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Update: How the NIH Deals With Bioterror Threats

Written by PETA | December 13, 2007

Update: We’ve just received word that the ominous-sounding “NIH Office of Research Integrity” is investigating this situation right now. I’ll let you know as soon as we hear the results of that inquiry. And the story was run in USA Today yesterday. You can read that article here.

OK, so there’s a horrifying part to this story, and there’s a part that’s just so mind-bogglingly stupid that it’ll make you cry. We’ll start with the horrifying part: A branch of the NIH is using chimpanzees as incubators to produce antibodies for anthrax, smallpox, and other pathogens in the event of a bioterror attack. For the animals used in these experiments, this means (among other things) excruciatingly painful bone marrow extractions and, apparently, complete isolation for as long as 20 years.

Now, here’s the dumb part: We already have treatments for those pathogens. Like, there are already antibody-based drugs for those pathogens pending approval by the FDA. Two companies have been contracted to provide antibody-based anthrax and smallpox drugs to the Strategic National Stockpile, and at least three other companies have antibody-based anthrax drugs in clinical trials. None of these drugs uses antibodies derived from chimpanzees (which means, incidentally, that the NIH could be violating the Animal Welfare Act, since non-animal therapies already exist).

What this all adds up to is that the NIH’s experiments are a) cruel, b) redundant, c) an unbelievable waste of resources that ought to be devoted to preparing for bioterror attacks. Which is not something you should be screwing around with, IMHO.

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff this morning to point that out. You can read her letter here.


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  • Ana says:

    Ariel you are right!!!! Paul Animal advocates and PETA make you ill? Leave!!!! Don’t write your mundane inaccurate comments on this blog!! ALF does not speak violence it speaks of compassion and saving lives. That is their philosophy. But the KKK and the Muslim extremists will harm you and if possible kill many.

  • Dana says:

    CJ I wanted to also clear something else up for you Ingrid Newkirk does not use insulin for anything it is her colleague Mary Beth Sweetland this is very unfortunate because this woman has a very big heart. She also has beagle babies that she loves dearly the thought that they were in labs everywhere being tested on this product broke her heart. Especially knowing that the little has changed for diabetics since the 1920’s other than the discovery of synthetic insulin which does not cause the side effects that old pork and beef based insulins did. Everything that we have learned over the years has come from human studies yet animals studies are still being conducted every day in hopes of finding a cure…the results of this are that at this rate we will not reach one anytime soon and millions of animals will suffer for NOTHING! The worse part is while they keep up the torture of animals to find a cure that they just cant seem to find through animal testing more and more people are developing this disease at younger and younger ages. Mary Beth went the extra mile to lessen the amount of insulin that must be used in her body for she does not want to contribute to this horrible practice. She has cut her insulin units from 50 a day to only 15. She checks her glucose level three to four times a day and takes up to four low doses of Humulin a synthetic non animal insulin that has restored her muscle mass. She has also changed her diet she eats lots of beans peas green vegetables carbohydrates and whole grains. She stays miles away from fats…never touches animal flesh eggs or dairy. She even avoid vegetable oils…..and exercise 30 minutes a day. Her doctor praises her efforts and so does a person that makes artificial limbs for a living and believes that the most tragic amputees are the diabetics as he puts it that have cut off their own legs with a knife and fork thanks to the traditional western diet. All of this and more can be found in Ingrid Newkirks book Making Kind Choices it is something that all of you need to read….The people against peta mostly big industries and hunters have made sure that this insulin thing made its way to everyone calling peta a bunch of hypocrites….I for one do not see that at all I see a woman that is very dedicated to her convictions but can not ignore her health problems…I see a woman that has done everything she can with in her own life to make sure she only uses the bare minium of this product a dedication I wish everyone had…her reward has been the fact that she can live a normal life and continue to help animals. So when you hear something like this CJ make sure you get all the facts before just becoming part of that group that bashes PETA because they are making a difference and one that difference might effect their ability to unjustly kill animals.

  • Caboose says:

    Ariel It can only be you right? Always you.

  • 007 says:

    oh thank you Ariel… yes I really do enjoy my visits and the wealth of information doses of reality timely updates and many views and insights of the petafiles… as I mentioned in particular yours and the rest of peta’s regular contributors who brilliantly opine to the many uplifting and more often heartwrenching truthbearing reports throughout the petafiles! AND to the many unconsciounable antagonists and trolls. as Ana insightfully alluded to and I agree TRUTH is somewhat of a problem for that ornery bunch! personally speaking I initially checked out the petafiles for the real scoop so to speak on “dogfighting” that the inept shallow samo samo reporting elsewhere was not giving me. it was indeed a shocking and revolting revelation to me to learn how in the dark so to speak I was re the details and extent of dogfighting AND of the many other ongoing horrific animal abuses all over the world! I am trusting and counting on Peta’s continued efforts in getting the TRUTH out and challenging the evildoers no matter how and whatever it takes IGNORING the heartless and mindlesss naysayers and cretins bent on discrediting and stopping Peta and Peta supporters. check out my blistering comment to steve on the 12507 topic “Eva Mendes reveals all” my post dated 121707… in it I admit to being one whose “lack of information” re animal welfare and rights issues was addressed because of peta’s so called “over the top” tactics as steve so arrogantly declares never works and I AM not one who is easily swayed… but unlike steve and others of his ilk I do thank God have a teachable spirit!

