Rats, mice, birds amendment, Jesse Helms & Johns Hopkins
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2002:
CHAPEL HILL, NC.; baltimore, Md.–With a joint U.S.
Senate/House of Representatives conference committee expected to
decide any day on whether or not to include in the final reconciled
version of the 2002 Farm Bill a late amendment by Senator Jesse Helms
(R-North Carolina) to permanently exclude rats, mice, and birds
from protection under the Animal Welfare Act, PETA on April 18
disclosed dramatic and gruesome undercover video of technicians at
the laboratories of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
allegedly handling and killing rats and mice in an inhumane manner.
The video footage was obtained by PETA investigator Kate
Turlington, 24, a North Carolina State University graduate who
worked for six months as a technician in the Thurston Bowles animal
research building, near the University of North Carolina Hospitals
Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Stroh on the same day
disclosed extensive overcrowding and other deficiencies affecting the
care of the 55,285 animals housed at the Johns Hopkins University
laboratories–54,238 of them rats and mice, according to geneticist
Roger Reeves, chair of the Johns Hopkins rodent advisory committee.
“Amid the high-profile overhaul of its human research program
last year after the death of a volunteer,” Stroh wrote, “Johns
Hopkins University has embarked on a quieter effort to fix problems
in how it cares for laboratory animals.”
The effort includes building a $30 million rodent research,
breeding, and housing complex.
However, as home of the Center for Alternatives to Animal
Testing, Johns Hopkins was supposed to have already been maintaining
exemplary animal care standards.
CAAT was founded in 1981 with consumer product industry
funding, at instigation of the late Animal Rights International
founder Henry Spira, to seek ways of reducing the numbers and the
suffering of animals used in product research and testing.
“CAAT and its grantees have helped to develop human tissue
cultures that are widely used today in place of live animals to test
product safety,” Frank D. Roylance of the Baltimore Sun wrote in
December 2001, after CAAT director Alan M. Goldberg announced a
$100,000 project to explore how mice and rats suffer pain.
“In 20 years, CAAT has made more than 200 awards totaling
$4.5 million to 11 grantees,” Roylance added, but noted that in
recent years “It has opposed tighter federal regulation of laboratory
rodents as too costly.”
The pain studies are the first work commissioned with
$800,000 donated by the Tamarind Fund and the Mollylou Foundation “to
establish a grants program focused on pain assessment and management
in laboratory animals,” CAAT spokesperson Lisa Libowitz said.
Involving subjecting mice and rats to pain to see what
happens, and killing them afterward to study their tissues, the
pain studies are to be done by Norman C. Peterson of Johns Hopkins;
Alicia Z. Karas of the Tufts University School of Veterinary
Medicine; Hal Markowitz and Clifford Roberts of the University of
California at San Francisco; and Bert van Zutphen and Vera Baumans
of Utrecht University, the Netherlands.