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Animal Rights speaker in Eugene tomorrow night

Elaine Close of Coalition to Abolish Animal Testing will be speaking at U of O on Thursday May 8.
The event will be held in room 110 in the Willamette building at U of O at 7:00 Thursday evening. It will be sposored by Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. We will be discussing the human consequences of animal testing, the latest developments at the OHSU primate research center, and possible ways to confront the ongoing animal research at the University of Oregon. The talk will be free and open to everyone.

phone: phone: 541-346-4073

Message To CAT WOMAN 07.May.2003 20:16


CAT WOMAN: Would like to talk with you regarding an earlier statement you posted about OHSU. Contact me via E-mail or phone:(503)775-5777 or mail:PO Box 66051 - Portland 97290
Good Luck Elaine!

Question for CatWoman 08.May.2003 07:18

In The Know

I just learned of your talk tonight so I won't be able to attend. I would like to ask you to comment on an aspect of animal-based testing, OHSU, and SARS.

How would you propose to develop a vaccine for SARS in the absence of any animal models for testing prototype vaccines? Would you argue that NOT using animals is important enough to outweigh the need for a vaccine? If the only currently available way to develop vaccines is via animal-based testing, is it your stand that we should stop vaccine development completely until alternative testing methods are developed?

Please do not assume that I am just being argumentative. While you probably have assumed from past comments of mine that I have some sort of relationship with OHSU, I have a sincere interest in this issue, both professionally and personally. I would appreciate knowing your stand on this very relevant issue, particularly since SARS is now believed to have a mortality rate in excess of 15%.

Thank you.

vaccines are dangerous and potentially life threatening 08.May.2003 08:50

ahimsa peace rebel girl

first off, there is NEVER a reason to use an animal for "scientific" purposes. Contrary to the normative thinking animals are so much more highly evolved than humans and are here to teach us how to be compassionate and unconditional in our love and generosity. To use them as if they are here simply for our whims is just more of our arrogance rearing it's ugly head, whether it be to develop "vaccines" or to use them for fodder.

Re vaccines, there is NEVER a reason to use them either. The preposterous notion that vaccines (read toxic chemicals) can deliver us from dis-ease is short sighted, to say the least. Illness, of any variety and including the latest SARS, is a sign that the body has reached its toxicity point. Our immune systems step up and initiate steps to assist in strengthening the organs to help eliminate the toxic debris resulting in illness symptoms such as fever, vomiting, runny nose, etc..

It is a real challenge to be healthy in an unhealthy world, but it is possible with whole organic foods, news-free and tv-free living, nurturing relationships, botanics for healing and supplementation, and practicing the Boddhisattva way, or helping others on their path.

The net is a rich resource for more on the dangers of vaccines. I highly recommend that we all familiarize ourselves and become infomed so that way we'll not be standing in line with rolled up sleeve to receive the poison that they'll eventually say is mandatory for every "man, woman and child".

Yay! Ignorance! 08.May.2003 09:12


So, not watching TV prevents illness. Eating organically prevents illness. Using botanics/herbal medicine prevents illness.That explains why there is such a massive fatality rate in the population of Chinese villagers who do all three of those things. Could it be that there is another factor in health? After all, in the Middle Ages, no one ate inorganic food (organic is such a silly term...as if all food is suddenly made of silicon), no one watched TV, and the only remedies were herbal. They had a fantastic quality of life, right?

Do you know what the "toxic bits" are in a virus? Or what a high fever or constant vomiting can do to your body if kept up long enough? Do you know what is in a vaccine precisely? How about what whooping cough or measles can do to a fetus, child, or adult? I have the feeling you've been fed stock phrases and canned ideas for so long that you don't do research before you post.

And, of course, I support animal testing until animal rights activists put their money where their mouths are and start submitting to clinical trials.

To Rebel Girl 08.May.2003 09:55

In The Know

While I won't take Ill Tempered's tone, I agree with the message.

I'm no big fan of all vaccines as I think there is too much money involved for drug companies for them to be objective. However, as was pointed out, all the things you advocate in terms of life style were present in the middle ages when the plague and other diseases killed millions of people--non of whom at processed sugar. And, in China today, SARS is killing people at an increasing rate despite "ancient chinese medicine's" supposed benefits over other medical options.

Still, I respect your philisophical stand that, if I may summarize, dictates that animals are not available for research purposes regardless of the possible implications for human health.

As for animal rights activists offering themselves for research, I'm not going to hold my breath. The interesting part to me is that the fact that animals cannot give "informed consent" is often cited as a reason for not using them in research. However, the fact that they can't give "informed consent" in itself exemplifies a key difference between non-human animals and humans.

research it 08.May.2003 10:15

peace rebel girl

there is a lot of info, as I previously mentioned, to educate oneself. here are links to websites on vaccine dangers, and they are exclusively by medical doctors.

