of animals in our evermorepollutedbydogfeces oceans. Are they not important too?

  • michele says:

    I will never donate to march of dimes or any charities that support animal testing… If anyone out there who loves their animals donate to your local humane shelter or animal rescue or any animal causes that can help our 4 legged friends that are in need of our help… How disgusting these charities such as march of dimes can sink that low.. shame on them..

  • Sharon says:

    It is really sad how people in power use our money to harm innocent animals. We are an animal friendly family and it makes both myself and my kids hearts break. Often those people have no feelings!

  • Nicole says:

    Wow. How low is that.

  • kiki says:

    are you all against abortion and stem cell research too?

  • Stephanie says:

    That takes some real guts to stand up and say that such a “nice” and “charitable” organization such as the March of Dimes is in fact cruel. I’m sure most people would be like “Oh my gosh that’s cruel! Don’t you want to help babies?” But there is definately WAY better ways of doing that.

  • joseph zani says:

    I sent an email to my state’s march of dimes home office and it was returned as a bad address. It should have been not I suggest others to google MOD for their state and check the local email before giving up .

  • Bronwen Loock says:


  • sally omar says:

    Katherine What is wrong with not donating to an organization that experiments on animalscausing pain and eventually death when there are much better methods to use than to cause the suffering of innocent creatures who were not put on this Earth to be tortured. SAVE A LIFEDO NOT DONATE TO THE MARCH OF DIMES. Sally Omar Grow upif you want to donate there are plenty of organizations that do not experiment on defenseless animalsa life is a life whether human or animalthese experiments DO NOT PROVE TO BE USEFUL IN HELPING INFANTS. Just because an organization is flagged with the name March of Dimes does not mean it is the best organization for donations.



  • Tina says:

    Thanks Heather for the information!! My son was a preemie so I know how tempting it is for a lot of people to give to that charity including myself. I even wound up volunteering for them. I wish I had known this a few years ago. It makes me really sad becaue they could do so much more with the supporters they have to make a difference for all and not sacrifice one animal. I don’t see how anyone could turn the other cheek watching defenseless animals being tortured!! It makes me sad just thinking about it. Thank you!! Tina Sarasot FL

  • kathy furlong says:

    the march of dimes have been calling my house almost every night and i wont awnser the phone.but now i will and ill give them a ear full.

  • gary fair says:

    another thing that is very S N O C K I N G is kevin bacon and his sixdegrees .org this guy STILL belives the world is FLAT is as closed minded as a terriorsts is evil. and CONTNUES to push people to fund any charities everybody at. peta pcrm PLEASE! email him also have him visit.

  • mel says:

    Thank you for the information and rude awakening. I was unaware until now that the March of Dimes is all an act. It is a show put on by upper class capitalists who do not care about saving and treating human ailments now they want to have a medical break through by subjecting animals to unecessary trails of experimentation. It is wrong and I will do my part in educating others.

  • Robin Harriman says:

    Heather I just wanted to commend you for letting people know the truth about the March of Dimes. We all have to work together to stop animal testing in all companies including Iams. I hope everyone reading this that has pets goes to the PETA website and learns if you already haven’t and writes letters to the President of Iams voicing your opinions on animal testings and asking him why he has the Label on there pet products stating ” Life is better with Iams” what a crock. I don’t know how these people can live with themselves over the mighty dollar. There are other ways to make money without having to kill and mame and harm poor helpless animals that need our help. So Heather well put and keep spreading the word and I and my friends and family will do the same about March of Dimes and the Iams product lines. Good Luck Robin Harriman

  • Asha says:

    Im glad i recieved this email because I know I would be out there walking but now I’ll find some animal friendly charties D

  • Jennifer says:

    Before donating money to any health charity I make sure to check them out on PCRM’s website PCRM has a special website just for March of Dimes I leafleted at our local WalkAmerica with PCRM’s literature and the walkers were very receptive to the info I’d encourage everyone to leaflet at their local walk and educate yourself about the damaging consequences of animalbased research. Fascinating book to read on the subject is “Sacred Cows Golden Geese” all about the human cost of animal experimentation. People will argue with you on philosophy and morality issues related to vivisection but it’s impossible to dispute the scientific facts that this type of research is wasteful and dangerous to humans as well.

  • AnNa says:

    yeah just a couple months ago my school had fundraiser for the March of Dimes. since im not w the stupid “student council” i couldnt do anything about it. they made us watch a video about preemies and that “this is what your money will go to” i was laughing my head off because of the irony… i know that helping preemies is the March of Dimes most underfunded program. i ended up staging a smallscale protest w a few friends to spread the word and got an hour long lecture from the viceprincipal just for wanting to help animals. i hate March of Dimes but i convinced a lot of people not to donate our grade had the lowest average donation

  • Lizzy says:

    Wow…that absolutely sickens me. My sister had a premature baby born 11 weeks early and she is doing fine. I just completed this walk last month and am so saddened to see my money could be going to this. Thanks for informing me.

  • Catherine says:

    I wish I had seen this a week ago! My neighbor who had premature twins was collecting for them and I gave her a donation. Thank you so much Heather and Jack for sharing this information! I will not be giving the March of Dimes any of my charitable dollars in the future.

  • ardeth says:

    I think a lot of people don’t even realize that animals are experimented upon by charities like March of Dimes. Usually when I bring it up after I’m solicited for a donation at a local store I get this wideeyed surprised look from the clerk.

  • Cuckoo4tofu (Chelsea D.) says:

    I found out about the March of Dimes and how it wastes millions of donated dollars on cruel ineffective animal research one involving kittens’ eyelids being sewn shut to study blindness from PETA’s March of Crimes campaign. When I heard on the radio about the March of Dimes Walk America taking place in my town I ordered some free flyers from PCRM Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and placed them in over 100 newspaper boxes around my neighborhood to spread the word. Here is PCRM’s website with information on their Reform the March of Dimes campaign httpwww.pcrm.orgreschcharitiesmodreform.html Oh and by the way when you distribute flyers remember that it is illegal to place them inside people’s mailboxes but that you can slip them through letter slots in doors and in people’s newspaper boxes.

  • kelly says:

    March of Dimes has also been criticized for years for lavish spending on salaries benefits fundraising and little going to actually help people An allround lousy charity for lots of reasons

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter says:

    My husband and I started giving to “EASTER SEALS” when we received an alert from P.E.T.A. Telling us they did not hurt animals. SweetJudith The Buddhist

  • Chris says:

    Well put Heather.