Monday, December 28, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

As we end this year and prepare to welcome a new one, I want to reflect for a moment on the origins and future of the ARISE Anti-Vivisection campaign.

Prior to ARISE, I spent nearly two decades fighting against hunting, including the last four years working politically for animals. In the back of my mind, however, I always thought that someday I should try to help animals that are experimented on, for their suffering was truly terrifying to behold. But there was just too much work to be done and too little time to spare for any new ventures, so this remained unrealized. That changed in February of this year, when I received an email with a picture of a dog being vivisected.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

When animal experiments are proposed, there are a series of steps that are supposed to occur to test the worthiness of the project. This is especially true in an academic setting.
This year, Yale and the University of Chicago performed nearly the exact same experiments, which were designed to weigh the effect of “loneliness” on small mammals who were given cancer. The Yale study used Norway Rats, while the U of C used genetically engineered mice. Both found a link between isolation and cancer, which was then extrapolated to human beings, leading to news stories titled like this: “Lonely women could be at greater risk of breast cancer”

There is so much wrong here I can barely find the words to express myself. Fine. I’ll use this guy’s words instead:

“Ed Yong, of Cancer Research UK, said: "This study was done in rats.

"Overall, research in humans does not suggest there is a direct link between stress and breast cancer.”

Simple, concise and right on point; it is nonsensical to have used rats to judge human reactions, especially when we already knew from human data what the true effects were. Okay, so the Yale study was pointless. What about the U of C experiment?

Now this is where it gets really interesting. It turns out that that story was picked up by the British press, and in response the British National Health Service (NHS) devoted an entire page to a discussion of the experiment.

Friday, December 11, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

Testosterone. Yeah, that’s right, I’ve got some - you want to fight about it? C’mon, I’ll take on you, your ugly brother, all his ugly friends, and anyone they ever had lunch with! GGGGGRRRRrrrrrrrrrrr....
We all know that having too much testosterone makes a person more aggressive and prone to violence. We know this because of experiments performed on animals. That’s right; a vivisector castrated a bunch of rats, they became less hostile, and lack of testosterone was the given reason why. They used animals, so it must be right...
Now mind you, it never occurred to the ‘scientists’ involved that the act of castration itself might instill enough fear in the rats to drive out any aggression they had (for the men reading this blog - just imagine a giant monster in a lab coat cutting your [censored] off with something the size of a scimitar, and you’ll understand what those poor rats went through).
At this point you are asking, and quite fairly, where am I going with this?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

Of Baboons, Butchers and the Best of Science
A very interesting turn of events occurred at Oklahoma State University last week. “Anthrax study rejected by OSU” tells how the President of the University stopped an anthrax test that would have killed a number of baboons.

The real hero of the story appears to be Madeleine Pickens, who “...threatened to redirect a $5 million donation to the vet school because she did not agree with such practices.”

Good for her! Of course those who experiment on animals didn’t handle the news very well, as we can see in this blog post from one student. I guess he missed the memo where, for PR sake, young vivisectors are supposed to hide all that rage and anger they have. If one day we see this guy on a PETA hidden camera smacking a few animals around in the lab, I for one would not be surprised.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

There’s been a lot in the news recently regarding Pharmaceutical companies and related issues, so, instead of focusing on one specific story, this time I am going to hit a few at a time.
I’ve written a lot about Big Pharma and their business practices. In this story from the NY Times, November 15, “Drug Makers Raise Prices in Face of Health Care Reform” we see how Big Pharma is preparing for health care reform by socking consumers with major hikes in prices.
“In the last year, the industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by about 9 percent, according to industry analysts. That will add more than $10 billion to the nation’s drug bill, which is on track to exceed $300 billion this year. By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992.”

