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ARCHIVE : Issue Six


 LABORATORY DOGS RELEASED

 In a first for South Africa, two beagles and a German Shepherd were released into SAAV's care. This was the first time dogs had been released from an experimental laboratory. According to the laboratory, they were no longer experimenting on dogs, in keeping with world-wide trends.

SAAV is now in a position to state that the laboratory concerned was the University of the Free State, long the butt of SAAV's ire for their arrogance and lack of transparency. But we have to give credit where credit is due and here we thank Dr. Freek Potgieter who, after negotiations, persuaded the Dean, Prof Nel, to let us have the dogs. Forty cats are also waiting to be released, as soon as loving homes can be found for them. This was the second time animals were released into SAAV's care. In 1996, in a first ever release of animals from a local laboratory, our Johannesburg branch successfully negotiated the release of eight baboons from the Johannesburg based National Centre for Occupational Diseases.

It is our sincere wish that this trend is indicative of things to come in the new millennium.

(Caption) Bedecked with flowers, Big Cheese, Shilo and Shama arrive at the Wetnose Animal Rescue Centre on 8 December 1999. With them are Tracy Forte, President of Wetnose, Theresa - a volunteer and Dr. Francoise O'Neill, Chair of SAAV Pretoria.


OF RESCUES AND RESCUE REMEDY

On the 8th December 1999 I got up at 4h00 in order to be ready for the dogs' arrival at Johannesburg International Airport, one hour's drive away from Pretoria. They were to arrive at 8h00. I took along my camera and a bottle of Rescue Remedy in order to calm the dogs but ended up consuming most of it myself . Being at the cargo section way ahead of time, I had plenty of opportunity to mull about what could go wrong. What if they had been loaded on to the wrong aircraft? These things were known to have happened. I was also worried about what their reaction had been to the move - spending overnight in a strange kennel at the travel agency, then being moved into travelling cages and being loaded onto the aircraft. Had they been loaded in such a way that they were able to see each other, or did they feel all alone and frightened? At 8h20 I could stand it no longer and went to the office to enquire about whether they had arrived. I was told that the plane had landed but that there was no sign of the dogs. I showed them the press release and explained that these were VIP's, that I was sure that the SAA took very good care of animals, but that there could be dire consequences if anything untoward were to happen to these. The proverbial red carpet was rolled out and within five minutes the manager arrived with the dogs. All three hesitantly peered out of their travelling cages. It was clear that they were worried. Shilo pawed at her cage door, clearly pleading to be released. I took photos of them and spoke to them reassuringly while we waited for their road transport to Pretoria to arrive in the form of the Animal Travel Agency.

Shama, Shilo and Big Cheese apprehensively peer out of their cages on arrival at Johannesburg International Airport.


SHAMA'S STORY

Shama is a lovely German Shepherd. We are amazed how loving she still is, considering her past. You see, she had been an ordinary family pet until she started to chase the chickens on the plot, as dogs are wont to do. So she was given to an experimental laboratory where she languished until she was released into SAAV's care. Karen Stratenwerth had lost her beloved German Shepherd two weeks prior to Shama's arrival and immediately contacted us when she heard that Shama was looking for a loving home. When they met, there was instant rapport. The next day Karen arranged a new collar and name tag for Tammy, as Shama had now been renamed. Her homoeopathic vet advised a course of detoxification drops in order to correct Tammy's enlarged spleen and today Tammy is well and happy. Says Karen: "Tammy is the most incredibly loving dog who takes great care of me. When she first arrived she was a bit wild but settled down and is such a good girl. She is also very courageous. When people let off fireworks over the festive season Tammy barked at them and seemed to want to shield me, unlike other dogs I have had in the past who have been terrified of fireworks. She sleeps next to my bed at night and has learned to sit down and present her paw to me. It is so sweet when she walks around with this smile on her face and she is wonderful with my two grand children who were here over Christmas." There is no doubt that that was the most wonderful Christmas Tammy had ever had and her new, loving home is no less than she deserves. Small wonder that she is smiling.


