Animal Rights OLD News
Extracts from EEIN 1991-1994. Latest news is at the bottom. Provided by Eubios Ethics Institute , at
Back to main News index
Abbreviations for journals
A new book by James Rachels, Created from Animals (Oxford University Press 1990) advances the view that in secular philosophy we should not be speciests, but judge animals as individuals with differing moral worth which may be similar to humans. The sensitivity to pain and capacity for intelligent behaviour are the main qualities we should use to judge whether to use an organism for human ends. The book claims that Darwinism has undermined theological underpinnings of human superiority over animals, which is something many people will refute, especially those who are religious. A collection of essays on the topic of animal experimentation has also been published, Langley, Gill (ed.) Animal Experimentation: The Consensus Changes (London: MacMillan 1990). It covers the philosophy, methods, and research examples, and the type of regulation required, with a variety of views expressed by the different authors.
A short review of the types of experiments possible with the immunodeficient mouse, called the SCID-hu mouse, is in the product review section of Nature (348 (1990), 561-2). Such mice can be used for experiments for HIV infection, analysis of immune functions and haematopoiesis. There are many medical uses of such mice, but we should be wary of the possible attitude change when experimental animals are increasing listed as "products" together with machines and chemicals. The animal rights debate in the USA is including the use of animals in veterinary and medical training (Science 250: 751), and is having an affect on the number of animals used in education.
There is a case study considering the use of embryonic stem cell lines which expresses different people's views on the implications of this research (Macer, D. et al. (1991) "New frontiers", Hastings Center Report 21 (Jan.)). Research using human embryonic carcinoma cells continues, for a recent paper studing the developmental genes see Simeone, A. et al. (1990) "Sequential activation of HOX2 homeobox genes by retinoic acid in human embryonal carcinoma cells", Nature 346 (1990), 763-766. Mansour, S.L. et al. (1990) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 87: 7688-7692; found that the frequency of homologous recombination is unaffected by the length of the DNA transferred, describe improvements in the use of homologous recombinantion in mouse ES cells. The use of "entrapment" vectors that identify and mutate genes involved in embryogenesis is briefly reviewed by Skarnes, W.C. (1990) "Entrapment vectors: A new tool for mammalian genetics", Biotechnology 8: 827-831. When used with ES cells they can help identify genes, also mutating them. This is the concern for animal rights, that the genes are unknown before manipulation, the effects are unknown, yet the experiments are done despite the possibility of painful consequences for the animal for the sake of unknown scientific benefits.
The need to use other methods for toxicological testing to animals is discussed in the papers described in the following section. An earlier review is Zbinden, G. (1990) "Alternatives to animal experimentation: developing in vitro methods and changing legislation", TIPS 11: 104-7.

A letter in Nature 349 (1991), 274, mentions some new funds available from the Animal Procedures Committee in Britain for research into developing alternatives to animal experiments, and for product testing (see also next section). A revent animal experiment in britain that broke the Animal Procedures Act rules, and the MRC report on the matter is reported in Nature 349 (1991), 446.
Many animals are made as models of human disease. A recent example is described by K.K. Hsiao et al (1990) "Spontaneous neurodegeneration in transgenic mice with mutant prion protein", Science 250: 1587-90. See also Cell 63 (1990), 673-86. The disease of humans called Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome is similar to the animal disease scrapie, which is related to the recent disease found in European beef (especially in Britain) called bovine endospongiform encelphaly. The scrapie virus has been found to be still infectious after three years presence in soil: Lancet 337 (1991),269-270. To make a mouse model is useful for studies of these diseases, and may have helped isolate one of the causes of spontaneous neurodegeneration. It may also aid research on other neurodegenerative diseases (Science 250: 1509-10). It is another example of creating a diseased animal for biomedical research.

A recent draft Discussion paper on the use of animals in research has been prepared by the Medical Research Council of Canada (MRCC, 20th Floor, Jeanne Mance Building, de l'Eglantine St, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0W9, Canada). The final version is being prepared currently. The document is about 40pp., with a three page bibliography. The mechanisms for the control of animal research in Canada are outlined, as they are currently, and the suggestions on the future guidance, through animal research ethics boards. Suggestions on the education of scientists and researchers are useful, especially the idea that animal welfare concerns should be included in student education.
A short paper by J.Martin (1990) "The rights of man and animal experimentation", J. Medical Ethics 16: 160-1, encourages us to take up the views of Aquinas, who thought animals had no rights. However such a view is incompatible with what we know about the biological continuum between animals, and humans. We can argue for a religious difference between the point at which we violate the rights of humans and animals, or use the language of duties, but we certainly have duties to some animals based on their characteristics which we are increasingly becoming aware of. Our ethics must build on the knowledge that we have, and change when that knowledge informs us of new ethically important qualities of animals such as pain, self awareness and rationality.
The USDA has released regulations on the research treatment of dogs, cats and non-human primates, to add to the two previous regulations on smaller animals; Nature 349 (1991), 641; Science 251: 1183. The cage sizes are defined, but the exercise routines and psychological health are left up to researchers, what are called 'lifestyle'-based regulations. Part of the reason for the flexibility is that it may save about US$1.2 billion in upgrading the facilites compared to what fixed guidelines would have been estimated to cost (depending on whose estimate is used). It is being legally challenged by the Animal Defense Fund. The opinions of nonscience high school students to animal research is described in G.Richmond et al. (1990) "The animal research controversy", American Biology Teacher 52: 467-70. The issue was divided between opposition and support, with a slight majority in favour of research.
A summary of the recent enquiry into the experiments of Prof. Feldberg in MRC laboratories in the U.K. is in the BME 66 (March 1991), 3-5; NS (9 Feb 1991), 9. The recommendations of the enqiry are included. Also a mention of the German research into alternatives and a contact address for copies of past projects are given.
The phasing out of battery cages towards percheries in Europe is claimed to sometimes result in more suffering, in terms of disease, to the chickens; NS (9 March 1991), 11. Because there are more birds together disease spreads faster, and bones are still broken. The possible boredom of animals on factories farms is discussed by M.Appleby, "Frustration on the factory farm", NS (30 March 1991), 34-6.
More comment on the mutant prion protein thought to be involved in spongiform encephalopathies such as bovine spongiform disease (EEIN 1: 19) is in Nature 349 (1991), 569-71; Science 251 (1991), 1022-3.

