Official Newsletter of South Africans for the abolition of VIVISECTION, Proudly hosted by

Issue 16
MRC Baboons
Vet Council Continues to obfuscate
Local researchers question animal models
Does Dove give a Rats's *** ?
Proposed Code a 'Vivisector's Charter'
Who'll move the cheese ?
Enchantrix - now country-wide distribution
Vivisection retards medical progress
The compassionate Consumer
Dr Vernon's Casebook
Regulars
Editorial
Science Cafe
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ARCHIVE : Issue Thirteen


LABORATORY ANIMAL PRACTICES
À LA MEDUNSA

When our voluntary inspectors visited the animal laboratory at Medunsa, it was apparent that conditions did not nearly approach what is generally considered to be 'Good Laboratory Animal Practices.' This despite the fact that the Head of the Laboratory, Prof. Willem de Klerk, was also a member of the South African Association of Laboratory Animal Sciences. The Primate facility was situated in a dilapidated brick building which had broken windows. There was a concrete floor and corrugated iron roof. The absence of a ceiling naturally served to intensify the already high temperatures experienced in that part of the country. Four Baboons and ten Vervet monkeys were kept in separate cages. The small cages in which the animals were kept, were not in accordance with the minimum acceptable standards and thus added to the discomfort of the
animals. Some of the feed chutes of the vervets had apparently not been cleaned for a considerable time and contained foul smelling, rottedvegetables. A separate building housed the rabbits. There were at least 30 of them confined to individual cages. They appeared to be in good health apart from the obvious discomfort of having to spend their lives cooped up in cages, with their paws on hard wire mesh. An additional six rabbits had been isolated in a separate room for an experiment entailing the introduction of larvae onto their backs, which were covered with cloth bags. Each rabbit had an Elizabethan collar to prevent that area being accessed. These rabbits appeared less healthy than the others, and in distress with the situation which was no doubt exacerbated by the fact that the cages were too small to allow movement. The cage bottoms and floors in both rooms were covered with droppings, which must have accumulated over several weeks. The drinking water was filthy. Hardly surprising that the information board in the facility showed that rabbits died virtually every day. A far cry from the Easter bunny, a far cry from what are considered good laboratory animal practices and certainly not in line with one would expect to find at a laboratory where the SPCA serves on the ethics committee. Medunsa is known to be having financial difficulties. Judging from the photographs, it would appear that they have now not only reached rock bottom, but have started to dig. A laboratory which is unable to give its animals the basic care needed to stay within the animal welfare laws, should be shutdown forthwith.

From the Diary of Daft Experiments

A glance at some of the particularly daft experiments, carried out at Medunsa, might explain why their animal lab had fallen into such disrepair. After all, who would actually pay for this information? 60 rats in hypertensive traditional medicine experiments. This is a particularly ridiculous experiment, given that people have for centuries been taking traditional medicines for particular ailments, to which rats do not normally succumb. Clinical trials on people would have been more relevant. Not that this type of research is without benefit to the researchers. As they say, a rat is an organism which, when injected, produces a paper. 10 vervet monkeys infected with SIV. The object of this research was said to be that 'the use of the Simian Immunodeficiency virus (SIV) model of AIDS provides a critical opportunity to study the mechanisms underlying HIV neuropathogenesis.' But other researchers disagree. Dr. Stephen Kaufman from the Medical Research Modernization Committee points out that all strains of SIV differ markedly from HIV-1 which infects humans, not monkeys, and the mechanisms of SIV and HIV-1 infection most probably differ substantially. Not surprisingly, therefore, our understanding of AIDS pathology and pathogenesis has derived from studies of human AIDS patients. SIV researcher Ronald Desrosiers acknowledges that SIV test results 'vary greatly according to the strain of virus used for challenge.' Which begs the question: Since results from different SIV strains cannot be reliably extrapolated to one another, how can SIV findings be extrapolated to the substantially different HIV-1? Michael Wyand concludes that AIDS-related animal experimentation has 'played a small role' in the development of anti- AIDS drugs and vaccines. One reason for animal experimentation's meagre role in this process, Wyand notes, is a general lack of faith that any 'animal model' has predictive value regarding HIV infection in humans.' The last word comes from Prof. Salim Abdool Karim, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Natal who is co-chair of the protocol committee overseeing the AIDS vaccine initiative. In response to scientists' excitement over the reaction of monkeys injected with an AIDS vaccine similar to that which is due to be tested in South Africa soon, Karim says: 'While the response is exciting, we cannot extrapolate the findings to humans as monkeys and humans have different immune responses.'

