• Don Lichterman

Texas A&M, Vaping Studies, U. of VA & GA and a Court Must Reconsider USDA Inaction to Protect Birds!

Dr. Thomas Poulton Was An Outspoken Critic of Texas A&M’s Canine MD Experiments

The late Dr. Thomas Poulton, a gifted physician and professor, was in a unique position as an outspoken critic of TAMU's canine muscular dystrophy (MD) experiments. Not only did he treat children with MD, he also suffered from multiple system atrophy, a neurodegenerative disease. In this moving video, he discusses the unethical and unscientific nature of TAMU's MD experiments on dogs.

Court Must Reconsider USDA Inaction to Protect Birds

An appeals court has ruled in favor of birds in AAVS’s lawsuit against the USDA for its inaction and “unreasonable delay” to create regulations for the sale and use of birds, as required by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This latest decision is part of a nearly two-decade long effort by AAVS and its co-plaintiff, the Avian Welfare Coalition (AWC), to secure AWA protection for birds who are exploited in commercial industries.

Because USDA has chosen to not regulate birds, exploitation and abuse of these animals continues, without accountability or public knowledge. Regulations would set standards to address serious animal welfare concerns at bird mills (the avian equivalent to puppy mills), inhumane conditions during transport, and proper living environments for flight animals, as well as the care and use of some birds in research.

AAVS President Sue Leary commented, “We are grateful that the Appeals Court judges affirmed that our case deserves to be heard. It's quite obvious that USDA is not doing what Congress mandates, but they have evaded accountability for so many years. No longer."


Use Human-Relevant Models To Study Vaping Injuries

The Physicians Committee recently wrote to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to call for human-relevant research rather than animal experiments following the recent outbreak of lung injuries associated with the use of e-cigarette and vaping products.

On Nov. 8, 2019, a telebriefing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified vitamin E acetate as a “potential toxin of concern” in the recent outbreak of lung injuries associated with the use of e-cigarette and vaping products. During the briefing, Anne Schuchat, MD, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC, expressed that further animal studies should be conducted to determine what other lung injuries may be caused by vitamin E acetate. The Physicians Committee wrote a letter, included below, to Dr. Schuchat to express disappointment in the call for further animal studies to be conducted, as the negative effects of vitamin E acetate inhaled into human lungs are already well documented.

Additionally, the physical differences between human and nonhuman lungs do not allow for a clear line of equivalence to be drawn in these studies, so no direct benefit to human health will be gained. The Physicians Committee encourages the CDC to instead support technologically advanced human-based research methods, such as 3D models of human lungs, to yield relevant information faster.

Instead of testing e-cigarette products on animals, we encourage regulatory agencies to keep dangerous additives or contaminants out of the hands of consumers. The FDA is moving in this direction, thankfully, announcing on Jan. 2, 2020 that it will take action against flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to children, effectively banning all flavors from cartridge-based e-cigarettes other than tobacco or menthol.

December 2, 2019
Anne Schuchat, MD Principal Deputy Director Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30329
Dear Dr. Schuchat: The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a nationwide nonprofit organization comprised of over 175,000 supporters advocating for efficient, effective and ethical medical practice, nutrition, and research. In CDC's November 8 telebriefing on lung injury associated with vaping, we were disappointed by your recommendations for animal studies of vitamin E acetate and other suspected toxicants. While animal studies are unlikely to yield information that will better protect public health, studies using in vitro and ex vivo methods based on human tissue are especially well-suited to the study of emerging health threats, as they provide more relevant information and require less time to conduct than animal studies.
Differences in respiratory physiology among species present difficulties for extrapolating the results of respiratory toxicology studies in animals to humans. Whether an animal is an obligate nose breather, the structure of the nasal turbinates, respiration rate, etc. influence the size and number of particles reaching the alveoli. For example, rodents are obligate nose breathers with more convoluted nasal passages than humans, potentially resulting in test substances being deposited in the nasal passages before they can cause lung injury.
Fortunately, human tissue-based methods for studying inhalation toxicity are available. Human airway epithelium can be reconstructed from primary cells obtained from donor tissue of healthy or diseased origin which are cultured on porous membranes at the air-liquid interface. Commercially available reconstructed human airway epithelium models contain multiple cell types, including ciliated columnar cells, mucus-producing Goblet cells, and basal cells, and recapitulate key physiological functions. These cultures can extend to weeks and months allowing the observation of both short term events, such as changes in ciliary beat frequency, and long term events, such as Goblet cell hyperplasia. Tissues modeling the small airways and alveolar regions of the lung tissues generate inflammatory cytokine responses.
Other methods are based on precision-cut lung slices from donor tissue obtained in a clinical setting. These cultures contain all lung cell types present in the tissue at the time of slicing while retaining the native architecture of the lung including small airways and respiratory parenchyma. Precision-cut lung slices have been maintained for many weeks and demonstrate both acute changes, including robust cytokine responses and loss of viability, and chronic changes, including activated macrophage staining, collagen deposition, and tissue remodeling. They have also been used to show no effect level and to identify test substance concentration-specific reversibility of inflammatory marker expression – a key element in understanding whether an insult to respiratory tissue may persist or resolve after test article removal.
We urge CDC to support and conduct studies using human-based tissue to study the effects of vitamin E acetate and other inhaled toxicants.
Joseph Manuppello Senior Research Analyst Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine 5100 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20016
CC Alex Michael Azar II

