Displaying items by tag: pesticides

Humane Society of the United States undercover investigation shows plight of dogs in a laboratory being dosed with pesticides and drugs

There are more than 60,000 dogs used annually in experiments at hundreds of labs across the country

WASHINGTON (March 12, 2019) – Today the Humane Society of the United States revealed the results of an undercover investigation at an animal testing laboratory where thousands of dogs are killed every year. The investigation reveals the suffering and death of beagles and hounds used in toxicity tests for pesticides, drugs, dental implants and other products.

Over the span of the nearly 100 days, an investigator documented nearly two dozen short-term and long-term experiments that involved tests on dogs. The Humane Society of the United States investigator saw dogs killed at the end of studies, and others suffering for months including 36 gentle beagles being tested for a Dow AgroSciences pesticide.

Dow commissioned this laboratory to force-feed a fungicide to beagles for a year, with some dogs being subjected to very high doses – so high that up to four capsules had to be shoved down their throats.  Those who survive until the designated end date of the study in July will be killed. Dow has publicly acknowledged that this one-year test is scientifically unnecessary. The United States government eliminated this test as a requirement more than 10 years ago and nearly all countries throughout the world have followed suit through efforts that have been led by Humane Society International in cooperation with members of the industry, including Dow.

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and president of Humane Society International, said: “The disturbing findings at this facility are sadly not unique. Experiments are happening at hundreds of laboratories each year throughout the country, with more than 60,000 dogs suffering. But that does not have to be the fate for these 36 beagles. For months we have been urging Dow to end the unnecessary test and release the dogs to us. We have gone to considerable lengths to assist the company in doing so, but we simply cannot wait any longer; every single day these caged dogs are being poisoned and are one day closer to being killed. We must turn to the public to join us in urging Dow to stop the test immediately and to work with us to get these dogs into suitable homes.” 

This investigation was carried out at Charles River Laboratories in Michigan, and this is only a snapshot of what is going on in the U.S. including at for-profit companies, government facilities and universities for various testing and research purposes. The dogs are often provided by commercial breeders -- one of which, Marshall BioResources had more than 22,000 dogs at one facility in June 2018.  

Beagles are used in testing because of their docile nature, which was evident during this investigation conducted between April and August 2018. The Humane Society of the United States shared its findings with Dow and has been negotiating with the company in hopes of securing the release of the 36 dogs in their study.

Video released of the investigation shows workers carrying out experiments on dogs on behalf of three companies – Paredox Therapeutics, Above and Beyond NB LLC and Dow AgroSciences.

Among the beagles tested on, the Humane Society of the United States documented the horrible short life of one dog named Harvey who clearly sought attention by humans and was characterized by the laboratory staff as “a good boy.”

Harvey was being used to test the safety of two substances when poured into the chest cavity in a study commissioned by Paredox Therapeutics that received support from the University of Vermont. Hounds were also used when the protocol called for a larger dog breed, such as a study by Above and Beyond Therapeutics for surgical implantation of a device to pump drugs through the spinal canal. Charles River carried out tests on dogs for at least 25 companies during the time of the Humane Society of the United States investigation.  

Scientific studies have shown that more than 95 percent of drugs fail in humans, even after what appear to be promising results in animals. The Humane Society of the United States is seeking to replace dogs and other animals with more effective non-animal approaches that will better serve humans.  

“It is our obligation to tell the stories of the animals and move science, policy and corporate ethics into the 21st century,” Block added.

 

Dangerous Pesticides Kill Wildlife, Harm Unique Ecosystems

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Pesticides Science and Regulation, American Bird Conservancy, 202-888-7475, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Staff Attorney, Earthjustice, 415-217-2000

(Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 2017) On behalf of American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice has petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to adopt a statewide prohibition on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the more than one million acres of wildlife habitat under its jurisdiction. “We need to be sure that these lands remain safe havens for birds and other wildlife,” said Cynthia Palmer, ABC’s Director of Pesticides Science and Regulation.

Neonics are a relatively new class of chemicals with the potential to derail California’s efforts to safeguard its unique ecosystems. Neonics are deadly to pollinators and other wildlife, including birds. For example, a single seed coated with neonics is enough to kill a songbird, and exposure to just one-tenth of a coated seed per day during the egg-laying season is enough to impair reproduction. Even tiny doses can cause birds to lose coordination and the ability to fly. Neonics are also lethal to many of the terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates — including butterflies, bees, earthworms, and mayflies — that are critical food sources for birds and other wildlife.

