Ellen DeGeneres has long been renowned for her compassion towards animals. She is a proud supporter of the Gentle Barn animal sanctuary in California, and encourages fans to go vegan through her “Healthy Living” website. During her recent stint as the host of the Academy Awards ceremony, she helped ensure that over 200,000 shelter animals would receive a decent meal, through her pet food company Halo Pets. And her famous Oscar selfie, featuring a whole host of Hollywood stars, even managed to score a $1.5 million donation to HSUS!

Ellen has now taken her activism one step further by calling on the government of Taiwan not to use live animals in a rabies experimentation program. Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture plans to test the infectivity of a recently discovered strain of the rabies virus by injecting it into 210 mice, 36 ferret-badgers, and 14 beagle puppies. They are hoping to roll out this new scheme in spite of ample evidence that all strains of rabies can infect warm-blooded animals. In a press release, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) said: “These tests are completely unnecessary and will produce no benefit for human health.”

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Ellen has joined in the campaign by writing an open letter to the Taiwanese government, in which she said: “As a long-time advocate for the welfare of animals, I would like to join the many physicians, scientists and veterinarians who have encouraged the Taiwanese government to avoid experimenting on live animals in its efforts to combat the rabies virus in Taiwan.”

It is believed that Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture are rolling out this new scheme in response to a sudden rabies outbreak last summer – the first that the country had experienced in fifty years.

However, as DeGeneres pointed out in her letter, “I understand that the proposed experiments, which would involve infecting beagles, mice and ferret-badgers with the deadly rabies virus, are neither humane nor scientifically necessary. No one would want to think of forcing live animals to go through experiments in which they develop rabies and ultimately die from it. Experts from the international scientific and veterinary communities agree that the infectivity of rabies viruses and the resulting course of infection in animals is well established.”

You can add your voice to the campaign by signing and sharing PCRM’s petition here. Let’s speak out on behalf of the animals today!

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Image source: Phil Darnell/Flickr