Experiments Will Expose Beagle Puppies to Rabies Virus
Physicians Committee scientists are asking the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture (COA) to halt plans to expose unvaccinated beagle puppies to the rabies virus. Thousands have already signed a Physicians Committee petition on Change.org.
“It sounds like a scene from a horror movie: injecting rabies into beagle puppies and watching as they succumb to one of the most miserable of diseases,” wrote Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D., on the Huffington Post. “This isn't fiction. It's a cruel experiment that is real and imminent. The Taiwanese Council of Agriculture wants to test whether a new strain of rabies will spread from ferret-badgers to dogs. It aims to inject rabies into at least 14 puppies, and it is hoping that the world will turn a blind eye to this awful experiment.”
Vaccination is the most effective and expedient way to prevent the spread of rabies. Infecting dogs with rabies virus for the purpose of testing rabies vaccines efficacy is no longer considered necessary or ethical by rabies experts. Current rabies vaccines protect against most rabies viruses and rabies-like viruses.
To stem the rabies outbreak, Physicians Committee associate director of laboratory medicine Kenneth Litwak, D.V.M., Ph.D., says, “COA must focus on wide spread vaccination efforts and stop wasting valuable time, effort, and money on experiments that will only continue to prove that rabies can spread from animal to animal and animal to human – we know this.”
The Physicians Committee recommends that the Taiwanese government ask all citizens to vaccinate their dogs and other animals by World Rabies Day on Sept. 28. PCRM is continuing to work to prevent the rabies experiments.