Thursday, October 29, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

If you like this blog, and the other work that we do with the ARISE campaign, then please consider joining or making a donation to our mother organization, the Animal Protection League of NJ. APLNJ (formerly NJ Animal Rights Alliance) is a grass-roots group that has been fighting for animals for more than 25 years. Any donation you can make will truly be appreciated!
Thank you!
Animal Protection League of NJ
And now back to our regularly scheduled blog.

Friday, October 16, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

Tales from the Dark Side of Big Pharma, Part 14,638
The Never Ending Story
When I started the “Dark Side of Big Pharma” series, I envisioned three or four blogs that dealt with fraud and corruption within the Pharmaceutical industry. I thought that under this banner I could take a little time and explore the human ramifications of drug testing, and then go back to more animal centric experimentation.
Once I began to research these issues, and saw how seemingly endless the controversies regarding Human Clinical Trials and fraud were, what started out as “Dark Side” I, II, III, expanded quickly to IV, V, and then threatened to escalate to blogs X, XX and that most interesting of all Roman numeral combinations, good ol’ XXX (perhaps then I would have found a ‘happy ending’ to this series).

Monday, October 5, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

The Dark Side of Big Pharma V
I’ve been spending a lot of time exploring Human Clinical Trials (HCT), because they are the bridge between animal experiments and wide spread use of pharmaceutical drugs. This pivot is where millions of dollars and years of research are put to the test - a test that they fail 90% of the time. The reason why HCT’s fail so dramatically is because animals are poor models for gauging human responses to drugs.
Even though the FDA has cited certain clinical trials for fraud and abuse, their oversight is merely the proverbial drop in the bucket. For this blog, I want to show you just how tiny that drop is - and why the FDA can’t even find the bucket.

Monday, September 28, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

The Dark Side of Big Pharma IV
Fraud is a pretty powerful word. When something is painted as being a fraud, we immediately begin to dismiss it as being illegitimate, corrupt and deceitful.
It’s also a dangerous word to use, because the person wielding it can be dismissed if there is no evidence to back up their claim. It’s not something that I throw out casually and I am not at all comfortable simply accusing someone, or in this case members of the Pharmaceutical industry, of fraud.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

The Dark Side of Big Pharma III:
Institutional Review Boards
The first line of defense against dangerous practices occurring in Human Clinical Trials are Institutional Review Boards (IRB). These boards are meant to monitor and approve research that has been taken to the human level, and, specifically, to protect the rights of people who are being tested.
Thankfully, with these IRB’s Elliot Ness style of Untouchability, there are never any problems and corruption doesn’t exist at all within the biomedical/human research community.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

The Dark Side of Big Pharma, Part II
Because animal biology is so different than ours, and drugs react differently on different species, nine out of ten animal tested drugs fail when taken to the human level. This 90% failure rate means that when drugs are sent for human clinical trials, researchers are literally experimenting on human beings.
While we know of the poor translation of animal data to human use, there is a lot about human clinical trials that is not well known, such as what happens when experimental drugs are given to human test subjects, who watches out for these people, is it an honest process, and how do business concerns factor in?
I’ll be exploring all of these questions and their ramifications in the coming weeks. First though, let’s take a look at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the government agency that investigates human clinical trials, and what information they have that sheds some light on these studies.

Monday, August 3, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

The Dark Side of Big Pharma: Part 1 - Hitting Us Where it Hurts

I’m kicking off another multi-part blog series, this time focusing on the actions of Pharmaceutical companies.  
As anyone who has a dog or cat knows, when you take them to the vet for a shot or medication, by the time you pay the bill, all that is left in your wallet is either a small puff of dust, or a credit card wilted and bruised from the electronic fiscal beating it had just taken.

In the past couple of months I’ve felt this personally. Both of my dogs, Theseus and Tiberius, have had to make trips to the vet that left me wondering if that was an antibiotic my dog had, or did they just pump liquid gold into his backside. It turns out that it was both.