Many US states are debating laws challenging the use of animals in toxicity testing, such as LD50 and Draize tests; Nature 350: 549. California and Vermont assemblies have banned Draize testing in their states, but their senates must still vote to pass these bills. Two book reviews on animal ethics appear in HCR (March/April 1991), 47-50.
The use of dissection in school in the USA is optional in many states, since some states have laws allowing to refuse dissection for reasons of conscientious objection without penalty; Washington Post (3 May 1991), A24. Various animal rights groups are calling for more freedom for school students, and the provision of alternative teaching methods. A letter describing the use of ethanol injections as a form of more humane killing is in Nature 350: 456.
In EEIN 1: 33, the new USDA animal regulations are mentioned. The USDA has until now been able to define what a research animal is for the purpose of meeting the animal care regulations. It has excluded mice, rats and birds. A recent Washington D.C. District court ruled that the Animal Defense Fund has the right to sue the USDA over this exclusion; Nature 350: 642. A recent report from the NIH is Preparation and Maintenance of Higher Mammals During Neuroscience Experiments (Bethesda, MD: NIH, March 1991, NIH Pub.No. 91-3207). Other letters and comments relating to animal research are in Lancet 337: 1089-90, Science 252: 642; NS (4 May 1991), 10.
In Britain, Cephalopods, Octopuses and Squids, are excluded from the Animals Act, only vertebrates are included. The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare wants to act to include these animals in the Act; NS (27 April 1991), 39-42. These animals are often taken from the wild and used within a few days, but in the capture process they are often damaged, and the maintenance standards are very low.
A letter commenting on possible methods of treating Parkinson's Disease, which describes work in monkeys is in Science 252: 133-4.
The question of whether chimpanzees can talk, and communicate using language, rather than just mimic their researchers, and the research progress in this field, is discussed in Science 251: 1561-2; 252: 1046. Chimp mothers have been shown to actually teach their children how to use tools; Animal Behaviour 41: 530; NS (11 May 1991), 20. Related is a new book, D.L.Cheney & R.M.Seyfarth, How Monkeys See the World (377pp, US$29, University of Chicago Press 1990), which is reviewed in Nature 350: 565. Monkeys can read each other's behaviour, but the authors argue that there is little evidence that they can read each other's minds. The book describes their experiments, performed on vervet monkeys in the Amboseli National Park of Kenya. Another new book is Sy Montgomery, Walking with the Great Apes (280pp, US$20, Houghton 1991), reviewed in Nature 350: 534. It describes the bibliographic stories of Jane Goodall, Diane Fossey and Birute Galdikas, in their lives with the apes. On the question of animal behaviour is a paper on fatal sibling aggression in Hyenas, in Science 252: 702-4.
The great fall in ivory price, which may aid the survival of elephants, is commented on in Science 252: 643. Several countries want to begin limited ivory sales again, but many argue that this will led to the revival of elephant poaching; Nature 351: 265-6.
There are large numbers of dolphins, whales and porpoises continuing to be killed in drift nets; Animal Welfare Institute Quarterly 40: 1, 6 (Animal Welfare Institute, P.O. Box 3650, Wasington D.C. 20007, USA). Also on Whales and the military see Nature 351: 448; and on the possible noise caused by the recent sound production in the Indian ocean aimed at measuring the temperature in the oceans see Science 252: 912-4. There is a series of comments on the moves to save small cetaceans. In this issue the bird trade is also discussed. After the 1991 International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Iceland, Iceland threatened to withdraw from the IWC again, because it thinks that commercial whaling should be allowed sooner; Nature 351: 430; NS (8 June 1991), 11, 15. The accepted scientific proposal to allow commercial whaling on a sustainable level, would probably restrict whalin to the southern hemisphere. But if Iceland withdraws from the IWC the USA will stop importing fish from Iceland, the mainstay of their economy, and also Japan could not import whale meat from Iceland if it remained a member of the IWC. At this stage it is hopeful that this international control for sustainable development of resources, is working. On the question of whether a whaling ban is because of scientific or ethical reasons see Nature 351: 259.
Following many attacks on children, and adults, insurance companies in Britain are refusing to cover owners of US Pit Bull Terriers and Japanese Tosas for damage they cause, because of their violent tendencies; Times (21 May 1991), 3; NS (1 June 1991), 15. In the USA some experts say that pit bulls are not genetically uniform and aggressive. However, they have been bred to ignore standard animal behaviour, to fight without provocation, silently, to fight on with pain, and to ignore submission of other dogs; NS (8 June 1991), 18. DNA fingerprint tests may be needed to distinguish these dog breds from closely related varieties.

