There is a trend in our society and abroad to address extremely disturbing practices that require attention and reform. I am troubled by America%u2019s resistance in addressing the practice of obsolete and cruel animal testing; these practices are commonly employed in everything from inhumane toxicity testing to cruel medical experimentation, the invalidity of which has been a subject of debate in the medical community for over a century. Since our global neighbors are beginning to address these issues, and the Department of Health and Human Services has even addressed the inadequacies of such practices, I hope in this election year that my representatives will take an ethical position with respect to social issues.
In 2006, Health & Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt observed that %u201Ccurrently, nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies.%u201D
As Yale University's Dr. David Katz writes, "Extrapolation from rodent research to outcomes in people is notoriously uncertain and fraught with danger. Basic science studies and animal experiments have resulted over the years in headlines about cures for cancer, a definitive obesity gene and effective AIDS vaccines, to name a few. None of these has yet to materialize, and early hyperbole in each case gave way to disappointment."
Sentient beings are constantly and perpetually force-fed chemicals or drugs to intentionally gauge how much of a given substance will cause extreme physical pain or death. Other routine vivisection practices include, but are by no means limited to, sawing off the skull cap of living animals and inserting scientific devices into the open cavity or injecting formulas directly into animals%u2019 eyeballs, all to elicit neurological responses. These %u201Cexperiments%u201D are conducted while the living beings are fully conscious and often unanethitised. These practices are barbaric and wholly unnecessary.
America must determine that vivisection is an unacceptable practice, not only as a reflection of this country%u2019s integrity, but to remain an economically-viable participant in the international community. The European Union has begun to address these issues; in addition to a simple showing of respect for sentient beings, we must rise to the level of morality employed by our neighbors. Beginning in March 2009, the European Union will ban cosmetics and toiletries tested on animals. Further, the European Union will ban the import of animal-tested cosmetics and toiletries from other countries, including the United States. This is a huge step toward abolishing obsolete animal research in favor of biochips which are not only humane but more accurate. Biochips mimic human physiology; other species do not.
Please understand that these concerns are not unique to me. Each and every day, activists are working to spread awareness and, as people learn what is entailed in the manufacture of common products, greater numbers of people are choosing cruelty-free lifestyles than ever before.
In addition, even corporate enterprises are rejecting inhumane practices. For example,
Hugo Boss has more than 1200 stores in 105 countries and sources Australian wool for its classic menswear collections. The German-based retailer said it will distance itself from mulesing because the practice is out of step with the company's corporate values; a refusal by a corporation to participate in the cruel exploitation of sentient beings. Mulesing is a practice where the skin is cut away from the rear of the sheep, unanethitised, to prevent flystrike.
I find it disturbing that the United States will be forced to comply with the minimal requirements set forth by other countries, rather than taking an aggressive stand to promote compassion.
Animal welfare issues have been presented in the current Congress: S. 714, the Pet Safety and Protection Act; S. 1880, which would make dog-fighting a federal crime; and S. 2439, which would require the Federal Bureau of Investigation to track animal-cruelty crimes nationwide. Also, the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act passed the Senate in April and is now federal law. The Appropriations Committee has been petitioned to provide funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop plans for evacuating pets during emergencies, such as should have happened in Hurricane Katrina.
This is an extremely encouraging climate in which to address the pervasive problem of the cruelty employed by American industry. The issue of farm animals has come to light: S. 311, the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, would make it illegal to slaughter horses for human consumption. In conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States, laws w
hich protect farm animals, including the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, are before Congress. Vivisection is an obvious problem that Congress needs to address, especially in light of the current expansion of awareness discussed above.
I am hopeful that my representatives, and my government as a whole, will take a pro-active position in the area of animal experimentation. I am hopeful that this country can lead the way and be the example of progressive policies which promote compassion, rather than being forced to conform to a climate that will not tolerate the abuse of animals.
Thank you in advance for your attention to these very serious issues.