Friday, July 24, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

In the spirit of the Summer movie season, and its long history of producing sequels and trilogies, I would like to offer a third and final take on stories of research ‘breakthroughs’ being front page news, while failures are either never reported, or are dumped into the business section (grab a keg of soda and a garbage bag full of popcorn that cost more than the computer I am writing on if you really want to get that movie theater experience while reading this).

In the course of my research on this issue, I found one exception to the rule that is stated above: For the first and perhaps last time, in May of 1998, scrutiny was poured over a front page story that over-promoted a supposed cure for cancer.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

Front Page Hype - Back Page Reality

Part II

In my last blog, I wrote about how news stories of supposed research breakthroughs burst through on the front page, while deaths due to pharmaceutical drugs are usually sent to the business section.

I want to focus a bit more on some of those front page headlines, but first, a comment on why I believe these type of stories have become so prevalent, yet there is almost never any follow up to see if these ‘miracle cures’ actually work.

It’s because our memory retention is awful. You, me, reporters and the media, politicians, all of us; unless a story touches us deeply and personally, we tend to forget what the media craze of the day is once it is replaced by the next one.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

By Stuart Chaietz

Front Page Hype - Back Page Reality
Part I
When animal experimenters create monkeys with glowing feet (as we recently saw) or whatever the horror of the week is, the story is carried front and center in newspapers and on television. When no new breakthroughs occur - or worse - when people become ill or die from drugs tested on animals, the stories, if carried at all, are usually tucked away in the business section. Placed here, the major aspect of interest becomes the decline of the value of the pharmaceutical company, not of the individuals who have died or of the effect on their families.

A case in point is this story, from Monday, reporting on a drug called Tysabri, and that a tenth patient taking it has “developed a potentially deadly brain infection.” Something as serious as this should get prime news retail space, but when you look on the news site where it’s posted, you have to follow this path to find it: “Home > Business & Finance > Industries > Healthcare > Article.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dear Friends,
The Animal Protection League of NJ is pleased to announce the creation and kick-off of the ARISE campaign. The mission of ARISE (Animal Replacements Innovate Scientific Experimentation) is to educate the public regarding the unnecessary and often disastrous effects of relying on animals for drug testing, chemical toxicity and product testing and for dissection - and to promote ground breaking and powerful new tools and techniques that will create better science, are more effective and will saves lives, both human and animal alike.
Our message will be carried through our completely recreated and redesigned website,, our accompanying literature and healthy/compassionate living guides, and our schedule of lectures and tabling events.
If you see an opportunity for ARISE to speak at an event, let us know. If you know a student who does not want to dissect animals, call us - we are here to offer our assistance. You can call us anytime at 732-561-4642 or email us:
ARISE has already taken the initiative; on March 31, we attended an Environmental Protection Agency hearing in Washington D.C. regarding an animal toxicity testing mandate. You can read our testimony in its entirety here:
You’ll also find on our new website the following sections and more:
Animal Replacements: With the acknowledgement that animals are poor substitutes for humans, and with national and international support and funding, pioneering animal replacements are being turned into reality.

We Give Them Names - They Give Them Numbers: A parallel view of the animals we love and the animals that scientists experiment upon.

Special Reports: ARISE investigative reports on animal experimentation issues.

SOS - Saving OurSelves: While promoting and utilizing human-centric scientific research is critical to finding cures, each of us can play a significant role in saving our own lives, through lifestyle change and healthy living.

Cruelty Free Living: One of the simplest and most direct ways that you can impact and reduce animal testing is to purchase products that are not tested on animals.

Elect Not to Dissect: NJ students have the right under law to choose not to dissect animals.

Rise to their Defense: Educate yourself and take action to help save lives and improve science for all of us.

“Consider just one stark statistic: Today, nine out of 10 compounds developed in the lab fail in human studies. They fail, in large part because they behave differently in people than they did in animal or laboratory tests.” Andrew C. von Eschenbach, Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Jan. 12, 2006
This is the question we will put to the public; do you trust something that has a 90% failure rate - or is there a better way?
ARISE is here to help create that better way.