“What’s so stunning about these pesticides,” said Palmer, “is the fact that they can actually exacerbate the pest problems they were meant to solve. By harming pollinators like bees and butterflies, as well as natural pest control agents like birds and beneficial insects, neonics are sabotaging the very organisms on which we all depend.”

Europe has enacted a moratorium on the use of neonics, and Canada has proposed a nationwide ban on the most widely used neonic, imidacloprid, given the risk it poses to birds, insects, small mammals, and other wildlife. In addition, many U.S. companies such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, True Value, and BJ’s Wholesale Club, as well as state and local legislatures, are reining in the use of neonics. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned neonic use on National Wildlife Refuge lands as of last year.

“We hope that the California Fish and Game Commission will follow the lead of the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and prohibit any use of neonicotinoid pesticides on the important network of wildlife refuges it oversees throughout California, one of the nation’s most biodiverse states,” said Trent Orr, the Earthjustice staff attorney who worked on the petition.

“It’s time for the agencies managing state refuges across the nation to join in protecting our endangered species and other wildlife from these poisons,” Palmer stated. “California has long been an environmental standard-bearer for the other states on everything from auto emissions to building codes. We urge the California Fish and Game Commission to lead the way on pesticides, as well, by adopting a statewide prohibition on neonicotinoid insecticides.”

(Photo: Banning the use of neonics on Califonia's public lands would benefit songbirds such as Horned Lark and many other species. Photo by Tom Grey)

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American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

Earthjustice, the nation’s premier nonprofit environmental law organization, wields the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. Because the earth needs a good lawyer.

American Bird Conservancy’s Statement on New Bills to Ban Chlorpyrifos

(Washington, D.C., July 25, 2017) We applaud the U.S. Senators who today introduced a bill to ban chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide that has been killing birds and poisoning the environment for the past half-century: Tom Udall (D-NM)Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA). We’re also grateful to Representatives Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), who have offered a companion bill in the House.

The “Protect Children, Farmers & Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act” would prohibit all chlorpyrifos use by amending the U.S. Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that oversees food safety.

Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate related to sarin nerve gas, is used in production of common crops such as strawberries, apples, citrus, and broccoli. In addition to the pesticide’s well-known threats to human health, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is concerned about the pesticide’s effects on birds, including to declining species like the Mountain Plover (shown). A recent draft biological evaluation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that chlorpyrifos is likely to adversely affect 97 percent of all wildlife, including more than 100 listed bird species listed under the Endangered Species Act.

ABC has been calling for a ban on the use of chlorpyrifos for years. EPA scientists agreed and were on course to ban the pesticide from use on all crops. In March 2017, however, the EPA administrator reversed the recommendation of the agency’s own scientists and extended chlorpyrifos’ registration for another five years.

"It’s high time to outlaw the use of chlorpyrifos. It’s well known that this pesticide is lethal to birds, other wildlife, and people,” said Cynthia Palmer, ABC's Pesticide Program Director. “We’re encouraged by the leadership shown today in Congress.”

(Photo: Mountain Plover by Greg Homel/Natural Elements Productions)

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American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

 

American Bird Conservancy’s Statement on EPA Pesticide Reversal

(Washington, D.C., March 30, 2017)  "We’re disgusted by Mr. Pruitt’sdecision to yield to corporate interests, given the dangers posed by chlorpyrifos to birds, children, and agricultural workers,” said Cynthia Palmer, Pesticide Program Director at American Bird Conservancy (ABC).

Chlorpyrifos, one of the most-used pesticides in the United States, has been killing birds and poisoning the environment for the past half-century. Because of those risks to wildlife and to human health, ABC has been calling for a ban on the use of chlorpyrifos for years. Environmental Protection Agency scientists agreed and were on course to ban the pesticide this month.

But late yesterday, EPA chief Scott Pruitt rejected the conclusion of the agency’s own pesticide experts, who had recommended that EPA forbid use of the pesticide permanently at farms nationwide. Rebuffing a petition filed by environmental groups a decade ago, Mr. Pruitt took “final agency action,” which may not be revisited until 2022.

Studies show that women and children are particularly at risk from exposure to chlorpyrifos. ABC is also very concerned about the documented threat chlorpyrifos poses to birds, especially to endangered species.

