Animals in laboratories

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1998:

Bert and Ernie, the first two pigs
whom Pennsylvania State University professor
Stan Curtis taught to play computer
games and adjust their own room temperature
with a joy stick, whose achievements were
described on page one of the June edition of
ANIMAL PEOPLE, arrived on August 5 at
PIGS: A Sanctuary, in Charles Town,
West Virginia. Learning that Curtis had
replaced Bert and Ernie in his experiments
with two pigs of a smaller breed, Dale Riffle
and Jim Brewer wondered if the “retired”
pigs might be sent to slaughter or be used in
other research––so they asked, offered them
a home for life, and won approval from the
Penn State Institutional Animal Care and Use
Committee. “Bert and Ernie are true ambassadors
for advancing the humane treatment of
animals typically used for food,” said Riffle.
“They have contributed greatly to educating
the world that pigs are not stupid.”

Among the last faxes relayed to
ANIMAL PEOPLE by the late Henry
Spira was a note from Procter & Gamble
spokesperson Kathy A. Stitzel, informing
him that “The European Union Directorate
responsible for cosmetics has formally
accepted an in vitro test for phototoxicity.
This test was developed in Germany and validated
by a group of institutions, including
P&G, using the validation principles we
have all developed. The question with phototoxicity
is whether sunlight can cause the
chemical to change in a way that makes it
toxic. This is particularly important with
ingredients in sun screens and other materials
that are put on the skin. To my knowledge,”
Stitzel wrote, “this is the first in vitro t e s t
that has been accepted by a major regulatory
agency after a validation effort. No, it hasn’t
been accepted in the U.S. yet, but we will be
working on that as the next step.” (Spira is
further remembered on pages 3, 4, and 21.)
A San Diego Superior Court jury
on August 20 awarded former Salk Institute
veterinarian Teresa J. Sylvina $2.7 million
in general damages and $2 million in punitive
damages for alleged wrongful dismissal and
retaliation, after she complained about sexual
harassment by a Salk consultant. Hired in
1990 to bring the Salk Institute into compliance
with the Animal Welfare Act, Sylvina
was fired in 1990, after repeated clashes with
scientists and other staff over experimental
methods. Salk president Thomas D. Pollard
said the verdict would be appealed. The
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection
S e r v i c e and National Institutes of Health
confirmed several days earlier that they have
begun their own probes of allegations raised
by trial testimony that Salk animals suffer
from chronic neglect. Sylvina is now director
of animal research at the Tufts University
School of Veterinary Medicine.

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