ANIMAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT HAS COST MEDICAL SCHOOLS OVER $15 MIL.
ANIMAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT HAS COST MEDICAL SCHOOLS OVER $15 MIL. since 1985, according to preliminary results of a survey conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The results were released at a June 7 press briefing by AAMC Chairman of the Council of Deans L. Thompson Bowles, who said that direct losses associated with laboratory breakins, thefts and vandalism at the association's 126 medical schools, together with subsequent expenditures for new security systems, totaled $6.5 mil. from 1985-1990. "Never before have scientists in America needed to fear for their own personal welfare, or the security of their projects," Bowles said. Apart from direct losses, school administrators report that they are now spending "nearly $6 mil. each year" on security, legal counsel, and planning efforts that "counteract or preclude" disruptive activities, he added. Other preliminary AAMC survey results estimate that medical school faculty and staff have spent "well over 100,000 hours" in working to counteract activities of animal rights organizations, according to a press release. Seventy-six medical schools reported having been the victims of demonstrations, break-ins, vandalism and other incidents. Schools also reported an estimated 3,700 incidents of harassment during the last five years, including picketing of family homes, graffiti and threatening letters and telephone calls. The association will publish a final report later this year. HHS Secretary Louis Sullivan stated at the press briefing that the AAMC survey documents "the waste of millions of research dollars -- resources diverted to security systems and added administrative costs [that] could have gone to conquering disease." Calling animal rights activists "nothing more than animal rights terrorists," Sullivan asserted that although "they have tried to put us on the defensive, through intimidation and even violence...they will not succeed, because they are on the wrong side of morality. It would be evil to forsake vital animal research when lives hang in the balance." Animal rights advocates planned a large rally in Washington, D.C. on June 10. At the June 7 briefing, Len Koch, chairman of the organization Incurably Ill for Animal Research, presented Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.) with a petition demonstrating support for animal research signed by more than 70,000 people nationwide.
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