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Letter: Animal research needed in developing virus vaccines

Letter: Animal research needed in developing virus vaccines

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Regarding Tony Messenger’s column “Animal advocacy group targets dog experiments at St. Louis VA” (Oct. 30): There are several major flaws with the picture being painted by animal rights activists opposed to studies at the St. Louis Veterans Administration that benefit veterans and others. Furthermore, it’s disappointing that Messenger did not address these issues in his recent column.

First, animal research remains necessary. Animal research has quickly answered key questions about the coronavirus. More importantly, treatments and vaccines are being developed in record time based on studies during and before the pandemic.

Second, in very specific cases, such as the Veterans Administration’s research, studies in dogs are required. A recent review by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine showed this to be the case.

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Third, while access to public records is critically important, we need to recognize at times that some organizations attempt to weaponize the process. One example occurred last summer. That’s when — in one month alone — a single animal rights group made 246 separate records requests to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Nearly every American loves animals — including those who work at the Veterans Administration. We should consider that fact when research opponents broadly paint scientists as villains and claim to know more. Perhaps we should ask ourselves, whom do we really trust?

Paula Clifford • Washington, D.C.

Americans for Medical Progress

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