Animal Research News Roundup: January 5, 2024

The Rise for Animals Team, January 5, 2024

Here’s a roundup of this week’s biggest news stories related to animal research—all the recent media coverage you need to know right now to be the most effective activist for animals in labs.

How One Texas County Is Fighting 43,000 Monkeys

Nidhi Subbaraman, 1/2/2024

“Texans bought land in Brazoria County looking for solitude. Then they heard about the monkeys. Last year, a $12 billion biomedical research firm quietly bought more than 500 acres of land in a sleepy corner of the county and shared a plan to house up to 43,200 monkeys on the property. Now, the neighbors want them out.”

“Charles River Laboratories, the new neighbor, housed nearly 19,000 monkeys in half a dozen states in fiscal year 2022, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture records. The company, based in Wilmington, Mass., sells the animals for research and, under contract to universities, biotech and pharma companies, runs tests on the animals in its own facilities.”

“Since early October, PETA has canvassed county officials and conservation groups, and it has mailed more than 4,000 letters to local residents to oppose the project, citing the possible spread of diseases and the possibility of contaminated soil and water. Lisa Jones-Engel, PETA’s senior science adviser for primate experimentation, visited the neighboring properties and spoke at a county commissioners’ meeting in mid-November. Two weeks later, the Brazoria County Commissioners Court passed a resolution asking federal and state agencies to deny the company permits to bring the animals to their corner of Texas.”

“In a closed-door meeting with elected officials in mid-December, according to those present, [Chief Operating Officer Birgit Girshick] and Charles River representatives described a more modest plan for a quarantine facility with up to 8,600 long-tailed macaques, the species of monkey most popular among drug companies doing research. The company has also told officials it would pause work to evaluate the flood risks.”

“‘At the current time our plans are on hold,’ Girshick told The Wall Street Journal, expressing regret that the company didn’t connect with the community earlier. ‘We didn’t do our job.’”  Full Story →


Letter to the Editor: Save Imported Monkeys from Abuse, Extinction

Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, 1/2/2024

“In an opinion essay on Dec. 26 . . . Matthew Bailey, a paid lobbyist for the animal experimentation industry, sidesteps the concerning reality that the massive importation of monkeys into the U.S. annually is hastening their path to extinction.” 

“The International Union of Conservation of Nature, a neutral authority, has elevated long-tailed macaques from ‘threatened’ to ‘endangered,’ identifying the experimentation industry as a major catalyst for their decline. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has instigated increased scrutiny of macaque exports from their natural habitats.” Full Story →


Opinion: Science is Advancing Past the Need for Drug Testing on Animals. Let’s Embrace Alternatives

Dr. David A. Brenner, 1/3/2024

“ . . . in current drug development practice using animal testing, nine out of 10 drugs that enter clinical trials fail because they are ultimately unsafe or ineffective in people. From this perspective, the animal experiments upon which these drug efforts were based have proven to be largely a waste of time, money and animal lives.”

“But emerging alternatives abound . . . . [that] are human-derived and human-based and avoid the speculative pitfalls of a trans-species leap.”

“I am a practicing physician and researcher in gastroenterology . . . Here’s what we do know: Working with actual human cells and tissues . . . is far more likely to directly inform our research and efforts than working with cells from another species, whether in culture or in the actual animal.”  Full Story →


U.S. Rep. Greg Steube Cosponsors Bill to Ban NIH Funding of Cruel Foreign Animal Experiments

ABC7 Staff, 1/4/2024

“U.S. Rep. Greg Steube has signed on as a cosponsor of the bipartisan H.R. 4757 Cease Animal Research Grants Overseas (CARGO) Act, which would bar the [NIH] from funding animal tests in foreign laboratories.”

“Between 2011 and 2021, NIH gave approximately $2.2 billion to 200 foreign organizations to fund 1,357 grants and contracts involving experiments on animals.”

“‘The U.S. cannot continue sending Americans’ hard-earned money overseas and not paying attention to what’s done with it,’ says Rep. Steube.”  Full Story →


New Rule: Calling Bill Maher a Liar About Animal Research Makes You One

Rise for Animals, 1/5/2024

Last month, Bill Maher called upon the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) to start meeting its mission to “‘enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability’” by discontinuing animal experimentation in favor of ethical, human-relevant science. A popular and heavy hitter, Maher exposed the animal research industry to a wide audience, luring the industry into a characteristically dishonest, hollow, and desperate response.

The industry’s retort took the form of a USA Today opinion piece aimed at discrediting not only Maher’s call-to-action, but, more fundamentally, Maher’s anti-vivisection stance itself.  Full Story →

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