CHILDREN AND ANIMALS

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1993:

The National Institutes of Health is now distrib-
uting seven sets of Let’s Visit a Research Laboratory Lesson
Plans free to public schools and to anyone else on request.
“Even though the Michigan Humane Society agrees with
legitimate uses of animals in biomedical research,” MHS
lobbyist Eileen Liska told U.S. Senator Carl Levin in a
recent letter of protest, “these are clearly an example of bla-
tantly one-sided pro-animal research propaganda, and as
such are an inappropriate use of tax dollars. The brochures
do not portray the scientific and ethical complexities of ani-
mal research. I have found a disturbing number of factual
errors in the texts. And also please notice how the refer-
ences at the end of each lesson plan are equally one-
sided––especially the frequency with which the National
Association for Biomedical Research and Foundation for
Biomedical Research are referenced. These are special
interest organizations with sizeable budgets for promoting
their viewpoint. There is no justication for allowing the NIH
to use limited federal funds,” supposed to be spent on pro-
moting public health, “to help such special interests.” The
lesson plans are available from Public Inquiries, National
Institute of Mental Health, NIH, Room 15C-05, 5600
Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857.

The Encyclopedia Britannica has deleted a pas-
sage from its 1993 edition, included in the 1991 edition,
which noted that laboratory use of dogs, often entailing
“much suffering, has been questioned for its scientific valid-
ity and medical relevance to human health problems. For
example,” the passage continued, “beagles and other ani-
mals have been forced to inhale tobacco smoke for days and
have been used to test household chemicals such as bleach
and drain cleaner. In addition, dogs have been used to test
the effects of various military weapons and radiation.” The
encyclopedia also deleted the word “vivisection” from one
adjacent passage and a mention of “growing recognition of
animals rights” from another. The deletions were demanded
by the American Society for Pharmacology and
Experimental Therapeutics, which is now urging the ency-
clopedia to add material on medical advances purportedly
made through experiments using dogs. (The Encyclopedia
Britanica may be reached at Britanica Centre, 310 South
Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.)
The current issue of the Journal of Social Issues,
Vol. 49, #1, examines “The Role of Animals in Human
Society.” Editor Scott Plous found that 43% to 87% of a
sampling of 143 college students don’t know about various
common painful practices involved in the use of animals for
food and clothing, while among 57 grade school students,
54% failed to recognize the animal source of hamburger;
51% failed to recognize the animal source of ice cream;
79% failed to recognize the animal source of a leather jack-
et; and 95% failed to recognize the animal source of silk.
Among 117 adults, none recognized more than six of 13
listed products as commonly including materials of animal
origin. Thirty-four percent failed to recognize the animal
content of at least one common dairy product.
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