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IDA: Take Action Today For World Week for Animals in Laboratories (WWAIL)

Saturday marked the beginning of World Week for Animals in Laboratories (WWAIL), which is being held from April 18th through the 26th this year.

In addition to emailing the White House Office of Public Liason (OPL) (see below), you can find additional ways to take action at http://www.wwail.org. You can view a list of 2009 events here, or register your own. IDA helpfully provides a bevy of literature, posters and stickers for your events – no matter how big or small – which you can view and download here.

Striking at the Roots’ Mark Hawthorne also offers his suggestions for 5 Things You Can Do to Help Animals in Labs.

Are you participating in WWAIL? Share your action and outreach ideas in the comments!

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals
Date: Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 11:31 AM
Subject: Take Action Today For World Week for Animals in Laboratories (WWAIL)

World Week for Animals in Laboratories (WWAIL) Is Here!

April 18 – 26 – Scroll down for an important message you should send to President Obama

In February 2009, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) received an additional $10.4 billion in funding. This money is in addition to NIH’s 2009 budget of $30.3 billion.

Although technology has progressed and there is broad acknowledgment of the flaws of animal models, NIH funding for animal research has remained unchanged and the numbers of animals used has increased.

Please join IDA in contacting the White House Office of Public Liaison during World Week for Animals in Laboratories (WWAIL) to ask that the $10.4 billion in stimulus money be designated exclusively for non-animal research. Click here to read IDA’s letter to President Obama.

The terms of the stimulus money received by NIH require greater transparency and accountability to the public than routine appropriations. In addition, they must address a greater number of challenge areas, such as clinical research, genomics, information processing and stem cell research, among others. They are also subject to additional measures to prevent fraud and waste.

These challenge areas are ideal for the funding and expansion of non-animal methods. Increasingly, there is broad acknowledgement among scientists of the superiority of human-based research methods, like clinical research and tissue and organ cultures, which provide fully relevant results and do not suffer from the disparities of other species. This is where the future of biomedical research lies and as such, is where all of the $10.4 billion in stimulus money should be directed.

Further, in 1993, Congress passed the NIH Revitalization Act which mandated that the NIH implement a plan to “conduct or support research into methods of biomedical research and experimentation that do not require the use of animals,” as well as for reducing the number of animals used in research.

Despite this law, which was passed more than 15 years ago before the technological explosion that has included mapping of the human genome, widespread use of DNA microarrays and other paradigm-shifting advances – federal funding for grants using animals has remained constant at just over 40% of all grants.

Recent studies published in prestigious journals like Nature and The Chronicle of Higher Education have documented researchers themselves citing an “old boy’s network” at the helm of a fundamentally flawed federal research funding system that concentrates grant awards in the hands of a select number of aging “cash cow” researchers while leaving younger, innovative investigators struggling.

Please join IDA in speaking out during WWAIL, April 18 – 26 to ask that these monies go towards the future of cutting-edge biomedical research, rather than continuing to perpetuate outdated animals models.

Please send a message to the White House Office of Public Liason (OPL). The OPL uses a webform for public communication, rather than an actual e-mail address. So please visit this address, http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/opl/, then copy-and-paste the sample letter below into the web form. While you can use this sample letter verbatim, it will be more effective if you personalize it with your own thoughts.

Sample letter to send to White House Office of Public Liason (OPL):

I wholeheartedly support the Obama Administration’s commitment to eliminating government waste and improving efficiency. As part of this initiative, I urge you to allocate the $10.4 billion in stimulus money for National Institutes of Health (NIH) exclusively to non-animal methods. This is in keeping with the goals of the stimulus package to fund innovative and cutting edge areas of research. In addition, the 1993 NIH Revitalization Act mandated that the NIH implement a plan to “conduct or support research into methods of biomedical research and experimentation that do not require the use of animals.” Despite this law, funding for animal grants has not decreased over the past 16 years, and the numbers of animals used in laboratories has increased. This lack of initiative is driven by an “old boys’ network” in the NIH’s peer review system that promotes outdated animal research methods at the expense of innovative and modern human-centered methodologies. As scientific progress leads increasingly away from using animals to “model” uniquely human diseases, and as federal dollars for research become increasingly scarce, our nation can ill-afford a system that favors the status quo over effective, innovative and humane research. I urge you to promptly address this significant area of government waste by utilizing the stimulus money to fund only effective, non-animal research.

Thank you very much for your support!

About IDA

In Defense of Animals, located in San Rafael, Calif., is an international animal protection organization with more than 85,000 members and supporters dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals by protecting their rights and welfare. IDA’s efforts include educational events, cruelty investigations, boycotts, grassroots activism, and hands-on rescue through our sanctuaries in Mississippi, Mumbai, India, and Cameroon, Africa.

In Defense of Animals is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We welcome your feedback and appreciate your donations. Please join today! All donations to IDA are tax-deductible.

In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner, San Rafael, CA 94901
Tel. (415) 448-0048 Fax (415) 454-1031
idainfo [at] idausa.org

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