Help end the terror

In the last few months I have had the distinct pleasure of exchanging via twitter with folks that work in other animal use industries and most agree that animal rights activists are barking at anything that involves the use of animals. More disturbingly is the fact that because they want 'change' these activities according to them have got to stop. The tactics remain the same, harassment, lobbying to change laws, social media campaigns, petitions, use of celebrities and last not but least increasing use of  'nudity', often female that is. Another nail often hit upon is guilt: '' if you truly love animals, you must adopt a vegan diet and life style''.  They sound as if they are the only ones that love animals or care for them, which is far from true. 

I, on the other hand, see a lot of advantages to society and to people in the use of animals. Such as in understanding a new disease - Middle East Respiratory Syndrome MERS - where the use of macaques helps pave the way.


Or as in farming and breeding. Live animal shows too are on the radar of extremists. Take SeaWorld for example. If it weren't for them I don't think I'd ever seen such magnificent animals up close. They are doing a great job of bringing us closer to the animals and they do support conservation efforts. Farmers on the other hand ensure dairy, meat, poultry, fruits and veggies are part of my daily staple. As is the case for millions of us. It is only normal that I take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work and their contributions to our lives. Since we are in February that means I thank farmers and growers in Florida, California, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, China and the list goes on. The latest craze involves going after horse carriages in New York city. The summit of animal cruelty is now opposed by DeBlasio the city's latest major. Talk about a disconnect, or is it about real estate and speculation? Care and compassion for animals is a sure bet for politicians, an easy way for grabbing votes.

As I said there are plenty of actions taking place and social media are pulling people together. Petitions are being signed to trigger change. Who verifies the identity, the age or location of those signing petitions? In the end it comes down to how many have signed and that is evidence of the rightfulness of the cause. A short circuit or a quick fuse to get politicians to act? And who says that petitions are science?  Read the post by D. Gorski as he unravels the arguments of animal activists.
What a great read!

Tides are turning, Scientists are willing to speak about what they do, how and why. As does Cindy Buckmaster here in this article. The bullies now get to taste some of their own medicine as researchers get organized and tell activists enough is enough! Don't forget to join researchers and their families February 15,
even if you use animals in another way or industry. Because it matters to all of us!  Help end the terror.



Hollywood to the rescue

75 messages on the blog and I need to draw a line.

15401 views at the time of writing 2013-04-16 09:59Am. Note that these are direct views and that since one can scroll down to read other messages or multiple posts these are not accounted for, so the figure is likely higher as is the case for numbers below.

Most read entry ? Follow the link , a post with 800 direct views this far. Celebrity attracts as does a simple yet to the point message. Airlines need to continue transporting non human primates because they are needed for our ongoing quest for cures and life saving treatments.

2nd position with 281 views goes to 50 entries is a landmark - a post about how animal research is conducted by researchers that often times have a passion for animals and humans. Their jobs aren't easy but the aims are worth the sacrifice, else they'd quit a long time ago!  Also a reflection of my own liking of birds.

3rd is Animal research in doubt with 276 direct views. The number I think highlights the state of concern by those involved in research. I have often found op'ed pieces about the use of animals in research written by researchers to be apologetic or defensive in tone, which says a lot about their state of mind and the undue pressure exerted on them. Important actors such as medical charities are looking the other way and that is not helping either.  Animal alternatives create the impression that animals will at some point in the future no longer be needed. Is that really so? 

So drawing the line I'd say that a wining strategy involves getting the public on your side. That's where Hollywood comes into play. Use high profile actors,  film makers and influential producers to get your messages across. Implement communication plans that involve social media. BE outspoken and communicate achievements and let all know why what you do is so important. I know airlines listen because they fly the same people you cure. Medical progress matters to all of us.

In the end it is the survivors, the patients saved that will tell the most compelling story of all. That of getting back their life and the invaluable opportunity of being with their loved ones!  These last words go to thank the animals that make our species so succesfull.



None of us is getting out ALIVE! By Paul McKellips

None of us is getting out alive !

by Paul McKellips

Do you remember your first trip on a
commercial airliner?

I remember being 9 years old and
walking up the leaning aisle to my seat on
a North Central Airlines DC-3 propeller
flight from Minneapolis to Oshkosh on
September 9, 1968. The event was so special
that all 21 of us passengers were dressed in
our Sunday best.

Aviation unleashed my imagination,
and the world as I knew it no longer had
boundaries. Anything was possible.

In 1978, a ‘jumbo’ jet took me over
the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, and
picture books came to life as I experienced
the magic of France. Throughout my
college years, I often spent hours at the
local airport, moving from gate to gate,
just watching people come and go. With an
airplane parked outside but no ticket in my
hand, I dreamed of the day when my career
would take off and an airplane would take
me to unknown destinations.

But July of 1981 opened my eyes
to a different level of experience with
aviation. I stood at the arrival gate sobbing
uncontrollably, buried deep in a group hug
with my brothers and sister, completely
unable to comprehend that my daddy had
died unexpectedly in my arms the night
before. I was the guilty 22-year-old son
who couldn’t save his own father with CPR.
I remember landing at Chicago’s O’Hare
airport and watching the baggage handlers
tenderly remove my father’s casket, fully
aware that I was in the window watching
through the tears.

Since that July day in 1981, I look at
airports and airplanes differently now. I see
tearful reunions at baggage claim and I now
understand what’s going on.

I now see far-too-young women with
hairless heads and pink ribbons. I see small
children anchored by the faces of worried

parents as they board an ‘exciting’ flight
to see yet another specialist at a different
hospital. And I often see scientists and
researchers traveling around the world,
heading off to a conference or seminar in
their relentless quest through miles, time,
blood, sweat and tears to find the elusive
cure and the impossible breakthrough.

