UK Jains launch historic Payushan and Das Lakshan with global programme – Saturday 15th August 2020 at 09.45am UK time
The 32 UK Jain Organisations, who are united under the ‘OneJAIN’ banner, are to launch this year’s Paryushan and Das Lakshan 2020 programme with an online Zoom/Youtube event featuring major political leaders, prominent Jain saints, and other faith leaders from the Vatican and India.
This year, for the first time in living memory, COVID19 has ensured that Paryushan and Das Lakshan will be celebrated online via Zoom. In order to ensure that Jains at home receive the maximum possible opportunity to participate in religious and spiritual activities, OneJAIN is coordinating the Zoom events of all Jain organisations to create a unified Jain calendar of events.
To launch this year’s Paryushan and Das Lakshan programme with blessings and good wishes from political and religious leaders, OneJAIN has organised a programme on 15th August at 9.45 am UK time.
The Animal Interfaith Alliance, an alliance of 17 faith-based animal welfare organisations, representing all the world’s major faiths, fully supports STAE in urgently calling on the UK government to legislate to ban UK tour companies from promoting the brutally cruel Asian elephant tourist resorts and attractions.
The horrific practices to break baby elephants’ spirits and subject them to a lifetime of torture is totally unacceptable, as is the tourist industry’s failure to self-regulate itself, and must be banned right now.
Our endangered Asian elephants are a most precious part of Creation whom we should honour and protect – in practice and in law.
Further information on the brutal treatment of Asian elephants for the tourist trade and on STAE’s remarkable work can be found here: https://stae.org/
AIA is pleased that stunning is now considered to be acceptable for Halal meat by some butchers and religious leaders in Turkey and that the suffering of some animals will therefore be reduced. We are very grateful to the animal rights campaigners in Turkey who demonstrated that stunning is acceptable in Islamic law and we hope that many others will follow their example.
AIA believes in a peaceful, vegan world where we respect all animals and treat them with love and compassion. We honour the Creation by treating all its creatures with love and kindness. However, we acknowledge and are very grateful for the work being done here to reduce the suffering of animals.
Scientist and veterinarian Dr Andre Menache explains why animal experimentation is bad, outdated science and how other methods provide better, more effective alternatives. This short video equips those campaigning against animal experimentation with latest the scientific arguments.
AIA were honoured to host a most informative webinar presented by Dr Andre Menache on the Corona Virus Pandemic which examines its causes and effects with particular focus on why animal research will not serve us well in finding a swift and effective vaccine for this virus and why the pandemic should force us to look to 21st century alternatives to testing methods.
The webinar was introduced by AIA’s President Dr Richard Ryder.
Dr Andre Menache BSc (Hons) BVSc MRCVS is AIA’s European Representative and Scientific Advisor and a Patron. He is a veterinarian who advises extensively on animal welfare matters. Dr Menache is Scientific Consultant to (and former director of) Antidote Europe, based in France.
He has been President of Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine (UK) and General Manager of The Federation of Animal Protection Societies in Israel. He is a patron of Quaker Concern for Animals and provides scientific support to several grass roots organisations.
Dr Menache has also written the following articles on this topic:
We are delighted that the Animals and Welfare (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill has been voted on to become law and includes an end to the mass killing of mountain hares in Scotland.
AIA has been campaigning against the killing of mountain hares in Scotland for many years.
We would like to thank Alison Johnstone MSP who brought an amendment to the Bill to make the mountain hares a protected species and to the other campaign organisations, such as Onekind, who have worked tirelessly on this issue.
The iconic mountain hare is a native species in Scotland but is shot in the tens of thousands each year, including in the Cairngorms National Park, for sport by hunting parties and for management by the grouse shooting industry.
Other issues covered by the Bill include:
removing the two main seal shooting licences used by fish farms which will end seal shooting;
the use of electric shock collars must now be reviewed by the Scottish Government; and
vicarious liability to offences involving traps and snares has been extended (but we would like to see a full ban).
We would like to thank all the MSPs who brought amendments to the Bill to improve animal welfare.
WHAT LESSONS CAN BE LEARNED FROM THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC?
