I am OUTRAGED! Green fascists are deliberately poisoning animals.

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San Francisco Chronicle, July 22, 2002

It's PETA vs. greens in tiff over lab rats Traditional allies split on EPA animal tests

Glen Martin

A fight has erupted between environmental groups and the nation's leading animal rights organization over the issue of laboratory animal testing.

The dispute is the result of a media campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against three mainstream environmental groups: the World Wildlife Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense.

PETA has denounced the three organizations for their support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's use of laboratory animals to test toxic compounds. Such tests are unnecessary, PETA claims, and could be replaced with toxicology evaluations that don't use animals.

The animal rights organization has initiated a letter-writing campaign against the three groups, taken out media ads urging people to stop donating money to them and created a "Mean Greenies" Web site accusing the groups of "greenwashing" their support of animal testing.

Among the items on the site is a "report card" that evaluates environmental groups on the animal testing issue. Of the 12 groups tested, only the World Wildlife Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense got failing marks. Several other groups got grades of D or C-.

The dispute highlights a widening gap between traditional allies.

"We're distressed because we thought of ourselves on the same side," said Gina Solomon, a senior scientist and physician with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"We both fight for animal welfare," said Solomon. "We're both activist organizations trying to make the world a better place. We're sad to be on opposite sides on this, but we're convinced PETA is on the wrong side."

The spat started when the environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA in 1999 to force it to stick to established deadlines on pesticide assessment and the evaluation of "endocrine disruptors," chemicals that can inhibit fetal development.

Such tests typically involve laboratory animals, and PETA subsequently filed a counter suit in federal court to delay the procedures. That case was dismissed, and the EPA is proceeding with the chemical evaluations.


PETA says the tests approved by the EPA will result in the death of many animals -- mainly laboratory rats and mice -- but will not necessarily yield pertinent information on the toxicity of the target chemicals on humans.

"The way these three environmental groups approach this issue is to immerse themselves in a morass of useless data (from animal tests) that clearly don't accomplish what they should accomplish," said Jessica Sandler, the federal agency liaison for PETA.

"The endocrine disruptor screening program (employed by EPA and supported by the three groups) will look at thousands of chemicals and will potentially require killing millions of animals" Sandler said. "But these tests have never shown to be relevant to human health. Not a single animal test has gone through a validation process (to demonstrate relevance) to human health."

But the EPA and the environmental groups say that nonanimal tests are simply inferior to animal tests in most situations, and that eschewing the use of lab animals would pose grave risks to the environment and the human beings and wildlife inhabiting it.

"We're greatly concerned that PETA is working directly against environmental and human health goals in their campaign," said Solomon. "Basically, the only alternatives to this (animal) testing program are ignorance of toxic chemicals or the de facto testing of those chemicals in the real world environment.

"If PETA gets its way, people and wild animals will be the guinea pigs. We would prefer that a small number of lab rats are used to save the rest of us. We see targeted animal testing as a key component of animal and environmental protection."


Richard Liroff, the policy director for the wildlife and contaminants program for the World Wildlife Fund, said that good, reliable nonanimal tests are unavailable for many protocols.

"All of us want to see more nonanimal tests," Liroff said. "All of us want to reduce the number of laboratory animals used for tests. Ultimately we'll get there. But when you're looking for the developmental effects of hormone- disrupting chemicals, for example, you need to see what the effect is in the entire organism."

Sandler countered that reliable nonanimal tests do exist for some evaluations, but claimed they are met with resistance in the United States.

"To cite a particular case, the EPA is calling for a battery of animal tests to evaluate chemicals for genetic toxicity," she said. "We've found a nonanimal test required in several European countries that is actually more sensitive than the animal tests. But the (environmentalists) are fighting us on it."

EPA spokesman David Deegan said the agency was eager to develop nonanimal tests and had earmarked $4 million for that purpose for the current fiscal year.

"We're looking forward to the development of validated methodologies as an alternative to animal testing," Deegan said. "But for us, the emphasis must remain on 'validated.' Unfortunately for many issues involving the health effects of specific chemicals, or airborne toxics and toxic residues, there are no alternatives to animal testing. Nothing else is accepted as valid."

Liroff said the conflict was rooted in an essential difference in priorities.

"We don't disagree with animal welfare, but we define our missions differently," Liroff said. "The World Wildlife Fund focuses on biodiversity protection, preserving species in the wild and protecting entire ecosystems. PETA is pursuing an agenda that defines animal welfare as the preservation of specific animals, including laboratory and domestic animals."

Sandler sees the matter differently, saying the issue is as much a matter of ethics as it is of scientific protocol and disparate missions.

"We have a mutual interest with these environmental groups in getting toxic chemicals out of the marketplace, but they believe there is a species of animal called the 'laboratory animal,' and you can do anything you want with them," she said. "There is no such species. All animals suffer when you poison th

-- (Petulant Petula @ PETA.pestering), July 22, 2002



-- (Petula@PETA.plotting), July 22, 2002.

Greens are good. PETA is suburban pug matrons who don't give a shit about poor people that can't afford to buy lah-dee-dah organic veggies.

Petula is a fat white-bread bitch who strives to be relevant. Want to do animals a favor, parasite-Petula? Go kill yourself in the woods and let the scavengers feed on your funky twat.

-- (tired @ you phoney.radicals), July 22, 2002.

Petula lives in the Azores

her cunt is covered in sores

Not a dog in the street

will touch the green meat

that hangs in festoons from her drawers

-- (BWAHAHA@filthy.pug matrons), July 22, 2002.

You were right. You really are crazy.

-- (i believe@you.now), July 22, 2002.

Hey- I only buy organic foods- Does that make ME la dee dah?

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), July 23, 2002.

Don't think so FS. It only means you care about what goes into Mother Earth AND your body! Besides, it tastes so much better~! But you can be a la tee dah if you wish!

-- Aunt Bee (Aunt__Bee@hotmail.com), July 23, 2002.

tired@you.funky radicals = Boswell

-- (some things@painfully.obvious), July 23, 2002.

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