More Animal Rights Reactions to Dog Cloning

As was mentioned a few days ago, South Korean researchers recently managed to clone a dog. Animal rights activists quickly reacted to this announcement by denouncing it as immoral.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s Neal Barnard complained that the whole process was immoral and pointless. In an op-ed for the Ft. Worth Telegram, Barnard wrote,

First, one basic moral issue: The cloning process often means operating on
hundreds of animals to extract their eggs in order to try to produce an infant.
About 90 percent of cloning attempts fail to produce viable offspring. Those
born alive often have compromised immune systems and higher rates of infection
and tumor growth. A dismaying number — perhaps about 30 percent — suffer
from “large offspring syndrome,” a debilitating condition marked by an enlarged
heart, immature lungs and other health problems.

Even if cloning were more efficient, it still would not be the scientific
path we need to pursue. Answers to the most pressing human health problems —
heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and others — lie in understanding
human cells, human genes and, in some cases, human habits.

Profound physiological differences make it very difficult to extrapolate
experimental results from any animal to a human. Trying to use animals as
“models” for humans has produced catastrophic results: The anti-inflammatory drug
Vioxx, which tested as safe in mice and rats, turned out to double the risk of
heart attack and stroke in humans.

Well, at least no one will ever accuse Barnard of letting evidence get in his way. It is interesting that Barnard mentions heart disease, cancer and diabetes — all diseases that animal research has played a key role in understanding and treating — before falsely claiming that animal models are useless.

And, of course, Barnard cannot be bothered to note that the side effects of Vioxx also did not show up in human clinical trials either for a very good reason — the increase in heart and stroke risk appears to only occur after long-term use of the drug. The real issue raised by the Vioxx problem is how to balance the tradeoffs between getting a potentially lifesaving drug to market and having thorough clinical data of the long term effects of using a drug. Perhaps Barnard would favor requiring that companies do more animal testing that lasts for longer periods of time, as that is one clear way of discovering side effects like that seen with Vioxx.

Besides, the South Korean researchers made clear that their ultimate goal was creating embryonic stem cell lines with their technology, not the production of a line of cloned dogs. Unique aspects of the canine reproductive system mean that dog cloning is unlikely to become common.

Jennifer Fearing of United Animal Nations wrote an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle expressing similar views to Barnard’s,

And while some see animal cloning as an opportunity — albeit grotesquely
inefficient and arguably immoral — to advance animal or human health, others
are engaged in the effort strictly as a for-profit venture to reproduce
people’s pets. The wholly unregulated company that sold the cat Little Nicky as a
clone for $50,000 in December is aggressively marketing its gene-banking
services to veterinarians and to pet lovers across the country through direct mail
and ambitious public-relations strategies. Despite having produced only a
handful of cat clones and no dogs, this company, based in Sausalito, will
happily take your $1,395 (plus $150 a year in storage fees) along with Fido’s or
Fluffy’s DNA, on the off chance you can one day afford to pay the remaining
$30,000 to order up your clone. All this while, millions of healthy and
adoptable cats and dogs die every year only because there are not enough homes.

I’ll admit to being especially fond of animals, but I don’t know any pet
lover who would willingly comply with a process that caused the pain and
suffering of hundreds of animals to clone his or her favorite pet. Once people
really understand that the odds are better than not that the clone will not act
and possibly not even look like the animal they hope to replace, most are
turned off. They’re among more than 80 percent of the American public who are
opposed to pet cloning, according to a poll commissioned by the American Anti-
Vivisection Society. Those who fall for cloning’s false promise are being
misled, blinded by the grief of losing their beloved companion, or are more
interested in vanity and novelty than they are in what it means to be a companion
in the first place.

. . .

Don’t be fooled by the cute photos. For every one of those kittens and
puppies that they bring out into the light, there are hundreds more who suffered
to make that photo op possible. The “promise” of pet cloning isn’t humane —
to either the animals or the humans involved. It is a consumer fraud and an
animal welfare atrocity.

An atrocity!

The American Anti-Vivisection Society, which failed in its efforts to get the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate pet cloning firms, issued a press release that said, in part,

This experiment strongly reinforces the scientific consensus that animal cloning is consistently inefficient and results in traumatic animal suffering. According to the dog cloning study to be published in Nature August 4, 2005, multiple cloned embryos were transplanted into each of 123 dogs resulting in only three pregnancies and two live births. Of the two cloned Afghan hound male puppies, one survived; the other suffered respiratory distress and succumbed to aspiration pneumonia at three weeks of age.

