Deviating from the moment from its “we’re just a public interest group”
script, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has launched a billboard
campaign against the March of Dimes Walkathon.
The PCRM paid for billboards in parts of the country reading, “How many
animals will be killed with your March of Dimes donation?” A better question
would be, “How many people would die if PCRM banned animal experiments?”
As March of Dimes spokeswoman Michelle Kling replied to a question about
the billboards from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Thousands of children
are alive today and millions of people are living healthier lives because
of advances in treatment and prevention made possible by March of Dimes-funded
research involving animals.”
Meanwhile activists online were busy distributing sample letters for
people to write to corporate and celebrity sponsors of the March of Dimes.
The sample letter is typical animal rights cant claiming animal experiments
have played no role in better understanding birth defects.
Frankly, we are disturbed that MOD the charity has spent millions
of dollars on disturbing animal experiments that have contributed little
or nothing to the prevention and treatment of birth defects.
. . . MOD has also provided money for experimenters to give
nicotine, cocaine, and alcohol to animals, even though we already know
from human clinical experience that these substances can harm a developing
That last line belongs in a college-level logic textbook as an example
of a false dichotomy – of course we now known cocaine and other substances
are potentially harmful to fetal development, but a) we gained a much
better understanding of the scope of such danger from animal experiments,
and b) studying exposure in animals allows for scientist to test a variety
of hypothesis on the total extent of such problems and possible treatments
much faster than could possibly be done in clinical trials. Scientists
might know that alcohol and cocaine can harm a human fetus, but there
is still so much we don’t know about the full effects of such exposure
and the best ways to treat or ameliorate such problems.
“Write to March of Dimes Sponsors” Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine press release, April 2000.
“March of Dimes gets flak for its funding of research with animals.”
Michael Stetz, San Diego Union-Tribune, April 7, 2000.
“PCRM Steps Up Attack On March of Dimes.” Americans for Medical Progress
Newsletter, April 8, 2000.
“Billboard criticizes March of Dimes; group’s ad in Dallas denounces
animal experiments.” Jeff Prince, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 1, 2000.