Pamela Anderson On Vivisection: “I Don’t Know Much About That Part”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ celebrity spokeswoman Pamela Anderson was interviewed by Larry King recently, Anderson’s knowledge of and adherence to her animal rights views pretty much speaks for itself (emphasis added),

King: Why are you a vegetarian?

Anderson: I don’t like meat. I don’t like, you know, I don’t like meat. I don’t like the texture of meat. I don’t like where it comes from. I don’t like the cruelty that’s involved. And being involved with PETA so long, you get to know a lot about how meat is prepared and slaughtering and all that stuff. So, I’ve chosen, after I’ve kind of educated myself, you know, through PETA, that I don’t want to eat it.

King: No fur coats?

Anderson: No.

King: Leather soles?

Anderson: Sometimes — I have a lot of leather shoes actually — a lot of — but I’ve tried to actually create a clothing line — a shoe line that is non-leather and I have a lot of great shoes, too, from Stella McCartney that are non-leather as well.

But that’s the hardest thing is the leather part of it. A lot of things are leather. Even your car interior. I just ordered and car, and I’m getting all, you know, pleather interiors. There’s no leather interior in the car that I’m getting, bt the car that I have has a leather interior.

King: Are you against vivisection, the treatment of animals to detect disease?

Anderson: I don’t know much about that part. Sorry.

King: But you’re certainly against the killing and slaughter of the animal?

Anderson: Yes and the slaughtering. You know, PETA is — they really — they just want people to be humane about killing animals, too, when it comes to fast food restaurants like KFC. And it’s just so inhumane, how they handle their animals and that’s the first step.

King: Good luck in all you do, Pam.

Anderson: Thank you.

King; Great seeing you.

Anderson: Thank you. Vivisection. I thought you meant vasectomy.

King : no.

Anderson: I’m against those, too. No.

Not quite sure whether she’s against vasectomies or animal research in that last comment. If it is animal research she is against, she has an easy method of protesting against the alleged horrors and cruelties involved in such researcher — simply stop supporting the pharmaceutical industry by continuing to buy things like the medicine she takes to treat her Hepatitis C.

Given that she cannot even give up leather shoes (while complaining about others’ wearing of fur), don’t expect her to leave the stable of PETA hypocrites anytime soon. Presumably she and Dawn Carr can get together and commiserate at how horrible it is that their lives are prolonged due to the efforts of animal researchers.


CNN Larry King Life, August 22, 2005.

Woodchucks Transplantation Model Developed

Researchers at University Hospital Essen in Essen, Germany, have developed a transplantation model in woodchucks that will allow researchers to better model how hepatitis B reinfection progresses in human beings.

After receiving a transplanted organ, patients are usually given an immunosuppressive drug such as cyclosporine. This helps reduce the risk of organ rejection but also makes recipients more susceptible to diseases such as hepatitis B.

This is especially the case with organ transplants such as the liver, where hepatitis B is a major cause of liver cancer and, hence, liver failure. Finding a way to reduce or eliminate the risk of hepatitis B reinfection would greatly enhance the outcomes of liver transplants.

Woodchucks contract a virus similar to hepatitis B called woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV). The German researchers devised a way to perform liver transplants with woodchucks that closely models the procedure in human beings, including the administering of daily doses of cyclosporine.


Woodchucks allow doctors to study hepatitis B reinfection after transplantation. Sonia Bell-Nichols, Virus Weekly, September 10, 2002.

The First Successful Anti-Cancer Vaccine

Has the world already seen the first successful anti-cancer vaccine? Probably, and all thanks to animal research.

The Daily Telegraph ran an interesting article on a luncheon to honor Prof. Baruch Lumberg. Lumberg was instrumental in the creation of a vaccine to fight Hepatitis B. In fact, Lumberg won the 1976 Nobel Prize for medicine and has recently written a book, Hepatitis B: The Hunt for a Killer Virus, about his efforts to find a vaccine for the disease.

But the Hepatitis B vaccine should be — and apparently is — an anti-cancer vaccine as well. Hepatitis B plays a major role in causing liver cancer. As many as 85 percent of liver cancer cases are believed to be caused by the virus.

