Remember Dario Ringach?

He’s the scientist who has endured a prolonged campaign of harassment because of his animal research. I first heard of him in 2006, when, after a campaign of threatening phone calls, people frightening his children, and demonstrations in front of his home, gave up doing primate research. Terrorism and intimidation worked, but who could blame Dr. Ringach? He was afraid for his family. That’s because it was more than just threatening e-mails and phone calls, but rather the campaign of intimidation included masked thugs banging on the windows of his house at night, frightening his children, as they have done more recently at UC Santa Cruz. The last straw was when a group of truly idiotic animal rights terrorists tried to attack a colleague of Ringach’s by leaving a Molotov cocktail on her doorstep; only the incompetents got the house wrong and left their firebomb on the doorstep of an elderly neighbor. This was one of the rare cases where extreme incompetence was a good thing, because the firebomb didn’t detonate, and no one was hurt. But the message had been sent. A year and a half later, in 2008, Ringach’s case and other attacks and threats directed against UCLA researchers, such as when animal rights terrorists flooded the home of another researcher named Edythe London, led UCLA to fight back by suing extremists to stop their campaign of terrorism against researchers.

Last week, fellow ScienceBlogger and ethicist Janet Stemwedel of Adventures in Ethics and Science helped to arrange a dialogue between more moderate animal rights activists and scientists (video here). I must admit that I was very skeptical of what value this might have when I heard of it. Indeed, I had planned on a more direct discussion, although my post about debating denialists was indirectly about this conference. Even though Janet saw her conference as “dialogue, not debate,” clearly that wasn’t how a lot of the animal rights cranks saw it. They saw it as a debate. Those issues aside, Janet’s reward for reaching out was that the looniest of the loony posted her picture, phone number, office number, and e-mail address, along with a rant against Dario Ringach:

The other PRO vivisection MONSTER on the panel is Dario Ringach. His claim to fame was putting primates in restrain devices and then gluing metal coils on to the eye balls in order to study their visual cortex and then killing them (he may STILL be doing these types of experiments and YOU, as a member of the public and one who pays taxes that go to directly to UCLA, have the right to ASK HIM that question at the forum!) Ringach has teamed up with the group ‘PRO-TEST’ in order to go around spreading his message of evil, torture and murder of primates to whoever will listen.

ALLCAPS. It’s always ALLCAPS with these people.

As I said, I had actually planned on blogging my concerns, but other things intruded, namely the whole Andrew Wakefield saga. In any case, I had to give Ringach props for daring to appear in such a forum, given the spittle-flecked level of vitriol animal rights continued to direct his way even after he had given up primate research. Props to Janet, too, for at least trying. Ringach presented a strong defense of the humane use of animals in biomedical research, too. And what was his reward for this?

The crazies have targeted his children again. In a post entitled UCLA February 2010 Wrap-Up: Demos Against Primate Abusers, an animal rights thug wrote:

As you can see from the pictures, Dario has a “rent-a-cop” in front of his home twenty-four seven! This must make his family feel like Dario is a mobster for some drug cartel, (although mobsters don’t commit nearly the gruesome, hideous things to innocent beings as Dario does to primates on a regular basis.) But Ringach is definitely a criminal who perpetrates horrific atrocities on primates, so we assume that his family must be getting used to living with a “rent a cop” outside.

More ominously, the thug continues:

As the pictures indicate, neighbors came out from many of the near-by houses, took leaflets and talked to activists about how much they hate their neighbor Dario for doing “hellish primate experimentation.” One, in fact, gave an activist the name of the school one of his offspring attends! Activists plan on legally leafleting the school in order to educate fellow students what their classmate’s father does for a living.

The pictures to which the anonymous “activist” refers can be found here.

If you want any doubt that these extremists are not about rational debate or changing minds. They are about power, intimidation, and bullying. In fact, more than anything else, they remind me of radical anti-abortion protesters, who also target the children of doctors, showing up at their schools to “yell to all the students that John’s daddy is a baby killer or a child killer.” What these animal rights extremists are doing is no different. It’s bullying and thuggery, plain and simple, followed by a disingenuous disclaimer. Much as quacks think that the Quack Miranda warning will shield them from legal consquences, those responsible for this extremist website conclude several of its post with:

The reposting above is not intended to encourage the violation of any laws. Specifically, it is not “intended to cause another person to imminently use the information to commit a crime involving violence or a threat of violence against the academic researcher or his or her immediate family member .” The above is simply a post forwarded to Negotiation is Over.

Yeah. Yeah, that’s the ticket. We aren’t threatening anything…you know…illegal (although we wouldn’t be in the least bit disappointed if something bad happened to Dr. Ringach). No, no, not at all. And even if the post were threatening anything illegal, it wasn’t us who posted it anyway. Yeah, that’s the ticket. It was a post “forwarded” to us, yeah. Pay no attention to our saying about another researcher David Jentsch, that “what goes around comes around and we’re hopeful that in time his hideous ‘Karma’ will catch up to him and he’ll be forced to receive the final payment he deserves.” Perish the thought that we’re encouraging anyone to do anything bad (although we’d very much like to see Ringach or Jenstsch dead or at least make his life miserable). We’re just telling people where someone we hate lives, where he works, and where his children go to school, all the while telling people what an evil, evil man we think he is and how he deserves horrible things to happen to him. It’d be a real shame if Ringach were to slip and fall and break his skull, wouldn’t it? Or if a “mechanical fault” caused his car to blow up with him in it. (Oh wait. That’d be Dr. Jentsch.) At the very least we want to scare the crap out of Ringach’s wife and children and make Ringach fear for their safety, just as some anti-vaccine activists have targeted Paul Offit in similar ways.

That reminds me: Where were these animal rights “activists” when Andrew Wakefield was torturing baby Macacque monkeys in the name of horrendously bad science designed to be used as a “made for court” study against vaccine manufacturers?

But I digress.

The animal rights activists making the threats may make fun of the “rent-a-cop” guarding Ringach’s house, but if I were Ringach, I’d want a 24 hour armed guard at my house, too. These people are scary and unbalanced. In fact, if I were Ringach, I’d also seriously consider buying a couple of handguns and learning how to use them. I’ve never owned a gun in my life, but if I were in the sites of these thugs, I’d seriously consider changing that situation. They think nothing of invading property and intentionally intimidating people. Some of them have tried to firebomb researchers houses and cars. You have to take that sort of threat seriously.

None of my rant is to be interpreted as meaning that I do not support the humane treatment of animals and oppose inhumanity and cruelty. I do. Very strongly. However, as I’ve discussed before, animal rights activists are not about promoting the humane treatment of animals as much as they are about an ideology that proclaims animal rights to be the equal of human rights. (Which, come to think of it, makes the images of animal rights extremists marching past Ringach’s house with pet dogs on leashes seem rather incongruous–isn’t keeping pets slavery in the view of animal rights activists?)

Animal rights extremists confuse animal welfare, which encompasses the humane use of animals designed to minimize suffering and enhance quality of life, with animal rights, an ideology that states that animals have an intrinsic right not to be controlled by humans. That means no killing, ever, no zoos, no cages, no eating them, no using them in research, no riding–not even keeping them as pets or putting them on leashes, which is why I found the pictures of these animal rights extremists walking dogs on leashes by Ringach’s house so startling. (It didn’t help that the dog reminded me of my poor, late, lamented Echo.) A consequence of this belief is that doing experiments on animals is viewed as no different from a moral perspective from doing experiments on humans, and to them all animal experimentation is “vivisection.” From this flow the allusions to Nazis and the Holocaust and considering their opponents to be murderers and torturers, as they state so baldly in this post about Ringach:

At least intellectually, I think I understand how you are able to commit such despicable atrocities. Like all torture-murderers, you devalue and objectify the victim in order to enjoy the fetishized obscenity. I think the closest comparison I can draw is to David Parker Ray. He imprisoned, restrained, terrorized, and, with masterful precision, sadistically tortured and mutilated his victims — exactly like you. Ray referred to his victims as “packages.” You refer to your victims as “research.” The two of you may have been twins separated at birth. But Ray is dead.

