Animals and kids

August 28, 1998

Too often, animal rights groups make headlines with their protests. I only wish that there were as many protesters for human rights.

How can we put the rights of animals before those of humans? Why are there no protesters against unethical research on infants and babies -a practice that is all too common in some hospitals around the country.

Several recent clinical studies using infant subjects have been published that would make the hardest person's heart miss a beat.

One study of lung function used 26 infants who had had apparent life-threatening events (ALTEs) and healthy controls. The infants had histamine blown into their lungs to induce an allergic reaction, which had drastic and near-fatal effects on infants too sedated to "fight" the reaction. In controlled hypoxia studies, sleeping infants and siblings of infants predisposed to ALTEs are placed in tents and forced to breathe low oxygen and nitrogen mixture.

I appeal to animal rights protesters to start protecting your own kind before taking on the plight of another species. My children were used in one such study without my knowledge or understanding and no one is protesting on our behalf. After all, they were only human.

Deborah Henshall, Clayton, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire.

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