'When Friends Ask Should Children Be Immunised, My Answer Is No' By James Le Fanu

The Medical Time Bomb of Immunisation Against Disease by Dr Robert Mendelsohn MD

Are Vaccines Causing More Disease Than They Are Curing? 1999 by Alan Cantwell, Jr., M.D.

As a GP I gave kids the MMR jab. Now I wouldn't give it to my own----Dr Richard Halvorsen

Dr Vernon Coleman MB  http://www.vernoncoleman.com/vaccines.htm

Whooping Cough vaccination--Prof Gordon Stewart


Vaccination---The Shot That Keeps on Shooting by Dr Thomas Levy MD

Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) Vaccine as a Potential Cause of Encephalitis (Brain Inflammation) in Children-----Harold E. Buttram, MD

The Controversy of the Latent Period following Immunizations ---Harold E Buttram, MD

Meningitis C VaccineA Look at the Disease & The New Jab------- Dr Jayne L M Donegan, MB


[Media] Would you give the MMR vaccine to your children? NO says Dr Jayne Donegan

Vaccination: A Sacrament of Modern Medicine---Richard Moskowitz, M.D.

Unvaccinated Children---Richard Moskowitz, M.D.

Vaccinations Do they pose a risk to children? Yes says Dr Michel Odent

Submitted by Jane Orient, M.D.

Vaccine Scene 2000: Overview & Update---Harold Buttram MD

Are We Kidding Ourselves? By Lendon H.Smith, M.D.


Medical Men and Vaccination-- Dr. Allinson

The Autism Explosion by Dr Rimland (with graph showing rise in autism since MMR vaccine)

AUTISM RESEARCH REVIEW INTERNATIONAL Vol. 12, No.1, 1998 EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK Bernard Rimland. Ph.D. ----Vaccinations: The Overlooked Factors

Autism: A Unique Type of Mercury Poisoning  http://www.intuitiveparenting.org/immunizations.html Sallie Bernard*, Albert Enayati, B.S., Ch.E., M.S.M.E., Heidi Roger, Teresa Binstock, Lyn Redwood, R.N., M.S.N., C.R.N.P., Woody McGinnis, M.D.--FEAT Report

Why Vaccination Continues by Guylaine Lanctot, M.D.

TETANUS TOXOID VACCINATION An overview by Dr. Kris Gaublomme

Polio: the roots of the story---Kris Gaublomme, MD

Flu vaccine--Dr K. Gaublomme MD

Acellular pertussis---Dr. K. Gaublomme

Hepatitis-B vaccination in newborns Kris Gaublomme, MD


fyi, malnutrition and sanitation are the biggest factors in illness in countries where disease runs rampant. 'ill-tempered' it is you who has been brainwashed by the ESTABLISHMENT. So sorry --

t.v. and illness 08.May.2003 10:18

peace rebel girl

t.v. sucks the life force from a person, especially when watched habitually. it removes us from real life and spins us into a fantasy world. the violence, the sexism, the brainwashing...of course it causes illness. how could it cause wellness?

some info on the SARS 'Epidemic' 08.May.2003 17:05

peace rebel girl

The epidemic is reaching crisis proportions. It's not SARS. It's an epidemic of medical ignorance tied to commercial gain. Forget the clamor for quarantine, vaccine and new drugs. The greatest human cause of SARS is medical malpractice of colds and flu --which result in avoidable acute respiratory conditions. To correct the errors we need to work from the bottom up -rather than the top down.


SARS and Genetic Engineering? 09.May.2003 01:13


SARS and Genetic Engineering?

The complete sequence of the SARS virus is now available, confirming it is a new coronavirus unrelated to any previously known. Has genetic engineering contributed to creating it? Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins call for an investigation.

The World Health Organisation, which played the key role in coordinating the research, formally announced on 16 April that a new pathogen, a member of the coronavirus family never before seen in humans, is the cause of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

"The pace of SARS research has been astounding," said Dr. David Heymann, Executive Director, WHO Communicable Diseases programmes. "Because of an extraordinary collaboration among laboratories from countries around the world, we now know with certainty what causes SARS."

But there is no sign that the epidemic has run its course. By 21 April, at least 3 800 have been infected in 25 countries with more than 200 dead. The worst hit are China, with 1 814 infected and 79 dead, Hong Kong, 1 380 infected and 94 dead, and Toronto, 306 infected, 14 dead.

A cluster of SARS patients in Hong Kong with unusual symptoms has raised fears that the virus may be mutating, making the disease more severe. According to microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung, at the University of Hong Kong, the 300 patients from a SARS hot spot, the Amoy Gardens apartment complex, were more seriously ill than other patients: three times as likely to suffer early diarrhoea, twice as likely to need intensive care and less likely to respond to a cocktail of anti-viral drugs and steroids. Even the medical staff infected by the Amoy Gardens patients were more seriously ill.