Illness, disease, injury and
misfortune are like the
dreaded middle seats with no
leg room. You may not get
it today, but you will; we all

I no longer board an airplane with the
wide-eyed wonder of a boy but rather with
the grizzled temperament of a seasoned
‘air warrior,’ constantly fretting about the
availability of space in the overhead bin,
the possibility of a middle seat and the
realization that my knees will enter my
chest cavity as soon as the guy in front of me
reclines. The boundary-free dreams of my
youth have been replaced by TSA security
lines, expectations of delays and the fear of
system-wide gridlock if O’Hare gets fog.

But no matter how busy I am, or how
stressed my airline connection is, my
emotions immediately snap back to 1981
when I see the familiar tears, when I notice
the bald heads and when I watch those little
pediatric wonders board early.

The airlines see them, too.

Great airlines—historical icons like
American, United, Continental, Air
Canada and Lufthansa—all do their part
to make life—and sometimes dying—just a
little bit easier for those of us in need.

I’ve seen airlines move terminal cancer
patients up to first class seats in an effort to
create a special moment as a husband and
wife check off another adventure on the
bucket list before time runs out.

I’ve seen airlines provide free “Make a
Wish” flights to pediatric patients and their
families so that a short life can enjoy a big
event at the happiest place on earth.

I’ve seen frequent mileage programs
redesigned so that air-weary travelers can
donate their miles to families who need to
travel to a Ronald McDonald House or out
to Walter Reed National Military Medical
Center to be with a loved one during a time
of illness or trauma.

Yes, the airlines run a business, but
they see the same faces we do. Every CEO
at every airline and every pilot in every
cockpit is no different than the rest of us.
They see the faces, and they know all too
well that none of us is getting out of this
life alive.

Illness, disease, injury and misfortune
are like the dreaded middle seats with no
leg room. You may not get it today, but you
will; we all will…eventually.

Yet a conundrum exists that I simply
can’t reconcile. The airlines that carry
those faces, the patients with the diseases
and their families that buckle up tightly
with hopes for a miracle, refuse to transport
the non-human primates for disease and
trauma research that might possibly hold
the future for cures and breakthroughs.

The seats are filled with mothers and
fathers and children facing the end of their
days, while the cargo compartment below
remains empty of the non-human primates
that might give those up above a new ticket
for hope.

No, none of us is getting out alive. But
maybe we don’t have to go today.

If airlines better understood the faces
looking out their windows, they might also
see young scientists and researchers with
unleashed imaginations who now face
a world where aviation may be creating
some of the boundaries between hope and
despair, life and death.

McKellips is an Author and Executive Vice President of
the Foundation for Biomedical Research in
Washington, DC.

Reproduced with kind permission of LAB Animal Europe
To view the original article follow this link in April Lab Animal Europe and flip to page 38.

36 Volume 13, No. 4 | APRIL 2013 www.labanimaleurope.com


Inner space, the last frontier?

I love science. I love scientists for they are like writers exploring unknown territory, methodologically bringing us into new realities and fascinating discoveries. Things previously thought impossible or unknown to us simple mortals. Although most of us have no problem following a writer's story, when it comes to science it is not as easy. The story must be explained, put into context, potentially linked with other stories for it to make sense, in other words vulgarized. Nothing wrong with that but so necessary, else who would understand research and its importance?

If research is not explained the results are seen here and lay people make up their minds without your input. Decisions are made without asking about the consequences for what it is you do isn't known, ignored or even worse perceived as not important, vile or cruel. You might just be the next budget cut! Still think you can afford not to write about what it is you do, how and why? Will research be the next victim of NIMBY?

Yet research is and always has been the last frontier. Research looks for clues and attempts to answer questions. One such last frontier is inner space, like that found in our brains and the functioning thereof. Our most magical and yet least understood organ. Believe it or not, it is through the use of animals such as amongst others, worms (Caenorhabditis elegans), fruit flies (Drosophila), dogs (yes Beagles usually), rats and mice as well as non human primates, that progress is made. If you are following 'personalized medicine' and the need for better more effective treatments you realize that animal research will continue to be a critical part in the search for answers.  As is the case here in our fight against Malaria.

Image courtesy of Understanding Animal Research

Coming back to the brain's functioning this article explains how neuroscientists rely on rat studies , or default to rat studies as one understands later on, to  understand basic mechanisms.  As importantly the article underlines the importance of this research towards those that are paralyzed or missing limbs.
Particularly for individuals who have lost a limb or been partially or fully paralyzed, this work is a critical pursuit with potentially life-changing results — enabling such amazing biotechnological advances as the development of a brain-computer interface for controlling prosthetic limbs.
And warns us of the importance of other animal models such as chimpanzees and other non human primates in the paragraph called Ethological considerations (quoted below).
Image courtesy of Understanding Animal Research

Without an abundance of human subjects, scientists' next-best option for research is our closest relative, the chimpanzee; but since primate research is highly restricted, controversial, and prohibitively expensive, scientists often turn to studying other model organisms such as the rat. In many instances, data obtained from these model organisms can be translated to primate models and then to humans; but in such cases, scientists must make certain ethological considerations to ensure the validity of their conclusions.
If you or a relative of yours is affected by a disfunctioning , disease or disorder of the brain - in this regard did you know there are  more than 400 neurological disorders - you may just want to get active and voice your ongoing support towards animal research for medical progress hinges on it.

The least one can do is to sign the petition to make sure our scientists such as Jared Smith and Kevin Alloway continue to explore our inner space and to push the borders of this frontier for the benefit of those affected by Parkinson's, Alzheimers, those that are paraplegic or suffer from spinal cord injuries, have lost a limb etc... you get it the list is way too long and the needs so pressing! You can also join associations such as Americans for Medical Progress,  Canadians for Health Research or similar orgs around you to donate and support their activities.

