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The Physicians Committee



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NEWS RELEASE August 23, 2013

Doctors Denounce Beagle Rabies Experiments

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Statement of Kenneth Litwak, D.V.M., Ph.D., Associate Director of Laboratory Medicine, responding to hearing that will take place Aug. 26:

“The experiments proposed by the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture, to test the infectivity of the first rabies virus to be found on the island in several decades are useless and cruel. The Council of Agriculture’s proposal to allow rabid ferret-badgers to bite beagle puppies will not shed new light on the infectivity of the virus. In fact, it is already well-known that rabies can infect all warm-blooded animals regardless of viral variant.

“The most important issue in Taiwan is not to determine whether this strain of rabies virus can be passed from ferret badgers to dogs – that is a certainty. What is more important is to determine whether current rabies vaccines are also protective against this strain of the virus. Virus neutralization assays can address this issue quickly and without killing any animals.

“Vaccination remains a highly effective method of controlling rabies in domestic animals. Further, oral vaccination of wildlife has been successfully done for over 30 years in Europe and 20 years in the United States.

“The Taiwanese government should be focusing on vaccination efforts in both their domestic animals and wildlife to stem this outbreak, instead of wasting valuable time, effort, and money on experiments that will only continue to prove what has already been demonstrated many times.”

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.

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.



Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey
202-527-7316
jeannem@pcrm.org

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