to queries sent out by reputable journalistic outlets, here
is an actual Profnet query recently sent out by a fake research
group called "the American Council on Science and Health":
EFFORTS OF ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUPS - PRIORITIES FOR HEALTH.
I'm looking for critics or skeptics of the animal rights movement
who can talk about the radical efforts of animal rights groups,
e.g., threats of violence, the destruction of labs, the stealing
of animals, etc. I'd also like to speak with an animal researcher
or scientist. Priorities for Health is a print and electronic
publication of the American Council on Science & Health. No
phone calls, please. Need leads by June 15. >>> Nina Silberstein
Web site: http://www.prioritiesforhealth.com
Here on VegSource
we have previously written about the American Council on Science
& Health (ACSH), a non-profit "scientific" organization. ACSH
claims to be a group of unbiased experts concerned about health,
and vigorously promotes what it terms "sound science." What it actually
is is another animal entirely. (Linked below are related articles
further exposing how ACSH and organizations like it are funded and
When you hear the term "sound science," you know you're most likely
listening to someone who gets money from a company which sells products
that make people sick or pollute the environment.
And this is
exactly the case with ACSH.
In recent years, a number of such non-profit fronts have sprung
up, soaking millions from corporate interests in exchange for the
non-profit's attempts to confuse the public about research which
points to safety problems of various chemicals, foods, tobacco products,
global warming, etc.
Both sides of a story
Glaringly absent from the ACSH Profnet query above is the usual
request for experts to provide information or opinions on the other
side of the issue. In this case, that would mean seeking experts
to discuss evidence which may support the case that animal experimentation
has been a scientific and medical disaster.
ACSH will no doubt be successful in finding "scientists" to assert
that we absolutely need animal experiments in order to discover
how safe new drugs are before we give them to humans.
But they won't talk to a credible researcher who might point to
information like the fact that the combination of fenfluramine and
dexfenfluramine (or "phen-fen"), prescribed by thousands of doctors
to combat obesity, was tested on animals for years, and deemed safe
for humans. But it caused heart valve abnormalities in people, and
some died from this "magic fat pill." The arthritis drug
Opren was tested on monkeys and came up clean. 61 people were killed
before it was withdrawn from the market. And Cylert, given to children
with attention deficit hyperactive disorder, appeared to be fine
for animals, but caused liver failure in 13 children before it was
Jerome Burne, the editor of the monthly newsletter Medicine Today,
recently detailed in a report in the London Guardian how
thousands of people have been injured or killed by drugs that were
found to be safe for other species. At least animal testing can
determine something as basic as whether or not a chemical causes
cancer, right? Not quite -- the results may be totally contradictory.
The American National Institute of Envionmental Health Sciences
tested 392 chemicals tested for carcinogenic effects. But 96 came
out positive in the rat and negative in the mouse or vice versa.
So which of those are harmful to humans? The institute doesn't know.
They spent 30 years feeding high doses of a range of new chemicals
to animals to discover if they caused cancer or other damage. They
produced hundreds of thousands of pages of results. So how many
of the substances they tested might produce tumors in humans at
normal levels? The institute doesn't know. Well what about the ones
that didn't harm rodents, how many of them might harm humans? They
don't know that either.
The lack of predictable differences between animal and human reactions
is something that has bedeviled AIDS research. There's lots of money
available for AIDS research. And while many may believe it's unethical
to experiment on chimpanzees, the scale of this epidemic urges overlooking
ethical objections in using them, right? After all, the chimp's
genome is identical to ours, give or take a few percentage points,
so they should yield more accurate results than rodents.
that turns out not to be the case at all. Out of about 100 chimps
infected with HIV over a 10-year period only two have become sick
(the fact that chimps are naturally immune to this disease may play
some part in this). Chimp vaccine trials have turned out to be unreliable
as well, because they don't show the antibody or cell-mediated response
to HIV that humans do. Animal experimentation has played at most
a tiny role in developing drug treatments for AIDS.
Then there are the many drugs that desperately sick people could
not obtain and use because they caused dangerous reaction in animals,
such as beta blockers and valium -- which were actually safe for
humans. Legislation to stop the use of asbestos was held up for
years because animals exposed to it didn't get cancer; the carcinogen
benzene continued to be used long after clinicians were concerned
about its safety, because it didn't cause leukemia in mice. And
the list goes on and on.
ACSH: "Science" for sale
When you know who ACSH is and how they're funded, you can be assured
that they are being paid to write this pro-animal research article
by drug companies or other corporations with a vested interest in
promoting this topic. The query above clearly reveals that the writer
has her orders.
Most likely this assignment comes from one of ACSH's funders who's
feeling a pinch. People are becoming aware that animal research
may not be the panecea that drug companies and others paint it to
So in response, ACSH creates a newsletter. They call it "Priorities
Even the very name - "Priorities for Health" - suggests that whatever
they print there must be critically important to health issues.
They start with the premise that animal testing is a priority for
health, and anyone with opinions competing with their corporate
funders' premise -- need not apply.
It's very obvious from the ACSH query that they want to write a
publicity piece casting people who oppose animal research as villains.
The point of the article will be to assert, as the query does, that
people opposed to animal experimentation are dangerous zealots,
"radical," "violent," "thieves" who "threaten"
and "destroy," according to the query, and who therefore
must be devoid of any rational arguments to defend their position.
In other words,
the article will state that there really are no good arguments against
animal tests - while steadfastly avoiding any real discussion of
what those arguments might be.
Any scientists they'll quote - you know, the kind who put electrodes
into cat brains or commit other atrocities which they would otherwise
get arrested for if they did them outside of a laboratory - these
will be the "good guys."
We predict that ACSH will not disclose in their article that lab
animal theft or violence against animal researchers is actually
exceedingly rare. There are many more people doing animal experiments
than are breaking into labs, and only a miniscule number of the
people who are concerned about animal testing ever do anything violent
Once this article has been finished and published by ACSH, they
will no doubt put out a press release, and sites like DrKoop.com
and others which are in on the corporate payola schemes will run
the piece as though it's real. Maybe they'll get lucky
and CNN or CBS will mention it. If that happens, the drug companies
will have really gotten their monies worth from ACSH.
The truth is, ACSH doesn't really feel that people are going to
be harmed if animal testing stops. It's that their own bottom line
may be harmed if they don't write an article protecting their source
of funding. "Meat, dairy, pesticides, and processed foods are
all good for us," ACSH will dutifully assert, "and anyone
who disputes this notion is a radical, violent thief."
ACSH's "priorities for health" are not the health of people -- but
the health of their own financial interests, which they put first.
here for list of ACSH funders