A Webinar by Dr Andre Menache
Introduced by AIA President Dr Richard D. Ryder
Wednesday 15th July 2020 at 8.30pm
The webinar will be hosted on Zoom and will consist of a half hour presentation followed by an hour’s Q & A. The presentation will examine the limitations of animal research and the arguments for using alternatives to animal research in the hunt for a vaccine for Covid-19, as well as looking at the causes and effects of the virus.
Dr Andre Menache BSc (Hons) BVSc MRCVS is AIA’s European Representative and Scientific Advisor. He is a veterinarian who advises extensively on animal welfare matters. Dr Menache is Scientific Consultant to (and former director of) Antidote Europe, based in France. He has been President of Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine (UK) and General Manager of The Federation of Animal Protection Societies in Israel. He is a patron of Quaker Concern for Animals and provides scientific support to several grass roots organisations
Here are two recent articles written by Dr Menache on this topic:
Every day, thousands of animals are forced into the multi-billion pound global trade in wildlife – killed for food, harvested for traditional medicine, traded as ‘exotic’ pets or forced into a life of suffering in entertainment.
The UK government has an opportunity and a responsibility to lead the world in bringing an end to the global trade in wildlife. This year, at the G20 summit in November, we want the government to call for a global wildlife trade ban and to introduce a new law to ban the import and export of wild animals and wild animal products in the UK.
Wild animals don’t belong to us, they belong in the wild
Horrific conditions cause unimaginable suffering in the global wildlife trade. This also creates a hotbed of diseases that originate from animals, leading to deadly outbreaks like SARS and now COVID-19.
With the impact and grim reality of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the globe, we can no longer ignore the dangers of exploiting wild animals:
60% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, meaning they originate from animals, with 70% of these thought to originate from wild animals
The methods used to snatch animals from their natural habitats are extremely distressing for them and can cause injury and even death
As well as needing to end the pain and suffering inflicted on animals, we must stop this trade now to help prevent future global health crises and protect our environment for generations to come.
Please join us in calling on the government to secure a global wildlife trade ban and end the import and export of wild animals and wild animal products into the UK.
The Church Times has reported on the progress of six vegetarian and vegan clerics in its issue of 29th May, three of whom are leaders of some of AIA’s member organisations. These include ASWA Secretary Samantha Chandler, ordained in the Diocese of Winchester; recently retired Vicar of Godshill in the Isle of Wight and CVV UK leader, Revd. John Ryder and the Revd. Professor Martin Henig Assistant Priest in the Osney Benefice, Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and ASWA Vice President. He also sits on the board of the Animal Interfaith Alliance.
It is great to see the Church Times promoting their beliefs and lifestyles. The full article can be read here:
The race is now on to develop a vaccine to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Developing a new vaccine is not without risk and so it is imperative that researchers use robust scientific methods in order to avoid some of the mistakes of the past. An important step in the right direction is to avoid using animal cells or animal viruses to manufacture human vaccines in the 21st century. A lack of technology is not the obstacle here. Rather, it is out dated manufacturing practices and a political culture that puts short term profits before public safety. This is particularly relevant in an era of personalized medicine: the opportunity to create vaccines that are more effective and with fewer side effects (1).
By now we are all acutely aware of the risk of transmission of animal viruses in the context of wildlife markets and the consumption of wild animal products. Sadly, countries like China have issued only a temporary ban on such practices. Once the coronavirus pandemic eases up, it could be a return to business as usual in places where wild animal consumption is a tradition. There is, however, another cause for concern, in the form of medical research where animal viruses are involved in the production of human vaccines. To be clear, we are not talking about the use of animal viruses in the context of biological warfare, we are talking about vaccines manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry destined for general use in the human population.
The scientific research community has been taken by surprise by the speed at which the COVID-19 viral pandemic has spread throughout the world. Clinical trials are already underway, with scientists scrambling to find an effective vaccine. Some vaccine trials have received the official go-ahead without waiting for the results of the usual animal tests. Under normal circumstances, vaccine development can take up to 15 to 20 years, from start to finish, and includes giving the vaccine to various animal species to determine safety and efficacy.