As always and on behalf of a silent majority, thank you Jared and thank you Kevin. May the force be with you!



3 ways of dying

Dying with Alzheimer's is not a choice one makes.

Numbers have it that 13.8 million Americans will have Alzheimer's or some form of dementia by 2050. Currently that number is 5.2 million.
These aren't my numbers, I read them here on NBC's news blog. That is only for one country, the US.

Interestingly the FDA has a proposal out for comments to lower the bar on approving drugs for early stage of Alzheimer's Disease to treat people early before irreversable damage is done. This has caught the attention of the New York Times in this editorial. According to the article there is
no cure to Alzheimer's, in fact current drugs on the market only slow down the deterioration for some time.
The comments section of the article is really worth a read because people express how they or a close relative are affected by the disease. How their lives have changed, how useful it is to plan ahead and the value of having paid for medical care. As importantly are the comments towards accepting to lowering the bar towards FDA approval because we all want a cure even when we dont know the side effects of a potential cure or treatment. A lot of the comments come from elderly people or from those that have had a parent or other close relative affected by the disease. All agree to say that it is a terrible disease wether on drugs or not. Some if affected would enroll into clinical trials in a heart beat!
On the other hand FDA should also ask a high level of proof towards drug efficacy and safety, prior to allowing patients to be administered treatments. Sounds like sell your cake and have it too?  Maybe but in my opinion not incompatible aims. Wasn't the same done for AIDS/HIV ? Only time will tell, or will it be research? Guess where my support goes. Also time to tell our children why certain things such as animal research take place.

Another way of dying is by means of extinction. As above this is an unlikely choice. No one wants to go extinct obviously. Yet it happens. An inability to adapt or change to a new or changing environment. Over-exploitation by a predator for example, usually humans, or the consequences of an asteroid or comet impacting earth, a volcano that clouds the skies for weeks or months. Some want to repair or change the fate of those that disappear as one can read in this article. I don't know if this is really a good idea, restoring the past or recreating it for a present day environment. Sure research can help. Should we not nevertheless preserve habitat or change our attitudes towards preserving habitat? No use re-introducing wild life if there's no habitat for it.
Mass extinctions can also be the result of disease or plagues. These affect animals and humans. Research may find answers from those species and organisms we preserve and help all to thrive in the spirit of biodiversity and sustainable use.

Building knowledge through the sacrifice of animals, finding cures, treatments, food and clothing is most likely the hardest endeavour for mankind because we are aware of  what it takes.  Perhaps the early realization thereof has gotten some of us to think about good or bad, life and death, the need to thank those sacrificed, as it - the need to survive through killing animals - has been there from the start.  As we collectively try to make the world a better place it is worth our time to realize how we have gotten where we are at now, what it has taken and what it will continue to take, the sacrifice of animals for our collective survival. Unless as some suggest the world goes vegan (no offense to vegetarians) or animal sentiency (no offense to animals) primes human needs.  Neither of the three ways of dying is choosen, yet the last way, I think stands out for us all because it is by far the best way of using death to our common advantage in our quests to survival and saving or improving lives.



Lab Animal Europe , Faster cures and Recherche Animale

Lab Animal Europe | Volume 13, No. 2 | March 2013

Pleased to share with you my latest article that appeared in the March issue of Lab Animal Europe.

The reason why animal research matters is because we all need cures ! For Some Time = Life. For others animal research needs to be stopped!

Take TWO minutes of your time to listen to those for whom medical research and progress really matters.

Et pour mes amis francophones de par le monde, voici la fabuleuse histoire de James ou comment expliquer la naissance d'un médicament qui un jour peut-être sauvera des vies. Un processus qui inclut la recherche animale, of course! Pour ceux qui souhaitent lire les avancées médicales obtenues par la voie de la recherche animale, veuillez suivre ce lien et découvrir le site recherche-animale.org


Paralysed woman moves robot with mind and some help from NHP+pigs!

Always amazed when I read about animal research contributions to improving our lives or in helping us detect impacts on our health.

Here's two examples, one of which I included the video thereof in the 'worth a view' page of my blog:

  1. Brown University creates first wireless, implanted brain-computer interface  
  2. BPA may affect developing brain by disrupting gene regulation - Duke University 

Actually the smile on the wheelchair bound woman is worth so much I can hardly put words to it. I do hope however that those of you who are involved in animal research find some solace against all the hardship others bring onto you. As always you have my heartfelt thank you!

To many, research means hope! To others it is described as torture, cruelty, useless and the list goes on. I have said and wrote this before: animal research is not a zero sum equation. No, animal research is about medical progress we all benefit from. Here's one on asthma and the use of mice.  An article about a molecule that could lead to better drugs for millions.

Young students in the US are grasping the importance and necessity of animal research  more easily as you can find out here on this wonderful blog called Curious Young Writers:
A collection of high school student stories featuring uncommon animals that are helping researchers find better answers to some age-old health questions.

Read their latest post called Chinchillas: Todays Heroes!

And if you do agree with me - take two minutes of your time and sign my online petition towards medical progress through science and animal research. For your voice matters, it must be heard and counted!



Animal research in doubt

There is a buzz going on about a recent article in the New York Times that deals with mouse models and their validity as models in some disease research. You can read the article here.