See what I mean? In the twisted world of animal rights extremists, any scientist who does animal research must be a cackling sadist getting his rocks off on the suffering and killing of animals. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, most of us don’t even like doing animal research that much; we do it because it is the best or only way to obtain the scientific answers we seek. We do it because it leads to treatments that save lives. Moreover, few are the animal researchers who don’t realize that there are difficult ethical issues involved in the use of animals in research, particularly non-human primates. We acknowledge it. Although few people have much trouble with using mice or rats for research, when it comes to dogs, cats, or primates, the ethical issues get thornier. To animal rights extremists, though, it’s all black and white, whether a researcher is using a mouse or a monkey. Moreover, a huge effort has gone into tighter regulation of animal facilities and efforts to minimize the use of animals, particularly primates, in research. Indeed, any time I write an NIH grant, I have to spend several pages justifying the proposed use of animals, detailing how they will be used, justifying statistically the numbers, species, and ages proposed, and explaining how we will minimize pain and suffering. And I only work with mice. The requirements are much

The dehumanization of researchers as sadistic mini-Mengeles, however, is why the animal rights extremists in question consider themselves morally superior to–well, pretty much everyone else–and free to harass and attack Ringach and his family. It’s why idiots like disgraced surgeon Jerry Vlasak, of whom NIO appears to be a big fan, defending him because he is a surgeon even though Vlasak doesn’t appear to have practiced trauma surgery in quite a while, thinks it’s hunky-dory to assassinate researchers to save animals–although, one notes, he apparently doesn’t have the courage of his convictions to do it himself. Instead, he tries to “inspire” young, idealistic, and gullible “activists” to do the dirty work of intimidation and threats. Of course, animal rights extremists often intentionally blur the distinction between animal welfare and their true believes, because most people would consider animal welfare to be a respectable goal. In fact, the NIO website has an article on this very issue, and it is rather amusing how confused its view on animal rights versus animal welfare is:

In direct response to the wretched reformism and opportunism of bureaucratic “welfarism,” a new movement emerged to reconstruct nonhuman animal advocacy unequivocally as a struggle for animal rights, not “welfare”; for the total abolition of nonhuman animal slavery rather than its regulation; and for veganism, not “humane” animal-derived products of any kind. To a significant degree, the new vegan abolitionist movement has been shaped and defined by the work of Gary Francione, professor of law at Rutgers University. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Francione exposed the duplicity of “new welfarists” who use the term “animal rights” but pursue “welfarist” policies. These policies, Francione argues, are incoherent and dilute the meaning of rights; “welfarism” in any form, he insists, works to the benefit of industries and thus increases, rather than decreases, the demand for animal-derived products; it only aggravates, rather than alleviates, speciesism and the plight of nonhuman animals in horrific systems of exploitation.

The animal rights loons who run the NIO website don’t like Francione, actually, but they basically agree with his premise that animals should never be used by human beings. They want to tie animal liberation to a potpourri of radical political causes that sounds as though it is the sort of thing that Monty Python so aptly skewered in The Life of Brian, linking animal rights to removing the “crushing loadstones of anthropocentrism, speciesism, patriarchy, racism, classism, statism, heterosexism, ableism, and every other pernicious form of hierarchical domination.” Help, help, I’m being repressed! Oh, wait. I’m mixing movies. Still, it seems appropriate, given the word salad of “isms” against which our intrepid NIOmeisters rail.

I suppose it’s some consolation that the moderate animal rights advocates who don’t espouse intimidation and violence and agreed to participate in the UCLA panel discussion are apparently catching quite a bit of flak for their decision. For example, Dr. Ray Greek (whose truly awful arguments against animal research I have discussed before) wrote a lengthy defense of his decision to participate in the discussion. Here’s a key quote:

If activists wish to engage in direct action, promote direct action, condone violence in the pursuit of certain outcomes and so forth, so be it. (Now is not the time and this is not the forum for a debate about the ethics of such actions and positions.) But it is disingenuous to simultaneously act in the ways described above and then feign surprise and offense when society does not take seriously their request to participate in an event that functions in the confines of the norms of society. You cannot have it both ways.

I may have trashed Dr. Greek before, but he’s spot on in his assessment above. Animal rights extremists do want it both ways. In any case, their attacks on Dr. Greek for agreeing to dialogue instead of “direct action” support Janet’s assertion that the extremists like those at NIO endanger civil society. They can’t tolerate even squishy moderation. You’re either with them completely, or you’re a heinous, evil beast worthy of whatever they deem you to deserve. Even so, one notes that NIO and the Animal Liberation Front use just words to criticize Greek for not sticking to the party orthodoxy with respect to their demands for “total animal liberation.” Greek doesn’t have to worry about masked thugs coming to his house in the middle of the night to frighten and intimidate his family, as Ringach does, or about mobs of protesters trying to force their way into his house on a Sunday afternoon, as a researcher at UC Santa Cruz did.

Contrary to the stereotype of animal rights extremists, researchers are not “little Mengeles,” only with animals. I have no doubt that there probably was a time in the past when the concern for alleviating the suffering of experimental animals was inadequate, but that was before I entered the biomedical research field as an investigator. Since I’ve been in the field, I’ve seen only increasingly strict regulation. I encounter this every year when I have to renew my mouse protocols and every time I write a grant. Each year, it seems, the amount of detail demanded grows and the objections increase, even for what would have been approved without question a mere five years ago. Animal research is highly regulated, far above what it was before, and that IACUCs have become almost as strict in regulating animal research as Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) have become in regulating human research. The stereotype of the cruel “vivisectionist” that ALF and its fellow radicals like to promote just isn’t true. Animal research is one of the most highly regulated activities that scientists do. It’s not as highly regulated as human subjects research, but it’s getting there.

Of course, animal rights extremists don’t care, because they are not about animal welfare; they are about animal liberation. To them all animal research is torture and “vivisection.” They are also profoundly anti-scientific–Luddite, even. Animal rights activists deny that animal research has ever produced any advances in medicine, a claim that is not just demonstrably false, but risibly, contemptibly false. They claim more than that, namely that animal research is misleading, that it actually slows down medical progress. They argue that computer models and cell culture can substitute for animal research. Would that were true! But that, too, is false.

I have a proposal for the animal rights extremists. Can we make a deal here, animal rights “activists” cum terrorists? Can we just agree to leave the children out of it? Is any cause worth traumatizing children over? Is any cause worth intimidating children, trying to mess up their lives and turn them against their parents? Whatever you think of their parents, children can’t choose their parents, and they don’t deserve having the likes of you drag them into your disagreement with their parents. A six year old does not understand the moral or political arguments you make; he only understands that scary people are telling his friends that his daddy is a murderer. Let me just put it this way. You appear to value animal rights far more than human rights. In fact, I’ll say that you don’t give the proverbial rodent’s posterior about any human rights other than your own, given how you think nothing of violating the rights of children if they happen to be the children of your enemies.

Not that I expect animal rights extremists to see reason in this.

That’s why I join Janet in calling out these thugs. They need to be exposed, their actions. They need to be called out with comments on their blog. Scientists and citizens who support science need to oppose them when they infest various discussion forums and newspaper letters sections. When they protest in demonstrations, scientists need to organize counterdemonstrations, the way Pro-Test and UCLA Pro-Test do. When animal rights extremists launch campaigns to influence legislators, scientists and citizens supporting science need to oppose them. The public needs to be educated about the benefits and fruits of animal research, and the fallacious arguments of animal rights extremists exposed.

In their own way, animal rights extremists are every bit as dire a threat to public health as anti-vaccine activists and their ideology every bit as immune to reason and science as that of any creationist. True, their activities won’t lead to epidemics now, but if unchecked over time their activities will degrade medical research and slow the advance of medical science to a crawl. You and I may not pay the price, but our children and our children’s children certainly will. That is why the time for silent acquiescence, for hunkering down, is past.

ADDENDUM: PZ Myers has weighed in, and I note that a few commenters have tried to engage the animal rights extremist on the NIO blog. They have failed, but in the attempt they have shown just how irrational and hate-filled the animal rights extremists are. For instance, a commenter named Rob wrote:

You people are inconsistent. Animal research has helped millions of human beings live better lives. Your moral compass is so out of whack it leads you to believe that animal research is out of line, and yet, blowing up researchers is justice.

He too has a “rent-a-cop” in front of his house twenty-four hours a day, ever since his car was blown up last year. Most everyone agrees that it would have been great if he had been in it!

I don’t know anyone who would agree with that besides some seriously sick-minded individuals. If you have issues with animal testing, this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. Pass legislation, talk to your congresspeople. Blowing up researchers makes you terrorists, and nobody is going to value your cause when it has this kind of sick-minded logic behind it.

NIO’s Camille Marino responded:

no rob,

you are inconsistent!

would you mutilate your dog or cat?

should we have panel discussions with pedophiles?

should we compromise with rapists so that we can come to some happy medium?

if there was no money involved, these sadistic freaks would be plying their trade on neighborhood children in backyard bunkers.

if daddy makes a living bathing in blood, you have to expect some of it to drip off onto junior.

camille

Actually, that’s the reason why I think that it’s pointless to try to engage people like Camille. Should we have a panel discussion of someone who thinks her position so morally superior that she has the right to target innocent children, someone who views us as on the same moral plane as pedophiles and rapists, who places the “rights” of animals above the rights of human beings to the point where she thinks violence against humans is justified in the name of her cause?