In broader terms, this extremely inefficient pet cloning methodology may lead to misuse of pet cloning for profit and could seriously compromise the welfare of countless dogs. The American Anti-Vivisection Society is particularly concerned about the situation in the U.S. where pet cloning is unregulated, and the industry has been aggressively marketing pet cloning to veterinarians and potential consumers. AAVS, anticipating this event, has led a series of efforts to prohibit pet cloning and educate the public, including producing a report detailing the dangers of pet cloning, co-sponsored legislation in California to prohibit the sale of cloned pets, filing a petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requesting regulation, continuing to meet with USDA, and keeping the media and consumers informed about the issue.

That legislation, also endorsed by United Animal Nations, has so far failed to make it out of committee in the California legislature.


Good grief, Snuppy. Jennifer Fearing, San Francisco Chronicle, August 10, 2005.

Is the tail wagging the dog? Neal Barnard, Ft. Worth Star Telegram, August 12, 2005.

PCRM Develops Animal-Free Insulin Assay

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reported in February that it had worked with BiosPacific and Linco Research to develop an insulin assay that measures insulin levels in individuals without relying on animal products.

PCRM president Neal Barnard said in a press release that PCRM needed to conduct insulin assays as part of a study of the effects of vegan diets on type 2 diabetes. Barnard said,

We only had two options available to us when we began our diabetes trials. One, we could use test kits with insulin antibodies grown in vivo — literally from cells injected into the abdomens of live mice — or we could use kits containing antibodies from cells cultured with fetal calf serum. Neither was acceptable to us.

So PCRM’s Megha Even worked with California lab BiosPacific to create an animal-free replacement for the fetal calf serum, and then with Linco Research created a test that uses antibodies cultured in the non-animal serum.

According to Barnard, details of PCRM’s non-animal assay will soon be published in a peer-reviewed journal, and the non-animal test will be made available commercially,

We hope that by making the test readily available and competitively priced, researchers and medical labs will use it. We have proven that if researchers are willing to make the effort, there are effective, humane alternatives to animal-based assay, and other testing procedures — alternatives that could help save the lives of millions of people and animals.


PCRM develops world’s first cruelty-free insulin assay. Press Release, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, February 9, 2005.

PCRM and Center for Consumer Freedom Get in Food Fight

The Miami Sun-Sentinel reported on an amusing war of words between the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine’s Neal Barnard and Center for Consumer Freedom’s David Martosko.

The dispute started when PCRM issued a report rating the healthiest airport food, and singled out Miami international Airport has having the healthiest food of any of the top airports in the Untied States.

CCF responded with a press release noting that PCRM is made up of “anti-meat, pro-vegetarian nutrition zealots.” CCF also pointed out that PCRM is simply an extension of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal, signified in this case by the fact that one of the nutritionists listed as compiling the report on airport food — Trulie Ankerberg-Nobis — spends much of her free time stripping as a publicity stunt for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Barnard replied that it is simply not true that PCRM is simply a front for PETA. You remember that group, Foundation to Support Animal Protection? Just to refresh your memory, Barnard heads up the group. PETA donates money to FSAP and then FSAP turns around and donates money to PCRM. Front group? Nope, just a coincidence according to Barnard.

Barnard complained that CCF are “stalkers,” telling the Sun-Sentinel,

Whenever any health organization does any kind of initiative, we hear from them with these absurd press releases.

. . .

The poor man [Martosko] needs to lose weight.

Martosko is quoted by the Sun-Sentinel a suggesting that Barnard “seek anger management therapy.”

In fact, CCF does seem to be getting under the skin of PETA and PCRM lately. Kind of funny to watch.

Presumably the reason PETA and PCRM can’t stand the CCF press releases is that they are used to surrounding themselves with people like Gary Yourofsky and Jerry Vlasak who outright advocate the murder of those they disagree with. So you just have to see it from their point of view — advocating murder or arson is one thing, but actually issuing a press release is something of a much bigger magnitude. Someone’s feelings might get hurt, after all, from a press release, but if you kill a researcher, well, they’re just dead.

That’s the problem with us anti-animal rights folks — we just don’t have this higher level of compassion and understanding that the animal rights people possess.


Praise for healthy meals at Miami airport turns into food fight. Noaki Schwartz, Miami Sun-Sentinel, November 18, 2004.

War of Press Releases Between CCF and PCRM

The Center for Consumer Freedom has been going after the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine lately as the animal rights group continues to try to reposition itself away from issues of medical research and instead concentrates on dietary and nutrition issues.

Neal Barnard is trying to insert himself into the ongoing national debate over whether obesity should be treated as a public health problem. Barnard has written a book claiming that certain foods are “addictive” and apparently is giving depositions as an expert in nutrition as part of ongoing lawsuits against fast food companies.

On June 4, the following CCF press release was posted to PNNOnline, a web site devoted to news about nonprofits,

‘Food Addiction Experts’ Censured by American Medical Association

Misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

An animal-rights front group claiming to be a medical charity is promoting a dubious new book suggesting that certain foods are “physically addictive.” Before policymakers and judges give a second thought to the recommendations of author Neal Barnard and his misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), they should know more about them, says the Center for Consumer Freedom.