John Tam, a microbiologist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong studying the gene sequences from these and other patients suspects a mutation leading to an altered tissue preference of the virus, so it can attack the gut as well as the lungs.

The molecular phylogenies published 10 April in the New England Journal of Medicine were based on small fragments from the polymerase gene (ORF 1b) (see Box), and have placed the SARS virus in a separate group somewhere between groups 2 and 3. However, antibodies to the SARS virus cross react with FIPV, HuCV229E and TGEV, all in Group 1. Furthermore, the SARS virus can grow in Vero green monkey kidney cells, which no other coronavirus can, with the exception of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, also in Group 1.

Coronaviruses are spherical, enveloped viruses infecting numerous species of mammals and birds. They contain a set of four essential structural proteins: the membrane (M) protein, the small envelope (E) protein, the spike (S) glycoprotein, and the nucleocapside (N) protein. The N protein wraps the RNA genome into a 'nucleocapsid' that's surrounded by a lipid membrane containing the S, M, and E proteins. The M and E proteins are essential and sufficient for viral envelope formation. The M protein also interacts with the N protein, presumably to assemble the nucleocapsid into the virus. Trimers (3 subunits) of the S protein form the characteristic spikes that protrude from the virus membrane. The spikes are responsible for attaching to specific host cell receptors and for causing infected cells to fuse together.

The coronavirus genome is a an infectious, positive-stranded RNA (a strand that's directly translated into protein) of about 30 kilobases, and is the largest of all known RNA viral genomes. The beginning two-thirds of the genome contain two open reading frames ORFs, 1a and 1b, coding for two polyproteins that are cleaved into proteins that enable the virus to replicate and to transcribe. Downstream of ORF 1b are a number of genes that encode the structural and several non-structural proteins.

Known coronaviruses are placed in three groups based on similarities in their genomes. Group 1 contains the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), porcine transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), canine coronavirus (CCV), feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) and human coronovirus 229E (HuCV229E); Group 2 contains the avian infectious bronchitis virus (AIBV) and turkey coronavirus; while Group 3 contains the murine hepatitis virus (MHV) bovine coronavirus (BCV), human coronavirus OC43, rat sialodacryoadenitis virus, and porcine hemagglutinating encephomyelitis virus.

Where does the SARS virus come from? The obvious answer is recombination, which can readily occur when two strains of viruses infect a cell at the same time. But neither of the two progenitor strains is known, says Luis Enjuanes from the Universidad Autonoma in Madrid, Spain, one of the world leaders in the genetic manipulation of coronaviruses.

Although parts of the sequence appeared most similar to the bovine coronavirus (BCV) and the avian infectious bronchitis virus (AIBV) (see "Bio-Terrorism & SARS", this series), the rest of the genome appear quite different.

Could genetic engineering have contributed inadvertently to creating the SARS virus? This point was not even considered by the expert coronavirologists called in to help handle the crisis, now being feted and woed by pharmaceutical companies eager to develop vaccines.

A research team in Genomics Sciences Centre in Vancouver, Canada, has sequenced the entire virus and posted it online 12 April. The sequence information should now be used to investigate the possibility that genetic engineering may have contributed to creating the SARS virus.

If the SARS virus has arisen through recombined from a number of different viruses, then different parts of it would show divergent phylogenetic relationships. These relationships could be obscured somewhat by the random errors that an extensively manipulated sequence would accumulate, as the enzymes used in genetic manipulation, such as reverse transcriptase and other polymerases are well-known to introduce random errors, but the telltale signs would still be a mosaic of conflicting phylogenetic relationships, from which its history of recombination may be reconstructed. This could then be compared with the kinds of genetic manipulations that have been carried out in the different laboratories around the world, preferably with the recombinants held in the laboratories.

Luis Enjuanes' group succeeded in engineering porcine transmissible gastroenteritis virus, TGEV, as an infectious bacterial artificial chromosome, a procedure that transformed the virus from one that replicates in the cytoplasm to effectively a new virus that replicates in the cell nucleus. Their results also showed that the spike protein (see Box) is sufficient to determine its disease-causing ability, accounting for how a pig respiratory coronavirus emerged from the TEGV in Europe and the US in the early 1980s. This was reviewed in an earlier ISIS report entitled, "Genetic engineering super-viruses" (ISIS News 9/10, 2000), which gave one of the first warnings about genetic engineering experiments like these.

The same research group has just reported engineering the TGEV into a gene expression vector that still caused disease, albeit in a milder form, and is intending to develop vaccines and even human gene therapy vectors based on the virus.