I would say: Absolutely not. She has a right to free speech, even speech as hateful as the above. However, jail her when she breaks the law, and throw away the key to the cell door. Also note that Camille says:

And my answer is that I unequivocally support violence if it will stop the violent.

That’s about as clear a statement as you can find, just as clear as Jerry Vlasak’s advocating assassinating researchers to stop animal research.

Does anyone want to make a bet about how long it takes Camille to start deleting comments criticizing her advocacy of targeting children–or any critical comments at all? No doubt NIO won’t like having the light of day shined on its cesspit of irrational hate.

Comments

  1. #1 Anthro
    February 26, 2010

    I have never seen a post devolve into such utter crap since I’ve been reading this blog. My comment was so far back, and subsequently attacked, but I’m not going to bother with a rebuttal except to say that I don’t think the respondents really know much about primates.

    There is a lot of ignorance and confusion of terms going on here and some blatant rudeness as well. I’m very sorry I bothered to read most of this. I know many sincere people who are involved in a very legal and socially acceptable way with improving the lives of animals. None of them are extremists. Some are vegetarians and a few are vegans and most give of their time and treasure to human causes as well.

    The people Orac writes about are domestic terrorists and have been labeled as such by the government and FBI. These groups are monitored and arrests are made. Many of these people are in jail. This is hardly the same as supporting the humane treatment of non-human animals. Animal “rights” means many things to many people, but many posters have lumped a huge range of opinion and actions into one ugly lump and drawn ridiculous conclusions–especially for readers of a science blog.

  2. #2 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    young skeptic
    “I’m not sure if I’m reading this right(I’m probably not). Are you saying because my chances of surviving an altercation with a group of people who wish to cause me severe bodily injury is so low, I have no business carrying a weapon?”

    I am saying that, like getting surgery, I think it’s best to look at what defense would have the highest success rate with the lowest risk. I suspect that a gun is higher risk, lower success than other possible options.

    I never said someone has no business getting a gun. I would like more people to consider all the risks, responsibilities and consequences before saying “Well, I’m gonna get a gun.” I am asking people to seriously do that. Apparently that is incredibly offensive to some.

    Not one person here has actually said. “I’ve really thought about it. I’ve considered all the risks, I deeply understand my responsibility to keep children and innocent bystanders safe and put forth any standard protocol for risk management.”

    I have to add, I’ve have discussions with other gun owners who completely understood my concerns and were happy to talk about the precautions they take.

    Some commenter here seem far more concerned with their right to own a gun and defend themselves, than they are with their responsibilities.

    Thank you for asking for clarification. That was damn straight.

  3. #3 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    BlkSltzr – you are making a Darwin Award joke about the accidental shooting death of an infant?

    No, I can’t stomach this anymore. I wanted to read any respondents posts, Because, I feel that if you criticize, you should listen to the response. But I feel no obligation to expose myself to a psychopath.

  4. #4 Bob
    February 26, 2010

    @202

    I never said someone has no business getting a gun. I would like more people to consider all the risks, responsibilities and consequences before saying “Well, I’m gonna get a gun.” I am asking people to seriously do that. Apparently that is incredibly offensive to some.

    Not one person here has actually said. “I’ve really thought about it. I’ve considered all the risks, I deeply understand my responsibility to keep children and innocent bystanders safe and put forth any standard protocol for risk management.”

    Now either you did not read my clarification, you didn’t understand it, it slipped your mind or you willfully ignored it because that’s essentially what I wrote at 178. Maybe I didn’t use your preferred verbiage or common phrases such as ‘due diligence,’ maybe I was a bit long winded, but yes, I did address that notion of risk and responsibility quite clearly.

    What is offensive is having to repeat this to you several times because you don’t acknowledge that it’s been said already, especially since doing so would diminish your litany of hand-wringing and deflate your stereotype of gun owners as dangerous thoughtless vigilantes.

    Maybe for your average educated white middle-class suburban homeowner defending themselves against random violence in their home, the risk of firearm ownership far outweighs the benefits. But that’s not what we’re talking about – I hate repeating this – we are talking about domestic terrorists with premeditated plans of violence or murder against a target who is aware he/she is a target. This case is not typical, and certainly not random. It’s likely that the cost-risk-benefit of gun ownership is much different than in the general case. This sounds like something the FBI would keep statistics on.

    But that doesn’t matter Michele, because you’re long on criticism and hand-wringing and short on pragmatic suggestions. We should throw our hands up and declare defeat? We should not take rational, legal, well-thought-out steps to increase our safety simply because we can’t do it perfectly? You’ve made it perfectly clear what you’re against – what are you for? What is your better idea for keeping researchers safe from these thugs? Do you have any positive action to suggest or are you just going to keep whining?

    Or is this the part of the thread where you claim to be offended by all the impolite and insensitive people here and take your ball home, rather than answering hard questions?

  5. #5 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    Bob, I did read your explanation. When I put no-one, I thought I gotta go up and re-check that guys with the .45 post. Caught psycho’s (I mean BlkSltzr’s) comment on the way up, let myself get distracted.

    It would have been more fair to say “Except Bob.” We actually don’t agree on a few other things, but you did put forth thoughts on risk management. So now I am sure we are friends and you are no longer offended.

    In regard to my putting forth ideas on what “should” be done. What I said up thread is, consult with a security expert versed in terrorism and harrassment. (so I guess I should now be offended that you didn’t read, missed or forgot my comment, but kasurasura) Call that lame if you will. It’s a very dangerous unique situation, someone well versed in those situation would be the best advisor.

    I understand something like that is an expensive endeavor. If someone who is more financially savvy than me set up a “defense fund” that collected donations for a security consultant for these scientists. I would be happy to contribute. I don’t come to RI alot, but I’d probably come across any information posted on Science Based Medicine.

    Bob also “Or is this the part of the thread where you claim to be offended by all the impolite and insensitive people here and take your ball home, rather than answering hard questions?”

    You know, considering that I was offering criticism that no one wanted, I’ve tried to be pretty responsive and thick skinned. I’ve tried to offer the best solution I see fit. I don’t know if it’s the answer. Unless you have ESP, you don’t know if you have the answer. You can characterize it how you want.

    But yeah, when someone makes jokes about the death of an infant as if somehow she didn’t deserve to be alive cause her dad was an idiot. I’m sensitive. Cause I’m not a fucking soul less flesh eating zombie. Go figure.

    Bob, you’re taking time to write a comment directed at me, You say you have some concern about children, but you don’t have the time to call that guy on that crap? You’re not going to demand he makes some positive suggestions?

    So yup, I think I’ll take my ball and my conscience and go home. Best of luck with your approach to things.

  6. #6 BE
    February 27, 2010

    #185 Raging Bee

    “In NONE of the instances you cite were terrorist acts against law-abiding citizens effective in getting animal-cruelty stopped. Just one example:

    In the UK,lobbying over many years had proved fruitless regarding the work of Felberg & Stean, which was stopped dead within 24 hours of video tape evidence being made public, though no charges were brought.

    Note: VIDEO-TAPE EVIDENCE got the cruel practice stopped; this evidence was acquired with ZERO violent criminal action against anyone. Non-violent protest works; undisciplined vindictive bullying doesn’t. Giving violent bullies credit for results they had no part in getting, only encourages more pointless violence and belittles those who actually got things done.”

    My post was a reply to #155, Jennifer Phillips, who trying to make out that everything in the vivisection lab garden was lovely & entirely down to scientists & their ethics said – “NOT because some nosy parker do-gooders came along and made us toe the line…huge mistake to give the fanatics any credit for tightening these regulations.”

    I took ‘nosy parker do-gooders’ to mean undercover activists, & hence included the Feldberg case.

    However, the whole point about the AlF raids – was that they brought to light what was happening in the secretive labs, hidden from view, and garnered public support @ further action, legal and otherwise.

  7. #7 BE
    February 27, 2010

    #186 Raging Bee

    #Well, since you seem familiar with the “physiological literature,” would you care to tell us what it says about useful information gained from such experiments, or how such information may have helped to make life better for anyone? ”

    That’s your job if you want to defend Feldberg & feel that he was wrongly targeted!

    For 40 years Feldberg had been performing a series of conscious cat experiments, where propylbenzilycholine mustard was injected into the ventricles of the brain, with horrific effects (Effects of propylbenzylycholine mustard on injection into the liquor space of cats, Brit J Pharmacol 1978;63:3)In 1983 the RSPCA had included this experiment in a report to the Home Secretary in which medical, vet & other experts agreed that the degree of pain, suffering or distress was substantial & that the only stated aim was to see if the substance produced effects in cats like those already observed in rats. No therapeutic use was attributed to prop mustard in the published paper & that such distress would be hard to justify, even for research into problems of life threatening diseases.