A review of the type of literature received from the animal rights movement is the topic of a paper by J.M. Maharry, "The issue of animal rights and human rights", Amer.J. Obstetrics & Gynecology 164: 1543-8. It is a description, rather than any ethical debate, putting the case for some animal research, and pointing out the communication gap between scientists and the animal rights activists, and the public. Another paper on a similar tact is by H.Pardes et al, "Physicians and the animal-rights movement", NEJM 324: 1640-3. It calls on physicians to defend medical research because of the benefits it has provided. The AMA has been asked by some researchers for protection from animal rights activists; JAMA 266: 462-6. See also a letter in Nature 352: 9, and comment sin Nature 351: 517; 352: 463. Calls are made for a campaign aimed at the heart, rather than the head of the public, to match the often extreme cases that animal rights activists use. There is little mention on the ethics of the issue in these papers.
A general comment on several examples of animal models that have been developed for study of human disease, and with an example of a dog model for infantile cardiac arrhythmias, is SA (Aug 1991), 15. Other papers include D. Quon et al., "Formation of b-amyloid protein deposits in brains of transgenic mice", Nature 352: 239-41, which is useful for Alzheimer's disease research; and H.H. Stedman et al., "The mdx mouse diaphragm reproduces the degenerative changes of Duchenne muscular dystrophy", Nature 352: 536-9.
The legislature of the US state of California has passed a bill to forbid the use of animals for tests for new cosmetics and household cleaning products. It would outlaw the Draize eye test and skin irritation tests, but awaits the governor's signature (29 Aug 1991). British companies reduced by 60% last year their use of animals for testing cosmetics and household products, because of using alternatives. The total number of procedures under the Animal protection Act in 1990 was 3.21 million (compared with 6 million in 1975); Nature 352: 557.

See the later section on patenting, for the news regarding the European approval of an animal patent.
The 1990 statistics on animal experiments performed in the U.K. under the Animal Procedures Act are summarised in the BME (Sept 1991), 6-7 (see also EEIN 1: 61). The OECD is expected to adopt new guidelines for toxicity testing in November which will replace the LD50 test with tests looking at sublethal effects of test substances on small groups of animals; Nature 353; 489. The fixed dose method may use on average about 17 rats per new chemical, and they should not generally be killed by the chemical. The Japanese and American agencies have been more reluctant to introduce the changes, but a new system appears likely to be introduced.
On a transgenic mouse developed as a sensitive assay for mutagens see S.W. Kohler et al., "Spectra of spontaneous and mutagen-induced mutations in the lacI gene in transgenic mice", PNAS 88: 7958-62.
The findings of a working party of the Institute of Medical Ethics Working Party on animal research are reproduced in the BME (Sept 1991), 13-17. The whole report will be published on the 14th November as Lives in the Balance: The Ethics of Using Animals in Biomedical Research, eds. Jane A Smith & K.M. Boyd (Oxford University Press 1991, ISBN 0-19-854744-7). See also some book reviews on animal rights books in BME (Sept 1991), 23-4; and HCR (Sept/Oct 1991), 43. A book review of Andrew Johnson, Factory Farming (Blackwell 1991, 272pp., US$30) is in Nature 353: 613-4. See also D.M. Broom, "Animal welfare: concept and measurement", J. Animal Science 69: 4167-75, which discusses how to measure animal welfare. On environmental ethics; HCR (Sept/Oct 1991), 32-40.
The USDA has charged a large school animal supplier with unethical activities: Nature 353: 373. There are also questions about primate suppliers in the USA: Nature 353: 199. On rhino poaching and efforts to save them, see NS (28 Sept 1991), 30-5; (5 Oct 1991), 34-9. Another US case, of an Aquarium is in Nature 353: 588; NS (12 Oct 1991), 15. On the use of animals in medical education and discussion of the issues see an AMA statement; JAMA 266: 836-7, also see Current Contents 39 (30 Sept 1991), 3-12. On a case involving animal experiments in veterinary education see Science 253: 964.

Japan has finally agreed to end all drift net fishing, by the end of 1992, and to accept the UN resolution placing a ban on drift net fishing in the North Pacific by June; NS (7 Dec 1991), 13. South Korea is expected to follow suit, as is Taiwan. Iceland has decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission in mid 1992, but it may not resume whaling in 1992. They are calling for the establishment of a new international organisation to regulate whaling. The International Whaling Commission may have to decide this year whether they will look at both ethical and ecological concerns about whaling.
A report by the U.K. group Advocates for Animals, cites papers from the MRC that involved monkey experiments; Nature 354: 177; NS (23 Nov 1991), 15. Of 60 experiments examined, they claim 13 should not have been allowed in the U.K. meanwhile, in the U.K. Charities have joined the calls to justify animal tests, Times (12 Nov 1991); Lancet 338: 1264; Nature 354: 100. A series of papers on monkey behaviour is in Laboratory Animal Science 41 (August issue). The social interactions of primates have ethical implications, though they focus on the benefits of social living for laboratory monkeys.
A review of Colin Tudge, Last Animals at the Zoo (Hutchinson Radius 1991, 266pp., 17) is in Nature 354: 195-6. This book is against zoos in general and thinks that they will not be very useful for conservation in general. See also a letter in Nature 354: 10. A review of A. Johnson, Factory Farming (EEIN 1: 75) is in NS (7 Dec 1991), 53. On the topic of animal research see a review, M.J. Matfield, "Animal liberation or animal research?", TIPS 9: 411-5; FASEB J. 5: 2888-92. On animal rights see letters in Nature 353: 788, 354: 101; Science 254: 176; BMJ 303: 1137; NEJM 325: 1580-4; on extremists see NS (23 Nov 1991), 11; Science 254: 1099.
On animal testing and alternatives such as cell-based assays see TIBTECH 9: 407-8; on the Dr Hadwin Trust see SCRIP notes (Dec 13), 26; Chemistry & Industry (2 Dec 1991), 863. These comments look at alternatives, and are somewhat of a contrast to the many articles which are to be found in medical journals which focus on the benefits of animal research with a conflict theme.

