|NEWS RELEASE||April 7, 2003|
Doctors’ Controversial Billboard Suppressed in New Orleans
Four Companies Block Shocking Image of March of Dimes Animal Experiments
NEW ORLEANS, La.—A controversial billboard image criticizing the March of Dimes for continuing to fund unnecessary animal experiments has been refused by four outdoor ad companies in New Orleans that wanted to avoid finding fault with the wealthy charity. Sponsored by the national nonprofit organization Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), the billboard was intended to target participants in the March of Dimes fundraiser, WalkAmerica, which takes place in New Orleans on April 12. The ad shows a photo of baby monkeys and the text, “How many animals will be killed with your March of Dimes donation?”
“Many WalkAmerica participants are unaware that their donations will be used for animal experiments,” says PCRM’s New Orleans spokesman Ryck Caplan, M.D., an obstetrician/gynecologist. “Not only are animal experiments cruel, but they can lead to human tragedy. For example, the antibiotic streptomycin was deemed safe when tested on dogs and other animals but, when given to human babies, it caused deafness, brain damage, and, in some cases, death. What we need now are not more animal experiments, but, rather, programs to track down the causes of birth defects in human populations.”
The photo of young rhesus monkeys on the blocked billboard refers to a March of Dimes-funded experiment involving monkeys who were tethered and kept in cages too small to meet federal requirements. In order to show the link between bacterial infections and premature birth, which is already well established, experimenters impregnated monkeys, infected them with bacteria, then killed and dissected their babies. Many donors prefer to support charities, such as Birth Defect Research for Children, Inc., that do not fund experiments on animals. For a complete list of cruelty-free charities, visit HumaneSeal.org.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.