Scientists are quickly pointing out that the use of a single inbred mouse strain as was the case in this study, is not representative. Furthermore it is known that certain inbred mouse strains are resistant to septic shock, whereas others are much more susceptible. So yes the use of a certain inbred mouse strain in one study failed to translate into medicines for mankind and illustrates the limits of this particular strain for a given research or disease, however in my mind the article also reminds us of the importance of choosing the adequate or most valid animal model for a study. If I am not mistaken certain countries demand the use of two different animal species in studies such as for example rodents and primates. I now better understand the logic behind such a policy.

For a further in depth look at the article and its shortcomings, read this piece below. http://community.jax.org/genetics_health/b/weblog/archive/2013/02/13/why-mice-may-succeed-in-research-when-a-single-mouse-falls-short.aspx

All of this to say that in Science there are questions and it is only in attempting to answer them that discoveries and shortcomings come to light. Obviously Peta has a different take and calls the whole exercise a waste. Oh wait a minute if you are a firefigther and victim of skin burn, an unlikely incident for Peta staff writing from their cozy offices, I guess having a cure or treatment available is not important nor valuable, just let them people suffer! Animals aren't ours to experiment on.

Talking of animal research and its benefits I invite you to read this piece by Denise Beckfield whom says that whilst she opposes animal cruelty in research she benefits from it through surgery and medication.
Paralysed people too hope to one day find the use of their limbs back. Here's what's happening in research to assist those afflicted.  And here too http://ht.ly/hQY2D , or if you prefer the video click below. Still convinced that animal research is a waste?



Protecting the public - Do no harm

Speak up and act for medical progress

Airlines play a critical role in vaccination campaigns for they transport many of the vaccines that are manufactured worldwide. It doesn't matter where it is manufactured chances are that at a certain point because of a disease outbreak and local supply doesn't suffice, medication will have to be brought into a country. There's plenty of examples that come to mind such as SARS or H1N1. A lot of temperature controlled drugs too end up flying in the bellies of aircrafts.

All of these medications need to be tested though, both in humans and animals. Of course I strongly disagree with those that say animal testing is not necessary or outdated because a solid public health policy needs to be supported by scientific facts and evidence. This testing is true also for new medical procedures and medical devices. A public health policy also requires the funding of fundamental research at Universities, public institutions and private initiatives because as concerned citizens we all require medical progress not only for ourselves, our friends and relatives but for the overarching aim of protecting the public at large and finding cures to diseases that claim many lives. It doesn't matter who you are, where you live nor what the color of your skin is, health care is based on a sound public health policy. This policy should not be affected or impacted by email campaigns by non governmental organizations that oppose animal use and therefore seek to stop the transport of animal models such as non human primates.

 Perhaps to come back to vaccination campaigns, graphical illustration of the results of vaccine use in the US might be more appropriate to illustrate the above facts!

Besides supporting public health policy one also needs to understand the critical role in funding research (animal based or not) by listening to the institutions affected. As is voiced here for Emory University by Raymond J. Dingledine, Dean for Research in Medicine.

Medical progress is not achieved by chance. It takes a lot of people and effort for it to happen and to one day perhaps save your life, if that is not already the case since most of us are vaccinated against major diseases. So please do remember that whilst you may think having drugs or treatments available at your local drugstore or hospital is normal, there are many things going on on your behalf to ensure you have the protection or treatment you need.
Do not let those that oppose animal use ruin this global worldwide effort that benefits us all.


Animal Legal Defense Fund  Action Alerts target airlines

Animal Legal Defense Fund : Action Alerts

Looking for a cause involving animals? ALDF has it up and running on their web site.

What does it mean for Airlines? Well click on the link under 'Animals on Airplanes need your help' and you will end up at Regulations.gov to submit a comment to a docket by the US DOT on a proposed rule regarding reports by air carriers on incidents involving animals during air transport.

Here's the link if you want to avoid visiting ALDF

I did have a previous post on a similar issue with service animals and the US DOT, however this time around it is the general public that is made to believe that Airlines kill your pets or that they loose large numbers of animals, or mistreat them whilst in their custody (remember the BUAV cargo cruelty campaigns). The facts however are different as the reports have demonstrated.

The time has come to pull the plug on needless red tape! Whilst the public has a right to know, it is now clear that Airlines do an excellent job in moving animals safely and with extreme care. As is the case with non human primate movements, the Airlines can decide to stop transporting animals including your beloved pet. Airlines have been deregulated a long time ago therefore commercial decisions  apparently  involve excluding certain animals from one specific shipping community such as research as we have seen at Air Canada and United.

Irony has it that certain carriers spend a lot of money on equipment carrying horses, whereas with monkeys no such investment is required. It's just a question of policy I guess and of being politically correct!

Nevertheless as it has been said before by many and at various levels of society:


and there is support towards the continued movement of lab animals for research ! Read this op-ed piece by Michael Goldberg and Larry Swanson, both are members of the US National Academies of Sciences and University professors.

And if you want to give your hard earned money to protect animals or the environment please do think twice. Evidence has it that your money may just go to killing the very animals you thought you were trying to help as my colleagues at Speaking of Research found out for you!

In the meantime as you probably need to refocus on why all of this animal research does take place,
read this blog post about a mother and her son finding out about Autism.


Growth factor aids stem cell regeneration after radiation damage

Growth factor aids stem cell regeneration after radiation damage


Above please find two well written articles, each one illustrating the use of animals in research and how animal research contributes to medical progress. And at the bottom take two minutes and have a thought for Reg Presley- The Troggs, whom lost his battle against cancer.

Those opposing animal research remind me of those that oppose vaccination.


I think there is an overwhelming majority (silent that is) of people out there that understand the need for animal research. Charities should be more forthcoming  about animal research as is suggested here in this article by Tom Holder of speaking of Research.

When disease strikes is perhaps not the best time to find out how your drug or treatment came about to be, however we should all take some time to think about it and realize how much is being done to keep you , your relatives or friends alive or to improve your life. Let's not take this for granted.

