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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dodgy Allerca and Dishonest CBS Join Forces to Market an Allergy-Free Cat Named Joshua to a Gullible Public

Man's willingness to exploit the animals for both profit and power knows no limits and this fact was amply demonstrated for all to see when San Diego-based biotech company Allerca presented an hypoallergenic cat that it had produced to the audience of CBS-TV's The Early Show on September 14th. (See "Cat Who's Nothing to Sneeze At.")

Eighteen-month-old Joshua (See photo above) has medium to long, low-maintenance fur that does not shed too much. He and his younger cousins (See photo below) are said to be friendly, affectionate, and playful.

According to Allerca, these cats were produced through selective breeding as opposed to genetic manipulation. In order to accomplish this, the company isolated the gene that produces a protein called glycoprotein Fel d1. It is precisely this protein, which is found in the fur, saliva, serum, urine, mucus, salivary glands, and hair roots, that triggers runny noses, watery eyes, and itchy throats in an estimated one-third of humanity.

It was later determined that this protein is lacking in one out of approximately every fifty-thousand cats and this discovery opened the door for Allerca's selective breeding program. It is curious, however, that the company used American and English Shorthairs as opposed to Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Maine Coons, and Siberians, all of which are reputed to be almost totally allergy-free.

Orders for the cats are being taken on the company's website even though delivery could take up to two years. Nonetheless, the company hopes to be able to breed four-hundred to five-hundred of them by next year and a whopping five-thousand of them in 2008.

The felines do not come cheap, however. Each kitten will cost $4,000 plus another $1,000 for shipping. Moreover, they are not for everyone. Recognizing that some individuals are too allergic even for these cats, Allerca tests not only all prospective buyers but also their residences before a sale is approved. Allergens can be removed from the environment but not from individuals who suffer above normal allergic reactions to cats.

The cats are also sterilized before they leave Allerca's laboratories in order to prevent purchasers from going into business for themselves at the company's expense.

Like cloned cats and hybrids, allergy-free cats are another bad idea from the money-mad, power-hungry scientific community. (See Cat Defender post of July 10, 2006 entitled "More Devilry from Scientific Community as California Company Creates World's First Hypoallergenic Cat.") Already exploited by vivisectors, dissectors, fur producers, ailurophobes, et alius, cats are now being treated in much the same way as meat-producing animals on factory farms.

If only one out of every fifty-thousand cats comes from nature allergy-free, obviously Allerca has to round up and test millions of cats in order for its heinous experiments to bear fruit. Where do the scientists, such as UCLA's Sheldon Spector, get this large number of cats and what happens to those who are not allergy-free? Allerca is silent on these vitally important points and the stooges at CBS and elsewhere in the capitalist media are not about to force the company to come clean.

An inquiry should also be made into the conditions under which these cats are kept. For instance, how long are they confined to cages and what tests and medical procedures are repeatedly performed on them?

Allerca's Megan Young told Los Angeles Times' columnist Meghan Daum on October 7th that its breeding facilities are "barrier free and staffed by experienced animal husbandry experts as well as professional animal socializers who play with the cats and get them accustomed to children as well as other pets." (See "$4K Cat Is Nothing to Sneeze At.") This response skirts the issue however and cannot be taken at face value.

Like their buddies in the media, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) does not have much interest in the welfare of Allerca's cats either. For instance, when the organization's Stephanie Shain was contacted by the Los Angeles Times she confessed to almost total ignorance of Allerca's activities.

She nonetheless pledged, for whatever it is worth, to keep an eye on Allerca. "Anytime we hear about someone tinkering with animals in a laboratory setting, we think we should know more about it. Our immediate concern is how are they creating these animals and what are the conditions the cats are kept in," she added.

Sadly, Shain is as full of it as is Young. Since Allerca announced its intention to breed hypoallergenic cats way back in 2004, HSUS has had plenty of time to investigate the company if it had any interest in doing so. God only knows how many defenseless cats these moneygrubbing monsters have tortured and killed while HSUS has been twiddling its thumbs pretending to protect the rights of cats.

If HSUS and other animal rights groups are either too lazy or too corrupt to investigate Allerca's crimes against cats, the California State Attorney General's Office should at least look into some of its shady business dealings and the secretive manner in which it operates. (See San Diego Union-Tribune, June 8, 2006, "Allerca Promises Sneeze-Free Cats.")

Better still, if Allerca is operating aboveboard it should be willing to open its laboratory to inspections by bona fide animal rights groups.

Also disturbing is Shain's admission that HSUS does not have a policy on breeding in general. With several million cats being exterminated at shelters across the United States each year and countless more being forcibly sterilized, any halfway intelligent person would be forced to conclude that any animal rights organization worth its salt would have at least a passing interest in breeding. Why should certain unscrupulous groups be allowed to breed cats for laboratories, circuses, pet shops, et cetera while other equally morally bankrupt groups are busy exterminating millions of cats that already exist?

Genetic defects caused by selective breeding are another concern. Although Allerca insists that its cats are completely normal, health problems have been known to occur later on in the lives of clones and hybrids and this could also happen to hypoallergenic cats.

The type of research carried on by Allerca and its partners at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla is not only cruel and inhumane but unnecessary as well. In addition to allergy-free breeds, simple and effective measures can be taken to reduce the presence of feline allergens in the home. For instance, regularly bathing cats, ventilating houses and apartments, and removing smoke, dust, mold, candles, chemicals, and pollen from the environment can greatly reduce allergic reactions to cats. Household items which tend to collect allergens, such as heavy drapes and carpeting, can be inexpensively replaced.

It is far easier and more humane to live in harmony with nature than to attempt to manipulate it for profit and convenience. Besides, an allergy-free Siberian kitten can be had for as little as $700 as opposed to shelling out $5,000 for one of Allerca's cats.

Defending the cats' exorbitant cost, company spokeswoman Dr. Bernadine Cruz told CBS-TV in the article cited supra, "If you are allergic to cats and have always wanted one, then you can't put a price on it."

She is dead wrong, of course. Everything in this world comes at a cost and the suffering and deaths of thousands of cats in Allerca's laboratories must be added to the already hefty price tag that it puts on its cats.

It is not only heartbreaking but infuriating to see cats treated in such a cavalier and demeaning manner. Like all animals, they are entitled to respect and to be left alone. Moreover, consumers who purchase these cats are just as guilty of animal cruelty as Allerca.

This is a no-brainer for any conscientious individual who wants a pet but is allergic to cats: either buy a Siberian or get a dog. Plus, by adopting a dog from a shelter a life is saved.

Photos: CBS-TV (Joshua) and Allerca (kittens).