Court rejects animal-rights appeal
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Animal-rights advocates who accused UCSF of illegally spending state money on painful animal experiments have been rebuffed by a state appeals court, which said Congress has assigned oversight of the research to federal regulators, not state courts.
The federal Animal Welfare Act, which requires humane treatment of animals in federally funded research, can be enforced only by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said the First District Court of Appeal in a ruling Friday. The court upheld a San Francisco judge's November 2007 dismissal of a suit by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
The USDA's job is to strike a "somewhat delicate balance" between animal protection and the independence of research scientists, the court said. Allowing judges and juries to interfere with federally regulated experiments "might inject inconsistency and unpredictability into laboratory research" and discourage scientists from entering the field, Justice Timothy Reardon said in the 3-0 decision. Read More
Animal research that is done in a scientific manner and follows all the regulations in place benefits society immensely. Many of the diseases that are only seen in a history book are there because of our ability to first test on animals. This research has also allowed us to keep a healthier animal population as well. Allowing the courts to interfere with the rules already established for animal testing would only set us back in our efforts to continue making our planet healthier.