Saturday, July 9, 2011

PHARMA FRIGHT: Health Board member behind feral cat tests/vaccines on vet med giant's payroll

Did veterinarian's employment with drug giant that supplies feline tests, vaccines influence new law?

COLUMBIA, 7/9/11  (Beat Byte) -- One of the chief architects of a controversial new Columbia ordinance that mandates yearly testing and vaccinations for stray cats is employed by a pharmaceutical giant that makes and sells the newly-required vaccines and tests, the Columbia Heart Beat has learned. 

Columbia-Boone County Board of Health member Nathan Voris, D.V.M., M.B.A. has been employed by Pfizer Animal Health since July, 2010.   

Dr. Voris was also the Pfizer Animal Health student representative in veterinary school.   He chaired the Board of Health until earlier this year.  

"I had no idea that Nathan Voris was an employee of Pfizer, and I am outraged to learn that he may have a financial conflict of interest in the contentious debate over including these tests and vaccinations in the ordinance," said Christina McCullen, a board member of local pet care assistance group Spay, Neuter, and Protect (SNAP), which opposed the new law.  "If he has a financial interest in selling these tests, Dr. Voris should have recused himself."   

Pfizer fix?  

Approved by a 4-2 vote of the Columbia City Council Tuesday night, the Health Board ordinance mandates that private citizens annually test feral and stray cats in their care for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency, and vaccinate the animals for rabies.   

Voris' employer is a leading maker of at least six feline leukemia tests, including one for "difficult-to-sample cats" called ASSURE FeLV;  four feline immunodeficiency tests;  and rabies tests and vaccines under the Pfizer and Synbiotics brand names.  

"If Dr. Voris and Pfizer are in a position to sell key ingredients for the feral cat program, then the appearance of a conflict of interest is of such magnitude that they should do all they can to negate that appearance," said veterinary cardiologist Paul Pion, D.V.M., who has spoken out on conflicts of interest in veterinary medicine and co-authored the book Cats for Dummies 

Million dollar kitty 

Estimates peg Columbia's stray cat population at 33,000, so annual testing revenues could be significant for
suppliers of test kits and rabies vaccines.  At the March 2011 Board of Health meeting, Board member Michael Szewczyk, M.D. said he discovered that fees for testing range from $18 to $30 annually.  

If every stray cat were tested for leukemia and immunodeficiency virus, testing revenues from Boone County alone could range from $1.2 to $2 million per year

As a potential precedent-setter for other communities, Columbia's new feral cat ordinance could prove an even bigger cat-testing boon. 

The new law's focus on yearly tests -- rather than one-time vaccinations -- surprised McCullen.  "I am curious about why city attorney [Fred Boeckmann] removed the requirement for vaccinations against feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus, but kept the provisions for testing for these diseases," she explained.  "Wide-spread testing is much more expensive.  Vaccinations would be less costly and more effective." 

Draconian doctoring

Voris not only designed much of the new ordinance, but he became a leading advocate for some of its more Draconian provisions, McCullen told the Heart Beat.  "His position on the feral cat ordinance was so extreme that other Board of Health members were commenting about it and attempting to be more moderate," she explained.  

Minutes from the March 2011 Board of Health meeting  -- which Voris did not attend -- partly bear out that claim.   

Board member Lynelle Phillips "pointed out that requiring the testing seems cost prohibitive."  

Board member Jean Sax "stated that vaccination and testing are not currently required by law."  Sally Beth Lyon, Ph.D. noted that "more communities are moving away from more regulations and being more supportive."

Ultimately, "the consensus was to take out the feline leukemia testing and vaccination requirements."  But those requirements appear in the final ordinance, at least partly on the advice of Health department director Stephanie Browning, after she investigated the issue further with veterinary consultants who are not identified in Board minutes. 

SNAP, meanwhile, wants City Council members to revisit the ordinance, with advice from veterinarians and feral cat experts who have no potential biases or financial conflicts.  "One of the leading national groups, Alley Cat Allies, has offered to have their animal experts and veterinarian connections add their voice to the conversation, and they should be given the opportunity to do so," McCullen explained. 

(Voris has not responded to questions and repeated requests for comment, but any information he provides will be included in a future issue). 

The Heart Beat will explore conflicting views on how the feral cat ordinance was designed in the next issue. 


  1. "The Heart Beat will explore conflicting views on how the feral cat ordinance was designed in the next issue." ... PLEASE MAKE SURE PART OF YOUR RESEARCH INCLUDES... "WHY"... the feral cat ordinance was designed as it was, THE INTENT BEHIND IT, and the OBVIOUS REPERCUSSIONS IT WILL CAUSE FOR ALL THE CARETAKERS TRYING DESPERATELY TO HELP THESE CATS. THANK YOU, CAROL WALKER CENTRAL FLORIDA, SPAY-N-SAVE,inc.

  2. It doesn't matter what they did or even didn't do. Because trapping and/or sterilizing and testing as a solution is a failed concept from Day-One.

