This has been a remarkable year for PCRM. From encouraging the replacement of live animal labs in medical schools to fighting for good nutrition in the halls of Congress, we’ve expanded our reach tremendously. PCRM has had great success in bringing national attention to important health and research issues all year long. Here is just a sample of some of our successes and updates on our ongoing campaigns.
Medical schools across the country have continued the trend of replacing live animal labs with non-animal methods. This year, PCRM learned that eight more schools have ended their live animal labs—including the last medical school in New York to use live animals—and that nine new schools will be opening their doors to cruelty-free education.
Six allopathic (M.D.) medical schools—Washington University School of Medicine, New York Medical College, Stony Brook University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, St. Louis University School of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, and Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine—all confirmed that they no longer use live animals to teach basic concepts in physiology, pharmacology, and surgery. Additionally, two osteopathic (D.O.) schools—Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine and University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine—confirmed the same switch, completing the conversion of U.S. osteopathic education to non-animal methods.
Nine new medical schools opening between 2007 and 2009 are following the trend of non-animal methods: Every new school established in the past quarter-century has not used live animals in its curriculum.
PCRM played a key role in encouraging this trend. Early in 2007, PCRM campaigned for the end of dog labs at the Medical College of Wisconsin by hosting a protest at the school, delivering a petition signed by more than 550 physicians, and sponsoring a billboard. PCRM’s campaign to end the dog labs at New York Medical College heated up right before the school’s November 26 announcement that first-year physiology students will now undergo echocardiograms while instructors demonstrate physiology principles. PCRM supporters sent more than 1,300 e-mails, phone calls, and letters to the dean of the School of Medicine and the director of the dog lab, urging them to end the dog lab and implement humane alternatives. This school was the fourth—and last—medical school in New York to replace animal labs in the last 18 months.
Despite these successes, 10 U.S. schools are still using living animal labs. Learn more and find out how you can help.
Case Closed on Dairy Deception
All those slick advertisements that featured celebrities wearing milk moustaches and touting the weight-loss benefits of dairy products will come to an end, thanks to a petition filed by PCRM with the Federal Trade Commission. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and two national dairy organizations agreed in June to halt this $200 million advertising campaign because existing research does not support the weight-loss claims.
The petition charged that advertising campaigns linking dairy product consumption to weight loss were false and misleading. These campaigns included the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board’s “Milk your diet. Lose weight!” and the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board’s “3-a-Day. Burn More Fat, Lose Weight” promotions.
Out of 27 randomized, controlled research trials investigating the effects of dairy products on body weight, only three—all conducted by Michael Zemel, Ph.D., a researcher funded by the National Dairy Council and yogurt manufacturers—showed a link between dairy consumption and weight loss. Research conducted by PCRM’s senior nutrition scientist, Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D., and published in Obesity Research in 2005, pointed out that none of his studies report the degree to which participants reduced their caloric intakes, the most likely cause of weight loss. These ads are just one way the dairy industry deceives the public about the healthfulness of its products.
In response to PCRM’s petition, an agreement was reached to discontinue all advertising and other marketing activities involving weight-loss claims pending further research into the issue.
Celebrities Help Spread the Word
This year, several celebrities helped spread PCRM’s messages about good nutrition and ethical research. Two public service announcements (PSAs) received the VIP treatment with new voice-overs from award-winning television journalist Geraldo Rivera and House’s Lisa Edelstein. Rivera voices PCRM’s first Spanish-language PSA, “El Poder de la Alimentación,” which relays the good news that heart disease and cancer, top killers of Hispanic-Americans, can be largely prevented or managed through a healthy vegetarian diet. Edelstein’s narration appears in “Crash Course,” a new Cancer Project PSA that discusses the importance of protecting children from disease. Watch PCRM PSAs >
Several celebrities also helped with PCRM’s efforts to reform the Farm Bill to phase out long-standing government programs that channel billions of dollars to support meat production. Alicia Silverstone, Bill Maher, Kevin Nealon, Moby, and Peter Max all signed letters to Sen. Tom Harkin, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. As a decision on the Farm Bill grew closer, Silverstone recorded a voicemail message to more than 3,000 people asking them to call their senators in support of the FRESH Amendment. An Associated Press piece about Silverstone’s voice message ran in USA Today, The Miami Herald, The Salt Lake Tribune, and other national papers.
Covance Campaign Continues
All year long, PCRM fought against the construction of a giant Covance Laboratories animal-testing facility in Chandler, Ariz. At a hearing before the Maricopa County Air Quality Department in April, PCRM joined public health advocates in speaking out against Covance’s application for an air quality permit. Despite the many valid concerns raised by local residents about how Covance will be disposing of thousands of chemical-laden animal carcasses each year, Covance broke ground on its Chandler facility the first week of June. This, however, did not mark the end of the fight.
PCRM and 12 Chandler residents, most of whom live within a mile and some within 300 feet of the construction site, filed a lawsuit against the city of Chandler. The suit claims that city officials violated the City Code in secretly meeting to discuss the rezoning for Covance and failing to give proper notice for public hearings on the matter, in addition to improperly approving Covance’s building permits for what will essentially function as a veterinary facility on property zoned for light industrial use. The judge will likely issue a written ruling in early 2008.
Little Secret Becomes National News
As the Farm Bill came up for renewal in Congress this fall, PCRM produced a commercial exposing a disturbing relationship between U.S. senators drafting the Farm Bill and huge agribusiness corporations receiving massive federal subsidies. The ad, “Dirty Little Secret,” threw a spotlight on contributions from agribusiness political action committees, which have given more than $5 million over the past four election cycles to members of the Senate Agriculture Committee. In return, many large agriculture companies scored huge commodity contracts.
The commercial was featured on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Hard Ball with Chris Matthews, and Good Morning America, and in The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The spot has been viewed on YouTube.com more than 25,000 times. Watch "Dirty Little Secret" >