  • Paul says:

    Sure they haven’t killed anyone yet. That’s true. But have you ever read ALF communiques? You people make me ill.

  • Ariel says:

    CJ I absolutely detest hypocrisy concerning anyone in any situation so I understand how you feel. Now let’s get to the part about you wanting someone to convince you to support PeTA but you are having a hard time about it because you sense some hypocrisy. Actually CJ no one can convice you or anyone else to make a choice about anything. Just focusing my comments on animal rights’ which may help you to feel some clarification PeTA is not an organization about people. PeTA’s main focus and priority is the animals. And if you have a strong sense of justice and commitment for defending the animals then that is basically all you need to be concerned about. When one’s focus about the animals is distracted for any reason then that distraction compromises the animals’ concerns and it dilutes the point and strength of one’s involvement. Another point I’d like to make is that NO organization of any kind on this earth is perfect. So not everything is totally pleasing to everyone and none of us on this earth are perfect. Finally the decision you make can only be found within yourself your heart and your conscience.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    C.J. In regard to your insulin question… “Insulin production from animal pancreases was widespread for decades but very few patients today rely on insulin from animal sources largely because few pharmaceutical companies sell it anymore. Synthetic “human” insulin is now manufactured for widespread clinical use using genetic engineering techniques which significantly reduces the presence of impurities. Eli Lilly marketed the first such insulin Humulin in 1982. Humulin was the first medication produced using modern genetic engineering techniques in which actual human DNA is inserted into a host cell E. coli in this case. The host cells are then allowed to grow and reproduce normally and due to the inserted human DNA they produce a synthetic version of human insulin.”

  • Allison says:

    I do not support any sort of violence…although it is quite natural for it to flash in your mind when you see torture and continued apathy towards it. I’m not only for animals…for children too. Anything that can’t defend itself as well as I can. Maybe it’s a girly mother thing but I don’t like it. I’m probably a weirdo but I think we should be rescuing kids too. Don’t worry I’m not going out and stealing children…but check out They are listed similar to petfinder. Really breaks my heart! Spay and Neuter humans too. JK! I don’t view Alf or Elf as a terrorist group. I don’t agree with all of their platforms but they have the right idea with the whole non cruelty thing. I do have a problem with hurting animals with no real benefit to humans. The Nazi’s tortured Jews in the “name of science”. And we all know that was so ethical. Now Bush…hmm…he is a terrorist. httpwww.nrdc.orgbushrecorddefault.asp

  • Alexandra says:

    And let us all realize OUR TAX MONEY IS PAYING FOR THIS CRUEL TREATMENT! Please keep helping PETA in all they do to help animals

  • Ariel says:

    007 I also thank you for your support and hope that you submit comments as often as possible. I actually miss you when we don’t hear from you in a while because I really think you have a lot to offer and really do enjoy reading your posts. Just like Ana and MikeQ we tell the truth and don’t play any games.

  • Ariel says:

    007 I also thank you for your support and hope that you submit comments as often as possible. I actually miss you when we don’t hear from you in a while because I think you have a lot to offer.

  • C.J. says:

    Doesn’t Ingrid Newkirk use insulin that is derived from some sort of animal gene? If that is true isn’t the term ‘hypocritical’ relevant to this situation? I want to support PETA … but I’m finding it hard to do so. Someone convince me otherwise … please.

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter for Animals says:

    Kelly You are right on! We get too close to the truth and we are labled “TERRORISTS”. The only terrorists are those in the WHITE HOUSE and those that terrorize and slaughter animals every day. Those that beat their so called animal companions to death when they are in a fit of rage and take it out on the innocents of the animals. I knew a little dog was being abused 4 doors down the older daughter ran up to our home and told me her dad was going to kill him because he went potty on the couch she said he threw him up against the wall he was full grown and weighted 8 pounds. Something just got in to me. She called the police from my home and I just started running to her home and and went right in and screamed at him to give me the dog. Alot of stuff went on but we have the dog his name is brusie He is on steriods the Dr. is trying to fuse 26 and 27 vertebrae. He is just a joy and our senior Miss Gizz just adores him. This man said I was a danger to society the neighborhood pretty much drove him out. I guess thats how we get labeled. But I do not give a darn We have a very alive little man who is a joy to his family. So I guess when you save a life you become labeled. How wrong is that?

  • Caboose says:


  • rojo says:

    dana on the contrary many farmed animals do experience joy. Perhaps you’ve never seen lambs skipping in the fields pigs rolling in mudpoothey’re not fussy or bulls…courting cows. I admitedly don’t see much joy for vealers so don’t buy veal.