Are you still supporting IAMS cruelty?

A new nine-month undercover investigation conducted by US group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has uncovered harrowing neglect and suffering endured by cats and dogs in IAMS-sponsored experiments. The damning evidence confirms that IAMS' stated "research policy" was nothing more than a sham designed to conceal shocking suffering caused by their experiments on animals. IAMS' cruelty was first exposed in May 2001 (reported in Snout 8) when Uncaged Campaigns gained a front-page exposé of horrific experiments involving the killing of scores of cats and dogs in IAMS nutrition experiments. IAMS, a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble, responded with a carefully-coordinated spin campaign, making unsubstantiated claims in policy statements while refusing to answer direct questions. However, their statements are now being investigated by the UK Advertising Standards Authority following a detailed complaint by Uncaged Campaigns, who are spearheading a global consumer boycott in protest at cruel animal tests performed by IAMS and Procter & Gamble. Dan Lyons, director of Uncaged Campaigns, says: "The new evidence gained by PETA establishes without doubt that IAMS have misled consumers, concealing neglect and cruelty for the sake of commercial greed. We'd like to congratulate PETA on such an important
investigation that confirms what we've always suspected - IAMS are callous, calculating liars whose only concern is profit." The investigator, who infiltrated a commercial laboratory in the Mid-West of the United States, uncovered the killing of 27 IAMS dogs who had already had chunks of their thigh muscles hacked out.
IAMS, which also produces the Eukanuba brand pet food, had claimed after the Uncaged expose that no cats or dogs would be killed in research. Despite regular visits from IAMS representatives, cats and dogs were housed in inhumane and dangerous laboratory conditions, with little of the environmental enrichment or care that IAMS had claimed they would ensure for animals used in their tests. Just a couple of months ago, dogs in IAMS experiments had their vocal chords cut out to stop them barking, a cruel and u n n e c e s s a r y mutilation. Yet IAMS have been pretending that they would only perform procedures deemed acceptable in human nutritional studies. Dan Lyons continues: "We'll be presenting this information to consumers across the UK and the world, and it will deal a further body blow to IAMS and P&G sales. People understand that in today's global economy, if they buy a packet of I A M S from the supermarket in Manchester, they're funding the abuse of animals in the mid-west of the USA."
A revealing excerpt from PETA’s report is provided on pg. 7

A global boycott IAMS and Procter & Gamble Day VII is Saturday 24th May 2003. For further details visit the Uncaged Campaigns website at
www.uncaged.co.uk/iams.htm.

Beagles that have been operated on
—photo courtesy of PETA

MORE ABOUT IAMS

Following the latest PETA exposé, Dayton's Iams Company said it was suspending work at a research lab it had hired. This is cold comfort, considering IAMS' history of alleged animal abuse. Only two years ago there was a similar exposé regarding the cruel treatment of dogs and cats at another lab where IAMS research was conducted. Of even colder comfort is the fact that no doubt an 'Ethics committee' monitored the shocking experiments detailed below in the excerpt from the PETA report: "Our investigator videotaped Iams dogs being dumped on cold concrete flooring after having huge chunks of muscle cut out of their thighs; a co-worker instructing her to hit the dogs on the chest if they quit breathing; another co-worker talking about an Iams dog found dead in his cage, bleeding from his mouth; a dog limping in pain from Lyme disease; cruel studies done by Iams involving sticking tubes down dogs' throats to force them to ingest vegetable oil; Iams dogs with such severe tartar buildup on their teeth that it was painful for them to eat; vet technicians with inadequate training and experience performing invasive procedures; two co-workers conducting a pregnancy test on a terrified dog lying on top of a cart with wheels that moved every time she struggled; dogs and cats gone stir crazy from confinement; dogs and cats in windowless, dungeon-like buildings; co-workers talking about the live kitten who was washed down a drain; coworkers talking about how they had to go home because the ammonia fumes in the animal trailers were so overpowering that it made their eyes burn (try being one of the animals in those cages!); and cats kept in a cinderblock room with crude wooden "resting" boards that had nails sticking out of them. One of the boards fell on a cat, crushing her to death, while our investigator was there. The lab director did not remove the boards when the cat was crushed but he did remove them when he was told the lab was going to be inspected because he knew they were illegal." For more details about this expose, visit the PETA website at http://www.peta.org/feat/iams/fifi.html

