About 50 guests gathered in the Amagansett home of litigator John Bradham for a cocktail party Saturday night to support the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Inc.
The informal guest of honor was Bradham’s dog, a Maltese named Baci.
“It’s her house. She lets me live here,” said Bradham, a partner at the New York-based firm Mazzeo Song & Bradham LLP.
Asked why he supports the committee, which advocates for animal-free medical research and a plant-based diet, Bradham said he was raised to respect animals’ rights.
“My mom has her own private animal shelter, and animals have always come first, second and third. I’m not sure where I fit in.”
It was a dog lab in medical school that sparked committee founder Neal Barnard’s interest in animal-free research.
“You put the dog on the table and inject him with various drugs and see the reactions,” Barnard said. “You speed the heart up, you slow it down. That kills him and you bag the dog up.”
The idea of it seemed cruel and unnecessary to his education. “I didn’t have to see that to understand the effects of the drugs,” Barnard said. “I went to my professor and I said, ’I’m not going to do that,’ and then another student agreed with me.”
These days he is conducting pilot programs in workplaces to improve employees’ diet and exercise. Keeping people healthy means reducing the need for drugs and therefore, animal research to test drugs.
“Diet can affect rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, Alzheimer’s,” Barnard said. “We should focus on diet, not drugs.”
Barnard admired the marshlands in Bradham’s backyard with Elizabeth Kucinich, the committee’s director of government affairs, who was with her husband, Representative Dennis Kucinich, the Ohio Democrat. The two married in 2005, in between his bids for the presidential nomination.
Elizabeth Kucinich has been lobbying for the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, which seeks to phase out the use of chimpanzees in invasive research.
She also urges members of Congress and their constituents to adapt a plant-based diet.
“Diet is essential to emotional and physical strength,” she said.
Just in time for the start of the Democratic National Convention, on Sept. 3 the committee begins its next 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program, offering daily e-mail messages and menu plans.
“You have to take it one day at a time, just like alcoholics in AA,” said Victoria Moran, author of “Main Street Vegan” and other books.
And with that she tried a tart of thinly sliced cucumbers.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure dection of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon at email@example.com or on Twitter @amandagordon.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.