Drug Company Works to Prevent FDA Dog Tests

The CEO of Vanda Pharmaceuticals is the inaugural recipient of the Physicians Committee’s Trailblazer Award, which was given for his unwavering commitment to prevent and replace animal tests and advance human-relevant science. Suing FDA >

Animal Use for Medical Training at University of Virginia Prompts Federal Complaint. Physicians Group Urges Use of Human-Relevant Methods Instead. Doctors File Complaint Against Animal Use for Medical Training

The Physicians Committee has filed a federal complaint against the use of live animals for training general surgery residents at the University of Virginia. Details >

Doctors Oppose Animal Use in Training at Medical College of Georgia

The Physicians Committee filed a federal complaint in January against the Medical College of Georgia for its use of live animals in its emergency medicine and general surgery training programs.

Urge MCG to End Animal Use > Urge the Medical College of Georgia to End Live Animal Use

Please take a minute to ask officials at the Medical College of Georgia to immediately end the use of live pigs for training general surgery residents.


  • David C. Hess, MD, Medical College of Georgia Dean

  • Daniel Albo, MD, Surgery Department Chair

  • Steve B. Holsten, Jr., MD, Surgery Residency Program Director

We have provided text for you, but we encourage you to use your own words. Please be polite and encouraging.

German Laboratory Shuts Down After Shocking Undercover Investigation

And, fantastic news! Cruelty Free International and SOKO Tierschutz’s shocking undercover investigation at a medical research facility in Germany has resulted in the closure of the laboratory and the rehoming of hundreds of animals who suffered in silence for far too long.

The horrifying footage exposed heinous abuse and torture of dogs, cats, and monkeys at the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT) in Mienenbüttel, Germany. Based on this investigation, Cruelty Free International called for an urgent and fundamental review of animal testing laws across the EU.

On November 27, Cruelty Free International reported that LPT Mienenbüttel had been raided, “based on suspicions that vertebrate animals at the site in Mienenbüttel had been treated in ways which would contravene the German Animal Welfare Act.” LPT facilities in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein were also investigated following the issuance of search warrants by the district court.

On December 20, Cruelty Free International shared news that LPT laboratory had their operating license removed and “will cease activities as local authorities call into question the reliability of the company.”

On Jan 8, Cruelty Free International posted more great news: “We are also pleased to confirm all the cats who were at LPT have also been given loving homes.” Although CFI could not thank the organizations who are caring for the animals by name, “the local veterinary office has also confirmed to SOKO that the remaining 140 dogs will also soon be rehomed”.

Thank you to all of you who signed our alert in support of Cruelty Free International and SOKO Tierschutz’s efforts to shut down this cruel medical testing facility and to initiate a comprehensive review of European animal testing laws.

Maverick is carrying only two apples because he shared a third with Tibi.

Companionship is very important for primates and it goes much deeper than just having a playmate to pass the time away. It’s truly about relationships and empathy.

Take a look at former lab chimpanzees Maverick and Tibi. During Maverick’s first time exploring his new forest home, he gathered up some treats, and then went back inside his villa.

Outside the camera’s view, Maverick shared one of his apples with Tibi, who is older and was scared to go outside.

Well, Maverick’s small act of kindness was just what Tibi needed to muster up the courage to venture out! Having compassion for someone who is scared; recognizing that sharing can make another feel good; and trust that a friend would never steer you wrong shows emotional intelligence, something that is clearly not uniquely human.

Get to know the other chimpanzees living at Project Chimps by following them on social media. MORE »

Researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute have released a video demonstrating a new device that links multiple 'organs-on-chips' (lung-on-a-chip, liver-on-a-chip, etc.).

The groundbreaking new system simulates the flow of a chemical through the organs of a human body, and can be used to provide a deeper understanding about the effectiveness and potential harm of drugs. MORE »

AAVS congratulates our Animalearn division's 2019 Humane Educator and Student of the Year recipients!

These annual awards are given for contributions to humane science education, instead of harming animals in classrooms. This year’s recipients are a science teacher who appears as a hologram to guide students through remarkable virtual reality dissections and a 7th grader whose science fair project shows why alternatives are better than frog dissections for her school and schools everywhere. MORE »

Together, we can work toward a cruelty-free world for all animals!

Animal Testing Weekly Updates

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