Coronaviruses have been subjected to increasing genetic manipulation since the late 1990s, when P.S. Masters used RNA recombination to introduce changes into the genome of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV). Since then, infectious cDNA clones of transmissible TGEV, human coronavirus (HuCV), AIBV and MHV have all been obtained.

In the latest experiment reported by Peter Rottier's group in University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, recombinants were made of the feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) that causes an invariably lethal infection in cats. The method depends on generating an interspecies chimeric FIPV, designated mFIPV, in which, part of its spike protein has been substituted with that from mouse virus, MHV, as a result, the mFIPV infects mouse cells but not cat cells. When synthetic RNA carrying the wild-type FIPV S gene is introduced into mFIPV-infected cells, recombinant viruses that have regained the wild type FIPV S gene will be able to grow in cat cells, and can hence be selected. So any mutant gene downstream of the site of recombination, between ORF 1a and ORF1b (see Box), can be successfully introduced into the FIPV.

This method was previously used to introduce directed mutations into MHV, and like the experiment just described, was carried out to determine the precise role of different genes in causing disease. This targeted recombination is referred to as 'reverse genetics', and depends on the virus having a very narrow host range determined by the spike protein in its coat.

Another research team headed by P. Britten based in the Institute of Animal Health, Compton Laboratory, in the United Kingdom, has been manipulating AIBV, also in order to create vectors for modifying coronavirus genomes by targeted recombination, a project funded by the UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The procedure involved infecting Vero cells, a green monkey kidney cell line with recombinant fowlpox virus (rFPV-T7) - carrying an RNA polymerase from the T7 bacteriophage, with a promoter from the vaccinia virus - together with AIBV, and a construct of a defective AIBV genome in rFPV that can be replicated in Vero cells. Recombinant cornonaviruses with defective AIBV genomes were recovered from the monkey cells. This is significant because almost no natural coronaviruses are able to replicate in Vero cells; the researchers have created a defective virus that can do so, when a helper virus is present. The defective virus has the potential to regain lost functions by recombination.

In addition to the experiments described, the gene for the TGEV spike protein has been engineered into and propagated in tobacco plants, and Prodigene, a company specializing in crop biopharmaceuticals, has produced an edible vaccine for TGEV in maize. Information on whether or not that product was the one being field tested in a recent case of contamination reported by the USDA was withheld under 'commercial confidentiality'.
Sources & References

1. "Coronavirus never before seen in humans is the cause of SARS. Unprecedented collaboration identifies new pathogen in record time" WHO Press Release, 16 April 2003, Geneva  thompsond@who.int BBC Radio 4 News Report, 19-21 April 2003.
2. "China says Sars outbreak is 10 times worse than admitted" by John Gittings and Jame Meikle, The Guardian 21 April 2003.
3. "Chinese cover-up creates new sense of insecuirity in face of Sars epidemic" by John Gittings, The Guardian 21 April 2003.
4. "SARS virus is mutating, fear doctors" by Debora MacKenzie, 16 April 2003, NewScientist.com news service.
5. Ksiazeh TC, Erdman D, Goldsmith C et al. A novel coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome. NEJM online www.nejm.org 10 April, 2003.
6. Drosten C, Gunther S, Preiser W et al. Identification of a novel coronavirus in patients with acute respiratory syndrome. NEJM online www.nejm.org 10 April, 2003.
7. "Calling all coronavirologists" by Martin Enserik, Science 18 April 2003.
8. Lai MMC. The making of infectious viral RNA: No size limit in sight. PNAS 2000: 97: 5025-7.
9. Almazan F, Gonsalex JM, Penzes Z, Izeta , Calvo E, Plana-Duran J and Enjuanes. Engineering the largest RNA virus genome as an infectious bacterial artificial chromosome. PNAS 2000: 97: 5516-21.
10. Ho MW. Genetic engineering super-viruses. ISIS News 9/10 , July 2001, ISSN: 1474-1547 (print), ISSN: 1474-1814 (online).
11. Sola I, Alonso S, Ziga S, Balasch M, Plana-Durn J and Enjuanes L. Engineering the transmissible gasteroenteritis virus genome as an expression vector inducing lactogenic immunity. J. Virol. 2003, 77, 4357-69.
12. Masters PS. Reverse genetics of the largest RNA viruses. Adv. Virus Res. 1999, 53, 245-64.
13. Haijema, B.J., Volders, H. & Rottier, P.J.M. Switching species tropism: an effective way to manipulate the feline coronavirus genome. Journal of Virology 2003, 77, 4528 - 38.
14. Kuo L, Godeke GJ, Raamsman MJ, Masters PS and Rottier PJ. Retargeting of coronavirus by substitution of the spike glycoprotein ectodomain: crossing the host cell species barrier. J. Virol. 2000, 74, 1393-1406.
15. Evans S, Cavanagh D and Britten P. Utilizing fowlpox virus recombinants to generate defective RNAs of the coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus. J. Gen. Virol. 2000, 81, 2855-65.
16. Tubolya T, Yub W, Baileyb A, Degrandisc S, Dub S, Erickson L and Nagya E. Immunogenicity of porcine transmissible gastroenteritis virus spike protein expressed in plants.Vaccine 2000, 18, 2023-8. Prodigene,  http://www8.techmall.com/techdocs/TS000215-6.html Sept 2001.
17. "Pharmageddon" by Mae-Wan Ho, Science in Society 2003, 17 , 23-4.