THE CALCULUS OF SUFFERING

 Purpose-Bred vs Random Source? Conventional wisdom supports the notion that purpose-bred animals suffer less than animals from shelters and that it is therefore more ethically acceptable somehow, to use purpose-bred animals in research. Anecdotal evidence and common sense, however, suggest that purpose-bred animals suffer just as much but for different reasons. Dr. Carrier of the University of Utah tells me that some of the purpose-bred dogs he has worked with have been 'traumatised animals who are socially and psychologically scarred." He explains that the purpose-bred dogs are raised in cages and have very little contact with humans before they enter a laboratory. While they eventually become accustomed to people and are placed in good homes upon completion of his research, Dr. Carrier views the initial state of the purpose-bred animals he has worked with as a rationale for using dogs obtained from shelters. Professor Orlans, by contrast, paints a vivid picture of the way in which an animal seized from a shelter is more likely to suffer in a lab: "In general, pet animals are used to considerable freedom of movement; they have probably never lived in a cage alone. Their life is rich in stimulus ... and they have known affection from humans. When they enter a laboratory, most of this is lost." Source: A. V Magazine Fall 1999


THE STORY OF BIG CHEESE AND SHILO

Not many people realize that the beloved cartoon character Snoopy was a beagle. By and large people are also unaware that beagles are popular laboratory dogs because of their docile nature. Big Cheese and Shilo were no ordinary dogs. They had been specially bred for the laboratory and so had never known freedom, loving homes, tasty snacks slipped to them or walks in the park. In fact, they did not know the joys of rolling on grass. All their lives they had only known cement floors and wire cages. When they arrived in Pretoria on the 8th December, they were taken to the Wetnose Animal Rescue Centre pending their adoption. We will never forget when we arrived for a visit the very next day and found them in the exercise run, lurking about in the long grass. Big Cheese had a big smile and a look of absolute wonder on her face as she stared at free-range chickens pecking about on the opposite side of the fence. But Christmas was coming up and their kennel was needed for the annual influx of abused and abandoned animals and so we fetched them home. It was not easy. For the first two days they never stopped. During the day they continuously ran about the garden and at night they set about destroying the house. One large curtain, two chewed up carpets and an upholstered chair later they had also become adept at opening windows and escaping outside in the middle of the night. This was solved by having them sleep on our bed. Our only regret was our forty five year old teddy bear's face which became a bit chewed up. The crises came on the evening of the second day when Shilo fell down in spasms which had the appearance of a heart attack and sent us scurrying to 'phone our vet. But the spasms had only been due to the unaccustomed exercise and in time both dogs settled down beautifully, in no small measure owing to the influence of our other two well behaved dogs. We made sure that Christmas Day was the best they had ever had with doggy gifts from Bella K 9 of Brooklyn Centre. But there was work to be done. Their teeth were in a bad state owing to past neglect and allegedly poor diet at a previous laboratory. A visit to the vet fixed the problem and Big Cheese also had surgical correction of two hernias. Both have been sterilised and are now in fine health owing to the loving care of Dr. Rolf Meyer of the Berg Animal Clinic. Shilo adapted with surprising ease. Big Cheese is still shy of humans and has only just learned to run up and bark joyously, like her companions, when we return from work. Occasionally she approaches us for the new found joy of being scratched behind the ears or a tummy rub. They are looking for a very special, loving home. They cannot be separated as there seems to be a very close mother-and-daughter type bond. They need to be homed with a family with children, if possible as the younger, two to three year old Shilo is outgoing and active. Big Cheese, who is around 6 years old, does not need much attention, but just a loving environment where she is able to live out the rest of her years in peace. Both of them need freedom to move about and freedom from fear of what the next day will bring. Society owes them a debt. We are sure that, somewhere out there, is the right home waiting for them.

Free at last!. - - Big Cheese and Shilo inspect their gifts on Christmas Day.


BRITAIN TO BAN EXPERIMENTS ON DOGS

According to The Sunday Times, Dec 12 1999, Home Secretary Jack Straw said the government would announce a ban on canine experiments in the new year, short of its pre-election pledge to ban all animal testing, but still a welcome announcement that will spare over 6,000 dogs every year. Straw used the fact that the much-hyped sex drug Viagra was still being tested on dogs after it was already in human clinical trials to get the measure approved. In these tests Beagles were subjected to grotesque torture. The experiments involved stripping beagles' penises open, inserting needles into the muscle and administering electric shocks to monitor the effects of Viagra on induced erections.

