/ May 1997
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PSYETA Co- Plaintiff in Major Court Victory
In a major victory for
animal advocates and the public's right to
know, a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court
ruled this past January that committees of
the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) may
no longer develop recommendations for
federal agencies behind closed doors. PSYETA,
the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and the
Association of Veterinarians for Animal
Rights (AVAR) brought the case after they
were denied access to meetings of the NAS
committee that advises the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) and other
agencies on all aspects of the treatment of
laboratory animals. This NAS committee is
responsible for the highly influential NIH
Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory
Animals. Stated ALDF attorney Valerie
Stanley after the ruling, "People who seek
to advocate the interests of animals used in
experimentation have been shut out of the
process for too long. Today's ruling signals
the end of that unfairness and a crack in
the door that hides the suffering of animals
in labs from public scrutiny."
In another precedent-setting victory,
a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the
USDA's regulations governing the care of
primates in zoos and research laboratories
violate the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The
regulations were found completely absent of
even minimum requirements, delegating the
establishment of such standards to the
regulated entities. In 1985, amendments to
the AWA had called for the USDA to develop
stricter standards for care of primates and
other animals, including psychologically
enriching environments for the former. The
judge called the USDA's 11-year failure to
issue such standards "egregious."
Unfortunately, both of these rulings are
being further contested in the courts.
PSYETA's Professional Response Network
By late summer PSYETA
will have in place a new service called "prn."
Borrowed from the medical term for "as
needed," our professional response network
will provide a team of psychologists and
other mental health professionals to
communities, and public health and social
service agencies who currently are grappling
with issues of animal abuse. For example, a
recent incident in Texas was reported in
which some boys put kittens in a bag and
then batted the bag -- for baseball
practice. Communities often respond to such
incidents by minimizing them. The response
of prn will be to approach appropriate
officials or agencies in that community with
information and consultation about how to
deal more effectively with instances of
animal abuse. Given our understanding of the
interrelation of all forms of violence and
the expertise available in our membership,
PSYETA is well positioned to help educate,
effectively intervene, and, ultimately, help
society to take animal abuse itself and its
repercussions for humans more seriously.
Psychologists Turning Away From Animal Research
In two major studies of the attitudes of psychologists and psychology students, Scott Plous found that support for animal-based psychological research involving pain or death is declining. Plous' studies were published this past November in the trade magazines of the two primary professional associations of psychologists in the United States -- the APA's American Psychologist and the APS' Psychological Science.
Both large-scale attitude surveys had similar findings: While support of animal research involving observation and confinement is still high, when asked about research involving pain or death, a large percentage of both psychologists and psychology majors reply that it is unjustified. Even when the research is described as "institutionally approved and deemed of scientific merit," 62.1% and 44.4% of psychologists indicate that research involving pain or death to primates and rats, respectively, is unjustified.
On various measures, psychology majors are even less supportive of animal research than are psychologists. For example, the percentage of students who are strong supporters of animal research is less than half that of psychologists (14% vs. 31%). Plous found that individuals who received their doctoral degree during the 1990s were much less likely to support animal research than those earning it before 1970. In addition, women are less supportive of animal research than men. This is significant for future trends as the number of women becoming psychologists is escalating dramatically.
With respect to its usefulness, Plous found that 92.2% of psychologists who are primarily mental health providers (rather than researchers or teachers) indicated that they rarely, never, or only occasionally use findings from psychological research on animals. A study that we have recently completed provides striking corroboration of this result. The study will be published under the title, Animal Models of Human Psychology: Critique of Science, Ethics, and Policy in the fall of 1997 by Hogrefe and Huber -- a forthcoming newsletter will describe the book more fully and give particulars on ordering.
Shapiro found that more than half (60%) of a sample of clinical psychologists specializing in the treatment of eating disorders indicated that they did not know that there were animal models of eating disorders. When asked if they could name and describe an animal model of eating disorders, 67% said they could not. Of the 33% who said they could, most gave inadequate or vague descriptions.
Investments With A Conscience
Looking to make investments in businesses that are sensitive to animal protection issues? Contact Cyndie Kessler, one of a growing number of investment counselors who specialize in cruelty-free investing. You can reach her at PaineWebber in Rockville, Maryland at 800-638-2909 or 301-718-5062.
Persons wishing to become benefactors of PSYETA should consult an attorney or incorporate the following provisions carefully into their wills. "I bequeath to Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, P.O. Box 1297, Washington Grove, MD 20880, the sum of _________" to be applicable to the general purposes of the organization. Or if so desired, you may designate a specific purpose for the money.
When asked to identify and describe a particular model, the sham feeding model of bulimia, 87% could not. When asked their view of whether animal models of eating disorders influenced their treatment approach to these disorders, 87% replied in the negative. Finally, the clinicians were asked to indicate the journals that they found most helpful in their work. When the list of journals indicated as "most helpful for clinicians that specialize in or work with eating disorders" was compared to the of list of journals in which the studies of nine investigators involved in research related to animal models of eating disorders were cited (in Science Citation Index), there was no overlap.
In his most striking result, Plous found that only 5.7% of psychologists currently doing clinical work felt that a ban on animal research would seriously hamper their work, while 47.8% indicated that a ban would have no serious effect whatsoever. This is the first such evaluation and discussion of the possibility of a ban on psychological research to appear in a mainstream psychology publication.
Plous and others provide various other findings that indicate that institutional support is eroding. Three studies in the U.S. and one in the United Kingdom all show declining animal use in psychology as measured by number of departments maintaining animal facilities, percentage of faculty conducting animal research, as well as number of animals used. Less than half of psychology departments offer courses using animals, and, of those that do, only 37% of students take such courses.
Finally, these trends in psychology are consistent with evidence of declining support for animal research in the general public. In a series of opinion polls, it was found that agreement with a statement allowing painful animal research fell from 63% to 53% between 1985 and 1993 (Pifer, Shimuzi, and Pifer, Society and Animals, 2, 2, 1994).
A Great Opportunity For PSYETA
Each year, Federal
employees and military personnel raise
millions of dollars for nonprofit charities.
Through a program called the Combined
Federal Campaign (CFC), annual fall
fundraising drives are conducted by Federal
employees in their workplace. We are happy
to announce that PSYETA has passed the
stringent eligibility test and is now
included in this year's national CFC
campaign. The fundraising begins on
September 1, 1997 and runs for six-week
PLEASE take this opportunity to
encourage anyone you know who is a Federal
worker to look for PSYETA's designated
number, 2927, under "Animal Funds of
America," or listed alphabetically in the
CFC catalog. By selecting us for receipt of
their contributions, Federal employees will
fuel our work on behalf of non-human
animals. PSYETA depends upon your generosity
and that of your family and friends to
maintain its programs.
Be the first to read our newsletter, become a
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Thank you for your support!