    The point about his case was that Feldberg was so esteemed no one dared question either his competence or the scientific validity & medical relevance of his work.The scientific priesthood was as much to blame as he was, for in continuing to fund his research they facilitatd his downfall lost their own credibility in the public’s eye & allowed the needless suffering of animals.
    Thanks to the work of ‘fanactics’ & ‘nosy parker do-gooders’Feldberg’s licence was revoked under the 1986 Act for experiments on what should have been fully anaesthetised animals.

    “The divine right of scientists to operate above the law & the imperialistic attitude of the biomedical establishment to outside censure are hallmarks of a rising technocracy that are anathema to a truly civilised society.”Dr Michael Fox,MRCVS,1990

    “Funny, you don’t even mention that aspect of all this. Probably because you don’t really care about people, or knowledge.”

    Well, why not address my earlier post on human experimentation, or my points about the human fallout of vivisection based medicine, such as vaccination damage, clinical trials disasters, adverse drug reactions and so on. Or is that all just collateral damage?Shouldn’t funds be directed towards primary healthcare and human based medicine, rather than lifestyle drugs and repeated experiments on animals, knowledge for knowledge’s sake, wasting taxpayers’ money?How about the immorality of raising the hopes of sick people on the back of results in animals, which never materialise into cures? Funding ‘crises’ where research for babies & children is sidelined ? Illegal experiments on Nigerian children? Harvesting children’s organs without the consent of parents? Where’s the morality and the compassion in all of this? Isn’t all this a kind of violence against humanity?

  8. #8 BE
    February 27, 2010

    #187 Raging Bee

    The fact that researchers are using more than one kind of test, does not mean either kind of test is invalid. If you don’t understand this already, then you’re too stupid to reason with.

    “Frankly, it is only through a study such as that proposed by the Safety of Medicines Bill that the real strengths & weaknesses of human biology-based testing will become apparent…with our present level of knowledge & technological strengths, if all animal testing was banned next week, all brains would be directed to how best to exploit human biology- in vitro, in vivo and in silico- and a more reliable testing paradigm would emerge.” Dr Bob Coleman (Regulatory Affairs Journal Pharma, Feb 2009)

    Speed & Safety in Drug Discovery Conference ,2008, at London’s Royal Society- examples of many companies abandoning animal tests for human based tests “No more place for animal studies”-Prof Johannes Doehmer of BioProof

    “Gee, BE, your case against animal experimentation seems to be based on the findings of SCIENTISTS –”

    agree…forward thinking, ethical, compassionate ones without a Semmelweiss complex!

    “the same class of people who are now being victimized (along with their innocent families) by the bullies and terrorist-wannabees you so blindly support.”

    I don’t think AV scientists I support are in the same class at all

    I expressed earlier that I consider the thousands of innocent human victims of medical disasters need to be accounted for- any offers, or shall we just ignore them?

    Don’t we all support some form of terrorism-the ANC & Mandela, the suffragettes, the Palestinians? hopefully not blindly….

  9. #9 BE
    February 27, 2010

    #189 Obvious

    “Cherry-picking some quotes that highlight the perceived weaknesses of extrapolating animal results to humans (which I explicitly agreed is the case) is not evidence to the contrary of my claim quoted above.”

    And just assuming the methodology works isn’t evidence either.
    Which is why scientists are calling for an EDM in the UK for a scientific evaluation of animal tests for drug safety.

    How do you measure ‘success’? Judging by the number of drug disasters and other failures of animal experimentation , we should be doing everything in our power to hasten its demise, rather than defnding it.

  10. #10 jenbphillips
    February 27, 2010

    My post was a reply to #155, Jennifer Phillips, who trying to make out that everything in the vivisection lab garden was lovely & entirely down to scientists & their ethics said – “NOT because some nosy parker do-gooders came along and made us toe the line…huge mistake to give the fanatics any credit for tightening these regulations.”

    Bullshit.
    This is a prime example of the extreme activist thought process. In your mind, we are all ‘vivesectors’. I never claimed to speak for all pro-test researchers in the world, throughout history, nor did I claim that ethical lines had never been crossed. I’m specifically arguing against your false analogy of the ‘fox guarding the henhouse’ when it comes to regulated, institutional, federal grant supported research. I would never use the term ‘lovely’ to describe animal research, as your pathetic straw man contends. But it is entirely down to science that the extensive protocols governing animal use exist at my and thousands of other institutions.

    The rest of your logorrhea reveals that you are clearly suffering from a severe case of crank magnetism. Fortunately, the cure for this is not reliant upon animal research–otherwise you’d be totally screwed.

  11. #11 GregFromCanada
    February 27, 2010

    So why doesn’t someone start posting the names, address, schools, places of employment of the leaders of these “activists'” families?

    I’m not suggesting that anyone do anything to them, not at all, but letting them feel for a moment the possibility that some fanatic might do something could wake them up.

    I’m going to guess that Raging Bee, for example, would not like the names and address of their family posted on a website that advocates violence.

    I think the point some of us are trying to make is that in a civil society there are ways to make change, and those ways are often long and dry. You need to get a majority of people to agree with your position, and that takes work, there is no quick way to do it and expect to have any lasting results. The problem is that these activist haven’t the patience or the skill to do anything other than yell loud and threaten people.

  12. #12 GregFromCanada
    February 27, 2010

    Sorry Raging Bee, I confused your post with another, I mistakenly put your call sign up as my example.

    I’d edit it, but I can’t.

    Sorry again.

    ~GfC

  13. #13 Obvious
    February 27, 2010

    And just assuming the methodology works isn’t evidence either.

    Which is why scientists are calling for an EDM in the UK for a scientific evaluation of animal tests for drug safety.

    How do you measure ‘success’? Judging by the number of drug disasters and other failures of animal experimentation , we should be doing everything in our power to hasten its demise, rather than defnding it.

    Am I “assuming the methodology works” if it’s readily apparent that essentially every major medical advance thus far has been dependent upon some medical testing? If every successful pharmacotherepeutic has passed basic safety & efficacy evaluation in animals? Proof, pudding, and all that. Go to PubMed and read the enormous volumes of knowledge that would, quite frankly, be unknowable without the sacrifice of research animals. I measure ‘success’ broadly, with appropriate context, and I don’t require a 100% rate of translational accuracy. What about you?

    One can and should make the completely subjective moral arguments against experimentation; it’s entirely a value judgment and people’s values can shift. You made the objective argument that “the results of animal experiments cannot be accurately extrapolated to humans”. This is simplistic at best and demonstrably false in the broad sense.

    The implication of your claim is obvious–animal testing doesn’t work, thus it shouldn’t be used–and the claim is commonly used as a substitute argument when the moral case for animal rights isn’t successful enough. I argue that this argument is a sham on at least three levels:

    1. If scientific advances were made that did allow animal testing to achieve 100% success in translational medical research (for some or all research aims), would that change any of the core stance of ARA groups? No. It’s a question of morality, not practicality. The argument is a red herring.

    2. It’s arguing that the perfect is the enemy of the good (in terms of medical success). That important rational criticisms of animal research exist, and that some high-profile examples of translational failures are evident, does not invalidate animal research as a whole. It’s akin to the anti-vaccine argument that because Vaccine X has some side effect, vaccination as a whole should be discouraged; or the creationist argument that because one aspect of evolutionary history is unknown, the entire theory of evolution is a sham. Falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus is a logical fallacy.

    3. It evades the issue of replacement techniques. It completely ignores basic research that cannot be accomplished without living research subjects (e.g., neurology, embryonic development or circulation). Should animals be removed from research today, much of current medical and basic science would come to a grinding halt. Assuming ARAs don’t wish for science to dramatically reduce its progress (perhaps a dangerous assumption), there needs to be substitute methods available that provide adequate research value. As I predicted in #188/189, you haven’t produced any citations of replacement methodologies that even approach the utility of animal research. You won’t, because they don’t yet exist (I’m quite familiar with the literature on this). Furthermore, the current and future development of these methods will require validation against animal experimentation. If the substantial hindrance of research is an acceptable outcome for ARAs, then they need to make the case that delayed and aborted scientific progress towards the treatment of medical conditions in humans and animals alike (not to mention ecology and a multitude of other research areas indirectly affected) is an acceptable ethical and moral trade-off…

    When you state of animal research that “we should be doing everything in our power to hasten its demise, rather than defnding [sic] it” you are partially right. Academic and industry scientists are working hard at developing these methods; there is room to argue that perhaps greater efforts and funding could be directed towards the goal of reducing and maybe eliminating animal-based medical research. I don’t get the sense, however, that many ARAs are aiming for this practical reality (it might be 20 years before we’ve got in vitro and in silico methods that can compete with animal testing in terms of translational success). It’s abundantly clear that the AR groups that explicitly or implicitly support violence towards their ends are not interested in this.