Reuters News Service reports the campaign against the use of dogs was led by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) and attracted the support of a host of celebrities, including Spike Milligan, Joanna Lumley, Julie Christie and Boy George.

The Labour Party has, since its election, banned the use of great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, pygmy chimpanzees and orang-outangs) and ended the use of animals for the testing of cosmetics.

"Breeding dogs purely for scientific research, as if their lives were irrelevant, is Science gone mad," said actress Julie Christie. (Locally Bayer, in Midrand, breeds dogs and cats and supplies them to local institutions - See Professors, Pastors and Profits.

According to BUAV, dogs are most commonly used in toxicity tests for a range of products and may be poisoned over long periods of time without anaesthetic. They are also used for medical research into heart disease and migraines.

"We are meant to be a nation of dog lovers, yet we continue to sanction the torture of thousands of these loving, sentient creatures every year, behind the closed doors of laboratories," said BUAV Chief Executive Michelle Thew.

The BUAV has also announced that it has successfully pressured the UK government to discontinue issuing licences for the cruel acute oral lethality test, the LD 50 toxicity test.


PET FOOD COMPANY UNDER A CLOUD

There is no doubt that boycotts do work and since the publication of the cruelties perpetrated in the cosmetic industry and the resultant boycotts of the cosmetics concerned, the list of companies which have abandoned animal testing continues to grow.

SAAV distributes a "Compassionate Shopping" list of cruelty-free products, based on the International Standard. According to this Standard, products which claim to be cruelty-free but which are owned by companies which test on animals are automatically excluded from the list. So, for instance, Avroy Schlain has been taken off the list since they were bought by Sara Lee, a company which tests on animals.

Few people are aware that the Topeka based pet food company Hill's Science Diet, available locally at vets, are on record as having donated beagles and greyhounds to Kansas State University for 'research' purposes. During this same period 109 Greyhounds, as well as many beagles and puppies were killed during the experiments. We can all do our bit by shopping compassionately.

OF PROFESSORS, PASTORS AND PROFITS In Snout No 5 we reported on the furore in the Land of BROC (Braaivleis, Rugby, Oranjejag and Crackers up dogs' anuses) when it was discovered that the B/oemfontein SPCA supplied the University of the Free State with shelter animals for experimental purposes. Fortunately the National Council of SPCA's took disciplinary steps in this regard What we did not elaborate upon was that these tests were done at the behest of Bayer Pharmaceuticals. The person in charge of these tests was a Professor Leon Fourie, Zoologist.

Leon Fourie studied at Rhodes University. He subsequently moved to the University of the Free State where he rose to the ranks of white coated Professor.

A Pastor in the Christian Revival Church he appeared to specialise in testing the effects of anti parasite medicines on dogs and cats. At the end of the tests many animals are allegedly slaughtered. But academic professors are hardly highly paid which might well have been the reason why Fourie, although still employed at the University of the Free State, decided to branch out on his own, apparently taking the Bayer- and other veterinary pharmaceutical contracts with him.

He and Leon Marais, a state vet from Faure Smith, were both connected to CLINDATA International which does data processing of human clinical studies and which in turn appears, through Herman Luus, to be connected to Quintiles International of Scotland. And so Clinvet International (Pty) Ltd was established.

Tucked away on a plot at Bainsvlei which is on the Kimberley Road, past Pet's Paradise, and right into Uitsig Avenue, the plot allegedly having been purchased from the widow of the late rugby player Riaan Joubert the building is not easily seen from the road. A winding track passes the state-of-the-art dog kennels on the left, courtesy of Cloete and Colling Construction and arrives at the glass doors of the main building which proclaim Clinvet International (Pty) Ltd. The glass doors and the obscure situation reminds of another similar lab in the bush, the now defunct SADF's Roodeplaat Research laboratories. And as Roodeplaat taught us, torture is no less torture when performed by Professors in white coats.

What the furore is apparently about is the fact that Fourie pays rural people cash for dogs which are brought to him. And he makes them sign a declaration that they are the legal owners of the dogs. The dangers of this are easy to gauge.

