Animal “rights” groups use crowdsourcing to harass medical scientists

In addition to environmentalist groups use Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to harass scientists involved in the study of genetically modified foods, animal rights organizations are also harassing scientists involved in vivisection that uses cats and dogs. According to ScienceInsider, the Beagle Freedom Project has a new tool that makes their job even easier: crowdsourcing.

The Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) was founded in 2010 to encourage laboratories that use the beagles for medical testing to adopt them out. The dogs are the most popular animals to use in biomedical analysis, but the BFP widened its scope of animals to include all dogs and cats. The process to adopt out beagles involved the BFP sending an FOIA request for an animal that appears in their public records and the laboratory would, in most cases, hand it over to the university for processing and then the group posts the animal’s information on its website in order to adopt out the dog.

The controversy, however, is that BFP alleges the laboratory at Ohio State University that is also funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) violated NIH procedures by supposedly purchasing beagles from dealers who sold abused or stolen animals. In 2013, NIH mandated that researchers funded by the agency could not purchase random source dogs after October 1, 2015 and animal research using beagles subsidized 2015 and after was no longer allowed. ScienceInsider goes on to point out:

According to BFP, OSU broke both of these rules. The complaint contains an acquisition record (p. 18), which suggests that the university procured four class B dogs on 6 October 2014—5 days after the NIH moratorium went into effect. BFP also provided other records—including a disposition form (p. 109)—that indicate that one of the random source dogs was still alive as late as July of this year. “The record indicates the dog is still being used in the lab,” Beckham says. “That’s a violation.”

OSU disputes both assertions. The dogs, a spokesperson says, were purchased on 11 September 2014, and were merely delivered to the university on 6 October. (The university provided this purchase order to ScienceInsider as evidence.) It also says that no NIH grants made after 1 October 2014 have been used to study these dogs, and that no dogs currently involved in the lab’s research come from class B dealers. “Ohio State University has always been in compliance with National Institutes of Health policy regarding the procurement of dogs used in research,” wrote university spokesman Jeff Grabmeier in an email to ScienceInsider. (The researcher who runs the laboratory named in the complaint is on vacation and unavailable to discuss her lab’s research, OSU says; NIH declined to comment on whether an investigation is taking place.)

Even if the group loses on the complaint, the group is in this harassment campaign for the long haul. BFP’s representative Jeremy Beckham is quoted as saying there are thousands of dogs and cats used in US medical research. He states that his group will continue to make noise so the public eventually opposes using dogs and cats for the practice.

The BFP’s campaign is only an effort to harass and intimidate firms that use animals for medical tests and will ultimately be used to smear or slander facilities and maybe even personnel involved in vivisection. There are alternatives to animal testing but many times they are not effective or sophisticated enough to replace research on animals. I do not, however, encourage or condone animal cruelty. But this effort on the part of the so-called Beagle Freedom Project is about denying humans life saving treatments and therapies resulting from medical research in order to kill people of due to groups, like BFP’s, hatred of human life. It is not about saving animals from alleged cruelty.

NOTE: I know I have used the cartoon used to introduce this post before but it perfectly sums up the death wish of animal rights activists and groups.