Although your paper was scrupulous about reporting the origin, aims and membership of my organization, Americans for Medical Progress, in quoting my reaction to a lawsuit filed against the National Institutes of Health, it failed to do the same with the group that initiated the lawsuit, the misleadingly named Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) ["Group Sues NIH for Documents on Cat Experiments," news story, Jan. 14].
As can be seen on PCRM's own Web site, despite its name, fewer than 5 percent of PCRM's members have medical degrees. The group has a long history of opposing important research programs funded by respected health charities such as the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society.
PCRM opposes any use of laboratory animals in biomedical research, regardless of benefit. It was created in 1984 to provide a false patina of scientific credibilty to the extreme animal rights agenda espoused by PETA and other groups. Its involvement in animal rights activism remains strong. PCRM's president, Neal Barnard, is also president of the Foundation to Support Animal Protection, which is housed in PETA's headquarters in Norfolk. PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk is the foundation's vice president. According to IRS records, in 2000, the sole grant awarded by the foundation was to PCRM, in the amount of $432,524, nearly a fifth of PCRM's budget.
It is unfortunate that your paper failed to give its readers the information they need to assess the credibility and motives of PCRM.
-- Jacqueline Calnan
The writer is president
of Americans for