France has announced that it intends to establish a monkey farm to breed animals for scientific experimentation; NS (8 Feb 1991), 18. A study on monkey behaviour is in NS (4 Jan 1991), 25-9. On whether humans and monkeys see the same things see TINS 15: 1-3. It appears that chimpanzees have very diverse behaviour; Science 255: 287-8. This is shown in the tool use, hunting and social patterns, and such data is consistent with an elevated status for chimpanzees (not excluding relative species) in discussions of animal rights.
As mentioned in the last issue (EEIN 2: ), there are claims by a UK croup, Advocates for Animals, that unnecessary animal experiments have been conducted in the UK under the Animal Procedures Act regulations; NS (8 Feb 1991), 18. The members of the UK Animal Procedures Act Committee are listed in BME (Dec 1991), 8. There is also mention of the UK list of about 20,000 names on the police animal rights extremists file. Also in the UK, the Agricultural and Food Research Council is sending all its related laboratories copies of new guidelines on animal research; Nature 355: 100.
A Federal court in the USA has said that the USDA animal regulations should not exclude rats, mice and birds, saying that such exclusion was "arbitrary and capricious"; Nature 355: 191. It is expected that the USDA will modify its regulations to include these animals, which will increase its workload, but it will make the regulations more consistent. Letters on the use of animals in medical education are in JAMA 266 (1991), 3421-3. There may not be a real need for the use of many live animals in education, and reductions could be made without jeopardizing the education of medical students.
On reducing the number of toxicity tests performed on animals see BMJ 303 (1991),1494-5. Recent international standardisation of tests in USA, Europe and Japan will avoid duplication of tests and will reduce the number of animals used by about a third. They also agreed to half the length of long term studies. These efforts will save the use of animals and costs, hopefully the money saved may be spend on looking at other risks to human health that are currently neglected.
On February 14 a bill in the UK Houses of Parliament to ban fox hunting was narrowly defeated, by 12 votes; Guardian (15 Feb 1991), 2. The sponsors of the bill have said that they intend to continue the fight, and it appears that the days of fox hunting in Britain may be coming to an end given the level of public support for a ban on it; Newsweek (2 Dec 1991), 27.
Australia has said that it was an insult that Japanese whaling vessels caught whales offshore of the Australian Antarctic Davis base. One of the ships was cutting up the carcasses of 3 whales. One would think that after all the "scientific studies" of whales that the Japanese vessels conduct, they would have learnt about the anatomy of whales by now.

A referendum to halt all animal experiments in Switzerland has recently been held, and it was rejected, by 56% to 44%. Only 4 cantons had an accepting majority, but a more extreme initiative is being processed and will be voted on in the future (Dr Alex Mauron, Fondation Louis Jeantet de Medecine, P.O. Box 277, 1211 Geneve 17, Switzerland); NS (22 Feb 1991), 5.
A proposal for a system for ethical analysis of animal experiments is presented in D.G. Porter, "Ethical scores for animal experiments", Nature 356: 101-2. Scientists are called on to take on the Schweitzerian ideal of doing no harm, and to use the tension between this ideal and practice to judge whether animal experiments are ethical. Eight categories are used, two based on the nature of the experiment and six based on pain and the viewpoint of the animal. It is a very useful practical paper and pleasing to see it appear in a major scientific journal after the publication of numerous defenses of animal experiments based solely on the simplistic arguments of the benefits of animal research to science. Some improvements could be made to the scoring system, but hopefully such a system will cause scientists to debate the issue and to design more ethical experiments.
The use of animal experiment guidelines in the USA , to temporary close down one laboratory accused of unethical animal treatment, while inspectors could examine it, is debated in Nature 356: 3. At the beginning of the year, a US court judged that mice, rats and birds should not be excluded from the protection given to research animals under the US Animal Welfare Act of 1971; Science 255: 539. Animal rights extremists continue to burn selected laboratories in the USA; Science 255: 1349, and a review of the book The Animal Rights Crusade: The Growth of a Moral Protest, J.M. Jasper & D. Nelkin (NY: Free Press 1991, 214pp., US$23) is in Science 255: 1448-50.
A Christian critique of animal rights is presented by O.R. Barclay, "Animal rights: a critique", Science & Christian Belief 4: 49-61. The term animal rights is rejected in favour of the idea of responsibilities to, and duties to, animals and the whole of creation. A paper debating whether killer whales should be held in captivity is B. Obee, "The great killer whale debate. Should captive orcas be set free?" Canadian Geographic (Jan/Feb 1992), 20-31.
A series of discussion papers on animal rights and biotechnology is available from the Center for Biotechnology Policy and Ethics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4355, USA.