So widespread use of the Hepatitis B vaccine should result in declining liver cancer incidence. And in places where Hepatitis B was a major problem, that in fact has happened. In Taiwan, for example, the incidence of liver cancer has declined by half since the introduction of the Hepatitis B vaccine.

Lumberg first isolated the Hepatitis B virus in 1967 with epidemiological studies in human beings, but it was animal research that relied largely on guinea pigs and non-human primates that led to the development and approval of a vaccine for the disease in the early 1980s.


The world’s first cancer vaccine. Roger Highfield, The Daily Telegraph (London), June 26, 2002.

European Union Scientific Commission Weighs In on Importance of Primate Research

At the beginning of April the European Commission’s Scientific Steering Committee adopted a four page statement outlining, “The Need for Non-Human Primates in Biomedical Research,” that aptly made the case for the ongoing importance of medical research involving non-human primates.

The Steering Committee’s statement reads, in part,

Whether or not, eventually, non-human primates are used for research, will need to be decided upon a case-by-case basis, and following a careful assessment, which takes into account the justification below, the possible existence of alternatives, ethical considerations and the problems that could result from not using the non-human primates. The SSC stresses that unnecessary and duplicated or redundant research using non-human primates should be avoided at all costs . . . However, it considers that for certain experiments there are no alternatives to the use of non-human primates.

The rest of the four-page report is an excellent summary of the irreplaceable nature of primate research. For example, on primate research into malaria, the Steering Committee notes that animal alternatives simply cannot accomplish everything that needs to be done in investigating malaria,

Although considerable research can be done in vitro, the [malaria] parasite has obligatory intra-hepatic developmental phases that are not amenable to in vitro cultivation. To date primates have been used as pre-clinical screens for a variety of new vaccine candidates, based on recombinant sub-unit approaches and live-vectored approaches. Different malaria vaccines will require different immune responses (humoral or cellular) and well-characterized models with similar immune responses to humans (such as macaques) are essential in vaccine development. New malaria drugs will have to work effectively in vivo, and many drugs that are effective in vitro fail in vivo. Monkey models are vital to evaluate promising new drugs for efficacy.

When the Steering Committee says that the malaria parasite “has obligatory intra-hepatic developmental phases,” what it means is that when people are infected with malaria the parasites travel through the blood stream through the liver where they enter the liver’s cells and begin to multiply. Then after a period of time lasting as little 8 days to as long as several months, the malaria parasites leave the liver and enter red blood cells.

When researchers study malaria, they need to study this phase during which the malaria parasite “incubates” in the liver. It is simply not possible at the moment to study that sort of complex behavior in vivo — researchers need to infect non-human primates with malaria parasites to study it. There simply is no animal alternative.

Similarly, with tuberculosis primate studies are vital for narrowing the number of potential treatments that go into clinical trials (which are, after all, extremely expensive). The Steering Committee writes,

Mouse and guinea pig models are used to screen potential new vaccines and drugs, however their patterns of disease and their immune responses are often markedly different from those seen in humans. Recently a careful analysis of two macaque models (rhesus and cynomolgus) has shown the value of these two models and their similarity to the human situation. These models are now being used to screen and select among new candidate vaccines before embarking on the complex, protracted and expensive clinical phase.

And then there are diseases where primates are literally the only experimental model available. Such is the case with Hepatitis C,

Hepatitis C cannot be cultured and the only other species other than man that can be infected is the chimpanzee. Early HCV vaccine studies in chimpanzees have begun to show progress but non-human primate research is essential to bring a truly effective vaccine to the clinic. Thanks to studies in chimpanzees which are still alive and healthy today, millions of doses of a very successful Hepatitis B vaccine have been given World-wide. However, Hepatitis B is still transmitted and many new infections occur daily. New less expensive HBV vaccines are required for developing countries to halt and eliminate this chronic human pathogen.

And yet most European countries seem convinced that primate research can be outlawed altogether with no impact on the biomedical progress. In fact there is but a single research facility in all of Europe that conducts research involving chimpanzees and animal rights activists are pushing for a European Union-wide ban on all research involving great apes.


