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WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The pharmaceutical industry is concerned animal-rights extremists' growing and popular presence on myspace.com, a social networking Web site that links users from around the world, will recruit new members to the animal rights movement.

The industry is seeking ways to counter the animal-rights groups including launching their own MySpace profiles.

"MySpace is clearly a great recruiting tool for the demographic of teenagers and young adults," Jacquie Calnan, president of Americans for Medical Progress, a group in Alexandria, Va., that is supported by the pharmaceutical industry, told United Press International.

She noted the animal-rights groups also have a strong presence on youtube.com, posting videos of animal experiments and activists vandalizing labs.

"It's very worrisome," Calnan said, adding that she's worried that young people may be particularly susceptible to some of the messages coming from the animal rights extremists.
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Several animal-rights groups, including Animal Liberation Front's Press Office and Win Animal Rights, or WAR, have very popular MySpace profiles. They are supported by and linked to thousands of individual members, many of whom also post favorable comments on the pages, such as a user named "Laura," who recently wrote on the WAR profile: "It sickens me to know what is going on in this world, thankyou for the awareness you bring so more people can help fight this horrible crime. These people will get what they deserve!!!!!"

The sites generally carry pictures and videos of lab animals, such as dogs or monkeys in cages or being dissected, and activists releasing animals, breaking into labs or carrying out protests.

Camille Hankins, spokeswoman for WAR, told UPI her organization's MySpace profile was initially started by a member of the group as a hobby but it has since become an effective means of spreading their message.

"We do get a lot of traffic from MySpace to our website," Hankins said. "We're especially exposing a lot of young people that may have not known this was going on," she added.

However, Hankins said the MySpace traffic does not seem to be translating into new participants in the protests her group holds in New York City.

"Then again, if they're writing a polite letter to Pfizer asking them to stop dealing with puppy killers at Huntingdon, I could deal with that," she added.

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full story:
http://www.upi.com/HealthBusiness/view.php?StoryID=20060804-042542-5377r
 

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