National Association for Biomedical Research

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The National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) is an industry association founded by long-time Washington lobbyist [1] Frankie Trull, president and founder of Policy Directions Inc. [2], [3]

Policy Directions is a public relations firm and lobby for the animal testing, animal breeding, pharmaceutical, agribusiness and processed food industries, as well as universities and institutions receiving government grants for animal research. [4] [5] Ms. Trull is also the president and founder of the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR).[6] All are located at 818 Connecticut Avenue in Washington D.C. with the association operating from the same office suite as FBR. (Policy Directions Inc. office is on the same floor but in a different room).

In the fiscal year ending in 2008, NABR paid $80,000 to Policy Directions Inc. [7]

Overview

Established in 1979, NABR is a self described as a "unified voice for the scientific community on legislative and regulatory matters affecting laboratory animal research". [8] NABR targets animal rights groups and "hostile" legislation addressing animal welfare issues, which it describes as "disruptive" and "unnecessary. [9] [10]

NABR "members only"

For more than a quarter of a century (since laboratories began being seriously scrutinized), the NABR has "protected biomedical research from unsound public policy, harmful legislation and negative media". Other "important advantages" of a membership with NABR include crisis management and guidance on how to implement a "critical response plan". NABR goes on to sell its "contacts in law enforcement, connections on capitol hill and its instrumental force behind the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) of 2006." [11]

NABR & animal law

According to NABR there is a "potentially disruptive and rapidly growing area of animal law". Animal rights advocates are attempting to "incrementally change" animal laws by "increasingly sophisticated and coordinated legal strategies." [12] According to NABR, there is "already" a "comprehensive system of government oversight in place regulating laboratory animals" and "specific compliance requirements are extensive" in government animal testing. [13] NABR also claims on its Web site that "More than 50 federal laws have been enacted to protect animals," but it does not provide any source or reference for these laws. [14]

The only federal law that over sees laboratory animals is the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which excludes over 90% of all laboratory animals. Rats, mice, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish are not covered and do not even have to be reported. [15] The AWA places no real restrictions on animal testing. Animals are routinely subjected to addictive drugs, electric shock, food & water deprivation, isolation, severe confinement, caustic chemicals, burning, blinding, chemical and biological weapons, radiation, etc. A researcher has only to declare that a procedure is necessary for it to be allowed. [16] Even minimal requirements under the AWA are rarely enforced. [17] See also U.S. Department of Agriculture.

NABR & the Animal Welfare Act (AWA)

In 1985, amendments were introduced to the AWA in the U.S. Congress, which had bipartisan support. Primary sponsors were Sen. Robert Dole (R-KS) and Rep. George Brown (D-CA). Amendments required that dogs used for research be given regular exercise and a plan for “psychological well-being” of non-human primates. Also, that every institution establish their own Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to oversee and approve research and ensure compliance with federal law. Frankie Trull, president of the NABR, disputed the idea that dogs who leave their cage for exercise have better lives than those confined to cages their entire lives. According to Ms. Trull:

“There are no scientific data which say any minimum exercise per day, or per week, is physiologically better. You just sleep better at night because you think if exercise is good for you, it must be good for the dog.” [18]

She elaborated her fear that “research institutions may be reaching the point where research will be sacrificed for economic reasons” due to excessive regulations. [19] These amendments passed. However, NABR pressured the USDA into weakening the law. According to Deborah Blum, author of "The Monkey Wars":

"When the USDA announced that it would toughen earlier regulations, NABR filed an 118-page legal brief in opposition to the changes. After the agriculture agency backed down, issuing rules far more to the liking of the science community, Trull wrote the agriculture department a congratulatory letter, offering to provide any information needed and adding that “the association looks forward to continued cooperation with you. [20]

NABR searched for ways to weaken the simple provision that dogs be given periodic exercise. On the floor of Congress, Senator Dole expressly stated his wish that dogs be released from their cages and exercised. However, due to loopholes in the text of the AWA, NABR successfully lobbied the USDA to reinterpret the provision. That is, individually caged dogs did not have to be exercised if their cage was twice the regulation size. Also, labs that confined beagles in pairs in double cages did not have to release them for exercise. The claim was that a cage double the length of a beagle plus six inches, was room enough for exercise and the dog could be left in a cage for years at a time; only to be removed for experiments. [21] NABR also lobbied for weak interpretation of “psychological well-being” of primates. Members of Congress had consistently spoken out against cage sizes for laboratory primates (3 ft x 2 ft x 32 in.) . However, nothing changed in the USDA's final regulations except that now vivisectors could avoid even minimum regulations, if their institutional care committee approved. A lawsuit was subsequently filed and District Court Judge Charles Richey ruled in favor of animal protection organizations. The USDA and NABR appealed the ruling. Sadly, the Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing and overturned Judge Richey’s decision. The court stated that because the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and the other plaintiffs were not themselves injured, they had no basis to sue, though the merits of their case were not disputed, [22] This is a common in animal litigation.