    I would certainly consider myself an advocate for animal welfare. I am as-yet unconvinced by the moral arguments for animal rights. I will defend animal research against fallacious nonsense such as you have provided because it’s intellectually insulting, but I support all efforts to rationally reduce the use of animals in research. Animal rights activists that perpetrate violence, vandalism, and terrorism, and those that provide aid to these individuals and groups, deserve to be treated like the criminals they are.

  14. #14 storkdok
    February 28, 2010

    Have any of the animal rights extremists/terrorists, or even the non-violent animal rights supporters thought about the fact that animals are treated with modern medicine? All the advances of modern medicine are used for animals, including treatment of diabetes, thyroid conditions, infectious diseases, treatments for all types of cancers, including chemotherapy and radiation, surgery for orthopedic problems, Cesarean sections for obstructed labor, dental procedures, and many other diseases and disorders? Diagnostic procedures are used such as CT scans and MRI’s and Ultrasound.

    The advances made in scientific research benefit not only humans, but all animals as well. I’ve had several dogs treated for various cancers, my dog and cat companions currently for thyroid disorders and diabetes, a couple of dogs had surgery for hip dysplasia, and other disorders.

  15. #15 BE
    March 3, 2010

    #213 Obvious

    Some good points that should be addressed- thanks

  16. #16 BE
    March 3, 2010

    #214 Storkdok

    “The advances made in scientific research benefit not only humans, but all animals as well.”

    Vet, Dr. Jean Greek in “What Will We Do If We Don’t Experiment On Animals? Medical Research for the Twenty-First Century” by Jean Swingle Greek, DVM & C. Ray Greek, MD,explains:

    “I fail to see how tormenting a lab dog for the benefit of my companion dog would be appropriate. Putting more value on certain animal lives is no different than the grievous ethical lapse that resulted in such blights on medical history such as occured with the Tuskegee study…Why should my beloved pet cat be allowed to enroll her less fortunate cousins in a feline variation of the Tuskegee experiment, even if she might benefit?”

    “…the argument that animals benefit from laboratory experiments on other animls is a distractor. The NIH is not doling out its billions for Fluffy’s benefit.The monies spent on research that is intended to benefit animals is miniscule when compared [to that for humans]…”

    “Because there is a legal mandate that all new human drugs be tested in animals, it is not surprising that many people have the mistaken idea that vets use this data and apply the information to their animal patients.” Dr Greek explains why this does not occur for several reasons… atypical test species,unnatural version of disease, dosage,data rarely published in vet journals,proprietary info,data not helpful in clinical setting, etc.

    “In the real world of vet medicine…I hear of a drug that has been used in the human variant of the disease that i am treating and then try it in my patients. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not…Accutane can be very toxic to human livers. Dog livers love it, but you have to monitor for toxic effects to the eyes.This does not occur in man.”

    “According to ‘New Scientist’, “Andrew Luescher of Purdue University is recruiting affected dogs to test whether drugs used to treat humans with OCD will work on them. He also plans to use brian imaging techniques to diagnose the condition.” By studying these daogs, with the consent of their humans, we will be able to learn more about the disease and test, under very controlled conditions, if a specific drug helps…This is typical. It does not require that animals be specifically bred with a disorder not does it require that the animals be housed in confining cages, on cement all day, without love and affection.Just as in human research, animals can be studied as they present to the vet with a disorder.”

    “Another fallacy purported by the vested interest groups to defend animal models is refuted by the fact that a drug that works well in humans and becomes profitable to the company will then become available and cheaper for the vet community to prescribe.For most human drugs, the veterinary market is the tiniest economic blip.”

    “Neither do animals need to be killed in order for vet students to learn to practice medicine. Physicians don’t kill humans to learn operations or anatomy. Neither do students at Western School of Veterinary Medicine. Animals that have died of natural causes are donated for the students to learn on…. Students are taught surgery by performing necessary surgeries on actual patients under the watchful eyes of their teachers.”

  17. #17 BE
    March 3, 2010

    #213 Obvious

    “Am I “assuming the methodology works” if it’s readily apparent that essentially every major medical advance thus far has been dependent upon some medical testing? If every successful pharmacotherepeutic has passed basic safety & efficacy evaluation in animals? Proof, pudding, and all that.

    Since it has been a tradition of westen medical science to use animals widely in most areas of research for at least the last 150years, it is very easy for defenders of animal experiments to claim that they have been vital to medical progress.This by no means proves that animal experiments themselves were the real key to the most important discoveries. Animals have been killed in their billions in medical research, so it only logical to suppose that some useful knowledge must have resulted somewhere along the line. Yet this neither automatically proves that these experiments were either vital or irreplaceable, not that medical progress will be severely hampered by their abandonment in the future. It’s like a slot machine – put enough in and you will occasionally triumph, but this does not make it either a reliable or logical method of pursuing your goal. Who can be certain whether or not as much or more useful knowledge could have been obtained from other sources if medical science had taken a different path?
    It’s impossible to unravel every medical discovery of the past century or more to measure precisely the part played by animal experiments, and looking at he big picture, the overall contribution to human health played by vivisection is probably marginal, considering major health improvements have resulted from better living conditions, diet, sanitation, clean water, primary health care & the myriad contributions from other disciplines such as epidemiology, maths & physics.

    We hear much about vivisections’ successes, but very little about its failures – humans damaged or killed by drugs, vaccines & procedures based on animal experiments. DES is an example of a medication brought to market on the basis of false negative results in animals- no human clinical trials were done.Despite clinical data dating from 1953 stating that the drug was dangerous, it remained on the market until 1971. By then teratogenic results manifested.DES increased the risk of vaginal and cervical cancer in patients’ daughtersa. Even the granddaughters of patients were affected. Only clinical studies revealed this. There are many more examples which show that ushering drugs to market through animal tests is treacherous, that the flexible results can be use as an excuse by drug companies when humans are harmed, claiming the ” pharmacotherapeutic passed basic safety & efficacy evaluation in animals” – ” Proof, pudding, and all that”- not much proof of success as far as the victims are concerned. What would you say to them?

    “1. If scientific advances were made that did allow animal testing to achieve 100% success in translational medical research (for some or all research aims), would that change any of the core stance of ARA groups? No. It’s a question of morality, not practicality. The argument is a red herring.”

    For ARAs the moral argument trumps all.Similarly for the scientific AV, since it’s not ‘your dog or your baby’ but ‘your dog and your baby’. No good can come of evil. Useful knowledge resulted from Nazi experiments on humans, and from the thousands of other experients on humans the world over, but they are entirely unethical.

    “2. It’s arguing that the perfect is the enemy of the good (in terms of medical success). That important rational criticisms of animal research exist, and that some high-profile examples of translational failures are evident, does not invalidate animal research as a whole. It’s akin to the anti-vaccine argument that because Vaccine X has some side effect, vaccination as a whole should be discouraged; or the creationist argument that because one aspect of evolutionary history is unknown, the entire theory of evolution is a sham. Falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus is a logical fallacy.”

    Agreed. But it’s because of the many failures that independent doctors and scientists are questioning animal research as a whole, and quite rightly.We all know someone who suffers from illness or disease, or may be a sufferer ourselves. The best methods should be developed and used to assess the safety of our medicines and people need to know that precious funds are not being wasted on torturing animals for the sake of it.

    “3. It evades the issue of replacement techniques. It completely ignores basic research that cannot be accomplished without living research subjects (e.g., neurology, embryonic development or circulation). Should animals be removed from research today, much of current medical and basic science would come to a grinding halt. Assuming ARAs don’t wish for science to dramatically reduce its progress (perhaps a dangerous assumption), there needs to be substitute methods available that provide adequate research value. As I predicted in #188/189, you haven’t produced any citations of replacement methodologies that even approach the utility of animal research. You won’t, because they don’t yet exist (I’m quite familiar with the literature on this). Furthermore, the current and future development of these methods will require validation against animal experimentation. If the substantial hindrance of research is an acceptable outcome for ARAs, then they need to make the case that delayed and aborted scientific progress towards the treatment of medical conditions in humans and animals alike (not to mention ecology and a multitude of other research areas indirectly affected) is an acceptable ethical and moral trade-off.”

    Many would argue that it’s animal research which is hindering progress and hence the attempts by scientists such as Prof Pietro Croce (“Vivisection or Science An Investigation into Testing Drugs & Safeguarding Health”), Ray Greek (“What Will We Do If We Don’t Experiment on Animals?”),LaFollette & Shanks (Brute Science) to move the debate on & outline the way forward. Safer Medicines Campaign , a not-for-profit organisation of doctors & scientists aims to protect public health and safety & believes the safety of medicines should be improved by replacing misleading animal tests with superior techniques based on human biology.