With advancements in technology, industry and academia appear to have significantly reduced the timeline for the production of a future vaccine. Besides the questions surrounding the reliability and relevance of animal testing with regard to predicting human outcome, there is the equally important issue about which most people are completely unaware: the use of animal viruses in human vaccines (2). A current example is the use of a genetically modified chimpanzee virus grown in duck cell culture for use in human vaccines. This vaccine has already been administered to healthy human volunteers in the UK and Senegal as part of an early clinical trial (3).
As the saying goes, “history does not repeat itself, man repeats his mistakes”. It is worth taking a brief look at specific examples of the not so distant past to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Some of the early polio vaccine administered to millions of people between 1955 and 1963 was contaminated with the simian virus 40 (SV40). This virus originated in the monkey kidney cell cultures used to produce the vaccine. The SV40 virus is the most potent cancer causing virus known to science and is now thought to be responsible for the proliferation of certain rare human forms of cancer (4).
Vaccines containing animal viruses also share some of the risks associated with gene therapy. The death of 18 year old Jesse Gelsinger in September 1999 following experimental gene therapy was a wake-up call for the scientific research community on the risks of using viruses as a means transporting healthy genes into the cells of patients (5). Gelsinger died as a result of an immune overreaction caused by the virus. In a different clinical trial in 2003, it was reported that some of the children born with inadequate immune systems who received gene therapy (also based on a viral vector) showed some improvement, while others developed leukemia (cancer of the white blood cells) (6). In patients who have responded well to these treatments, the long term health effects are still unknown (7).
The above events highlight some of the major risks associated with using viruses (often of animal origin) as vectors of genes or in vaccines, and the risks of using animal tissues (monkey kidney, in the case of polio) as a means of cultivating the virus for subsequent human use. In the UK in 2000, polio vaccine manufactured using fetal calf serum was withdrawn following a massive public outcry in the wake of the Mad Cow Disease outbreak. Millions of doses of the vaccine had already been administered to infants in the UK when it was revealed that the fetal calf serum used in the vaccine was of UK origin (8). Although the risks were played down by the authorities, it should be noted that Mad Cow Disease is caused by prions, which are even smaller than viruses and were undetectable in blood products at the time.
In short, the COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call to all of society and industry to stop using animal tissues and animal viruses to manufacture vaccines destined for human use. It is also an opportunity to ditch the “animal model”, a concept that belongs to the 19th century. To try to reproduce a human disease, or test a human vaccine, in an animal is a perversion of science, a complete lack of understanding of what constitutes a complex system, such as the immune system. Each animal species is also an example of a complex system and therefore cannot serve as a model for another. Among humans, there are also important differences between individuals, in terms of susceptibility to COVID-19. Rather than experimenting with ferrets, monkeys or mice, it would be far more scientific to invest in high-performance technologies of the 21st century.
One such example is the “MIMIC” (Modular IMmune In vitro Construct) which is an in vitro model of the human immune system (9). Advanced in vitro technologies (such as MIMIC, ‘organs on a chip’ and others) must by today’s standards, aim for a prediction rate of 85 to 90 % in order to be accepted at the regulatory level. Although animal tests are still required before human clinical trials, they fail spectacularly: 9 out of 10 drugs that appear safe and effective in animal tests subsequently fail in human trials, precisely due to a lack of safety or efficacy, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (10). A testing strategy based on a battery of in vitro tests using human material would be far more relevant than pursuing animal tests. It is time to raise the bar in current biomedical research if we want to preserve our health in the face of emerging diseases of the 21st century. Perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic will help us to question some of our irresponsible scientific practices as well as the obsolete regulations that still impose them.
Dr Andre Menache BSc(Hons) BVSc MRCVS is a veterinarian who advises extensively on animal welfare matters. He is director of Antidote Europe, based in France, a patron of Quaker Concern for Animals and a patron of and scientific adviser to the Animal Interfaith Alliance. He has been president of Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine (UK) and general manager of The Federation of Animal Protection Societies in Israel. He currently provides scientific support to several grass roots organisations. His full article can be read here.