PCRM has received over $1.3 million in funding from extremist animal rights organizations, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), to promote research designed to influence or scare consumers into its strict vegetarian lifestyle. The opinion of the respected American Medical Association is unequivocal, saying that “the recommendations of PCRM [are] irresponsible and potentially dangerous to the health and welfare of Americans.” In a separate public censure, the AMA “continues to marvel at how effectively a fringe organization of questionable repute continues to hoodwink the media with a series of questionable research that fails to enhance public health.”

Surprisingly, PCRM President Neal Barnard has given depositions as a nutritional expert in the latest in a series of lawsuits against restaurants and the food industry by trial lawyers seeking to cash in on hysteria over the nation’s “obesity epidemic.” Not surprisingly, the only foods that are not labeled as addictive in Barnard’s book of “ammunition” against food companies are those that conform to a strict vegan diet offered in the book’s recipes.

“Barnard’s lawsuit ‘ammunition’ for the trial lawyers is a dud,” Richard Berman, Executive Director of The Center for Consumer Freedom, said. “When it comes to information on nutrition and health, consumers are better served by advice from the AMA than someone that fronts for PETA.”

The Center for Consumer Freedom is a non-profit coalition supported by restaurant operators, food and beverage companies, and concerned individuals, working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.

A few days later, the site published a response from PCRM Communications Director Simon Chaitowitz (emphasis added),

We’d like to set the record straight regarding inflammatory and misleading comments made about our organization in a news release recently posted to your Web site and newsletter.

First, readers should realize that news release was written and distributed by the so-called “Center for Consumer Freedom,” a junk-food lobby group. Run by Rick Berman, a tobacco, alcohol, and fast-food lobbyist, Consumer Freedom was originally founded with more than three million dollars of Philip Morris money.

Over the past few years, the group has tried to discredit the work of many highly respected public health organizations including the Centers for Disease Control, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and Center for Science in the Public Interest. In a 1999 interview with Chain Leader magazine, a restaurant industry trade publication, Berman admitted that his strategy in attacking nutrition authorities was to “shoot the messenger” by trying to damage their credibility. His employees clearly cannot defend their positions with scientific arguments.

Berman’s group routinely antagonizes any nutrition advocates who dare to point out the health risks associated with the alcohol, meat, and junk food products they represent. They have even fought against school officials who are trying to keep soda machines out of elementary schools.

As to Consumer Freedom’s charges against PCRM, here’s the truth. PCRM is indeed a bonafide 501(c)(3) health charity, one that fully meets the guidelines of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. We both conduct clinical nutrition research and help educate the public about preventive medicine, especially the multitude of health benefits possible with a vegetarian diet. We also tackle controversies in both human and animal research.

Our physicians, dietitians, and scientists are leaders in their field. They publish their work in peer-reviewed academic journals, present their findings before scientific conferences, and sit on prestigious government panels. Regularly featured in major media outlets, from Newsweek to the Today Show, they are an influential force in the field of human health. Our president Neal D. Barnard, M.D., the popular author and nutrition researcher, has been called a “brilliant visionary” by renowned diet expert Dean Ornish for his work educating people about nutrition. His newest book, Breaking the Food Seduction, explains the science behind food cravings and takes a provocative look at the how the food industry — aided by the USDA — purposefully manipulates these cravings for their own financial gain.

Yes, we have had past disagreements with the American Medical Association, particularly over AMA’s links with industry and its promotion of animal testing, but no, AMA’s censure process has never been applied to PCRM. And PCRM works with organizations promoting human rights and protection for animals, as well as with major universities, environmental organizations, consumer groups, and others on various campaign and research projects.

We invite your readers to visit our Web site to learn more about PCRM or to call our office at 202-686-2210, ext. 309. And anyone who would like the unsavory details about Consumer Freedom might want to visit the PR watchdog Web site.

From psychologist to “popular author and nutrition researcher”, eh? (I suspect here that Chaitowitz is using very loose definitions of “popular” and “researcher.”)

CCF fired of the latest round in late July with a press release criticizing PCRM’s latest anti-meat campaign,

Anti Atkins ‘Physicians’ Group Is A Front For Animal Rights

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Censured by the American Medical Association

Washington, DC — Today the Center for Consumer Freedom called on the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) to come clean about its animal-rights motive for attacking diets that feature any meat or dairy foods. PCRM, an animal rights front group claiming to be a medical charity, launched a media campaign this week featuring reckless charges about health risks supposedly connected with eating meat.

