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Here are two different letters you can sign and send to your local newspapers re: March of Dimes. For background, please see Remember to always include your name, address and phone number on letters to the editor or they won't be published.
  To the editor:

The March Of Dimes' Crimes Against Animals

Experimenters funded by the March of Dimes have:

sewn shut newborn kittens' eyes, then killed them after they had endured a year of blindness.

put newborn kittens in completely dark chambers, then killed them after three to five months.

removed fetal kittens from the uterus, implanted pumps into their backs to inject a drug that destroys nerves, then re-implanted the fetuses in the uterus. After the kittens were born, they were killed and studied.

implanted electric pumps into the backs of pregnant rats to inject nicotine, even though the dangers of cigarette smoking to human babies is already known.

injected pregnant rats with cocaine, though the dangers of cocaine to human babies is already known.

injected newborn opossums with alcohol, decapitated them an hour to 32 weeks later, then removed and studied the gonads (immature sexual organs), though the dangers of alcohol to human babies is well known.

transplanted organs from pigs to baboons, most of whom died within hours.

transplanted organs from guinea pigs to rats.

destroyed the ear drums of unborn lambs, then killed the mother sheep and lambs just before birth to examine the brains.

Despite these experiments, the Centers for Disease Control reports that birth defects are occurring more often. Of 38 birth defects studied over a 10-year period, an astounding 27 have increased in frequency, nine occur at the same rate, and only two have decreased in frequency.

There are many reasons for this, but the most important is that the human physiology is vastly different from the physiologies of other species. It's true that all animals are sentient beings capable of feeling pain, but the similarities essentially end there.

For example, testing chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs, and addictive substances on pregnant animals and then trying to apply the results to humans is a waste of lives and money because humans are so different from other animals. Consider that:

humans have a longer period of fetal development, so may be more sensitive to birth defect-causing agents than other species.

genetic differences among species of animals affect the way they react to chemicals.

different species develop in utero at different rates and along different schedules, calling into question animal studies on chemicals that affect fetuses at different stages of development.

differences in the placenta may affect the absorption of chemicals among species.

the route of administration of a potential birth defect-causing agent to the animal may not be the most common route of human exposure. For instance, animals may be given nicotine intravenously, whereas human exposure is through inhaling cigarette smoke.

animals are rarely given chemicals on the same time schedule as humans. Animals are usually given a large amount of a substance over a short period, while people are usually exposed to small amounts over a long period.

stress imposed by animal handling, food or water deprivation, and restraint have been shown to affect test results.

animals learn and show intelligence differently from humans, and animal studies usually cannot detect a substance's potential for causing learning or behavioral problems in babies.

Even birth defects researchers admit the difficulty of interpreting animal tests because any substance can harm fetal development if given in the right dose to the right species at the right time. This is called "Karnofsky's Law" and it's often used by experimenters to excuse the inaccuracy of animal studies.

Virtually all known developmental hazards were identified through studies of human populations.

Human-based research identified:

the dangers of thalidomide, a drug commonly given to pregnant women in the 1950s that resulted in severe physical deformities; animal studies had shown thalidomide to be safe.

The risk of birth defects associated with rubella during pregnancy.

The association of folic acid deficiency with spinal cord abnormalities.

The disastrous effects of lead, methyl mercury, and alcohol on developing fetuses.

March of Dimes could save more babies if

it put donations into under-funded programs that have been proven to prevent birth defects and help babies.

An estimated 25 percent of all infant deaths could be prevented if adequate pre-natal care were provided for the 1.2 million women who need it every year.

Infant deaths would decrease by as much as 10 percent if women who smoke (25 percent of pregnant women) gave up cigarettes during pregnancy.

Alcohol abuse during pregnancy is the leading cause of preventable birth defects, and there are not enough affordable addiction treatment programs for the women seeking help -- yet precious resources are wasted injecting rats and other animals with alcohol.

The establishment of a National Birth Defects Registry can help to identify causes -- and pave the way toward prevention of -- birth defects. Data from the registry could be analyzed to look for possible patterns or clusters of birth defects that may be associated with certain environmental exposures or genetic traits.

Animal studies can be dangerous and put babies at risk. The antibiotic streptomycin was tested on dogs, guinea pigs, and pigs and deemed "safe" for people. But infants who were given the drug suffered brain damage, went deaf or blind, or died.

Dear Editor:

I'm sure that the participants in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica are well-meaning, good-hearted people who want to do something positive. It is for that reason I feel it's extremely important for the public to know the truth behind March of Dimes -- wasteful, cruel experiments using animals which do nothing to benefit those in need.

When people donate to the March of Dimes, they expect that their donations will go to help babies. Instead, the March of Dimes has bankrolled dozens of experiments using primates, cats, dogs, rabbits, sheep, and countless other animals on irrelevant research. For example, March of Dimes wasted millions of dollars addicting pregnant rats and newborn opossums to nicotine, cocaine, and alcohol, even though we have known for years that these substances can harm a developing baby.

The March of Dimes has taken in close to $1 billion at WalkAmerica events since they began in 1970, yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rates for many birth defects have gone up. Birth defects are prevented and babies are saved when research dollars go to effective and relevant research, which comes from studying human problems in human babies. Through the years, animal tests have often led scientists in the wrong direction, thus holding back medical progress and prolonging human suffering.

Enlightened health charities, such as Easter Seals, Birth Defect Research for Children, Child Health Foundation, and the Heimlich Foundation, fund humane, modern, and effective non-animal research, such as human cell and tissue cultures, complex computer modeling and scanning techniques, and human epidemiological studies, as well as administering care to people who are already sick.

I encourage everyone to volunteer and make a positive difference, but please do your research and learn how your hard-earned dollars are being spent.

Humans aren't the only species on earth, we just act like it.

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Animals have feelings too just like humans. Please treat them the way you would want other humans to treat you - with love and respect!

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