Discussing the alternatives to animals for toxicity testing see Chemistry & Insdustry (16 March 1991), 207-11. It argues for the use of non-animal testing based on reliability and cost, though the development of the alternatives was based on ethical motives. On reducing the numbers of animals, and changing from LD50 test to fixed-dose tests see Nature 357: 432.
A series of articles on animal rights and experiments is in New Scientist , some items include; researchers fear (4 April 1992), 29-32; the UK Animal Procedures Act, which is supported by scientists but has some difficulties in practice (4 April 1992), 25-8; role of ethical committees (11 April 1992), 24-7; unethical experiments, p. 28-30; the benefits of animal experiments (18 April 1992), 30-31; the definition of what is a necessary experiment, p. 32-4; do animals feel pain? (25 April 1992), 30-33, stressful life for laboratory animals, p. 34-6; the use of laboratory rats (2 May 1992), 29-30, revising toxicity tests, p. 31-3; the antivivisection debate from Advocates for Animals (9 May 1992), 28-30, dissecting animals in the classroom, p. 31-5; the possible reduction in use of laboratory rats in united Europe due to common standards for toxicity (16 May 1992), 29-31, the US situation for animal experiments, p. 32-6; Victorian values and the history of animal rights (23 May 1992), 28-31, a review of New Scientist articles on animal experiments, p. 32-5. It is commendable that they publish so many articles on the debate, and it is time that alternatives are speedily adopted.
Although several US universities have removed animal laboratories and dissections from their medical schools, and many let students be exmepted if they ethically object to such experiments, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Services, for military training, has said it will not exempt students from performing animal experiments even if they have moral or religious reasons against it; Nature 356: 554. Letters on animal rights appear in Nature 356: 651; 357: 187. The terrorist activities of the Animal Liberation Front are discussed in JAMA 267: 2577--8, together with several bills in the US Congress.
Of relevance to animal behaviour is the ability that animals have to recognise individuals, and a paper on the visual processes of recognition in monkeys is M.P. Young & S. Yamane, "Sparse population coding of faces in the inferotemporal cortex", Science 256: 1327-31. A book review of K. Pryor & K.S. Norris, Dolphin Societies is in Science 256: 681-2. A treaty protecting dolphins in the Baltic and North Sea has been signed by Britain recently, NS (16 May 1992), 8. There is also a cheap method being developed to keep dolphins out of fishing nets; NS (11 April 1992), 18. We must await the results of the International Whaling Commission meeting the beginning of July in Soctland, for decisions on the future of whaling; Nature 357: 350. In Japan, many politicians gathered to eat Whale meat at a protest meeting in June; Japan Times (23 June 1992), 3, there is little awareness that whales may be more sentient than pigs or cows, though they make us question where we draw the line on our human centred spoecies ladder.
A book review of S. Budiansky, The Covenant of the Wild: Why Animals Choose Domestication, is in Nature 356: 487. It argues that animals chose to be in farms as part of the natural evolutionary relationship between species. A letter on animal well being is Nature 356: 556.
The use of injectable contraceptives for wild horses that suffer from overpopulation, delivered by gun, is reported in Science 256: 1390. The idea is that the population will be stablised and it will avoid the "need" to kill animals by shooting.

In Britain there is pressure to ban the import of primates ; Nature 358: 7. This is intended to stop the wild killing and capture of primates, but may also damage some captive breeding programs in developing countries. On the other side of the debate, comments on a US letter and card campaign aiming at thanking medical researchers for the results of experiments is in Nature 357: 530. Academics in Britain also want to make proexperiment publicity and the issue is being debated at the BMA meeting; BMJ 304: 1526; 305: 1.
A more philosophical discussion is T.L. Beauchamp, "The moral standing of animals in medical research", Law, Medicine & Health Care 20: 7-16. He says that almost no philosophical progress has been made in the last 20 years in the area of animal status. Another article is E. Schroten, "Embryo production and manipulation: ethical aspects", Animal Reproduction Science 28: 163-9. Of relevance to the status of animals is T.M. Caro & M.D. Hauser, "Is there teaching in nonhuman animals?", Quarterly Review of Biology 67: 151-74. It calls for broadening of the definition of teaching to observe various social behaviour that occur in animals that may be relevant. Several book reviews of interest are in Ethics (July 1992), 890-1; also NS (25 July 1992), 46-7.
Norway and Iceland have said that they will resume Whaling next year, while Japan and Russia may use "scientific allocations" to allow some hunting; NS (11 July 1992), 12-13; Financial Times (30 June 1992), 9; EEIN 2: 48. A review on the issue is D.S. Butterworth, "Science and sentimentality", Nature 357: 532-4.

