Aug. 23, 2006
As a neurologist and public health specialist with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, I'd like to correct misleading statements made by George Poste about the need for animal-testing companies like Covance ("Recognize need for animals in research," Aug. 18).
Covance tests cosmetic ingredients and food additives on primates, dogs and other animals, despite the fact that no law requires that these products be tested on animals. Unlike Covance, most companies have implemented non-animal safety tests for cosmetics, food additives and other non-drug products. In addition, Covance is guilty of serious animal welfare violations and was recently fined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture based on documented allegations of striking, choking and tormenting primates at its Virginia facility.
Contrary to Poste's comments about animal advocacy groups, PCRM has a strict spokesperson policy forbidding comments that could be taken as promoting discrimination or illegal activity. Only one person has ever violated that policy, and as a result, he is no longer a PCRM member.
PCRM is a non-profit research and health advocacy organization that promotes non-animal research methods. In 2004, PCRM worked with a contract laboratory to develop the first cruelty-free insulin assay. Made without fetal calf serum or antibodies from mice, this assay is now marketed and sold worldwide.
Poste claims that the animal testing industry is interested in eliminating animal experiments. Why, then, does Covance continue to test cosmetic ingredients and food additives on animals instead of focusing on creating new technologies that would provide a more humane and effective way of measuring product safety?
- Aysha Akhtar, M.D.