    Animal experimentation is currently seen as an ineliminable element of the biomedical paradigm and apologists assume it should be used to judge the success of other research methodologies, when there is no proof of the success of the practice itself. This in itself hinders progress. As long as sluggish regulatory bodies require animal tests , then there is no incentive for researchers to progress to human based methods.

    We need also to consider using strong public health measures to reduce chronic illness caused by environmental factors. It is immoral to research cures for lung cancer on animals when we know that smoking causes 90% of the disease.Non- human animals should not have to pay the costs of human folly.

    “When you state of animal research that “we should be doing everything in our power to hasten its demise, rather than defnding [sic] it” you are partially right. Academic and industry scientists are working hard at developing these methods; there is room to argue that perhaps greater efforts and funding could be directed towards the goal of reducing and maybe eliminating animal-based medical research. I don’t get the sense, however, that many ARAs are aiming for this practical reality (it might be 20 years before we’ve got in vitro and in silico methods that can compete with animal testing in terms of translational success). It’s abundantly clear that the AR groups that explicitly or implicitly support violence towards their ends are not interested in this.”

    As long as regulatory bodies insist on animal tests, scientific papers get published based on animal experiments, funding into alternatives is practically non existent, along with a whole host of other reasons animal research is perpetuated, then progress will be slow. Which is why , having recognised its inadequacies, as have the Dr Greeks et al of this world, it is the scientific community which should be campaigning for better methods, more funding,etc.Otherwise you could argue that they are guilty by default of hampering medical progress.Those doctors who years ago,laughed at Semmelweiss for suggesting they wash their hands before delivering babies, were never held accountable.They should have been.

    Your view of violence is ‘simplistic’. To be for or against violence is not always simplistic.Fourteen years continuous struggle for justice through the legal system in the 80s revealed every channel systematically closed against the New Zealand Anti Vivisection Society- is it any wonder such injustice leads men & women to acts of civil disobedience and worse.

    Who would argue that Mandela’s terrorist tactics were uncalled for? Or that wars are unnecessary?

    Or do we only side with the terrorists once they have been vindicated by history?

  18. #18 Calli Arcale
    March 3, 2010

    BE:

    We hear much about vivisections’ successes, but very little about its failures – humans damaged or killed by drugs, vaccines & procedures based on animal experiments. DES is an example of a medication brought to market on the basis of false negative results in animals- no human clinical trials were done.

    Are you seriously arguing that because animal trials have not always succeeded in protecting human test subjects, we should abandon it entirely? Animal testing is no substitute for human clinical trials, but it is a hell of a lot better than nothing. What do you propose replacing it with?

    (BTW, I don’t know anything about DES, but I’m curious how a drug can be legally brought to market in any developed country without first undergoing clinical trials in humans. If it hasn’t, that would constitute an unapproved drug, and could only be used as part of a clinical trial.)

  19. #19 Obvious
    March 3, 2010

    @ BE, in reply to #217

    I find your reply largely disingenuous and see that you generally missed the point.

    Your response to my claim that animal research has provided a substantial contribution to every major medical advance is effectively “yeah, but it may not have been important for all the important discoveries”. Not a powerful response. It’s quite apparent you know jack-shit about the practicalities of daily research as well: what “other sources” and “different paths” do you know of that have ever been nearly as effective as animal research. Again, you never cite these mysterious avenues of research. It’s an intellectually bankrupt argument to assert that A should be discarded in favor of B if one cannot demonstrate that B works at all (or even exists). It’s the animal rights version of vaporware.

    It’s depressingly comical that you can un-ironically cite advances in “diet,” “sanitation,” & “primary health care” as being unrelated to animal research.

    I and others readily admit that animal research has its weaknesses. Diethylstilbestrol is an easy example. The mistakes and failures of medical research are important learning tools. However, you’re again falling for the red herring and falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus logical fallacies I pointed out in #1 & #2. Particularly stupid since you state “For ARAs the moral argument trumps all.” If that’s the whole point, quit diverting the issue with vacuous attempts at downplaying the successes and pumping up the failures.

    The trite “Nazi experiments on humans” ends-and-mean argument is only slighlty less offensive to me than “people need to know that precious funds are not being wasted on torturing animals for the sake of it.” Fuck you. To equate what the scientists I work with every day as “torturing animals for the sake of it” or a horrifying sideshow within one of humanity’s most appalling eras reveals an astonishingly lack of your own humanity.

    I get it. In your head animals = people. I’m not surprised at the hubris and self-justification for violence. Most sociopaths do the same thing.

    I will continue to work for smarter and more efficient uses of animals in research. I will also continue doing the research that may save the lives of activists who would threaten mine and my family.

  20. #20 BE
    March 9, 2010

    #219 Obvious

    “It’s quite apparent you know jack-shit about the practicalities of daily research as well: what “other sources” and “different paths” do you know of that have ever been nearly as effective as animal research. Again, you never cite these mysterious avenues of research. It’s an intellectually bankrupt argument to assert that A should be discarded in favor of B if one cannot demonstrate that B works at all (or even exists). It’s the animal rights version of vaporware.”

    Well AV scientists, doctors and ex-animal experimenters do. “What Will We Do If We Don’t Experiment On Animals Medical Research for the Twenty-first Century” by Jean Swingle Greek,DVM & C. Ray Greek,MD ,outlines the present & future of biomedical research, emphasising the sheer volume of nonanimal based research going on, that the animal model is a very insignificant percentage of research methods, and how productive the nonanimal research methods are.

    Read the book and get a crit published,otherwise your mantra is just tiresome.

    If you do not give any credence to the scientists and medical professionals who have taken the trouble to research & write books and papers arguing against animal experimentation and proposing solutions, you need to say why,as you are obviously so superior, and they know nothing. Much easier to lump them all together along with baseball wielding extremists.

    “I and others readily admit that animal research has its weaknesses. Diethylstilbestrol is an easy example. The mistakes and failures of medical research are important learning tools. However, you’re again falling for the red herring and falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus logical fallacies I pointed out in #1 & #2. Particularly stupid since you state “For ARAs the moral argument trumps all.” If that’s the whole point, quit diverting the issue with vacuous attempts at downplaying the successes and pumping up the failures.”

    You still have not provided evidence that the ‘successes’ were down to animal experiments, because you can’t.Telling, but not surprising, that you can casually pass off thousands of babies deformed by thalidomide, the tens of thousands of men and women killed and harmed by Avandia, Vioxx,and numerous other drugs as simply “weaknesses”.

    recent headlines……..Concerns over diabetes drug Byetta, Safety concerns over insomnia drug,$8 million damages paid by Pfizer Sanofi abandons two drugs citing ‘risk-benefit’ concerns,Antidepressants increase risk of stroke and death,Blood pressure drug fails,December FDA bulletin lists 44 products with new warnings Paxil lawsuits total $1,000,000,000 Elan Alzheimer’s treatment abandoned HIV gel trial abandoned Reboxetine doesn’t work according to German regulators Clot busters may be dangerous FDA monitors MRI drugs Prostate drug fails Tamiflu fails to protect patients FDA wants review of kids antipsychotics Pfizer to pay $103,000,000 over breast cancer Vioxx: the dangers were known earlier but sales continued More patients died in Cubist Pharm drug trials FDA reveal dangers of Novartis drug everolimus Tamiflu can give kids fever Diabetes drugs and heart failure FDA issue warning on Voltaren ,

    Desipramine warnings increased FDA asked to ban Meridia FDA warn on Lexiva FDA warn on Norpramin FDA warn on Meridia FDA rejects Ampligen Pfizer pay $34,300,000 to patient Drugmakers ordered to pay $34,000,000 and $78,000,000 Picoplatin fails clinical trial New study questions statins FDA warn on 26 medications Aranesp does little for patients…..

    ‘weaknesses’- just the tip of the iceberg

    “I will continue to work for smarter and more efficient uses of animals in research. I will also continue doing the research that may save the lives of activists who would threaten mine and my family.”

    Also very revealing- you are happy to continue to promote research on sentient creatures,whilst ignoring the human fallout, rather than try to eliminate their use, as are enlightened scientists , to whom it is obvious medical science ‘ must and can do better’.

    You prefer your comfortable, smug, entrenched, conflict-of interest position which includes the black and white view: ‘all animal experimenters good, all antivivisectionists bad’. It suits your ‘argument’ to caricature all antivivisectionists as anti human, anti science bunny huggers. That way, the heat is off and you don’t have to account for vivisection’s failings towards both human and non human animals.