Two months ago the patient who had a baboon liver transplant died, but the question of whether animal organs should be used for humans was raised more vocally. A paper on this is J.L. Nelson, "Transplantation through a glass darkly", HCR (Sept.-October), 22: 6-8. See also In Keeping with the Trends (St Joseph's College Catholic Bioethics Centre, Edmonton, Canada, newsletter - October 1992). A positive view for xenotransplantation, based on the shortage of human organ donors, and an attempt to develop ethical guidelines is in Transplantation Proceedings 24: 722-7. Meanwhile a pig liver transplant was performed in the USA, intended as a temporary liver, but the patient died within two days (see organ transplants section).
The process of learning and intelligence is a complex subject. A study on one of the mechanisms underlying this is reported in J. Hart Jr & B. Gordon, "Neural subsystems for object knowledge", Nature 359: 60-4. They present a study of one patient whose responses suggest a difference between visually based and language based representations of meaning. Knowledge of physical properties appears to be segmented from knowledge of other properties in the language system. A book review of Donald Griffin, Animal Minds (University of Chicago Press, 320pp., US$25) is in Newsweek (28 Sept 1992), 54. It considers the need to redefine what we call consciousness when we consider whether animals are conscious . A book review of J.S. Kennedy, The New Anthropomorphism, is in Nature 359: 280; and a review of a book looking at the historical uses of horses and donkeys in society is in Nature 359: 279. A letter on egg production is in Nature 359: 472.
A letter on the whaling issues, and responding to a commentary in Nature over the IWC is in Nature 359: 9. The new law in the USA making animal rights terrorism a federal crime is summarised in Science 257: 1048. Another report of interest to bioethics and animal research is in Nature 359: 98; where a researcher has been ordered to disclose details of an unfunded research grant application that had proposed rhesus monkey experiments to an animal welfare group, in Washington state; violating the researchers privacy of ideas - when the proposal has not been funded.
Meanwhile the French Supreme Court of Appeals has upheld the use of animals in biomedical research and fined activists for stealing baboons; Nature 359: 259; Lancet 340: 841-2. In Britain the animal research procedures have been strengthened to force regular reviews for procedures involving researchers over the age of 65 years, following earlier reported abuses; Nature 359: 262. It is also likely that training periods for all researchers who want to use animals will be required. The relationship between scientists and animals is the subject of a new book, The Inevitable Bond: Examining Scientist-Animal Interactions, ed. H. Davis & D. Balfour, (Cambridge University Press 1992, 45, 399pp), reviewed in NS (26 Sept 1992), 44.
Australian attitudes to desexing dogs and current practices in Queensland are reported in an abstract No. 66 in the abstracts from the 84th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Animal Science in J. Animal Science Supplement 1, 1992.

A letter on the humane treatment of animals, and caged hens is in Nature 360: 100. The number of animals used for experiments in the UK in 1991 are reported in NS (14 Nov 1992), 12; see also NS (31 Oct 1992), 10. Protests in Holland about killing animals at a research center that run out of funds are reported in NS (31 Oct 1992), 5. On the program of the French government to lower violent acts by animal rights extremists see BMJ 305: 1246 (EEIN 2: 76). An editorial on the transplant of a baboon liver performed in Pittsburgh (EEIN 2: 75) is in Medical Ethics Advisor 8 (Sept 1992), 100-3.
A report on questioning in a US Supreme Court case on the constitutionality of a ban on religious or ceremonial animal sacrifices is in Washington Post (5 Nov 1992), A3. A review of the philosophy of animal rights is R.P. Vance, "An introduction to the philosophical presuppositions of the Animal Liberation/Rights Movement", JAMA 268: 1715-9. The review focuses on the arguments of Singer and Regan, though is basically against them and defending animal experiments.
A review of D.R. Griffin, Animal Minds, is in Nature 360: 118-9. Some interesting comments on chimpanzee sex, are in Lancet 340: 1201. Pygmy chimpanzees may regard sex, and enjoy it, in a way similar to humans. Research on the brain mechanism of fear is discussed in Science 258: 887-8. On pain mechanism see a conference review in Science 258: 1085. A recent study has shown that plants use electrical signals, and can generate action potentials, to send signals after mechanical disturbance; Nature 360: 14-4, 62-5. The signals can stimulate the synthesis of protease inhibitors in other leaves, which could slow down foraging caterpillars.

A recent book discussing the science and ethics of biotechnology, with particular focus on animal rights issues is Michael W. Fox, Superpigs and Wondercorn. The Brave New World of Biotechnology ... and where it all may lead (New York: Lyons & Burford 1992, 208pp. See another review in Biotechnology 11: 180-1. Dr. M. Fox is the Vice President of the Humane Society of America, and is opposed to the utilitarian application of genetic engineering to animals, as well as experiments in general on animals, and a meat-based agriculture. It reports that about 10,000 mice strains have been made for experiments, and is critical of the making of strains which suffer. Another focus of the book is on the commercialisation of biotechnology and the dangers that commercial interests present to the future environment, biodiversity, and our attitudes to life. This second theme will be accepted by most people aware of the potential dangers of technology and the impact it has on people's attitudes. It contains data of interest to support the arguments. The basic view taken is supportive of some applications of plant genetic engineering, but critical of the working philosophy of society which views technology as the cure to the world's problems. On animal patents, see the patent section below.
The USDA law on animal experiment data reporting is under challenge, and proposals are listed in Nature 360 (1992), 503. The USDA data reports 1.8 million animals used in US experiments in 1991, excluding rats, mice and birds! In the UK the Animal Procedures Law requires the recording of the number of animal experiments, and these are published in the Hansard, the government publication. In a recent parliamentary question, (Hansard , 6 Nov, Cols 531-2) it was reported that the number of primates used by the research institute for Chemical and Biological Defence is a defence secret and will not be published. Alternatives to animals that have been developed by biotechnology are in FDA Consumer (Jan/Feb 1993), 15-8.
The mental state of monkeys is reviewed in R.M. Seyfarth & D.L. Cheney, "Meaning and mind in monkeys", SA (Dec 1992), 78-84. A study on the relationship between brain weight and life-span in primate species is in PNAS 90: 118-22. A book review of W.C. McGrew, Chimpanzee Material Culture: Implications for Human Evolution (Cambridge University Press 1992, 277pp., 40) is in Nature 361: 217. The use of medicines by animals, such as plants, may help us discover new medicines, BMJ 305 (1992), 1517-8, 1583. Papers related directly to human thinking are D.L. Schacter, "Implicit knowledge: New perspectives on unconscious processes", PNAS 89 (1992), 1113-7; T.V.P. Bliss & G.L. Collingridge, "A synaptic model of memory: long-term potentiation in the hippocampus", Nature 361: 31-9.
A book review of M.A. Elgar & B.J. Crespi, eds., Cannibalism. Ecology and Evolution among diverse taxa (Oxford University Press 1992, 361pp., US$75) is in Science 258 (1992), 1969-70. Mice appear to be able to recognise their kin, and this may be linked to MHC genes; Nature 360 (1992), 530, 581-3.
Genetic studies are changing the thoughts on the organisation and evolution of whale species, Nature 361: 298-9. The Norwegian view on whale hunting is discussed in Nature 360 (1992), 523. The US Congress voted by 382 to 0 to continue the ban on commercial whaling. The US government may impose sanctions against China, Korea, Taiwan and Yemen because they import black rhino horn; NS (6 Feb 1993), 9. If a country is classified as breaking restrictions on imports of endangered species products that countries exports may be barred from entry to the USA. In the UK, a possible change in definition of "humane" traps by the International Standards Organisation may allow the import of animals caught in leg hold or submersion traps into the UK; NS (6 Feb 1993), 5.

