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Jane Goodall Condemns Animal Testing


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Jane Goodall - 'To find other ways'

By JOEL MILLS of the Tribune

PULLMAN -- World-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall on Thursday condemned the use of animals in scientific experiments during a visit to Washington State University, a school that performs such experiments.

"I think we have to find other ways of doing experiments, other than using live animals, as soon as we can," said Goodall, 72, who earned fame for her decades of up-close work with the chimpanzees of Tanzania. "And while we are using them, they should be kept in much, much, much better conditions than they are."

Biologist Kenneth Kardong defended WSU programs using animals for research. He chairs the university's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which reviews proposals for research involving animals.

"They (researchers) are required to explain why they must use animals, and not some alternative means of testing the hypothesis that is in front of them," Kardong said. "They cannot start testing until they get this approval."

Kardong said the committee looks at factors like the levels of stress, discomfort or pain an animal must endure during experiments. Such committees are required by federal law, he said, but WSU goes beyond those requirements.

For example, the law requires two members of the committee review each proposal. WSU uses four members for some of the more complicated proposals, he said, so a wider range of opinion is considered. And the committee includes a community member, a bioethicist and a veterinarian, requirements not included in law.

During a morning news conference at the WSU Alumni Center, Goodall said there is not enough incentive for abandoning animal testing. "Where are the Nobel Prizes for the alternatives to the use of animals?" she asked.

"They're not there. And very often, there's a sort of implicit desire to maintain the status quo, because it's easier that way."

But Kardong said all the incentives in animal research are pointing away from its continued use. "In addition to the simple ethics of it, there's the expense of it," he said, adding his belief that invasive animal research would eventually be phased out at WSU.

Noninvasive research for teaching and species preservation will continue, he said. Examples would be a veterinary student doing practice physical exams on live cats or dogs, placing big horn sheep in pens with diseased sheep to figure out how sicknesses are transmitted to wild populations, or performing basic research on threatened species, he said.

"We're going to have to have basic data on those animals in order to develop management programs that help us to save them."

Kardong said while he has a deep admiration for Goodall's work, he wished she had chosen her words more carefully. "She's been very important in some of the behavioral studies of some of these great chimpanzees in particular," he said. "I'm sorry it comes from a person who really should know better."

WSU has come under fire from animal rights activists several times for its animal-based research. In 1991, research offices and animal holding pens were vandalized. And it has been criticized for buying dogs scheduled to be euthanized from shelters, and for using live, anesthetized goats to study traumatic injuries.

Goodall said she was raised in a Christian family that wasn't particularly religious. But after her experiences in the forest at Tanzania's Gombe preserve, she began to believe all living things have something akin to a soul.

"I was there for a long time alone. And the sort of feeling that I got when I was out in the forest is that there's a little spark of this great spirit power in each living thing. And if it's a soul in us (humans), then I think the chimpanzees also have souls."

Goodall was in Pullman to deliver the annual Lane Family Lecture in Environmental Science. Speaking Thursday evening at Beasley Coliseum, Goodall outlined her four reasons for hope the world can recover its environmental heritage: humans are smart, young people are determined, the human spirit is indomitable and nature is resilient.

The annual lecture is endowed by a gift from L.W. (Bill) Lane, former
publisher of "Sunset" magazine, and his wife Jean.

Mills may be contacted at jmills@lmtribune.com or at (208) 883-0564

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