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Dr. Gil Veith remembered fondly by colleagues

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Some don capes and use their super powers to save the world. Others, like Dr. Gil Veith of Two Harbors, don t-shirts and jeans and save the world through their compassion and ingenuity. The founder of the Duluth-based International Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship Foundation (IQF), world-renowned scientist, and "regular North Shore guy," Dr. Veith devoted much of his career to developing alternatives to animal tests that improve chemical testing, safeguard human health, and save the lives of millions of animals. This week the world lost a true hero when Dr. Veith passed away.

Dr. Veith shattered boundaries and made his vision of a more technically advanced and compassionate science a reality. With PETA support and funding, he was instrumental in developing a collection of computer models and databases that can be used to estimate the toxicity of a wide range of chemicals without the use of animals. Called the "OECD QSAR Toolbox," more than 30 countries now use this method to avoid animal testing when complying with chemical regulations. In 2011, PETA provided a grant to IQF to develop computer models to test the cancer-causing potential of chemicals and drugs and put on workshops to review cancer-screening methods that are more accurate than current techniques and greatly reduce the numbers of animals used. Other projects taken on by Dr. Veith and funded in part by PETA, included the development of non-animal models to test for allergic reactions and hormonal effects.

Those of us who were fortunate to know him personally will remember his warmth, wit and passion for saving animals and advancing the field of science. We at PETA are extremely saddened by his passing and will work hard to ensure that his legacy lives on.