“This misnamed ‘physicians committee’ represents a tiny fraction of America’s doctors who place animal-rights ideology above their patients’ health,” said Center for Consumer Freedom research director David Martosko. “PCRM has asserted itself as a home for anti-meat, pro-vegan nutritionists who are committed to removing beef, dairy, poultry, and other animal products from the American diet for good.”

The established medical community has soundly rejected PCRM’s dietary advice in the past. The American Medical Association has written that it “finds the recommendations of PCRM irresponsible and potentially dangerous to the health and welfare of Americans.” In a separate public censure, the AMA marveled at “how effectively a fringe organization of questionable repute continues to hoodwink the media with a series of questionable research that fails to enhance public health.”

PCRM has long-standing ties with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has funneled over $850,000 to its medical front group. PCRM president Neal Barnard, a non-practicing psychiatrist, co-chairs the PETA Foundation with PETA co-founder Ingrid Newkirk.

Martosko added: “Most Americans are too smart to knowingly take dietary advice from PETA. But when animal rights activists put on the sheep’s clothing of the medical profession, it becomes harder to know who’s credible. Force-feeding animal rights propaganda to Americans doesn’t sound very ‘responsible’ to me.”

The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies, and consumers working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices. To learn more, visit

Martosko’s comments are especially germane given the lengths that PETA and PCRM go in order to hide the fact that the two are not only ideologically but also financially intertwined. It’s amusing to see PCRM and other groups complain that CCF receives money from and lobbies on behalf of companies that sell alcohol, fast food, etc.

Whatever else you may think of CCF, at least it is upfront about its ideological position and goals. It doesn’t try to distance itself from its core ideology as PCRM does, nor does it set up layers of nonprofit front groups to funnel money to it in order to hide its origins. Why is PCRM so afraid to stand up and say it is an animal rights group that receives funding from PETA?


‘Food Addiction Experts’ Censured by American Medical Association Press Release, Center for Consumer Freedom, June 3, 2003.

Anti Atkins ‘Physicians’ Group Is A Front For Animal Rights. Press Release, Center for Consumer Freedom, July 23, 2003.

PCRM Responds to Claims by Center for Consumer Freedom. Letter, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, June 6, 2003.

PCRM vs. the Atkins Diet: Pot Meet Kettle

In February the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine began airing a 30-second television commercial attacking high-protein diets. The commercial links high-protein diets to everything from osteoporosis to colon cancer and a voiceover intones, “You have more to lose than just weight.”

Neal Barnard told The New York Times that the ads was intended to counter a “flood of misinformation” about high-protein diets.

Okay, Neal Barnard lecturing people about dietary misinformation is a bit like the Flat Earthers complaining about Bigfoot enthusiasts being in the throes of pseudoscience. Or maybe Barnard has been helping spread dietary nonsense for so long that he figures he’s the resident expert on nonsense.

The Atkins Center in turned issuing a statement calling PCRM “an extremist vegetarian animal rights group.” To its credit, the New York Times did include a mention of the American Medical Association’s objections to PCRM’s ridiculous positions on animal testing.


Diet battles head for television. Patricia Winters Laura, The New York Times, February 18, 2003.

PETA/PCRM and The Foundation to Support Animal Protection

Via Americans for Medical Progress comes word on Animal People‘s annual roundup of animal rights groups finances, which were down somewhat this year.

Of special interest is Animal People‘s focus on the The Foundation to Support Animal Protection which is little more than a front group set up to hide the financial ties between People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Physicians Committe for Responsible Medicine.

According to Animal People (emphasis added),

The Foundation to Support Animal Protection board consists of PETA cofounder and president Ingrid Newkirk PCRM founder and president Neal Barnard, MD, and Nadine Edles. The sole function of FASP, according to IRS Form 990 is to ‘Provide support to various charitable, educational and scientific organizations specified in the Corporation’s Certificate of Incorporation,’ identified as PETA, and four PETA subsidiaries, plus PCRM and the Washington (DC) Humane Society, which was granted $5,000 in 1999 but nothing since. In fiscal 2001 FSAP apparently continued as in past years to pay the mortgage on the PETA headquarters and lease the site to PETA; did mailings in the names of the beneficiaries; and granted $160,000 to PCRM, 55% of the total PCRM budget. The major purpose of FSAP appears to be to enable PETA and PCRM to evade public recognition of their relationship, the real extent of their direct mail expenditures, and the real extent and nature of their assets. If FSAP, PETA and PCRM were seen as a joint fundraising unit, as the existence and activities of FSAP indicate they should be, their total spending came to $18,846,016; their declared overhead was $5,194,418, 28% of budget. Their total assets were $10,471,309, 55% held by FSAP, including 58% of the cash and securities. The combined FSAP, PETA and PCRM payroll was $4.64 million, of which FSAP paid $1.3 million: 28%.

PETA and PCRM — dishonest, through and through.


AMP News Service Special Report: AR Finances. November 26, 2002.