Letter from Switzerland - Alex Mauron

For the third time in less than a decade, the Swiss people have been called to a national referendum on animal experimentation. On March 7th, they overwhelmingly refused (72.2% voting against) a proposal that would have resulted in a complete ban of all experimentation on animals. The proposed ban would have been more radical than the one that had already been repelled last year (see EEIN May 1992, p.33) since it would have outlawed any and all biomedical uses of animals, whether for research (including behavioural research), diagnosis, therapy, prevention or teaching. Political commentators interpret this resounding defeat for the "anti-vivisectionist" movement as a punishment for disregarding the support of the Swiss people for biomedical research, a support that had been democratically expressed in previous votes.

Dr Alex Mauron, Fondation Louis Jeantet de Medecine
Case postale 277, CH-1211, Geneva 17, SWITZERLAND.

In Germany an amendment to the animal experiment law that will add further bureaucratic procedures is being protested by researchers. US researchers fear that the new presidential science advisor, John Gibbons, may be tougher on animal guidelines; NS (27 March 1992), 12 (on him, SA (April 1993), 16-7).
A discussion of whether animals can feel pain that is morally relevant is in Ag Bioethics Forum (Dec 92), 1-5. Comments discussing a Christian view of animal rights by A. Linzey & O. Barclay are in Science & Christian Belief 5: 47-51. A book review of Animal Welfare and the Environmentalists in NS (20 Feb 1993), 45. A philosophical article is A.C. Baief, "Moralism and cruelty: Reflections on Hume and Kant", Ethics 103: 436-57. A definition of an animal on the basis of developmental biology is given in J.M.W. Slack et al., "The zootype and the phylotypic stage", Nature 361: 490-2.
A review of research on the intelligence of chimpanzees is the book D. Peterson & J. Goodall, Visions of Callban: On Chimpanzees and People (Houghton Mifflin, 1993, 367pp., US$23), reviewed in Nature 362: 678-9. Efforts to stop primate smuggling are described in Science 259: 1256, and on the largest US chimp colony, Science 259: 1530. A paper looking at evidence that invertebrates such as Octopus have social learning is Science 259: 1627-9. A popular press article, titled, "Can animals think?", is in Time (29 March 1992), 35-42. Also on the thinking of animals see Nature 362: 124, 303. Fossil findings suggesting that Neanderthals included some cannibals are in Nature 362: 214.
Norway intends to hunt 300-800 minke whales this year, and the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Japan will be on 10-14 May; NS (13 Feb 1993), 9. Ecologists want the Mexican head of the IWC to resign. A letter on disputed whale numbers is in Nature 362: 389. Japan also wants to resume whaling, and says it can kill 2000 minke whales in the North Pacific "safely", and a public campaign to promote whale meat has begun. Already Japan is the world's largest consumer of whale meat, in 1991, consuming 2,500 tons, from 300 minke whales it catches under the name of science. Additional meat comes from dolphins, which are not covered by the IWC and fill up part of the "gap" while the whaling ban is maintained. However, it remains to be seen whether it will do it, risking US sanctions. There has also been foreign criticism of Japan's killing (with a bounty) of sea lions, a protected animal in most countries of the world. In April two whales who were accidentally killed in set nets off the West Coast of Japan were sold by the fisherman, for 3-5,000 a kg. These fishermen were charged because it is officially illegal to sell whale meat, their defense was that it is too expensive to bury whales, and find the land to do so, as the law requires. On the other side, a minke whale that beached itself in Tokyo bay, and died, was buried with a funeral praying for a peaceful afterlife; Yomiuri Newspaper (5 April 1993), 30.
Comments on the continued use of animals for toxicology tests and evaluation of alternatives is in BioScience 43: 137-40. A discussion of animal rights and biotechnology research is in TIBTECH 11: 1-2. Letters on animal research and ethics are in JAMA 269: 1113-5. In Japan, a debate regarding animal experiments is the use of pounded dogs, and stray cats. In Ibaraki prefecture about 3,000 stray dogs and cats are given each year for research. In Japan about 70,000 digs are killed each year in experiments, and about 80% of these come from dog pounds.