  21. #21 Calli Arcale
    March 9, 2010

    You still have not provided evidence that the ‘successes’ were down to animal experiments, because you can’t.Telling, but not surprising, that you can casually pass off thousands of babies deformed by thalidomide, the tens of thousands of men and women killed and harmed by Avandia, Vioxx,and numerous other drugs as simply “weaknesses”.

    For all your calls for not having a “black and white” view, you seem to have an awfully black and white view yourself. Is that why you think your opponents are “all animal experimenters good, all antivivisectionists bad” — because it is the exact inverse of your position?

    No one in this thread has said that all animal experimenters are good, nor that all antivivisectionists are bad. That is a strawman. It’s not even relevant to the drugs you mentioned, as vivisection would not be required to test them. Vivisection is not commonly used in animal research, and for drugs like Avandia and Vioxx, there really wouldn’t be any point. So why use the word to describe what amounts to giving various doses of a drug to the animals and watching to see how well they tolerate it?

    By the way, Vioxx is an interesting example because not only did animal testing fail to reveal any problems, but so did human testing. The clinical trials did not reveal the cardiovascular risks. Only an unusually large study revealed that risk, and it’s not clear that it’s something peculiar to Vioxx. So eliminating animal testing would not have affected the course of that particular scandal at all.

    Give up the scientific arguments against animal research; they’re meritless, since imperfect models are infinitely better than no models. You are much better off sticking the moral arguments. Falsehoods and strawmen do not argue your point well.

  22. #22 Obvious
    March 9, 2010

    That’s quite the insipid reply, BE. You’re really something.

    If you do not give any credence to the scientists and medical professionals who have taken the trouble to research & write books and papers arguing against animal experimentation and proposing solutions, you need to say why,as you are obviously so superior, and they know nothing. Much easier to lump them all together along with baseball wielding extremists.

    I have plenty of respect for researchers who publish on the topic of alternatives to animal research. They’re an important voice within the scientific community. It’s people like you for whom I lack respect: the violent, self-righteous warriors (and their apologists) with delusions of grandeur, often deficient compassion for humans, and a marked lack of relevant scientific knowledge.

    I am amply familiar with many of the arguments of animal rights proponents within science. I generally find them to be lacking, more or less, in a few main areas: consistent moral valuations of non-humans and humans, honest evaluation of the successes and importance of previous and current animal research, honest evaluation of alternative methods of research and their validation, and cogent presentations of possible/probable future research methodologies justified by current published peer-reviewed literature. Still, the academic discussion is in its relative infancy, and I maintain hope that these arguments will mature.

    You still have not provided evidence that the ‘successes’ were down to animal experiments, because you can’t.

    Ooooh, nice try flipping the burden onto me! It’s trivial to think of research avenues that could not have achieved their current progress without the use of animals. Off the top of my head: the entire field of dopamine research. Arvid Carlsson won a Nobel for his work, 50+ years ago, that demonstrated that dopamine was a neurotransmitter in its own right and not just a by-product of noradrenaline synthesis. This necessitated altering dopamine transmission in live animals. Without this work there are many medications—treatments for Parkinson’s Disease, for example—that would not have reached their current state of development and many derivative research paths that would not have been pursued. The entire field of neurology is replete with examples like this. For a third time, I ask you to provide evidence that any current research techniques have demonstrated validity and efficacy on par with animal research. Further, provide a specific example of these alternatives that are able to model biological systems as complex as the brain.

    Telling, but not surprising, that you can casually pass off thousands of babies deformed by thalidomide, the tens of thousands of men and women killed and harmed by Avandia, Vioxx,and numerous other drugs as simply “weaknesses”. [Followed by a laundry list of out-of-context “headlines”]

    This one is particularly rich. I’m some sort moral degenerate because there are plenty of examples of medical treatments that produced unforeseen side-effects? Suddenly you’re the one who cares about people? That there are known real weaknesses to animal research is something I readily admit, and 20-20 hindsight has shaped many of the approval practices of medical interventions, including further rigor in animal testing. (Thalidomide is a particularly stupid example for you to use: thalidomide was never properly tested in pregnant animals before its medical use, tests that would very likely have demonstrated the drug’s teratogenic effects. In fact, the failures of thalidomide were a driving force in the expansion of preclinical animal safety testing in pregnant animals.) Can you tell me what the success rate of imaginary clinical modalities studied only by ARA-approved methods would be? Would there be any human cost—morbidity and mortality—in prematurely phasing out animal testing in the development of disease treatment? How many thousands of animals and humans would be harmed by using safety and efficacy tests that can’t match the current results of animal testing? How would one validate the efficacy of alternative methods?

    Your argument, as I’ve shown over and over is entirely bankrupt: you can rail on and on about perceived failures in contemporary medicine, some of which are to varying degrees a consequence of animal research being an incomplete model of human pathophysiology, yet you never provide sufficient, supportable answers about reasonable research expectations and appropriate research alternatives. (Yet I’m apparently the one with the “black and white view”?) Neither yet have the “enlightened scientists,” as far as I am concerned…but these are the voices to which I will listen as they are far less likely to make the mind-numbingly hypocritical argument of “respect my superior moral stance or I’ll pipe bomb your family home.”

    On the other hand, you could quit talking about concepts you clearly know little about (such as the actual practice of animal research) and stick to the moral argument, which you already stated is the overriding principle of the ARA stance. Why you keep falling back on poorly-argued digs at the validity of animal research is an interesting question. Is it that you feel you cannot effectively make the moral argument for animal equality? Since you already Godwinned the thread a few posts up, here’s an analogy: arguing about the utility of animal research is, for the animal rights activist, akin to arguing against the Third Reich on the basis of its economic policies and whether Hitler made the trains run on time to a sufficient degree. It’s colossally beside the point…

    Make the moral argument. I’ve not yet heard a compelling case, but my mind and ears are open to convincing. They are not, however, amenable to deceit and obfuscation. Then again, maybe I should wait until you get a crit published, otherwise your mantra is just tiresome?

  23. #23 Life
    March 14, 2010

    You really shouldn’t stereotype a diverse movement as being violent and ignorant. That is intellectually dishonest. As a matter of fact, animal rights advocacy is prominent in academia. Ironically, you argue quite aggressively. You do not appear to be open minded at all. In one sentence you state “my mind and ears are open to convincing”. In another, “Then again, maybe I should wait until you get a crit published, otherwise your mantra is just tiresome?” You really should not be so spiteful.

  24. #24 Obvious
    March 14, 2010

    Life, you really have a lot of posts to read to catch up…

    the “Then again, maybe I should wait until you get a crit published, otherwise your mantra is just tiresome?” line is simply reflecting back a particularly stupid argument from comment 220.

    It’s also abundantly clear from previous posts that I support animal welfare and respect academic efforts to evaluate the ethics and morality of animal research. Finally, the subject under discussion is the violent end of the animal rights movement and their apologists. It’s not at all ironic that I would argue aggressively against and ethos that seems to devalue human life. Am I spiteful? No, I’d call it disdainful, and only towards those that would explicitly or tacitly approve of violence towards researchers in the name of animal rights.

    Seriously, read up.

  25. #25 Life
    March 15, 2010

    Mm-kay. But I still fail to see how animal rights “devalues human life”. Certainly people who believe in animal rights don’t believe humans somehow intrinsically deserve far better treatment. At any rate, it’s not so much that I agree with the particular things these guys did, or that destroying property or harassing people is per se a good tactic. I just disagree with the idea that destroying property or harassing people to stop animal cruelty (that’s what it is, killing them, confining them to cages, performing experiments on them, etc.) is evil. I don’t really see that as “devaluing human life”, but whatever. One may have a justified utilitarian case for animal research, but in my mind you do not seem to be taking the suffering of animals seriously enough. At any rate, I was only responding to your initial post, really.

  26. #26 BE
    March 15, 2010

    # 222 Obvious
    .

    “I have plenty of respect for researchers who publish on the topic of
    alternatives to animal research. They’re an important voice within the
    scientific community.”
    But obviously not enough to take their work & concerns seriously and press for reforms and progress.

    “I am amply familiar with many of the arguments of animal rights proponents
    within science. I generally find them to be lacking, more or less, in a few
    main areas: consistent moral valuations of non-humans and humans…”
    Scientists and medics such as Croce, Greek et al’s premise for replacing animal
    experimentation is that humans are being harmed – human health is their over
    riding concern, they are not ARAs.

    “honest evaluation of the successes and importance of previous and current
    animal research, …”
    It is thanks to the work of these AV scientists and medics, that the public
    is realising the lack of honesty on the part of the scientific community,
    especially regarding the role animal research plays in medical science,
    which has been exaggerated.
    “honest evaluation of alternative methods of research and their validation,
    and cogent presentations of possible/probable future research methodologies
    justified by current published peer-reviewed literature. ”
    Until the scientific community and regulatory bodies move on, non animal
    methods insanely are being validated against animal tests, which themselves
    have never been validated, precisely why in the UK EDM 569 is calling for an
    independent evaluation of animal tests for drug safety , the government
    having ignored campaigns for a Royal Commission and a Judicial Inquiry.

