On March 15, 2011, PETA
submitted a citizen petition to the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services (HHS) asking that the National Toxicology Program
(NTP) end its Host Susceptibility Program, a research program that could lead
to an exponential increase in the number of animals used in toxicity tests by
testing substances in multiple strains of mice. In addition to the
impracticality of evaluating each substance in as many as 100 different strains
of mice, mouse genetic susceptibility studies are rarely applicable to humans.
The petition also called
for the National Institutes of Health to end its funding of the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium's plan to create 20,000
new strains of "knockout" mice in which individual genes are
inactivated in order to identify which ones are associated with human disease. As demonstrated by the failures of this approach in the study of
Alzheimer's disease, obstructive pulmonary disease, and
Parkinson's disease, there is little reason to expect that experiments with
knockout mice will provide insights into the complex gene interactions that
occur in humans.
Despite evidence that
such experiments are ineffective and will result in the death of thousands of
animals, HHS denied our petition without
addressing any of the issues that PETA had raised.
followed an April 2008 petition to HHS requesting that
the agency commence rulemaking that would guarantee that proposed NTP animal
experiments would be conducted only if there were insufficient existing data
and that would require that non-animal methods be used wherever possible.
Again, our petition was denied, with HHS simply stating
that existing laws and regulations achieve the items outlined in our petition.
In a supplement to the original
petition, PETA reminded HHS that NTP "pays lip service" to the
concept of the replacement, refinement, and reduction of animals in research
(the 3Rs) and, in fact, routinely ignores the existing laws and regulations
designed to implement the 3Rs.
Please send polite
letters to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen
Sebelius urging her to end the mouse gene programs and modernize the NTP's
toxicity testing standards.
of Health and Human Services200
Independence Ave. S.W.Washington,
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.