Goodbye Shilo


Shilo was one of the first laboratory dogs released into SAAV's care on December 2000. Bred for research purposes by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, this loveable Beagle had only known cages and cement floors before being placed, through SAAV, into a warm and loving home.
We are comforted by the fact that during her last years she was able to know a world without cages. She was able to romp about in a lovely garden and spend her days as part of a loving family. She had learned to wag her tail. She is sadly missed.

Editorial


Standing in front of the pet foods section in the super markets, few are aware of the tremendous suffering inherent in the making of these products. Furthermore, the documented suffering increases when confronted with products usually sold by the local vet - Iams, Eukanuba and Hills Science Diet. The culture of consumerism has brought about increased testing of pet foods, merely in order to be able to state 'bigger and better'. But this dubious claim also demands increased and, it would seem, more cruel methods of testing. Surely there should be a point at which 'good' should be good enough? Most well known pet foods do bring about good muscle build and shiny coats, and there is also the missing ingredient which no pet food can supply - being part of a caring family. World-wide consumer boycotts of cosmetics which were cruelly tested on animals caused giants of the cosmetic industry, such as Revlon, to suspend animal testing. So, in fighting the cruelty inherent in testing it is the consumer, the pet lover, who will bring about change.
At best, one can boycott 'new' pet foods (do we really need another new pet food?) as well as those that have been subjected to cruel tests. At worst, one can at least make one's voice heard and demand that inhumane, invasive tests are ceased. After all, there are other methods. And veterinary surgeons who care about animals should be at the forefront of those who demand a better deal for animals.

FROM THE SCIENCE CAFÉ


There was a stunned silence in the Science Café, established at Roodeplaat in the Interests of Better Science. 'Would you care to repeat that?' asked the Erudite Owl. The Little Bird who had flown in took a deep breath. 'I said,' she continued, 'that according
to The Star Prof. De Klerk was arrested at Medunsa for cruelty to laboratory animals. He was taken to the Rosslyn police station and locked in a cell. Very odd he looked too, grasping the bars
and peering out between them. Just like the primates in his laboratory.' 'So what is going to happen to him now?' asked Vulture No. 1. 'Well,' replied the Little Bird, 'he will be experimented on, of course.' 'Another daft experiment?' asked the Canary.
'Oh no, they're talking about establishing whether they can cross-breed veterinary surgeons to be humane'; said the Little Bird, 'This will resort under the Species Improvement Programme, so there'll be no wastage of tax payers' money.' 'Of course,' pondered the Erudite Owl, 'it will be monitored by an ethics committee and the SPCA will be sitting on that. ' 'That's just it', continued the Little Bird, 'he does not want the SPCA to be on the ethics committee. He's afraid they might have taken an oath of silence. So he's demanding that SAAV monitors his well-being.'
'But SAAV only rescues animals,' retorted Vulture No.2. 'Well yes,' replied the Little Bird, 'and now he spends his days barking like a baboon.' 'And what might be the objective of that?' enquired the Erudite owl. 'Maybe,' chattered the Canary, 'maybe he thinks that if he barks like a baboon SAAV will come to the rescue.' 'Definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed,' pondered the Erudite Owl. 'So he now professes not to be a human!' added Vulture No.1. 'After all these years that he professed to be a professor!' exclaimed the Sparrow.'Well, clearly he now professes not to be a professor,' chattered the Canary. 'Perhaps,' hesitated the Sparrow, 'perhaps he can't remember.'




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Official Newsletter of South Africans for the abolition of VIVISECTION, Proudly hosted by