The use of DNA profiling to reveal the social structure of pilot whales is in Science 260: 670-2. The group (pod) members are one extended family, and male descendents don't mate with members but they stay in the group helping the survival. Studies of the giant blue whale suggest that there may now be about 2000 to be seen off California, and great increase in recent years and signs of a recovery; Science 260: 287. In 21 primary and junior high schools in Hokkaido ( Japan ) students have started to eat whale meat; Yomiuri Shinbun (7 May 1993), 30; see also Newsweek (17 May 1993), 10. These moves were to create pressure over the International Whaling Commission's ( IWC ) decision not to allow commercial killing of whales (EEIN 3: 32). The IWC decision was criticised by Norway and Japan, and reveals ideological gaps in the member countries. Norway has said it will defy the ban; Time (24 May 1993), 38-9; Science 260: 1711; NS (22 May 1993), 5.
In the UK the Wolfson Foundation, a funder of medical research, has started in its policy that it does not normally make grants for research involving animals; Nature 363: 4. This has resulted in protests from other medical hcarities and some scientists who think it may set a trend. However, it may be a welcome trend for many others. This charity gives about 17 million out of the 400 million given annually by charities in the UK to medical research. A review of the protests against animal research in Britain, USA, Scandanavia, Canada, Japan and France is in BMJ 306: 1019-23. A new German law for animal rptoection is tougher than before; NS (17 April 1993), 10.
The Great Ape Project has begun. This is an attempt to call for equal rights for chimpanzees, Gorillas, and Orangutans with human beings. The editors are Peter Singer and Paola Cavalieri, and those who want to see and sign their declaration should write to "The Great Ape Project", P.O. Box 12838, A'Beckett Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia; or fax Int+39-2-481-4784. Two papers from the project, which includes many well known scientists, are R. Dawkins, "Meet my cousin, the chimpanzee", NS (5 June 1993), 36-8; G. Vines, "Planet of the free apes?", NS (5 June 1993), 39-42.
A review on the neurobiology of fear is in SA (May 1993), 54-60. It looks at fear in monkeys, and the biochemical mechanisms. A review of brain structure and life-span in primates is in PNAS 90: 3559-63. A review of three researchers of the great apes, Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall and Birute Galdikas, is in Science 260: 420-9. It also suggests women are especially suited to study of behaviour. A book review of Creative Cognition is in Nature 363: 123. It looks at the process of creativity in the human brain. A review of Animals, Politics and Morality, by R. Garner, is in NS (1 May 1993), 44.
Two evaluation reports on housing for pigs and cows are in J. Animal Science 71: 1339-44, 1345-54. They look at the welfare of pigs and veal calves, and methods to improve the conditions. A book review of Insect Learning is Science 260: 705-6. On the definition of an animal, "zootype", Nature 363: 307. A letter against the use of pigs as transplant donors in humans is BMJ 306: 1196.

The development of in vitro testing kits for assessment of safety of products, instead of animals, is reviewed in GEN (15 June 1993), 1, 3, 5, 20. A number of products have been developed, and they will lessen the need for animal testing, and eventually we can hope that they replace animal testing. Also on in vitro tests to replace animals, SA (Sept 1993), 113-4. Business research into xenografting is reviewed in Biotechnology 11: 772-3; see also JAMA 269: 2951-8.
A moderately favourable editorial on the Great Ape Project (EEIN 3: 48) is in Nature 364: 185. A description of a submarine based surveillance network for whales (see above in Environment also) is in Science 261: 549-50. A review of D.R. Griffin, Animal Minds , is in BioScience 43: 340-1; and of M.S. Dawkins, Through Our Eyes Only? The Search for Animal Consciousness (W.H. freeman 1993, 192pp., US$20) see Nature 364: 398-9. A survey of differences in pain perception is G. Bendelow, "Pain perceptions, emotions and gender", Sociol. Health & Illness 15: 273-94.
Vegetarianism due to dietary and ethical concerns is discussed in CMAJ 148: 998-1000. A history of hunting is reviewed in Nature 364: 111-2; see also Science 261: 531.
In New Zealand the 27 August is Daffodil Day , a day designed to raise money for Cancer Research. People are given daffodils, a sign of hope, in return for their donation. The Antivivisection Society boycotted the day protesting at animal experiments. Several acts of vandalism (thrown paint) were performed which actually lead to greater public support for the charity day than last year. A proposed law in Brazil to establish a single committee, excluding any scientists previously involved with animal experiments, is raising much scientific debate, Nature 364: 663. A Canadian case of researchers versus animal rights groups is in CMAJ 148: 1349-53.

A very positive review of S. St. C. Bostock, Zoos and Animal Rights: The Ethics of Keeping Animals (Routledge 1993, 227pp, US$16) is in Nature 365: 305. A book review on chimpanzees is in Science 261: 1754.
A US government approved test for toxicity of corrosive materials uses an in vitro test as a test for skin sensitivity; SA (Sept 1993), 113-4. See also the above section on genetic engineering of animals which includes comments on xenografting.
A review of Matt Cartmill, A View to a Death in the Morning (Harvard University Press 1993, 331pp., US$30) is in Science 261: 1609. It looks at the hunting aspects of human culture, and how these have been changing. On recent outbursts by killer elephants in India see Newsweek (13 Sept 1993), 23.

To News from 1994-current
Back to Main News index