36 Beagles Could Die if DowDuPont Pesticide Test Isn’t Stopped, Investigation Reveals
The beagles' potential fate was only one of several shocking revelations uncovered by an almost 100-day HSUS investigation into the testing of beagles and hounds at Charles River Laboratories in Michigan.
"The disturbing findings at this facility are sadly not unique. Experiments are happening at hundreds of laboratories each year throughout the country, with more than 60,000 dogs suffering. But that does not have to be the fate for these 36 beagles," HSUS President and CEO Kitty Block said in the press release.
Dow AgroSciences is conducting a one-year pesticides test on 36 beagles! This cruel & unnecessary test includes the… https://t.co/3erhO6V509— The Humane Society of the United States (@The Humane Society of the United States)1552399279.0
The beagles are being used in a test by Corteva Agriscience™, the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, to assess a new fungicide called Adavelt®. They are being force-fed the fungicide via gelatin capsules for one year, and will be killed in July 2019 to assess damage unless the test is stopped. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) used to require that fungicide be tested on dogs for one year, but abandoned the requirement a decade ago after scientists said it did not give useful information, HSUS explained in the investigation report.
However, the test is still technically required by Brazil's Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA), which is why DowDuPont told HSUS they were conducting it. HSUS said it had received an email from ANVISA saying it would grant waivers to companies wishing to be exempt from the test. HSUS also asked for and received a formal, written confirmation of the policy. But DowDuPont's regulatory affairs division said that it needed confirmation from ANVISA on its product specifically, according to HSUS.
"For months we have been urging Dow to end the unnecessary test and release the dogs to us. We have gone to considerable lengths to assist the company in doing so, but we simply cannot wait any longer; every single day these caged dogs are being poisoned and are one day closer to being killed. We must turn to the public to join us in urging Dow to stop the test immediately and to work with us to get these dogs into suitable homes," Block said.
DowDuPont, for its part, released a statement saying it had been working with HSUS to persuade ANVISA to scrap the test requirement, and would stop the test as soon as the Brazilian agency confirmed it had done so.
"Animal testing is not something Dow undertakes lightly, but neither is it something the Company can discontinue when it is required by regulatory authorities," DowDuPont said.
Please read our statement in response to the report published today by the Humane Society of the United States. https://t.co/kyNsPlSPzR— Dow (@Dow)1552418715.0
In addition to the fungicide tests, the HSUS investigation, which ran from April to August 2018, uncovered other incidents including tests by Paredox Therapeutics and Above and Beyond NB LLC. The press release summarized the findings:
Among the beagles tested on, the Humane Society of the United States documented the horrible short life of one dog named Harvey who clearly sought attention by humans and was characterized by the laboratory staff as "a good boy."
Harvey was being used to test the safety of two substances when poured into the chest cavity in a study commissioned by Paredox Therapeutics. Hounds were also used when the protocol called for a larger dog breed, such as a study by Above and Beyond Therapeutics for surgical implantation of a device to pump drugs through the spinal canal. Charles River carried out tests on dogs for at least 25 companies during the time of the Humane Society of the United States investigation.
The HSUS is working to replace animal testing with more effective ways of assessing the harms and benefits of substances. It said that 95 percent of human drug tests fail even after promising animal results.
"We must bring science into the 21st century for the benefit of humans who desperately need treatment and for the dogs whose lives deserve to be spared," the investigation concluded.
Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Wants to End #EPA’s Cruel Animal Testing https://t.co/2ZdesQ1TbR @peta @AnimalPlanet— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1534878021.0
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the University of Vermont supported the Paredox Therapeutics study. The post has been changed with the updated information from the Humane Society of the United States. Additionally, the article has been updated to reflect the fact that the fungicide test is being conducted by Corteva Agriscience™, the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, not Dow AgroSciences, according to the companies updated statement.
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It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.
Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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