I did look at all I and my family have benefited from in terms of medical care and progress.  So my blog is just a little contribution and thank you to those that day in, day out are dedicating their time and efforts to save us all, animals and humans!  The list of those to thank is so long, suffice it to say that these words are there for you  as long as these pages don't disappear. I do hope my airline colleagues will follow me in supporting medical progress and perhaps cease imposing restrictive policies that hinder the search for cures!

!!! THANK YOU !!!

R.I.P Reg Presley - let's win the battle against cancer.



Say No to NHP Air Transport Ban

Campaign: Say No to Air Transport Ban of Non Human Primates destined for research

As a result of the Air Canada decision to ban non human primates destined for research, the Canadian Society for Neurosciences asks you to let Air Canada know you support research and the removal of the ban.
You should know that neuroscience researchers study to understand and find cures for important diseases such as schizophrenia or Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. This valuable research and the researches involved, as well as millions of patients waiting for cures, are affected by this decision. Alternative means of transport, by land or sea, are more stressful on animals and therefore less humane. Animal research is important to all of us and it is closely regulated in Canada.

Here's what you should do:

Posted below is a letter you could copy/paste and send to the President of Air Canada, Mr. Calin Rovinescu. You should consider personalizing your letter by indicating whether you are a researcher, a person who flies with Air Canada on a regular basis, a member of their rewards program, a person who benefits from medical research innovations, a physician who sees the benefits of research in your practice, or any other information you may find relevant. Make sure to sign your full name and to include complete contact information.

To: Mr. Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada

Dear Mr. Rovinescu,

I was troubled to learn that Air Canada has recently decided to halt transport of non-human primates for use in biomedical research. I urge you to reconsider this position, as animal models, including non-human primates, are essential to advancing our understanding of diseases and disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis that could lead to treatments and cures of these devastating conditions. Misinformation, spread by “animal rights” extremists, threatens to hinder research efforts, and must not be allowed to affect policy making in important Canadian companies such as yours.

The significant role that animal models play in lifesaving research is undeniable. Almost every major medical advance in the last century was made possible by carefully regulated, humane animal research. In Canada, the Canadian Council on Animal Care is responsible for setting and maintaining standards for the ethical use and care of animals in science in Canada, and institutions review all animal research to ensure the protection of the welfare of animals used for research purposes. Studies using animal models follows strict ethical guidelines. Airline transportation, provided by companies such as yours, ensures that laboratory animals are available for lifesaving biomedical research in universities, hospitals and research centers.
Highly vocal animal rights extremists are attempting to halt all research which involves animal models, and to sway public opinion in their direction. These people represent a very small number of individuals, much less than the millions who are dependent on the discoveries brought about by humane, well-regulated animal research – not to mention the tens of thousands of scientists who rely on air travel to attend scientific conferences and to conduct their research.

I hope that your personal commitment to advancing science, exemplified by your recent membership in the McGill University Health Research Center Board of Directors, will be reflected in policies at Air Canada that will allow important scientific research to move forward.
Name (First and Last)
Contact information: Email, Full mailing address.
Likewise please contact United's CEO Jeff Smisek, to let him know your support to animal research and the need for continued Air services and uplift for Non Human Primates. Here's what you can say- please personalize your letter and add your contact details when sending. For an automated version follow this link.
If you are not a US resident: please email the CEO directly by copying and pasting the letter below into your email program and sending it to jeff.smisek@united.com. And don't forget to let advocacy@sfn.org know that you sent a letter.

Message Recipients:
Mr. Jeff Smisek, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Airlines
Subject: Please consider changing your animal transport policies
As a scientist, I was troubled to learn that United Continental has decided to halt shipment of non-human primates for use in biomedical research. If that is the case, I urge the airline to reconsider its position. Animal models, including non-human primates, are essential to advancing our understanding of and eventually finding cures for diseases and disorders like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury. If "animal rights" extremists continue to sway airlines in the direction that your company is taking, the effects will be devastating.

Airline transportation ensures that laboratory animals are available for lifesaving biomedical research. Universities, medical and veterinary schools, and research centers are all dependent on your airline to continue their groundbreaking research. A small but vocal group of animal rights extremists have been pushing this issue in their attempts to halt all research which involves animal models. Their numbers are dwarfed by the millions who are dependent on the discoveries brought about by humane, well-regulated animal research – not to mention the tens of thousands of scientists who rely on air travel to attend scientific conferences and to conduct their research.

The significant role that animal models play in lifesaving research is undeniable. Almost every major medical advance in the last century was made possible by carefully regulated, humane animal research. Animal research around the globe is heavily regulated, as it should be. In the U.S., federal, state, institutional, and community review protects the welfare of animals used in research. Scientists involved with animal research understand they must use animals appropriately and humanely, using as few animals and as many alternative techniques as possible to achieve reliable results.

In your position on the Board of Trustees at the Museum of Science and Industry, you have demonstrated a clear commitment to the value of scientific innovation. Progress in biomedical research requires the use of animal models – including non-human primates. We hope that your personal commitment to advancing science will be reflected in policies at United Continental that will allow important scientific research to move forward. 



Not 4 the faint of heart!

Let me guess who would you rather see live?

Will you tell those that have an affliction that their lives equal those of a laboratory animal?

Will you tell those that are paraplegic that animal research has to stop because you are against animal use?

Will you tell the millions of people that are waiting for cures, treatments or life saving drugs that their condition is secondary to the fate of the animals that will be used in research?

Or will you listen to Professor Robin Lovell Badge whom says in this excellent article that when it comes to animal research nine out of ten statistics used by those opposing animal use are taken out of context?