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the middle ages point 09.May.2003 14:45


Maybe there is a cultural reason for the spread of disease that existed in the Middle Ages that is still with us today. Of course they did not watch TV or eat inorganic foods, but they did live within the same cultural structure as we do now. Changing our diets and reducing our dependence on technology are only steps toward the larger goal. Just as science will never cure disease, neither will continuing to live within the confines of civilization with only a slightly different lifestyle. Using animals to find vaccines is a good example of the same objectification of nonhuman nature to satisfy the production goals of civilization that continues to cause the diseases we are trying to cure. Instead of looking to the Middle Ages for another human culture that lived in a healthy way, try looking before what we call history. Humans were, for the most part, very healthy for hundreds of thousands of years before the domestication of animals and the beginning of agriculture. The solution to human disease is not *just* limiting reliance on tv and pesticides, nor is it using animals to find vaccines, but rather to completely end this way of living that is the cause of both vivisection and the epidemics vivisection is trying to cure.

Nasty, brutish and short! 09.May.2003 17:32


"Humans were, for the most part, very healthy for hundreds of thousands of years before the domestication of animals and the beginning of agriculture."

Yep ... for all of about 20-25 years each ... it was a real gas living back then.

do your research 09.May.2003 17:58


That quote was made in the 17th centuray and life then was indeed "nasty, brutish, and short.' However,any amount of anthropological reading will show you that prior to civilization the average lifespan was 70-80 years on average, with some peoples living routinely into their 120's. Some peoples inhabitted areas that led to a shorter lifespan but the fact remains, prior to cilivization people lived a long time. Essentially at a level we are still struggling to attain. So civlization is still merely trying to provide us with that which was lost 8000 years ago and failling. But then, some things never change.

What?!!???! 09.May.2003 19:07


"However,any amount of anthropological reading will show you that prior to civilization the average lifespan was 70-80 years on average, with some peoples living routinely into their 120's."

I'm sorry ... the bible isn't valid source material and the X-Files was NOT a documentary.

Where the hell did you come up with this notion, anyway?

boy you really are ignorant 09.May.2003 20:10


That's ok, ignorance can be cured through education. Try doing some reading before responding with such an inane response:

Limited Wants, Unlimited Means: A Reader on Hunter-Gatherer Economics and the Environment
by John M. Gowdy (Editor)

Stone Age Economics
by Marshall David Sahlins

Or really any Sahlins or any book about any native tribe either currently surviving or through anthrological accounts. See how many tribes actually had short life spans. Go on, find them, tell me their names. If you do the research you can find a handful, but only a handful among thousands of societies that did not live the "short brutish life" you believe they did.

to someone 09.May.2003 20:37


Very well, I'll take up your challenge, buy your recommended books and read them. I'm always up for another book to read. In truth, I'm probably not as ignorant as you seem to think. I read pretty voraciously. But, anthropology is not my specialty and I must admit it's been awhile since I last dabbled in it.

Frankly, I'm startled as hell at the serious assertion that, all things being equal, "primitive man" had a life span of 70-120 years.

But, I'll tell you ... not that it matters in the least ... B-) ... if it turns out you've sucked me in with some Woo-Woo fringe, Gordan Michael Scallion, Ancient Pyramid Energy, Crop Circle, Roswell NM stuff ... then I'm gonna be pissed.

But, I'll still read the books.

don't worry 09.May.2003 21:01


No crazy new age stuff, although you will find critiques of these books and then critiques of the critiques, you can take it as far as you want. But, note I didn't say 70-120 years was common. 120 years was for some small cultures with very good lifestyles and diets (it's hard to keep all the tribal names and locations straight but I think the himalayas had such a tribe). But if you do any reading of anthropological and archeoligcal accounts of native americans many, many tribes routinely lived into their 70's (70-80 I mentioned) as well as many tribabl cultures all over the earth throughout what little history we are aware of. Good luck, I hope you find the books interesting even if you don't end up changing your views. Another good book would be Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann; I ususally recommend that one to start with because it's extremely well written and not written in strict scholarly language.