    There are now about 150M feral-cats just in the USA, and 86M pet-cats (60M of which are still allowed to kill all wildlife), this means the population is already oversaturated for a long time. Nobody wants more than 86M cats for pets. There's only 311M people in the USA. 2 cats exist for every 3 people, from infant to senior. Thanks to those who outlawed destroying them in a more efficient, often more-humane, and more cost-effective manner by shooting them. While they also promoted their slow, random-chance, inefficient, and failed trapping programs. TNR people claim trap and kill is also a failure, and they'd be right. The problem has always been the trapping, slowing things down far below cats' breeding-rates.

    Keep in mind their exponential growth-rate. An average litter of 5 cats every 5-6 months (some say 3X's a year), breeding as early as 6-months of age. 2 can become 42 (up to 252) cats in only 1 year. No amount of trapping them (if you could even get them all to enter traps), nor valuable resources (transport and vet costs, etc.), man-hours, nor money will ever catch-up to their growth rate. You have an ecological, human-health, animal-welfare, and financial disaster on your hands, ALL thanks to cat-lovers and TNR-advocates. The faster that cats are destroyed the better. Even using guns and having all stray and feral cats shot-on-sight we might not be able to catch-up to their exponential growth. Not even until every last land animal (including humans) is gone from this earth, due to cats destroying the whole food-chain, with nothing but cannibalistic cats left walking the land. No exaggeration. Do the math. Ask any TNR group how many cats they've trapped. They haven't begun to scratch the surface of the problem THEY CAUSED and are only exacerbating with lies. Using the birth-rate, guess how many feral-cats alone will be born just this year? Even when underestimating by 1/2 to be safe -- 1 BILLION 575 MILLION CATS. Got enough traps? Got enough centuries to trap them all while they're still breeding at exponential rates and decimating all wildlife? Trap-advocates cost you to lose the feral-cat-explosion race long ago.

    I alone was able to completely rid my land of all these INVASIVE-SPECIES feral-cats by shooting. Cats had completely decimated the native food-chain for ALL native wildlife, destroying not only all the prey that their cats disemboweled for play-toys, but all the predators that depended on that prey, starving all native predators to death as well. (Now there's REAL animal cruelty for you, caused by cat-lovers. They should all be in prisons for life.) Shooting cats is perfectly legal where I live, and is even a more humane method when done right than terrorizing trapping and animal-shelter methods. One moment they are happily stalking helpless animals to cruelly torture again, the next they are dead and don't even know what happened. Making your land 100% cat-free is something that cat advocates haven't been able to solve nation-wide for 30-40 years. On my land only 1 person in only 2 seasons was able to accomplish what they couldn't in decades. Why is that? It's time for you all to grow a spine and get enough strength-of-heart to do what needs to be done. If it's not legal where you live then use the "SSS Cat Management Program", for Shoot, Shovel, and Shut-Up. That's legal everywhere in the world. It may be the only thing that saves us from this ecological disaster caused by spineless and ignorant lawmakers, as well as all the heartless and disrespectful cat-advocates that they defend. Don't waste your time arguing with ignorant cat-lovers, as I stupidly tried to do for 15 years. Just do what needs to be done FIRST. Only later, after you've made your land 100% cat-free should you take your time to try to educate the ineducable, as I am attempting to do now.

  3. Info from Craig Street Cats site:

    "FIV and FeLV
    I quite often get asked whether Craig Street Cats tests for FIV and FeLV. The answer is no, we don’t usually test healthy adult cats, and there are a good many reasons why..." see

  4. "Feral Cats Benefit Community"
    "Cat Management in Communities
    Welcome to the world's only webpage committed to Community Cat Management! or Management of Community Cats! ~ since 2004"

  5. Since when does an INVASIVE SPECIES qualify to be a "community" anything? What's next? Community Emerald Ash-Borers? Or perhaps Community-Asian-Carp? How about Community-Pet-Piranha? Should everyone who raise piranha for pets be allowed to throw them in all your streams and lakes and backyard-pools then DEMAND that you protect and care for them?

    You need psychological HELP.

    You psychotic fu**s will try anything to pull the wool over your OWN eyes, won't you. Sorry, the rest of the world is not falling for your bullcrap.

  6. To dispel some other lies of cat-advocates ... cats are NOT good rodent control. Due to cats spreading their Toxoplasma gondii parasites to rodents, any rodents infected with T. gondii are actually ATTRACTED to cat-urine. CATS ATTRACT RODENTS. If you want to attract rodents to your home, keep cats.

    The more you research, the more you find out how much of what cat-advocates spew is just easily revealed lies.

    If there's one thing I learned in all of this, if a cat-lover is talking then they are lying.

    T. gondii also changes human behavior. It resides as permanent cysts in human minds where it is not only changing how humans behave and think during their whole lives but can even kill you at ANY TIME during your life if your immune-system becomes compromised. It can even lead to schizophrenia, and is now being linked to many forms of brain-cancers in humans.

    Their cats are now even spreading the plague:

    So even their oft-spewed nonsense that cats could have prevented the plague in Europe is a lie. Cats would have actually made it WORSE.

    Educate yourself and you'll quickly find that cat-lovers are just manipulative lies on top of deceptive lies on even more deceitful misinformation lies.