When there is animal research towards finding cures or treatments, making sure that the intended drugs or treatments are safe for use in humans is a necessary step that requires animal testing. It would not be wise to go straight into human testing therefore assurances (toxicity levels etc) need to be obtained, measured and analyzed through animal research. This precautionary principle benefits mankind everywhere where it is applied and enshrined into laws. This has nothing to do with sentiency nor cruelty but everything to do with common sense and a high sense of civic duty and care.

Perhaps you may want to listen to Amanda Wainright, a young girl whom has signed the petition in support of medical progress through science and animals research. Here is what she has to say:

This is important to me because I, myself, am a paraplegic! I've been chair bound since 11.11.07, we need a cure! This is something I not only hope for myself, but for every person, (young , old, big, or small) that suffers through life with a impairment of any sort, that to date has no cure! WE ALL NEED A CURE, please sign this petition and support finding that cure that we all are so desperately waiting for! Thank you all in advance! It means the world to us! God bless you all for giving your time to read this! :)
And if you want to study and become a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine, read this guest post by Kelly Walton whom has some very constructive comments about animal research and how it benefits humans and animals.

Likewise I would kindly suggest you ask yourself what will happen with this valuable research as chimps are on the verge of disappearing as an animal model ? Animal cruelty or political correctness? Those millions of people that are waiting for cures will again be the silent victims of these great Victories...



A many years ago when I joined an all freigther operation I learned to apply preventive measures to ensure customers experience prime time customer satisfaction when using our services. This was part and parcel of a due dilligence process. This mindset has never left me and other employers have enjoyed the benefits thereof. You can read about this mindset in this excellent article that describes the crucial role of  animal research and its contributions to saving lives here.

Nowadays it seems one first has to experience something really bad before anything happens. Despite AETA, Animal extremists know this very well and their actions are slick orchestrated public relations campaigns to turn you into active figthers that combat for what is labeled ethically right. A prime example is the case of Camille Marino who's infamous TRIAL TO JAIL is well documented in this article

Let's be clear the objective is not to engage debate but to stop animal use, regardless of medical progress and life saving medical procedures or drugs and the fate of millions of people that suffer or are waiting for cures. Did you know that there are over 34 million people worldwide infected with HIV? You can read about it here. One thing is sure ERADICATION of this disease will not be achieved if we leave it up to animal extremists (BUAV, PETA, HSUS, HSIC etc) for they oppose animal use and leave at a minimum 34 million people behind because they do not fit with what they consider right.

Others join the fray and portray those involved with animal research as Targets and prompt readers for action. As you can see here. No matter what you do they will always take things a step further and depict your legal activities as torture or immoral and inundate you with pre-written emails. However when they impose longer transit times onto animals to be transported because an airline decides to no longer carry research animals then that is called a victory... a victory with a bad smell that is.
And they call themselves Charities ....I say take away their tax exempt status. 


Canadian Transport Agency supports ban on primates!

Shortly before the New Year, the Canadian Transport Agency issued its decision to support Air Canada’s ban on transportation of primates destined for research.  The agency recognized the ‘potential’ impact on Air Canada’s brand by the 47000 people that via email opposed such transportation. Some of the letters received by Air Canada threatened to cease using their services if this (transport) were to continue whilst others indicated it as a reason for not using Air Canada. As a carrier Air Canada transports thirty two (32) million passengers per year and it identifies itself primarily as a passenger carrier transporting cargo in its bellies.

Air Canada submits that non human primate transportation represents 0.01% of its total weight worldwide in 2010 whereas the numbers for 2011 represent 0.001% in 2011. It is therefore considered minimal in terms of commercial value and in comparison with total weight transported (a means of showing the minimal amount of shippers affected).  


Given these minimal numbers it is hard to understand why the agency let’s Canadian transportation policy be defined by such a minority of voices and of shipments.  Nevertheless as it has the task to decide upon the matter submitted, the agency considers the potential commercial impact on Air Canada to be serious enough to support a ban on shippers of laboratory destined primates because in effect that is what the Air Canada decision entails. Other means of transportation being available the agency has no problem supporting a solution whereby the animals for example are trucked into the country as is pointed out by the BUAV and HSIC.  

Coming from an aviation background the agency and its members should have noted that the most humane way of transporting animals is by air not by ground. Ironically BUAV and HSIC are now supporting longer and less humane means of transportation as opposed to supporting the animal’s best welfare interests! Click here to read their campaign against air canada and those that collaborated to this decision

The same animal being shipped from and to a zoo for example would benefit from Air Canada services whereas one identical animal destined to a laboratory would not. If this is not discriminatory to shippers and animals then I don’t know what is. The agency however does not consider the decision to be discriminatory. I call this denial of service.

The Transport Canada decision is, seeded with statements made by the BUAV a foreign based entity, almost reading as if the agency is required to provide its comments with equal weight or standing. A Canadian transport policy (the accessibility to available air services for shippers) is now heavily influenced if not shaped by foreign input whereas native comments or input is simply ignored.

The medical progress brought through primate research are numerous and clearly documented. The agency however fails to take this aspect into consideration and has made a decision around matters submitted to it by a number of interested parties –amongst whom the writer of this article, without looking beyond the issues or facts at hand. Medical progress benefits all Canadians and animals and the agency should have defended these interests as well as part of the due diligence expected from an official agency.   For Air Canada the decision is also short sighted for Pharmaceutical and related companies do transport their cold chain goods under their wings and their traveling employees in their business class seats.

A sad day for Canadians, animals and medical progress – please do not follow this unprecedented Canadian example.  As a service transportation must be available to all, always. As I have said before I did not vote for this! Did you?


French Veterinary Academy supports animal research!