This past summer, EPA’s draft biological evaluation on threatened and endangered species found that chlorpyrifos is “likely to adversely affect” 97 percent of all wildlife, including more than 100 listed bird species.

(Photo: Horned Lark, one of hundreds of bird species affected by use of chlorpyrifos. Photo by Middleton Evans)

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Aggressive Habitat Protection, Ending Threats from Tower Collisions and Pesticides
Urgently Needed

(Washington, D.C., December 6, 2013) American Bird Conservancy (ABC), one of the nation's leading bird conservation groups, says that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposal to list the western population of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act falls short of providing the necessary protections for the imperiled bird species whose numbers have plummeted in recent decades.

The ABC assertions are contained in a December 2 letter to FWS available here.

"The draft rule only proposes to list the species as threatened rather than as endangered, and doesn’t address the threats or propose more effective conservation measures such as removing cattle from riparian areas and restricting the use of pesticides in adjacent agricultural areas,” said Steve Holmer, senior policy advisor with American Bird Conservancy.

"Federal agencies must address water diversion and grazing policies that are disastrous to the cuckoo. They need to reverse direction, stop the degradation, and develop a plan to restore riparian areas and regrow lost Yellow-billed Cuckoo habitat," Holmer added.

In the United States, only 350 to 495 pairs of the bird exist, with a similar number found in Mexico. The birds are isolated in small patches of increasingly degraded riparian forest habitat.

The draft rule says that collisions with towers during migration and pesticide impacts are significant threats to the remaining western Yellow-billed Cuckoos. "In addition to working with farmers and ranchers, ABC urges that a program be adopted to educate and provide financial incentives for tower owners within the species' range to adopt modern lighting known to reduce Yellow-billed Cuckoo deaths," said Holmer. "Pesticide use also must be restricted in Yellow-billed Cuckoo critical habitat."

The species has been extirpated or nearly so from most of its historical range across portions of 12 western states as well as British Columbia. There have been no recent sightings in Oregon, Washington, or Montana. In California, the population is estimated to be less than one percent of its probable historic size. Very small populations of less than 10 pairs exist in Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, and Texas, and in Idaho and Utah only an estimated 10 to 20 pairs remain.

Only in a portion of the species’ range in Arizona, New Mexico, California, and Mexico do significant populations remain, but the trend continues to be downward. The extent of the cuckoo’s riparian habitat loss is extreme: 90 to 95 percent in Arizona, 90 percent in New Mexico, and 90 to 99 percent in California. In Arizona, the state with largest U.S. cuckoo population, numbers have declined 70 to 80 percent in the past 30 years.

"The draft rule finds there is ongoing degradation and habitat loss, and concludes that these impacts are anticipated to continue for decades to come,” said Holmer. "New management standards and regulatory mechanisms to protect and restore the cuckoo's habitat are urgently needed."

The draft rule also raises serious concern about the land management policies of two federal agencies—the Bureau of Land Management and the USDA Forest Service—stating: "BLM and USFS have discretion in how these [environmental protection] statues are carried out and measures are implemented … we continue to see continued loss and degradation of habitat for the western Yellow-billed Cuckoo on lands that these agencies manage."

A March 2013 report by American Bird Conservancy suggests that pesticide use may have implications for the cuckoo population. It found that a single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid, now the most widely used class of pesticides in the world, can kill a songbird. Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, can fatally poison a bird. As little as one-tenth of a neonicotinoid-coated corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction.

As long-distance, nocturnal migrants, Yellow-billed Cuckoos are vulnerable to collisions with tall buildings, cell towers, radio antennas, wind turbines, and other structures. The cuckoos are known to be attracted to lights that can lead to fatal collisions. An ABC report documenting bird deaths at towers found evidence of a total of 568 Yellow-billed Cuckoo deaths at 17 towers.

Researchers have found that by extinguishing the steady-burning red lights on towers, nighttime bird fatality rates can be reduced by more than 70 percent. Birds are not as likely to be attracted to and collide with towers that are lit with only red flashing lights or white flashing lights. In December 2011, the Federal Communications Commission agreed on interim changes to their system for approving applications for new telecommunication towers.

There is also concern about the potential for western Yellow-billed Cuckoos to collide with wind turbines. ABC’s comment letter urges the FWS to provide a more detailed analysis of the risk to the species posed by the current and expected build-out of wind turbines.

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American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement.