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Experiments on Animals

November 09, 1989

An Oct. 12 article in the Ventura County section ("GOP Activist Faces Dilemma on Animal Tests" tells of the frustrations of an animal rights activist named Beverlee McGrath, a self-described Republican leader highly critical of my opposition to legislation which would have banned several types of live animal tests. Your reporter seems to have been misled on a number of key points.

The article made it appear that the primary opposition to AB 2461 came from cruel cosmetic companies conducting sadistic experiments on laboratory animals. In fact, the most vigorous protests came from poison control centers across the country which depend on the animals to provide life-saving information for the thousands of toddlers who ingest products found in the home.

Nobody likes the idea of deliberately poisoning lab animals with household products to develop life-saving treatments, and progress is being made to develop substitute tests. Unfortunately, in many cases there are no alternatives, and well-intentioned legislation such as this has the tragic consequence of literally placing the safety of rodents ahead of the safety of toddlers.

Opposition to such legislation comes from a veritable Who's Who of product safety: the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Consumer Federation of America and the American Assn. of Poison Control Centers.

The article reported that the bill is "on the Assembly floor." In fact, it was overwhelmingly defeated in the Assembly with only 31 votes from the 79 members. Your reporter makes it sound like Republicans are divided on this issue. In fact, every Republican voted against the legislation, and six Democrats crossed party lines to join them. Ten more Democrats abstained from voting.

Finally, the article incorrectly identified Ms. McGrath as a newly installed president of the Oxnard Republican Women's Club and the person "in charge of a campaign to reelect Assemblyman Tom McClintock." In fact, Ms. McGrath has never been associated with my campaign in any capacity, and has never been president of the Oxnard Republican Women's Club.

TOM McCLINTOCK

Assemblyman, 36th District

AB 2461 was defeated 36 to 31. Its sponsor, Assemblyman Jack O'Connell (D-Carpinteria), has asked that the Assembly reconsider it.

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