Senator John Melcher, a veterinarian and the legislator responsible for the amendment requiring psychological well-being of primates, expressed disappointment that so many primates continued to be housed in tiny stainless steel boxes their entire lives, deprived of enrichment and socialization. [23] In 1999, the Alternative Research and Development Foundation filed suit against the USDA to force them to regulate research on rats, mice and birds. The USDA filed a motion to dismiss, which failed. The USDA agreed to revisit their rules regarding rats, mice and birds and begin overseeing their treatment. Incredibly, NABR attempted file a third party motion to vacate the agreement between the USDA and ARDF. The Court of Appeals ruled that NABR had no basis for a lawsuit. [24] The decision meant that the USDA would go forward with plans to cover rats, mice and birds under the AWA. The prospect of having 95% of laboratory animals with the slightest legal protection, put the vivisection industry into an uproar.

“What are they thinking?” Exclaimed an angry Frankie Trull

The Association for American Medical Colleges also expressed their “disappointment.” [25]

NABR & the Helms amendment

NABR immediately fell into action to find another means of excluding rats, mice and birds from the AWA. First, lobbyists persuaded Congress to put off protecting mice and rats for another year. During this time, an undercover PETA investigation documented horrific abuses to rats and mice and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Undercover footage showed fully conscious rats being crudely beheaded with scissors. [26] Never-the-less, NABR successfully got Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) to introduce an amendment, defining “animal” to explicitly exclude rats, mice, and birds. The amendment was attached to a massive farm subsidy bill without any debate. This was a political trick which forced any opposition to vote against a popular farm subsidy amendment. Senator Helms managed to have the bill become law without a vote in the House because Congress decided the amendment was too insubstantial to justify it. [27] See also NABR & the Animal Welfare Act.

Statement from FBR

According to FBR:

“The Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Act, regulate the alleviation and elimination of pain, as well as such aspects of animal care as caging, feeding, exercise of dogs and the psychological well-being of primates.” [28]

NABR, Huntingdon Life Sciences & SHAC 7

In May of 2006, Frankie Trull issued a statement after the indictment of seven animal activists tied to Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC 7):

"Today is an important day both for Huntingdon Life Sciences ... We are particularly heartened to see that the indictment includes offenses under the federal Animal Enterprise Protection Act, legislation that NABR and its member institutions successfully advocated more than a decade ago. Even now, we are working to strengthen that law, to ensure that law enforcement has the tools necessary to successfully bring those who commit illegal acts to justice....As recently as last week, law enforcement and victims testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, asking Chairman Orrin Hatch and committee members for new legal tools to combat the evolving, increasingly violent tactics of those opposed to life-saving research that requires laboratory animals. ... NABR, on behalf of its members, applauds the Justice Department and the FBI for their actions today. This is the first step in what is sure to be a long process to help those who are devoted to biomedical research and discovery feel safe again." [29]

Policy Direction clients include HLS customer Merck [30] and former customer Proctor & Gamble. [31]

HLS & SHAC 7

Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) is the 3rd largest contract research organization (CRO) in the world and the largest animal testing facility in Europe. HLS provides full programs for agrochemicals like pesticides, herbicides, weed-killers and fertilizers. They also test detergents, tanning lotions, diet pills, food wrapping plastic, food additives, cosmetics and some pharmaceuticals. Viagra was tested at HLS. Olestra was a "fat free oil" that was found to be safe in animal tests but caused anal leakage in humans. HLS also tests controversial genetically modified organisms and has performed Xenotransplantation experiments. [32] An estimated 12,800 animals were killed in the process of testing Splenda. [33] HLS has a long history of animal welfare violations. See also Huntingdon Life Sciences.

In March of 2006, six young webmasters were the first individuals to be convicted for "animal enterprise terrorism" in Trenton, New Jersey. They posted videotape of tortured dogs and reported on legal and illegal activities, eventually causing the corporation to lose profits and be dropped from the New York Stock Exchange. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), unable to catch underground activists, instead targeted the website operators. They are currently serving up to six years in prison for their speech. [34]

Frankie Trull & AETA

According to her Policy Directions profile, President and founder Frankie Trull has worked with many "trade associations and national advocacy organizations" and has a "successful record of building effective coalitions." This includes a "broad array of biomedical research organizations that partnered with agriculture", to pass the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) [35] in November of 2006.

