PETA wants animal hearing experiments stopped

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Mary Beth Sweetland was up in arms over animal experiments
that researchers at the University of California-San Francisco plan to
carry out on squirrel monkeys.

According to UCSF vice chancellor
for research Zach Hall, researchers Marshal Fong and Stephen Chenung plan
to anesthetize the animals and then expose them to a range of very high
frequency noise. “The animals, when they wake up, will have a hearing
disability, one that’s similar to one that millions of Americans
have [inability to hear high-frequency sounds],” Hall said.

Sweetland wants the experiments
stopped, but Hall said the experiments have already been approved by the
university’s committee on animal research and will have practical
benefits.

“The research seeks to understand
the changes that occur in the brain as the result of sensory deprivation
– in this case, hearing loss – with the hope that we can use what we learn
to relieve the hearing loss caused by loud noise,” Hall said.

As Fong summed it up, “These
people [PETA] are distorting the truth here.”

Source:

“Activists want UC monkeys spared,” Scripps Howard, May 21, 1998.

Animal experiments lead to possible breakthrough in treatment of spinal cord injuries

A study published in the June issue
of Nature Neuroscience reveals just how far scientists have
come in understanding, and possibly someday correcting, |spinal cord| injuries.

Martin Schwab, of the Institute
for Brain Research at the University of Zurich in Sweden, and his colleagues
took rats and cut the nerve fibers in the rats’ brain stem. This
operation effectively removed the ability of the rats to exercise fine
motor control of their front limbs, making it impossible for them to climb
ropes or grasp food pellets.

Then the researchers injected the
rats with a specially engineered antibody called IN-1. Those rats receiving
IN-1 grew new nerve fibers that took over for the damaged fibers. Both
rats and human beings produce growth inhibitors which usually prevent
new fibers from growing. The Zurich researchers hope the things they have
learned in neutralizing these inhibitors in rats will help them to find
a way to neutralize them in human beings.

“This study re-emphasizes
the role of the non-injured nervous system in compensating for the loss
of function after damage,” said Michael Beattie, a neuroscience professor
at Ohio State University who specializes in spinal cord injury. “The
work they’ve done suggests that they’re on the right track to
understanding how to produce therapies that can enhance repair and recovery
of function.”

Source:

Jane E. Allen “New hope for repairing spinal injuries” Associated
Press, May 18, 1998.

Action for Animals Network Angered by Computer Game

For the past few months a game called
Deer Hunter has topped the software charts. A hunting simulation
which lets the player go trudging through a forest looking for deer, the
game’s received lukewarm reviews from computer gaming magazines but
has generated a following among hunters.

Which, of course, upsets animal
rights activists to no end. Action for Animals Network recently posted
a release on its web site asking people to call Best Buy, a computer chain
in the Midwest, asking it to stop carrying Deer Hunter. In
the words of Action for Animals Network, “please call or write Best
Buy to let them know that this type of game promotes cruelty to animals
and that it certainly isn’t a family game. Ask them to discontinue
selling this item.”

Up until now the only groups calling
for the removal of computer games for lacking “family” values
have been right wing groups, but it looks like at least some animal rights
advocates see this as an important cause as well.

The reader might wonder what would
be next? Will animal rights activists demand an end to the sale of programs
which simulate the dissection of a frogs? Isn’t software like this
exactly what animal rights activists have been asking for — simulated
rather than live hunts? And shouldn’t the Action for Animals Network be required to
produce even a shred of evidence that Deer Hunter promotes
cruelty to animals?

Source:

Action for Animals Network, “Cruel Game,” Press Release, March 1998.

Have animal experiments found a cure for cancer? Maybe. Maybe not.

The hype over Judah Folkman’s
research into the effects of angiostatin and endostatin on mice reached
a fever pitch in the first week of May after The New York Times ran a
front page story which quoted Nobel laureate Dr. James Watson claiming,
“Judah is going to cure Cancer in two years.”

Folkman’s research
is important, but this level of hype was ridiculous. Both of these drugs
are at least a year away from being tested in human beings. Folkman certainly
has a creative approach to stopping cancer. The compounds he’s investigating
work by cutting of the blood supply to cancerous tumors thereby causing
them to shrink and disappear — at least in mice. Chemotherapy research
into mice achieved similar results, but when applied to humans was far
less effective than the trials with mice indicated.

Even if Folkman’s research
doesn’t create a “cure” for cancer, however, what he has
learned from his animal experiments represent important advances in human
understanding of cancer. The idea that the blood supply of cancerous tumors
could be blocked was considered ludicrous when Folkman began working on
the idea; thanks to Folkman’s experiments understanding of cancer
tumors is much improved.

Source:

Eric Noonan, “Cancer drugs effective in mice; human testing planned.”
Associated Press, May 3, 1998.

Animal rights terrorist on the run

Josh Ellerman, 19,
disappeared shortly before he was scheduled to be sentenced for his part
in a March 11, 1997 attack on the Fur Breeders Agricultural Cooperative.

Ellerman reached a plea agreement
with prosecutors whereby he plead guilty to 3 of 16 felony counts in exchange
for cooperating with investigators in identifying other members of the
animal rights terrorist group, the Animal Liberation Front.

According to Ronald J. Yengich,
Ellerman’s defense attorney, Ellerman fled after receiving threats
from the ALF. Ellerman fled his home without a change of clothes, money
or a car.

Animal rights terrorists strike in Florida

On May 4th a two alarm fire
destroyed a veal processing plant near Tampa, Florida. Police believe
members of the Animal Liberation Front were responsible for the fire,
which did $500,000 in damage.

“A.L.F.” had been
spray-painted on the side of the plant.

A communiqué from a group identifying
itself as the Florida ALF claimed responsibility for the attack saying,

…the action was done on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of calves
every year in the American veal industry who are kept in isolation, denied
freedom of movement and fed a deliberately unhealthy diet for the entirety
of their short lives until they are slaughtered at a hell like Florida
Veal Processors.

The communiqué also claimed
the Florida ALF was responsible for an October 1997 arson at Palm Coast Veal
Corp. in Lauderhill, FL.

Sources:

Florida A.L.F. “Florida A.L.F. Communiqué” May 4, 1998.

Americans for Medical Progress “ALF suspected in veal plant and USDA
arson; ALF press officer surfaces.”