As for ignorance, I don't think you;re any more ignorant than I am, we all have had different experiences, read different books, different conversations, etc. The short brutish life thing really irks me because it's a half truth at best (we are better off than anytime in the past 5000 years or so among "civilization") but it's also a romantization of civilization and technology. It's important not to romanticize technology or primitivism, tribalism or civilization but to learn from both and seek evolution to gain the benefits of the many different ways of life that have been practiced on this planet.

another book suggestion 10.May.2003 03:03


Ishmael by Daniel Quinn is a good story that can help someone better rid themselves of the myth that civilization is the best thing to ever happen to humans.

SARS vaccine question 11.May.2003 21:02

Elaine Close

The question about whether I think we should use animals to find a SARS vaccine is based on the assumption that using animal models is a good way to find a vaccine. Viruses are species specific in their mechanisms and manifestations and the differences between species make extrapolating data from one to another misleading and dangerous. Yes we have heard over and over again that animal research is responsible for the development of vaccines in the past but just because we hear something many times does not make it true. Just because animal research occurred and progress was made against a disease does not mean there was a causal relationship. The history of vaccine research is filled with examples of vaccines that worked on lab animals but subsequently did not work on people and in many cases killed people. Dr. Mark Feinberg sums up the problem:

"What good does it do you to test something (a vaccine) in a monkey? You find five or six years from now that it works in the monkey, and then you test it in humans and you realize that humans behave totally differently from monkeys, so you've wasted five years"

Millions of dollars have been spent trying fruitlessly to develop an AIDS vaccine with animal models while people are dying from AIDS and other diseases because they can't afford medicine.

"Far too frequently animal models have been used to develop vaccines that are effective in animals but are ineffective or worse, harmful in humans. AIDS is a terrible illness, and research money and personnel need to be directed toward methodologies that are viable. Using an archaic methodology like animal models to combat a 21st century disease is more that foolish, it is immoral" -Dr. Ray Greek

Let's look at the development of the polio vaccine as an example of the danger of using non-human animals to develop a vaccine for humans. Yes polio vaccines were tested and found safe on animals but what the animal research industry fails to mention is that because humans and other animals are different in unpredictable ways, these early vaccines killed people. Dr. Ray Greek explains the role animal research played in the development of the polio vaccine:

"Animal experimentation actually delayed this much-needed vaccine throughout the first half of the twentieth century.

Polio first broke out around 1835, with victims rapidly becoming paralyzed and dying. In 1840, an orthopedic surgeon wrote that the spinal cord was the seat of infection, a hypothesis that was proven twenty-three years later.

In 1908, scientists suggested that a virus was responsible, a virus that might be eradicated with a vaccine. In developing a vaccine, it is very important to determine how the infection enters the body and takes hold. You cannot interrupt its contagion unless you determine its path. Pathologists discovered the poliovirus in human intestines as early as 1912, which suggested it might enter humans through the digestive track.

Meanwhile researchers successfully infected animals with polio. This "triumph" wound up postponing the development of an efficacious vaccine by decades. As it turned out, our close relatives the monkeys contracted polio nasally (not through the digestive system), and the virus moved directly from the nose to the brain. Incredibly, the scientists working on the vaccine chose to ignore the human digestive data in favor of the monkey data!

The pro-animal experimenters are not incorrect when they claim that a polio vaccine was derived from animal experiments because in 1934, a polio vaccine manufactured from monkey tissue was released. What they fail to mention is that it resulted in twelve people being paralyzed and six deaths. In 1937, animal experiments led scientists to spray zinc sulfate and picric acid alum into children's noses, reasoning that if the human transmission route was via the nasal mucosa as it was in monkeys, this would kill the virus in the nose. The only result was that some children permanently lost their sense of smell. In 1941, thirty years after the original animal experiments, Dr. Albert Sabin worked with autopsy findings to demonstrate that the human nasal mucosa did not have virus. What he did find was that the virus was confined to the gastrointestinal tract, as had been determined nearly thirty years prior. Years later, Dr. Sabin recalled the folly of the monkey models for polio:
Paralytic polio could be dealt with only by preventing the irreversible destruction of the large number of motor nerve cells, and the work on prevention was long delayed by the erroneous conception of the nature of the human disease based on misleading experimental models of the disease in monkeys.

In 1949, John Enders grew the virus in tissue culture. This paved the way for vaccine. For this achievement he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1954.

The vaccine could have been produced from non-animal tissue, however manufacturers opted for monkey kidney tissue instead. The older animal-based vaccine contained live virus, causing 204 people to contract polio, and eleven documented deaths.