The Need for Non-Human Primates in Biomedical Research. Statement of the Scientific Steering Committee of the European Commission, Adopted at its Meeting of 4-5 April 2002.

Primate Freedom Project Forms Group to Focus on Chimpanzees

The Primate Freedom Project recently announced the formation of |Stop Experimentation on and Exploitation of Chimpanzees| (the acronym is SEEC, pronounced “cease”, get it?)

Anyway, most of the SEEC material is the same old “chimpanzees share 98 percent of our DNA” rhetoric, but a press release by Primate Freedom/SEEC activist Cyn Krueger did a good job of highlighting exactly where the group places non-human primates in the order of things. From a press release titled “U.S. government engages in child abuse”,

SEEC has received information that the FDA has imprisoned 11 children and is subjecting them to biomedical research. Four 5-year-olds, a 4-year-old, five 3-year-olds, and a 21-month-old infant are the subjects of a hepatitis vaccine study at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

That the victims are chimpanzees and not humans does not lessen the atrocity. Their suffering is much the same.

The SEEC web site, at is definitely worth a visit. For example, on their “Mad Science” page dedicated to claiming that animal research is unreliable, SEEC actually cites the antihistamine seldane (terfenadine) as one of “numerous drugs shown to be safe in the animal models cause serious harm or even death to humans.”

Seldane was marketed in the United States until 1997, and was the first antihistamine that didn’t cause drowsiness. There were a small number of deaths related to seldane due to two separate issues. First, it turned out that the recommended daily dosage of seldane could cause dangerous heart arrhythmia’s in some people. Neither the animal research nor the extensive testing of the drug in human clinical trials revealed this — in fact it wasn’t until the drug had been available for several years and was on the verge of achieving over-the-counter status that the heart-related problems became obvious and the recommended dosage levels were lowered.

Seldane also caused potentially life threatening changes in heart rhythm if taken in conjunction with some antibiotics and some antifungal medication. The drug was labelled as such and pharmacists and doctors did a good job of making sure people weren’t taking seldane with these other drugs, but inevitably there were a few deaths.

Despite its side effects, the FDA allowed seldane to stay on the market because its side effects were relatively avoidable and there was no better medication for treating allergies. Once Allegra — which is similar to seldane but doesn’t have the potentially dangerous side effects problem — was approved, seldane was quickly withdrawn.

Far from being an example of the pointlessness of animal research, seldane is an excellent example of how such research can help millions of people live better lives (as someone who has severe allergy problems, the drug was a lifesaver before the approval of Allegra and Claritin).


U.S. government engages in child abuse. Cyn Krueger, Press Release, October 21, 2001.

Mad Science. Stop Experimentation on and Exploitation of Chimpanzees, Web page, Accessed 12/05/2001.

ALF sets woodchucks free

Animal Liberation Front activists
claimed to have broken in to a Marmotech, Inc. testing laboratory in New
York and released 150 woodchucks. Bud Tennant, who runs the laboratory,
said the number was closer to 30 — most of the animals remained in or
around the facility.

The woodchucks were being used
for research into a possible vaccine for |hepatitis B|. A communiqué from
ALF claimed, “Tennant is merely satisfying his own curiosity about
every minute detail of a specific type of hepatitis found only in woodchucks.”
Tennant told the Ithaca Times that the woodchuck strain of hepatitis
is in the same family as hepatitis B. The experiments on the woodchucks
could lead to “development of improved treatment and prevention [of
hepatitis B] in humans,” Tennant said.

According to |Americans for
Medical Progress| more than 300 million people worldwide
suffer from hepatitis B, with the disease causing one to two million deaths
each year. A drug manufactured by Triangle Pharmaceutical and tested in
Tennant’s lab was able to reduce the level of hepatitis virus in
the woodchuck’s blood by more than 1,000-fold in only seven days.


“CU scientist defends use of animals,” Ithaca Journal, July 9, 1998.

“Born Free,” Ithaca Times, July 8, 1998.

“ALF releases woodchucks from Cornell lab,” Americans for Medical
Progress Foundation release, July 6, 1998.