|NEWS RELEASE||May 7, 2002|
Doctors Deliver 118,000 Petitions to the March of Dimes, Call on Charity to Stop Funding Controversial Animal Experiments
WASHINGTON—Representatives from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) delivered nearly 120,000 petitions—from Americans in every state of the country—to the March of Dimes' Washington office this morning, calling on the charity to stop funding wasteful animal experiments.
Particularly contentious are experiments at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center in which a March of Dimes-funded experimenter is impregnating monkeys, inducing infections in them to trigger miscarriages, then killing their babies and dissecting them. The link between bacterial infections in women and preterm birth is already well established.
PCRM estimates the March of Dimes spends millions each year funding animal experiments, resources that would be better directed to programs that assist at-risk mothers and focus on human-based research. "Only human-centered research will prevent birth defects such as cerebral palsy, a condition of which I am all too familiar," says PCRM spokesperson Lawrence Carter-Long, a former poster child for cerebral palsy research who believes animal experiments hamper medical research.
PCRM members recently leafleted participants in 125 U.S. cities during the March of Dimes annual fundraiser WalkAmerica, alerting them to problems inherent in the charity's support of animal experiments. PCRM's campaign to reform the March of Dimes has seen great success over the past year. Four major March of Dimes supporters—Kmart, PepsiCo, Sara Lee, and Publix—announced their decisions to restrict their March of Dimes donations to only human-based research and services. "A growing number of Americans are recognizing that the best way to advance human health is to redirect our research dollars away from animal experiments," explains PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D.
In recognition of this trend, PCRM recently launched the first-ever program to identify and certify those health charities that do not fund or conduct animal experiments. The Humane Charity Seal of Approval (www.HumaneSeal.org) makes it simple for donors to choose a charity that matches their values. A poll conducted last November shows that 56 percent of all Americans are more likely to donate to a health charity that does not fund animal experiments than one that does.
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.