The polio vaccine is now grown in human diploid-cell culture instead of in animal tissue. "

Dr. Greek also has on his website an essay about hepatitis C research which discusses in general the problems with animal based vaccine research.  http://www.curedisease.com/articleHCV.html

So the question is not, whether we should sacrifice animals to save people from SARS, the question is do we want to waste time, money and countless animal lives on a method of research that is causing more harm than good to human health? There are research methods already in use that are much more reliable. For a more in-depth answer to In The Know's question, I would recommend reading Dr. Greek's book "Sacred Cows and Golden Geese". A few of the best sites that address the human cost of animal research are www.curedisease.com and  http://www.mrmcmed.org (Medical Research Modernization Committee). There are also many other resources on CAAT's website www.ohsukillsprimates.com

Thanks for the response 12.May.2003 09:00

In The Know

Dear Ms. Close,

thank you for your in-depth and thoughtful response to my question? I am attempting to locate a copy of the Dr. Greek's book. If we assume, for the sake of discussion, that the information you put forth is correct and, for example, the Polio vaccine's develpment was delay--rather than helped--by the use of animal models, is it your contention that there has been no progress at all from animal based research? Forgive me for pushing on this point, but I'm trying to get at the philisophical underpinnings of your arguments. If, hypothetically, there are some human medical maladies that can be cured or addressed via animal based research, is it your argument that the research would still be immoral and should not be allowed? Or is it your contention that is simply is no animal based research that has ever--or will ever--prove beneficial for humans? I can accept intellctually that there have been grave errors made due to faulty assumptions about animal models translating to humans. But the same kinds of errors have--and will continue to--taken place based on all kinds of scientific research. To say that one model should be discarded simply because is sometimes fails would seem to argue for not using any methods that don't work all the time.


worse than tossing a coin 13.May.2003 22:49

Elaine Close

My contention is that animal research is not reliable and is therefore dangerous. It is not just that it sometimes fails, it has failed consistently. It is fundamentally a failure because animals do not predict what will happen in humans. So yes it should be discarded because not only is it not useful, it is causing great harm and it is wasting billions of dollars. As I pointed out before, allocation of funds is a life and death issue. No method of research is perfect but we are using non-animal research methods that are dramatically more reliable.

"The best guess for the correlation of adverse reactions in man and animal toxicity data is somewhere between 5% and 25%". - Dr. Ralph Heywood, past scientific director of Huntingdon (an animal research lab)

I am not aware of an example of a medical breakthrough that was reliant on animal models. I do not know all of medical history but I have seen thoroughly discredited the claims made of historical breakthroughs due to animal research. I am contending that animal research is of no value now and it becomes increasingly absurd as technology and our understanding of the idiosyncrasies of disease advance.

I am not interested in a fabricated philosophical dilemma. We don't have to choose between the lab rat and the sick person. The philosophical underpinnings of my argument are that it is wrong for people and animals to suffer and die unnecessarily.

5% and 25% 14.May.2003 12:25

In The Know

I agree that no animals (human or otherwise) should "suffer and die unnecessarily." The key word ther, however, is "unnecessarily." If, as you quoted, toxicity data from animal studies is reliable "between 5% and 25%," at what percentage would it be necessary?

I don't believe the philisophical dilemma is fabricated any more than any other. If up to a quarter of the animal toxicity studies correlate to toxicity in humans, we do have to make a choice--at least 25% of the time. And, if someone's child is afflicted with a terminal illness, at what percentage do we tell the parents and the child that no studies involving animals will be conducted in the search for a cure? My question really was focused on, if the animal models were 100% reliable, would you still oppose the use of animal models in research? Or, is it less about the use of animals in an absolute sense and more about the argued lack of reliability of the methods? Because if it is the reliability part that is the sticking point, we are reduced to having to draw percentage guidelines. Unfortuantely, and perhaps this is why you have not yet answered my core question, if you opposition is to any animal based research at all, regardless of the percentage of applicability, then you will have to advocate letting people potentially die to save the animals.

Maybe that's a valid stand--maybe not. Still, I think it's important to state your position if you want people to give your views serious consideration. Your response says that "animal research is not reliable," but you go on to quote someone who said it is from 5% to 25% riliable in certain contexts. Sorry, but that looks self-contradictory to me. If it's not reliable, it's not reliable at all--0.0% If it's reliable, it's either reliable at 100% or to a standard everyone agrees is acceptable. Or, it's somewhat reliable, margianlly riliable, or some other term--something that gets to the 5% to 25%.

The dilemma is real for real people, like me. As for whether or not there are examples of medical brreakghroughs from animal based research, look up the history of diabetes and the discovery of insulin treatment. They used dogs to make the breakthrough and almost instantly began saving people's lives. To that point people were slowly starved to death because extreme dietary limitations were the only known way to prolong those people's lives.

