Animal welfare protests at Georgia Regents University

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The Humane Society of the US alleges, through video, that dogs are being abused during research studies at Georgia Regents University. With the release of this news, a group of animal-welfare advocates protested this past weekend at the Augusta, Ga. campus.

A response from Dr. Christopher Cutler and Dr. Mark Hamrick of the university ran on the WRDW-TV website. In the editorial, the two state the HSUS is claiming abuse where no such abuse is occurring. They support their position – in part – with the following:

Dogs are used infrequently in research conducted at the university. In this and every study at GRU, they are only obtained from vendors licensed and inspected by the USDA.

Puppy mill supporters use this same excuse, and it’s not a good one. The USDA is extremely short-handed with inspectors and we know puppy mills are operating unimpeded across the nation. And we know the regulations are extremely weak, as even puppy mills that are finally raided have often been allowed to stay in operation despite a history of infractions.

I would feel better to hear school officials were visiting the breeders on a regular basis for full tours, to ensure the parent dogs are being treated humanely. Are the breeders allowing the dogs regular, daily time for exercise and play? If not, these dogs are not being treated humanely.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

A huge victory for chimpanzees

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The National Institutes of Health has announced it will largely end the practice of experimenting on chimpanzees for government medical research.

The Associated Press quoted NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins as saying:

“These amazing animals have taught us a great deal already” He said the decision helps usher in “a compassionate era.”

The AP offered another quote stating – humans’ closest relatives “deserve special respect.”

And the article noted the Fish and Wildlife Service called for protections for all chimpanzees two weeks ago – even those in captivity. Over the next few years, the NIH plans to retire approximately 310 “government-owned” chimpanzees from research studies. But 50 will continued to be held for other studies.

I hope the following important paragraph from article is another sign that the health and welfare of these chimps will be closely monitored:

Any future biomedical research funded by the NIH with chimps, government-owned or not, would be allowed only under strict conditions after review by a special advisory board. In five years, the NIH will reassess if even that group of 50 government-owned apes still is needed for science.

I received a release today from the Humane Society of the US, reporting 50 of these chimpanzees have been transported from New Iberia Research Center to Chimp Haven, The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

The following video highlights the work of Chimp Haven. The segments showing some of them experiencing the outside world for the first time is incredibly moving.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic