Guatemalan Infection Experiments Exposed
American scientists deliberately infected 696 Guatemalan prisoners and psychiatric patients with sexually transmitted diseases in the 1940s, according to a recent report. This experiment was co-sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the Public Health Service, and the Pan American Health Organization.
In the experiment, scientists infected prisoners and patients with syphilis and gonorrhea using prostitutes infected with the diseases. None of the infected individuals consented to the experiment, and about one-third of those infected were not treated.
The experiment was discovered by Susan Reverby, Ph.D., a history professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Dr. Reverby was researching the infamous Tuskegee studies in which African-American men were left with untreated syphilis, and discovered that John Cutler, M.D., who was involved in the Tuskegee experiment, also led this research in Guatemala.
After the Tuskegee experiment was terminated in 1972, the U.S. government strengthened protections of human research participants and established the Office for Human Research Protections. But revelations about other questionable past and present experiments involving human subjects continue to surface.
Puerto Rico Votes Out Monkey-Breeding Facility
The citizens and mayor of Guayama, Puerto Rico, recently dealt major blows to a company trying to establish a primate-breeding facility in the town. Bioculture, a company based in Mauritius, began building the facility in Guayama in 2009. The company ships long-tailed macaques, including those taken from the wild, to many countries to be used in product testing and other experiments.
In October, two ordinances were passed in Guayama making it illegal to import, export, breed, or use monkeys in experiments. In addition, the Senate of Puerto Rico approved a strong resolution that urges the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to deny Bioculture licenses or permits to import, confine, breed, or sell monkeys.
This is a significant milestone, but Bioculture has not yet dropped its plan to try to construct its facility in Puerto Rico. PCRM will keep working with Guayama citizens and other organizations until we reach a complete victory.
All Canadian Medical Schools End Animal Labs for Teaching
The Memorial University of Newfoundland has ended live animal use in a medical student laboratory. Every Canadian medical school now uses nonanimal education methods.
The Newfoundland school became the subject of controversy as PCRM planned to file a legal complaint with the Canadian Council on Animal Care arguing that the school’s use of live pigs violated federal guidelines. In response, the university notified PCRM it was ending the laboratory.
“Canada has completely ended live animal labs, which should send a clear signal to the handful of U.S. medical schools still clinging to these inhumane procedures,” says PCRM cardiologist John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C.
University of Pittsburgh Slow to Stop Killing Pigs
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center agreed to stop using and killing pigs for trauma training following a complaint PCRM filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But in November, pigs were killed at the end of the school’s trauma training course.
Prior to the course, a group of Pennsylvania physicians co-signed a letter to Elizabeth Concordia, executive vice president of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), speaking out against the school’s use of live animals.
“Recent announcements by UPMC stating that the institution’s use of pigs in Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses would end “in a few months” are promising, but that is not soon enough,” wrote the physicians.
Of the 12 medical centers in Pennsylvania, UPMC is the last one still using live animals in its ATLS courses.
ONLINE> To help save animals at the medical schools and trauma training programs that continue to use and kill animals, visit PCRM.org/Research.
Germany Rejects U.S. Army’s Animal-Based Training
Two regional German governments recently denied the U.S. Army permission to use live animals for medical training. One of these governments has refused the Army’s proposals three times.
When PCRM experts learned that the U.S. Army had applied to use pigs to teach medical procedures in Germany this June, they appealed to the German government. Weighing the issue, German authorities denied the Army’s request, stating that the course would violate the German Animal Welfare Act because alternatives are readily available. The U.S. Army then reapplied, and PCRM urged the local government to deny the request again. Neurosurgeon and retired Army officer William Morris, M.D., was instrumental in encouraging the German government to insist that nonanimal methods be used.
PCRM will continue working to ensure the U.S. Army cannot outsource live animal training to Germany or elsewhere in Europe.