I still think the dilemma is real and I haven't seen a direct answer to my question: if there must be a choice between an animal's life and a human's life, what's the choice for the AR advocate?

animal models are not predictive 17.May.2003 22:21

Elaine Close

By unreliable I mean not predictive. A screening method has to be predictive or it has no value. The 5-25% of the time refers to how often human and animal reactions correlate (according to that particular animal researcher). We only know if the reactions of a human and another species to a procedure or a substance are the same when we have the human data. In other words, we only know retrospectively when an animal model will mimic humans and when it won't. What is the use of the animal data after we have the human data? I did not say that animal research produces useable data 5-25% of the time.

Here is more by Dr. Greek from curedisease.com. He cites the sources for this information in "Sacred Cows and Golden Geese"

Q:Wasn't it through lab animals that scientists discovered diabetes and developed insulin?

A: Pro-animal experiment contingencies always site the development of insulin as support for continued animal testing. They assert, with justification, that without insulin harvested from slaughterhouses many diabetics would have lost their lives. Whereas it is true that animals have figured largely in the history of diabetic research and therapy, their use has not been necessary and furthermore has not always advanced science.

Diabetes is a very serious disease, even today affecting ten to fourteen million Americans. It is a leading cause of blindness, amputation, kidney failure and premature death. Although the clinical signs of human diabetes have been known since the first century AD, not until the late eighteenth century did physicians associate the disease with characteristic changes in the pancreas seen at autopsy. As this was difficult to reproduce in animals, many scientists disputed the role of the pancreas in the disease.

Nearly a century later, in 1869, scientists identified insulin-producing pancreatic cells that malfunction in diabetic patients. Other human pancreatic conditions, such as pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) were seen to produce diabetic symptoms, reinforcing the disease's link with the pancreas.

Animal experimenters continued to interrupt the nicely progressing course of knowledge regarding the pancreas and diabetes. When they removed pancreases from dogs, cats, and pigs, sure enough, the animals did become diabetic. However, the animals' symptoms led to conjecture that diabetes was a liver disease, linking sugar transport to the liver and glycogen. These animal studies threw diabetes research off track for many years.

In 1882, a physician named Dr. Marie noted the association between acromegaly, a pituitary disorder, and sugar in the urine, thus connecting sugar metabolism and the pituitary gland. Another doctor, Atkinson, published data in 1938 that revealed 32.8 per cent of all acromegalic patients suffered from diabetes. Bouchardat published similar findings in 1908. For some reason, the scientist who reproduced this in dogs, Bernardo Houssay, ended up winning the Nobel Prize in 1947. Obviously, it is hardly fair to say dogs were responsible for his kudos, since knowledge predated Houssay's experiments and any number of human-based methods would have produced the same findings.

In the early 1920s two scientists, John Macleod and Frederick Banting, isolated insulin by extracting it from a dog. For this they received a Nobel Prize. Macleod admitted that their contribution was not the discovery of insulin, but rather reproducing in the dog lab what had already been demonstrated in man. They were not obliged to extract insulin from dogs, because certainly there was ample tissue from humans. They merely did so because it was convenient. In that same year Banting and another experimenter, named Best, gave dog insulin to a human patient with disastrous results. Note what scientists said about the dog experiments in 1922,
The production of insulin originated in a wrongly conceived, wrongly conducted, and wrongly interpreted series of experiments.

Banting, Best and other scientists modified the process using in vitro techniques and later mass-produced insulin from pig and cow pancreases collected at slaughterhouses.

In coming years scientists continued to refine the animal-derived substance. Though it is true that beef and pork insulin saved lives, it also created an allergic reaction in some patients. Beef insulin has three amino acids that differ from human amino acids while pork insulin has only one. Whereas this sounds negligible, it takes very little amino acid discrepancy to undermine health. (Only one deviant amino acid is enough to produce certain life threatening diseases, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia.) Injecting animal-derived insulin also presented the sizable danger of transmitting viruses that cross from one species to another. Had researchers then recognized these potentialities as well as the gulf of differences between humans and farm animals, scientists would have hastened to develop human insulin more quickly.

The ability to treat patients suffering from diabetes without giving them insulin injections was discovered by chance on humans. Today, the administration of oral anti-hyperglycemics, which arose from serendipity and self-experimentation, eliminates the need for insulin injections in many patients.

Diabetes is still stunningly enigmatic, in large part due to our continued reliance on the animal model. Most clinicians believe that strict glucose control though insulin injections offers advantages over a less regimented treatment plan. However, insulin is a treatment not a cure for diabetes. The exact biochemical process through which insulin regulates blood sugar is not yet known.

And one more:

"... rather than helping diabetics animal experiments put back progress by many decades". - Dr. Vernon Coleman, Why Animal Experiments Must Stop