Summer/Fall 1998 Poultry Press ANTI-VIVISECTION
SUPPORT THE AMERICAN ANTI-VIVISECTION SOCIETY'S PETITION TO INCLUDE BIRDS, RATS, AND MICE AS ANIMALS COVERED BY THE FEDERAL ANIMAL WELFARE ACT

In April the AAVS petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture to amend the federal Animal Welfare Act to include protection for rats, mice and birds. Currently the Act does not provide even minimum standards of care for these animals although they constitute 85% of animals used in U.S. laboratories, and are used extensively in cruel, bizarre, and repetitive classroom exercises--because they are not covered no accountability is required.

While UPC opposes the use--coercion, injury and killing, painful or otherwise--of animals, we agree with AAVS that everyone should support giving some protection to animals as opposed to none. (Who, speaking for themselves, would say "Unless I have full legal protection, I don't want any"?)

In 1989, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) petitioned the USDA to remove its 1976 arbitrary exemption of these animals. Judgment was granted in favor of ALDF and HSUS in 1992; however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that ALDF and HSUS had not demonstrated legal standing to justify the 1992 judgment. In order to prove standing, petitioners must prove they are being hindered or injured by current legal standards.

To date, animals in the U.S. do not have legal standing--the right to representation on their own behalf in a court of law. Therefore, the AAVS has petitioned USDA with the challenge that alternative nonanimal manufacturers, researchers using alternatives, educators, and organizations working to promote alternatives to the use of animals are being hindered or injured by current legal standards which provide no incentive to adopt nonanimal methodologies in laboratories and classrooms.

Scientist Dr. F. Barbara Orlans gave an example: a teacher at a college in Georgia required each student to crush a chick to death in their hands according to a textbook's instructions. "[I]f birds were covered by the Animal Welfare Act, this method of killing a laboratory animal would be impermissible" and "the public could seek action on valid complaints of animal mistreatment."

While UPC opposes the use--coercion, injury and killing, painful or otherwise--of animals, we agree with AAVS that everyone should support giving some protection to animals as opposed to none. (Who, speaking for themselves, would say "Unless I have full legal protection, I don't want any"?)

What Can I Do?
  • Support the petition to include birds, rats and mice as animals covered by the Animal Welfare Act. Write to your Senators, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510; your Representative, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515; Dan Glickman, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 14th & Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20250; Acting Deputy Administrator, APHIS/USDA, 4700 River Rd., Unit 84, Riverdale, MD 20737. To learn who your Senators & Representatives are, call (800) 688-9889.

  • Contact the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) for more information. Ph 215-887-0816; fax 2088; email aavsonline@aol.com. Website www.aavs.org

Summer/Fall 1998 Poultry Press ANTI-VIVISECTION