Critics have characterized AETA as being designed to protect the financial interests of corporations and industry as well as chill dissent and discourage legal activism, boycotts and protests.[36] AETA was passed in the house with just six members of Congress present, just hours after legislators mingled with celebrities for the ground breaking of a Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. The bill expanded the Animal Enterprise Protection Act that was used to convict the SHAC 7 of "animal enterprise terrorism", a few months prior in a federal court. The group was part of the Stop Huntington Cruelty (SHAC) campaign.[37] See also Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, section 7.

Members

According to NABR, it represents "over 40 scientific society members and subscribers" and "is the voice of the biomedical research community". Member organizations include:

Personnel

Frankie Trull, President & founder [39]

Contact

National Association for Biomedical Research
818 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20006

Phone: 202 857 0540

Web address: http://www.nabr.org/

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Lobbyist database: Frankie Trull, Implu Corporation, accessed September 2009
  2. "A Voice in Government", National Association for Biomedical Research, accessed September 2009.
  3. Frankie Trull "Thirty years………Time Flies!", Ask Franki!" (blog), September 24, 2009.
  4. About, Policy Directions Inc., accessed September 2009
  5. Clients, Policy Directions Inc., accessed September 2009.
  6. "Professionals: Frankie L. Trull, President and CEO", Policy Directions, accessed September 2009.
  7. Annual Lobbying by Policy Directions Inc., Center for Responsive Politics, 2008.
  8. About NABR, NABR, accessed September 2009
  9. Animal Law Section: Introduction, NABR, accessed September 2009
  10. Oversight of Animal Research, NABR, accessed September 2009
  11. Members Only, NABR, accessed September 2009
  12. Animal Law Section: Introduction, NABR, accessed September 2009
  13. Oversight of Animal Research, NABR, accessed September 2009
  14. Animal Law Section: Overview of Existing System, NABR, accessed September 2009
  15. The Animal Care Program and the USDA's Authority Under the AWA: Q & A, U.S. Department of Agriculture, APHIS Fact Sheet, July 2005, page 2
  16. Animal Experimentation in the United States, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, April 2005
  17. Project R&R: Animal Welfare Act, New England Anti-Vivisection Society, 2009
  18. Jim Drinkard AP Newsfeatures, Associated Press, April 6, 1986
  19. Laboratory Primate Newsletter, Volume 25 No. 3, JULY 1986
  20. Deborah Blum The Monkey Wars, December, 1995, p. 147, ISBN-13: 978-0195101096
  21. Janice C. Swanson, Ph.D.Exercise for Dogs, USDA National Agricultural Library, January 1979 - October 1991
  22. Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Espy, 29 F.3d 720 (1994)]
  23. Sen. John Melcher The Mental Health of Primates; We’re Still Needlessly Cruel to Research Animals in Our Labs, The Washington Post, September 1991
  24. Alternative Research and Development Foundation v. Veneman, 262 F.3d 406. DC Cir (2001).
  25. Washington Post, October 3, 2000
  26. Rick Weiss Lab animal abuses caught on PETA tape: Group circulates spy video to Congress, Washington Post, April 2002
  27. Jeremy Beckham Vivisectors and Robber Barons, PrimateLabs.com, accessed October 2009
  28. Jeremy Beckham Vivisectors and Robber Barons, PrimateLabs.com, accessed October 2009
  29. Frankie Trull, National Association for Biomedical Research on the Indictment of Animal Activists, News release; PR Newswire, May 2006
  30. Inside Customers, SHAC.net, accessed December 2008
  31. Huntingdon Life Sciences Group PLC: How Did It Find Trouble?, The Motley Fool, July 1997
  32. PETA Names the 10 Worst CEOs for Animals in Laboratories, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, accessed December 2009
  33. Mike Hamilton Sweetener Slaughter: 12,800 animals die for no-calorie pills, Daily Mirror, August 2001
  34. Charlotte Laws, PhD, AETA and the New Green Scare: Are You the Terrorist Next Door?, Counterpunch, January 2007
  35. Professionals: Frankie L. Trull, President and CEO, Policy Directions, accessed September 2009
  36. Will Potter House Passes AETA With Little Discussion or Dissent: Notes from the House Floor “Debate”, Greenisthenewred.com, Nov 2006
  37. Will Potter What is the Green Scare?, Greenisthenewred.com, Sept 2008
  38. Member Services, NABR, accessed September 2009
  39. Professionals: Frankie L. Trull, President and CEO, Policy Directions, accessed September 2009

External resources