Rumour has it that Fourie called for a further 300 dogs. This was not long before he appeared on TV 3 during the week of 3 - 7 January to warn that the good rains we were experiencing would bring many ticks. So, good rains, good gains, as Bayer would attest. Leon Fourie


FROM THE SCIENCE CAFE

The Science Cafe, established at Roodeplaat in the interests of better science, was hushed as everybody looked towards the Little Bird who had flown in, exhausted, from the Land of BROC. "It's preposterous," deliberated the Erudite Owl.

"Well, it's true," said the Little Bird, "the Magpie has been stealing dogs and taking them to Leon Fourie. And Leon makes the Magpie sign a form to say that she is the owner of the dogs. That makes it legal."

"But the Magpie can't write," ventured the Canary.

"No," said the Little Bird, "but she leaves her claw print."

"Or perhaps," ventured the Sparrow, "the dogs can leave their paw prints."

"Don't be silly," frowned Vulture No. 1, "they can't sell themselves can they?"

"Perhaps we should ask Leon Fourie," said the Little Bird. "After all, he is a Professor."

"Does that make you clever?" asked the Sparrow.

"And that is not all," continued the Little Bird, "they now want to legalise grey hound racing and Jan de Wet, State Vet from Bloemfontein, says he is in favour of legalizing the sport so that people can bet over the table in future."

"That is legal ease," deliberated the Erudite Owl.

"Well, at least he puts his money where his mouth is," added Vulture No. 2.

"Isn't that better than that former State Vet who always puts his mouth where the money is?" hesitated the Sparrow.


Greyhounds Dying in Research Labs

 THE REAL FINISH LINE

In a recent television interview in the Land of BROC, local yokels extolled the virtues of grey hound racing and were reported as claiming that they were in consultation with the NSPCA regarding the legalisation of this form of racing But the NSPCA promptly issued a press statement to the effect that this was not so and declared themselves against such legislation. Following is a synopsis of an article by Mike Winikoff of The Arc Trust which was published in the Fall 99 issue of the A V magazine, under the abovementioned heading.

"Greyhound Racing is all about death and thus is a 'dying industry.' It's dying as a business, due both to poor business practices by many of the tracks and heightened activism across the country. It's also losing market share - the gambling dollar - to casinos, lotteries and horse tracks. (The latter) are knocking greyhound racing out of the market. If the pressure prevails, an end to grey hound racing in the United States is an attainable, foreseeable goal."

Current estimates are that somewhere between 20,000 and 50,000 racing greyhounds are killed annually at the 49 tracks still operating in the U.S. Those who are killed quickly may actually be the lucky ones. Greyhounds have long been preyed upon by vivisectors due to their docile nature, physical anatomy and plentiful supply. Says one staff veterinarian: "Having been handled extensively in their racing careers, these animals are extremely tractable. They are friendly, lead easily and stand quietly for bleeding and other non-invasive procedures.

But very few of the experiments being performed upon greyhounds in laboratories throughout the nation are 'non-invasive.' In fact, greyhounds rank with beagles as being highly desired for invasive experiments because, as with beagles, they are betrayed by their intense trust of humans. Few animals, and probably no other canines, would tolerate the type of abuse humankind has thrown their way without biting back. The qualities that greyhound guardians have come to love in these sweet creatures are the same qualities that condemn them to torture in laboratories.

A survey shows that the cost averages $120 per dog, a significant saving for universities which otherwise would have paid about $400 each for purpose-bred research animals. This was also a sweet deal for the breeders who saved thousands of dollars in euthanasia fees.

In early 1999 a career researcher had patented a way to give brain tumours to greyhounds in order to provide a ready supply of research models needed to test treatments for brain tumours in humans. Greyhounds are also favoured for orthopaedic surgery such as hip replacement in which one healthy hip is removed from the dogs and replaced with an experimental synthetic material.

Twenty greyhounds were slated for an eight-week bone-breaking experiment at the Letterman Army Institute for Research, but they were later released after protests by several animal protection organisations. (Which reminds one of an experiment uncovered at the University of Natal which entailed breaking cats' legs and then brain damaging them - to prove that broken bones heal more quickly in mentally-impaired animals.)





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