I recently read a report called: Scientific research and animal experimentation – the state of the question or taking stock if you prefer. It was written in May this year and issued by the Veterinary Academy of France. The conclusion of the report was issued as an opinion to the General Assembly of the Veterinary Academy of France and adopted by it on the 21st of June, 2012.

The report is well written, concise yet articulated enough to take the reader through various aspects of animal research and why it is needed.  The report is unapologetic although accommodating in tone, if not spirit and an important step in the right direction by a scientific body in support of those that over many years are under attack by animal extremists. One can only wish that more entities will join the effort and stand up to animal research and highlight its contributions to society.  

The report contains a summary, an introduction, three chapters, a conclusion, bibliography, some annexes and a glossary, for a total of 109 pages. For those of you that master the French language you can read or download the report from here:http://www.recherche-animale.org/lexperimentation-animale-evaluee


From its summary one can read that in accordance with the societal needs of longevity and health, research in biological and medical sciences builds largely on animal research. In a society where the place of an animal has considerably evolved, the use of animals for research purposes is increasingly questioned despite its historical justification. The controversies, that oppose researchers to a part of society, have as origins convictions and beliefs that cannot be modified or changed by means of rational arguments. These beliefs are furthermore strengthened by a global sentiment of defiance towards science even though paradoxically expectations towards (medical) progress and safety (health) have never been as high.


The first chapter is called a societal debate and talks about the necessity of biomedical research to our societies of yesterday, today and tomorrow. It points to animal research as a fundamental aspect of the scientific approach towards health. Further subsections deal with the historical background to animal research and the different medical milestones achieved naming the animal species used and the resulting benefit. The positions of both researchers and their opponents are further discussed and elaborated upon. Regulatory instruments, oversight and amount of animals used are also provided. Not surprisingly here, rodents continue to be the flagship species and primates the exception rather than the norm.

In the second chapter animal models are discussed, as are replacement and alternative models in research. The conclusions from this chapter cast a light on animal research that is often overlooked, ignored or deliberately obscured by those that oppose animal use.

The complexity of organisms cannot be modeled through the addition of elementary biological systems. It is the highly integral nature of life that leads the disciplines of biology in general and the biomedical discipline in particular to the use of more complex systems found in animals that are similar to those in humans.

Furthermore results found through in vitro models must necessarily go through in vivo tests when integrated into an entire system.  This is true for fundamental research, be it physiological, immunological or genetic in nature and also applies to research concerning knowledge or understanding of physio-pathological mechanisms, the basis of surgical and medical therapies.

From the preceding two chapters, four main principles emerge to form the third chapter and that are cast as potential foundations of academic behaviour. These would be:

·         To re-affirm an undeniable preamble: in the current state of science, the use of animals in research is essential to progress knowledge and the advancement of medicine.

·         To express respect towards research animals based on their character of sentient beings and their common phylo-genetic origins with mankind.

·         To recognise that the experimental process in biology in general and bio-medical research in particular, uses without any preference and in an objective manner, the whole of the methodological possibilities created by it.

·         To define the conditions of a societal debate based on knowledge and mutual respect.

In its opinion on animal research, its role and perception in society the Veterinary Academy of France considers that (not an exhaustive enumeration- see document for full details):

In human and animal health, society expresses an increasing demand which in turn requires a considerable effort from research;

That animal research has played and continues to play a decisive role in the accumulation of biological knowledge and in contributions to the progress of medicine;

That experimentation on humans can only be envisioned on a limited number of situations, strictly defined by bio-ethical principles such as in clinical trials indispensible to the evaluation of new treatments and that as a consequence the use of laboratory animals in research remains unavoidable, in particular when evaluating harmlessness and efficacy of any therapeutic innovation.

The academy further re-affirms the irreplaceable role of animal models in research of life sciences, fundamental and biomedical; a research that would only rely on in vitro and in silico models would limit itself whilst ignoring the complexities of the biological processes at the organism level. 

In its recommendations the academy supports the further optimal and reasoned use of animals in research and that the societal dialogue continues in order for biomedical research to proceed with determination and in line with societal expectations whilst considering the concept of an evolving man to animal relationship.

As I said at the start of this post the report is a welcome step by a credible scientific body. As important is the need to refute animal extremist claims that are based on half truths, misinterpretation or simply spin. Whilst the popularity of fending for animals is undeniable so are the multiple actions undertaken by research to save the lives of us all, including animals. What prevents you to claim your right to fame or to simply stand up for the valuable work you do?

You can join the action by reading the posts on the blog roll (on the right), follow tweets by like minded organisations or individuals, educate friends, children and colleagues around you about animal research, contribute by writing a guest post on a blog, start a discussion on a Linked in forum or leave a comment on a web page when you see wrong or one sided information. Work with your industry associations and inform regulators of the importance of your work. Sign petitions in support of medical advancement and medical charities.

Of course as always nothing beats a real life time example of medical progress as is illustrated here by my colleagues of speaking of research http://speakingofresearch.com/2012/12/17/brain-machine-interface-success-allows-paralysed-woman-to-feed-herself-for-first-time-in-a-decade/

Remember that without your informing the public what it is you do, ignorance will prevail and animal extremists will continue to claim high moral grounds unopposed!


Animal rights ID card and Research Chimpanzee Colony Valuable !

American Physiological Society Research Chimpanzee Colony is Valuable Resource


Why would you care about animal research? Why not simply speak on behalf of animals, show compassion and decry animal use as torture, vile and useless? Join the masses of self-proclaimed politically correct thinkers: our society should treat animals on an equal basis as humans.

