Taking a stand: Pamela Anderson. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
In a world of fast fads, hollow endorsements and mindless retweets, rare is the celebrity who can resist jumping aboard a trend. But actress Pamela Anderson can see through the clutter and is taking a stand – against charity.
The former Baywatch star has refused to participate in the viral Ice Bucket Challenge, in which people dare one another to dump a bucket of iced water over their heads to raise awareness for Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS. Her stance was congratulated by Humane Research Australia.
The ALS Association has had astounding success with the campaign, attracting 750,000 new donors and raising $US42 million in less than a month. Its popularity has boomed with the support of big names including Bill Gates, Jimmy Fallon and Lady Gaga.
“Stop animal testing”: actress Pamela Anderson declines to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge.Photo: Facebook
But Anderson, who is a long-standing animal rights activist, says the ALS Association has funded “cruel” and “outdated” animal testing and has refused to participate in the challenge.
“Mice had holes drilled into their skulls, were inflicted with crippling illnesses, and were forced to run on an inclined treadmill until they collapsed from exhaustion,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
“Monkeys had chemicals injected into their brains and backs and were later killed and dissected.”
Anderson also claims animal testing is ineffective, with only a small number of ALS experiments on animals moving on to human trials.
“Even though animals feel pain and suffer like we do, their bodies often react completely differently to drugs and diseases,” she wrote.
The 47-year-old’s Facebook post has proved popular, garnering more than 43,000 “likes” and almost 15,000 shares. Her stance was endorsed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, for which Anderson is an ambassador.
She issued her own challenge to medical researchers and charities: switch to what she called “sophisticated” non-animal testing methods, such as computer modelling and using “human volunteers”.
“Trying to cure human diseases by relying on outdated and ineffective animal experiments isn’t only cruel – it’s a grave disservice to people who desperately need cures,” she wrote.
Helen Marston, chief executive of Humane Research Australia, congratulated Anderson on her stand and backed her call for people to donate to charities that don’t fund animal research.
“People mean well when they donate to health charities, but many are unaware that they may inadvertently be supporting cruel and unnecessary animal experiments,” Ms Marston said.
“With growing awareness of the dangers of reliance on data from animal tests, the public should be able to make an informed choice as to how their generous donations are really being spent.”
The ALS Association has been approached for a comment.
Retired motocross star Carey Hart also caused a stir by appearing to rant against the Ice Bucket Challenge as a vanity project. He later relented and made a donation, adding: “I think it is a great and creative way to raise money but unfortunately, from what I have seen it has evolved into a pass-along joke to some.”
It’s extremely creepy and annoying how obsessed people are w/ this ice bucket challenge. The purposes is 2 raise money for an awful disease. — Carey Hart (@hartluck) August 21, 2014
If you are that into seeing people dump buckets of ice water over their heads, go find a wet t shirt contest. Time to find a hobby, people. — Carey Hart (@hartluck) August 21, 2014