Fact or Fiction

Montcalm County







Unfortunately what the commissioners have been saying (or have been lead to believe) have very little, if anything, to do with the actual facts.



FICTION:  R&R only takes animals who would not otherwise be adopted as a “last resort”

FACT:  Pounds and animal shelters were never designed to be supply houses for the vivisection trade.  They were developed to be places where people could bring unwanted or stray animals in the hope of a new home being found.  Failing that, the animals would be painlessly killed.  The release of these animals for research is a breach of public trust and leads to a loss of public support.  The National Animal Control Association (a well –respected national association of animal control officers and most definitely not an animal welfare group) opposes pound seizure as hindering the efforts of progressive animal shelters and interfering with their rights and powers.


FACT:  The very animals who have the most trust in humans and are most easily handled are the most adoptable—and the ones most likely to be chosen for medical research because of their docility and socialization.


FACT:  At one point, Mr. Woudenberg had a key to the pound facility and was hand-picking out the animals he wanted for research before they were made available to the public.  This certainly does not sound like a “last resort” approach.

FICTION:  The commissioners say that no money changes hands

FACT:  R&R, by its own records, makes an average of $331 per animal it sells to research.  Last year, R&R got, at no cost, over 150 animals from the Montcalm pound.  R&R, a private corporation, made huge profits off the Montcalm taxpayers’ backs.

FICTION:  By not using a pound animal in research who would otherwise be euthanized, you end up killing two animals ( a pound animal is euthanized and a purpose bred animal is used in the research) instead of one.

FACT:  The National Institutes of Health has said on many occasions that the use of pound animals is inefficient and unreliable.  Because of all the variables and unknowns, many more random source (pound) animals are needed to be used in any experiment or research to even hope to get a statistically valid sample than if purpose bred animals are used.  So in fact the use of pound animals costs more.

FICTION:  The commissioners claim that pound seizure in Montcalm County, and R&R’s contract in particular, is benefiting mankind and enabling progress in medical research.

FACT:  Very few of the animals that would be killed every year in pounds are used in significant or ground-breaking medical research.  In fact, Mr. Woudenberg admitted that he did not and could not know how the animals were being used.  Ending pound seizure (and the R&R contract) would not stop research, it simply would change the source of some of the animals for some projects.


FACT:  Prominent health organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Council of Europe and the World Health Organization (two of the largest biomedical research institutions in the world) have stopped using shelter animals in their own in-house research several years ago because shelter animals were deemed unsuitable research subjects-too little being know about their origins, health conditions, or age. Further, it was also much more expensive to buy, treat and maintain animals obtained from shelters as opposed to purpose-bred animals.  European researchers stopped using pound animals decades ago.


FACT:  Several prominent medical journals, including the British Medical Journal and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, have said that anecdotal evidence or unsupported claims are used as justification for pound seizure but there is no real evidence to support this view.


FACT:  The success rate for animal studies, generally, is less than 5% according to The Scientist  and former FDA commissioner Lester Crawford.  The success rate is even more unreliable for animals taken from pounds and shelters because of the lack of controls.  This kind of medical research has actually been viewed as endangering human health according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


FACT:  Charles Mayo, the founder of the Mayo Clinic, has stated that he knows of no achievement or scientific discovery obtained that could not have been obtained without such “barbarism and cruelty.  The whole thing is evil.”

FICTION:  The commissioners say that cancer survivors have expressed support to them for continued pound seizure.

FACT:  Prominent cancer researchers, including Irwin D.J. Bross, Ph.D., director of the Rosswell Park Memorial Institute, and Dr. Marvin Pollard, former American Cancer Society President, have blamed animal studies for the lack of better progress in finding treatments and cures for cancer.

FICTION:  The commissioners claim that county residents have approached them in church supporting the R&R contract.

FACT:  Despite multiple public records requests, no evidence has yet been provided of any letters, e-mails or other public support of the R&R contract or continuing pound seizure in Montcalm County


FACT:  Just a cursory look at the local media blogs shows the overwhelming majority strongly and passionately favor rejection/non-renewal of the R&R contract


FACT:  An American Medical Association (AMA) study shows that while almost 75% of the public accepts the use of animals in research for certain purposes and within certain parameters, only 25% condone using animals from pounds and shelters.

FICTION:  Commissioners have made unsupported general statements regarding benefits to the community.

FACT:  Studies undertaken by several municipalities in Canada (and note these are municipalities and not animal welfare organizations) show the measurable objective benefits to the community of discontinuing pound seizure.

FICTION:  Commissioners have used "duty" as justification for continuing the contract with R&R.  ie, A responsible politician’s first duty is to the voters who elected him or her.  Incumbents are held accountable for listening to the voices of their constituents.  This is the ultimate fiction in Montcalm County.

FACT:  Despite an overwhelming vocal majority supporting the rejection of the R&R contract, the Commissioners extended the contract and appear to be favoring the private for profit interests of R&R over the interests of the public.  This is the ultimate fact in Montcalm County.








St. Francis of Assisi: "If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.



April 2009

In a 6-3 vote on Monday, April 27th, Montcalm County commissioners voted to end the contract with R&R Research!!  We had over 80 people at our rally and well over 150 at the commissioners meeting!  Because of all of you, our pets will no longer be sold by a Class B Dealer to be used for research!!

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© 2009