These two articles above should make you think. Medical progress isn't a result of chance, it is a difficult process that involves many brilliant and dedicated minds. It is true that not all research leads to a drug, the vast majority does not but it certainly isn't an exercise in futility. Some discoveries are indeed a result of chance or are the basis for other research. It is a building process where knowledge and understanding are building blocks -each scientist being able to build on the knowledge and foundations of the others. That doesn't mean there is no room for disagreement but indeed little room for ignorance.

You may decide for yourself that you can not live with such a process and you prefer to opt out. That is perfectly fine when that decision affects you and only you. Whilst opting out as an animal rights activist and as the Americans for medical Progress suggests you should  sign and carry this card that specifies:

Animal Rights Identification Card

Animal Rights Identification Card

I, ____________________________________

hereby identify myself as a supporter

of animal rights and agree to live my life in

accordance with all animal rights principles.


So as not to violate my animal rights principles, I

hereby request that in the event of an accident or

illness, all medical treatments developed or tested on animals be withheld, including but not limited to:

blood transfusions, anesthesia, pain killers,

antibiotics, insulin, vaccines, chemotherapy,

coronary bypass surgery, reconstructivesurgery, orthopedic surgery, etc.

©1992–2010. Compliments of Americans for Medical Progress: (703) 836-9595


Urge Your Senators to Oppose the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act!

Urge Your Senators to Oppose the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act!

FASEB and NABR are asking you to contact your Senator and the congress to oppose this legislation. Here's why explained by FASEB President Judith S. Bond. You can also follow the link below and send a letter or email to your Senator by giving your zip code! Think of research on, and medical progress for those affected by,  HIV/AIDS - EBOLA MARBURG VIRUS ETC.
Dear Colleague,
We need your help to counter a serious threat to the humane use of animals in research. The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S 810), which would prohibit the use of chimpanzees in medical research, may be voted on in the Senate this week (it was approved by a Senate committee in July)! Passage of this bill could have devastating consequences for ongoing research into human diseases such as hepatitis C, as well as studies benefiting the great apes themselves. Even if you do not work with great apes, you should be concerned about this bill because it would end research deemed by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to be ethically sound and scientifically important and could pave the way for legislation to ban research with other species
Those who oppose the use of animals in research are making an aggressive effort to get this bill passed before Congress goes home for the year. We must let them know that chimpanzees are important animal models for research. Please take action now by going to http://capwiz.com/faseb/issues/alert/?alertid=62215781 to send an email to your Senators urging them to oppose the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act.
Judith S. Bond, PhD
FASEB President


Warning this medical progress is not supported by those that oppose animal USE such as PETA, BUAV and HSUS!   

If you prefer to write directly as opposed to using the FASEB site, here is some text you can use from the same site.
As a constituent and biomedical researcher, I am writing to urge you to oppose the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S 810). This legislation, which would ban all invasive research involving great apes, ignores the scientific advice of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), would halt valuable ongoing disease research, and could severely compromise human health in the face of a rapidly spreading infectious disease for which no other animal or non-animal model is appropriate.
The IOM does not endorse a ban on the use of chimpanzees in research. In its recent report, "Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity" the IOM recognized "how disruptive an immediate outright ban would be, affecting animal care and potentially causing unacceptable losses to the public's health." Its report concluded that chimpanzees may be needed to treat new, emerging, or reemerging diseases or disorders; to complete development of monoclonal antibodies aimed at treating cancers and autoimmune diseases; and for behavioral and comparative genomics research. Many of the IOM committee and numerous other scientists and physicians believe that chimpanzees are necessary for evaluating hepatitis C vaccines. 

The Ebola virus is ravaging wild populations of chimpanzees and gorillas. In 2010, the first studies were conducted on laboratory chimpanzees to test the safety of a potential vaccine that could be used to protect these animals from this deadly disease. This and other research aimed at protecting wild apes would have to come to an end if this bill is adopted.
The claim that the bill will save money is false. The Congressional Budget Office recently determined that the legislation will actually cost $56 million to implement.
Passage of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act would ignore the recommendations of the IOM and inhibit our efforts to improve human and animal health. I strongly urge you to oppose S 810, the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act.
NABR issued the following ALERT for US Constituents to act upon:
Urgent Alert:
Please Contact Your Senators Today to Oppose S.810,
The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act
Late last week, a few members of the Senate attempted to take a step forward in bringing S. 810, the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (GAPCSA), to the floor for consideration. The attempt failed, in part because many Senators had already left for the weekend. However, supporters of the bill are likely to continue these efforts in the waning weeks of the 112th Congress so it is crucial that you IMMEDIATELY contact your members of Congress in opposition to GAPSCA. THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW!
  • The legislation would take the unprecedented step of prohibiting the use of a research model, allowing public comment about the merit of specific research projects and protocols and opening the door for future prohibition of other research models.
  • Legislation is unnecessary as NIH is in the process of implementing the recommendations of the IOM study, which was requested by NIH.
  • Despite the fact that the bill claims to be a "Cost Savings" the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office determined the legislation would actually cost $56 million over the 2013-2017 period.
This legislation has serious implications for ALL biomedical research involving humane and responsible animal research, which is dedicated to improved treatments and cures for the many diseases afflicting both people and other animals. Not only will S. 810 prohibit the use of chimpanzees as a model for vital life-saving research, but it will subject scientific research (both private and federally funded) to the approval of the Secretary of Health & Human Services. Simply put, this legislation will put the future of biomedical research on dangerous ground.
Please click here to visit NABR's Capwiz page to send a letter to your representatives in Washington. If you would like to call your Senator, please click here to find their phone number. Please urge your family, friends, and fellow researchers to do the same as soon as possible! 
To find out more about the importance of research on Pan Troglodytes , read this fact sheet here!!

This post follows a previous alert / post I wrote 26.07.2012 that you can read here: