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Features > Iams' Animal Care Advisory Board

Iams' Animal Care Advisory Board

Life for animals in laboratories is filled with days, weeks, months, and years of loneliness, suffering, pain, and fear. While a toy, a resting board, or a few minutes of “socialization” (if provided) may slightly ease the horror of imprisonment, they do not make animal experimentation humane.

So Iams’ International Animal Care Advisory Board is in a predicament. While it can evaluate Iams’ program of animal experimentation and make recommendations, nothing it can say or do (short of calling on Iams to stop experimenting on animals) will change the simple fact that Iams’ use of animals in laboratories is inherently cruel and unnecessary. In addition, Iams as well as the members of this board have no way of knowing what is happening to the animals inside the company’s numerous contract testing facilities at any given time.

No person, organization, or corporation that truly cares about animals would ever condone or support the use of animals to test pet food. This is why we have asked the individuals who sit on Iams’ International Animal Care Advisory Board to call on Iams to stop conducting nutritional experiments on animals and, instead, rely only on laboratory analysis of formulas for nutritional composition, in-home studies using dogs and cats who have been volunteered by their human companions, and collaborative studies with private veterinary clinics that have patients who have diseases or conditions of interest to the company.

A review of the members of this board, which was created by Iams, reveals that it is not as “independent” as the company would have us believe and that it may be unwilling to heed the very reasonable call for an end to Iams’ program of animal testing in laboratories:

Michael Arms
Michael Arms is the president of the Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) in Rancho Santa Fe, California. Like many facilities, HWAC has accepted the support of such corporate sponsors as Iams.

While the president or director of a facility cannot be faulted for accepting a check from a wealthy corporation (which is often hoping to build brand loyalty while improving its public image), we believe that having this same individual sit in judgment of this same corporation’s activities represents a conflict of interest.

Kathryn Bayne, Ph.D.
Kathryn Bayne is associate director of the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC).

AAALAC, which is made up of those who support and/or have participated in animal experimentation, was originally established to thwart the passage of the Animal Welfare Act (it did not succeed). AAALAC is widely considered to be a smokescreen used by the animal-experimentation industry in an effort to add an air of legitimacy where none is deserved.

The Iams laboratory that we investigated (IamsCruelty.com); the notorious Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), where numerous violations of federal law were found; and the University of North Carolina, where we recently documented egregious cruelty to animals (live animals in the dead animal cooler, cutting off the heads of mice and rats with scissors, sick and injured animals languishing for days and weeks without veterinary care) are just a few of the facilities that are AAALAC-accredited.

Reverend Kenneth Boyd
Rev. Boyd is a professor of medical ethics at Edinburgh University Medical School and chair of the Boyd Group. Boyd is particularly interested in studying the cost-benefit relationship of animal use to human benefit.

The Boyd Group, which considers the debate on animal research through the publication of ethics papers, was founded in part by neuroscientist Colin Blakemore. Blakemore is best known for his experiments in which he sewed shut the eyes of kittens in an attempt to determine how the loss of vision in early development affects the brain.

Stephen Hansen, D.V.M.
Dr. Hansen is senior vice president of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. Iams is a corporate sponsor of the ASPCA and sponsors the ASPCA’s Pet Nutrition and Science Advisory Service.

The ASPCA recently conducted an inspection of a contract testing laboratory “to be used” by Iams. The following is some of what the ASPCA had to report:
  • The animals had names.
  • The cats “were reported to have 4-5 hours out of their cages each day.”
  • The dogs “were housed in short-fenced runs and had platforms up off of the floor.”
  • The dogs were provided with “socialization time.”
  • A study “scheduled for implementation on the day of inspection” was “designed to verify that the diet being fed would allow the animals to maintain normal health and body condition.”
  • “The findings from studies done at this facility are designed to prove complete and balanced nutrition for specific products.
  • The information from this type of study is generally presented on the product label.”
Once again, there is a conflict of interest here with the relationship already established between the ASPCA and Iams. Do the animals care if they have names? The Iams’ dogs at the contract lab that PETA just exposed all had names, too, and they were treated just as badly as those without names. We hope that the ASPCA is not justifying these experiments based on the fact that they are being conducted in order to properly label a product, because many pet-food manufacturers satisfy labeling requirements by doing a chemical analysis of the food, not by imprisoning animals in cages. Such justification would be unconscionable.

Dr. Robert Hubrecht
Hubrecht is a member of the Research Defence Society—a corporate-funded pro-vivisection lobby group that has lobbied against the requirement for a cost-benefit assessment for animal experiments in the U.K. He is also assistant director of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW). The following statement is posted on the organization’s Web site: “UFAW is a unique scientific and technical animal welfare organisation. We use scientific knowledge and established expertise to improve the welfare of animals kept as pets, in zoos, laboratories, and on farms and of wild animals with which we interact.”

Dr. Irene Rochlitz
Iams describes Dr. Rochlitz as an “independent veterinary consultant in feline welfare.” Rochlitz studied the “effects of quarantine accommodation and environment” on cat behavior and found that “quarantine causes severe problems for cats with long-term effects on cat behaviour.” Iams’ program of animal experimentation has resulted in the “quarantine” of countless animals, some for years at a time.

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