Laboratory updates

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2002:

University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine
professor Janet K. Yamamoto, who with Niels Pedersen of the
University of California at Davis codiscovered the feline
immunodeficiency virus in 1986, in March 2002 announced that she has
developed an immunization against FIV, and that the USDA has
authorized Fort Dodge Animal Health, of Kansas, to put it into
commercial production. The FIV immunization may be available through
local veterinarians by midsummer, priced at $15-$25. Up to 25% of
all cats may carry FIV in dormant phases. An estimated 5% develop an
active infection. Yamamoto predicted that the vacination method she
used might prove helpful in combatting the human immunodeficiency
virus, as well, whose victims develop AIDS. But Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center immunologist Norman L. Letvin, M.D., told
Boston Globe staff writer Stephen Smith that her approach had already
been tried against HIV, and had failed.

Primatology behavior researchers including Sue
Savage-Rumbaugh of the Georgia State University Language Center
converged on Des Moines, Iowa, on April 19 to join private investor
Ted Townsend in asking the Des Moines city government to donate 141
acres of land on which Townsend has proposed to build an institution
called “The Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary” with $10 million raised
from private sources. “All humans, bonobos, chimpanzees–we’re all
siblings,” Savage-Rumbaugh said. “If we changed our language,
could we change the way we act?” Savage-Rumbaugh has taught two
bonobos and a gorilla to communicate complex thoughts by pointing to
charts of symbols.

North Carolina State University chancellor Marye Anne Fox
announced on April 19 that the university has abandoned attempts to
build a “research slaughterhouse” in Raleigh, authorized by the North
Carolina general assembly in 1995. The “meat processing laboratory,”
as it was also called, was to be located on the campus of the NCSU
College of Veterinary Medicine. Instead, the $4.9 million allocated
toward the project will mostly be invested in a new poultry-and-swine
complex. About $500,000 will be used to renovate an existing food
science building, and $280,000 will go toward improvements at
another poultry research facility.

Chiba Prefecture on April 1, 2000 became the 30th of the 47
prefectures and major cities in Japan to halt the sale of abandoned
animals to laboratories. Lab demand for random-source dogs and cats
has markedly declined, Japan Times staff writer Tetsushi Kajimoto
observed: in 1989, Chiba alone transferred 5,831 dogs and cats to
labs, but in 2000 all the labs in Japan used only 6,300 dogs and
1,200 cats. Chiba sent just 13 dogs and cats to labs in 2000, and
none in 2001, while receiving 25,400 dogs and cats from the public.

A new Australian National Primate Breeding and Research
Centre at Churchill in rural Victoria state is to be managed by
Monash University, Vanessa Williams of the Melbourne Herald-Sun
disclosed on April 2. Absorbing the Melbourne University macaque
colony, “It will be Australia’s only farm growing marmosets and
macaques for experiments,” Williams wrote. “An unknown number of
the monkeys are likely to be killed after experiments,” she added,
but the facilities “will include a geriatric unit where monkeys too
old to breed can live out their lives.”

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