    Neurosurgeon,Dr Marius Maxwell, of Voice for Ethical Research at Oxford,
    would not consider it ‘trivial’ .He sets the record straight re Parkinson’s
    research on the VERO website. Just as heart surgeon Moneim Fadali in”Animal
    Experimentation A Harvest of Shame” destroys myths concerning discoveries
    in the field of heart surgery. The point is if the provivisectionists can
    perpetuate lies such as this, what else are they lying about? Furthermore,
    it would be in the provivs interest to distort the facts, rather than a
    person with no vested interests,like Dr Maxwell.

    From the VERO website:’ In a detailed chronology of the research undertaken
    in this field over the last century, Maxwell demonstrates that all the major
    advances in the treatment of movement disorders have come about through the
    study of actual human patients, not contrived animal models. To suggest
    otherwise is, according to Maxwell, to distort the true historical facts and
    ignore the key contributions of earlier, pioneering neuroscientists. Worst
    of all, the continued justification and funding of primate research for
    Parkinson’s disease and similar disorders is hampering the development of
    other, more progressive and humanly relevant techniques, and hence delaying
    the discovery of a definitive treatment for the disease. In conclusion,
    Maxwell therefore calls for an immediate end to such research, in the
    interests not just of the defenceless animals on whom it is conducted, but
    of the human patients still awaiting a cure for their debilitating disease.’

    “For a third time, I ask you to provide evidence that any current research
    techniques have demonstrated validity and efficacy on par with animal
    research.”

    Quit repeating this classic ad ignorantium fallacy, that animal research is
    somehow the gold standard.

    Current non animal research techniques are set out & discussed at length
    in “What Will We Do If We Don’t Experiment on Animals? Medical Research for
    the Twenty-first Century” by Jean Swingle Greek,DVM & C. Ray Greek,MD.

    ‘Safer Medicines Campaign’ , an independent organisation of scientists &
    doctors ,held a conference ‘Speed & Safety in Drug Discovery’ in 2009
    attended by eminent scientists from around the world who work at the cutting
    edge of developing drug safety test methods that focus on human biology –
    for example, the use of ethically donated human tissues,and cells derived
    from them which can be grown indefinitely in the lab.A way of circumventing
    the problem of how to test a drug in a whole system without exposing humans,
    was addressed by Hurel’s (Human and Relevant) biochip, which uses
    interconnected tissue pieces from the body’s organs to represent the body in
    miniature.The effects of drugs on a whole system can be found- something
    that it is often claimed only animal tests can provide.’No more place for
    animal studies’,Dr Greg Baxter.

    Prof Chris Hillier gave an account of the breadth of tests that Biopta has
    established using exclusively human tissues obtained by taking biopsies from
    donors.’The animal data…often bears no resemblance whatsoever to the
    ultimate human data’.

    Many examples of medical research without the use of animals is frequently
    reported, such as the development of virtual humans, a test to prevent
    another TGN1412 disaster,(‘We have made significant progress in designing
    new in vitro tests that hopefully will avoid the consequences that occurred
    with TGN1412…such tests could prevent harmful drugs of this type even
    reaching the animal testing stage’Dr Stephen Poole), and stem cell
    breakthrough re SMA (‘The animal models are pretty useless, to be honest’
    Prof Clive Svendsen).

    There is no evidence that animal research is valid and effective, which is
    why scientists are calling for an evaluation.

    “Further, provide a specific example of these alternatives that are able to
    model biological systems as complex as the brain.”

    http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/24429/

    Chip Makes Neurotoxicity Tests Quicker and Easier
    Device could mean fewer animal experiments.

    The genetic root of an aggressive form of childhood brain cancer was
    uncovered in 2008 by a group of Cambridge scientists who conducted genetic
    scans of patients’ brain tumours.Scientists now have a way of
    differentiating between certain types of cancer, so can tailor treatments
    more accurately.
    Doctors from Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital (2008) identified a way of
    profiling patients’ tumours, which they found have different molecular
    ‘signatures’.The discovery means that patients will be spared unnecessary
    side effects & receive the most effective treatment as early as possible.

    The point is, while you are holding on to your precious animal experiments
    these guys are forging ahead.The Semmelweiss relex is alive & well &
    residing in Obvious.

    “This one is particularly rich. I’m some sort moral degenerate because there
    are plenty of examples of medical treatments that produced unforeseen
    side-effects?”

    You can’t have it both ways.. Either animal experimentation has a good
    record,in which case why would all those enlightened scientists be trying to
    replace it, or it has major flaws.The evidence is in- tens of thousands of
    ADRs, deaths, abnormalities, potential lost cures, not to mention billions
    of sentient creatures ‘sacrificed’.If you think that’s OK, there’s something
    very, very wrong with you.Your complacency is alarming.

    ” Suddenly you’re the one who cares about people? ”
    I’ve been arguing the case for human health from the get -go. So don’t be
    conveniently forgetting that.We all have sick friend & relatives, suffer
    ourselves from illness- why would anyone want to halt medical progress? Amnesiac & irrational- any cures in the pipeline?

    “That there are known real weaknesses to animal research is something I
    readily admit, and 20-20 hindsight has shaped many of the approval practices
    of medical interventions, including further rigor in animal testing.
    (Thalidomide is a particularly stupid example for you to use: thalidomide
    was never properly tested in pregnant animals before its medical use, tests
    that would very likely have demonstrated the drug’s teratogenic effects. In
    fact, the failures of thalidomide were a driving force in the expansion of
    preclinical animal safety testing in pregnant animals.) ”

    A paper was published in Dec 2008 (Molecular Pharmaceutics) revealing why
    rats and mice are resistant to the terrible effects of thalidomide in
    humans. The supreme irony is that while the tragedy prompted worldwide
    regulations demanding animal tests for drug safety, those same animal tests
    would still fail to alert us to the hazard of thalidomide today.
    The White New Zealand rabbit was the one breed of animal affected at a dose
    between 25-300 times that given to humans.Scientists attempted to produce
    teratogenesis in animals of all varieties looking for proof in animals of
    what they already knew occurred in humans. Yeah, 50 odd years later, we’re
    really gonna spot potential dangers to humans using the mandatory 2 animals
    used for drug testing!

    Animal tests provided no real predictive value for any animal except the one
    being tested.
    One of the worst aspects of the case is that the first recorded case
    occurred on Christmas Day, 1956, but in 1957 the drug was released
    anyway.And stayed there in the face of human studies.This is a classic
    case as it illustrates the agility of those with a vested interest in animal
    experimentation for changing history to suit their agenda.

    It wasn’t that long ago cigarette manufacturers claimed nicotine was
    not addictive, based on animal experiments,( humanity loving scientists can use these tests to prove anything it seems, depending on who is footing the bill) even when epidemiological
    evidence was to the contrary, delaying warning labels and campaigns to stop
    smoking.Responsible dissent is one thing,but defiance of facts on grounds
    that imperil humans is quite another.

    “Make the moral argument…”
    Good discussion re moral argument
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/02/terrorists_of_the_animal_right.php

    [Posted by: strange gods before me ? | February 24, 2010 10:25 PM

    But the pro-test groups, and this blog, seem to have absolutely no problem
    with the status quo. No problem at all. I have not seen a single criticism
    of any current study based on the fact that it isn’t ethical in terms of its
    treatment of animals. Not a single one. That tells me that tells me
    something. There has to have been at least one poorly decided ethical
    decision in the years this blog have been around, but this blog has been
    silent.
    Truth, and invariably the same problem I’ve noticed all over
    scienceblogs.com. There’s a reflexive circling of the wagons, but never a
    serious interest in even reducing the number of animals used for the most
    trivial of cosmetic testing. This gives animal rights people no hook, no
    offer of outreach. It is understandable why people would give up and decide
    that “Negotiation is over!” when it’s perfectly obvious that the
    pro-experimentation people are not at all interested in building a
    cooperative alliance to eliminate unnecessary cosmetic tests.]

    (So, how do you ‘real’ scientists view these other ‘scientists’ who drip
    toxins into rabbits’ eyes etc? Thought all scientists were supposed to be
    beavering away from a sense of pure altruism BE.)

    I have also referred several times to “Brute Science” by LaFollete &
    Shanks who tackle the moral argument.

    Let’s also not forget that it wasn’t that long ago in developed countries
    that certain groups of people were singled out for exploitation and
    experimentation , being likened to animals.Animals being of no account, it
    was easy to rationalise their abuse- blacks, slaves, ethnic minorities, the
    mentally ill, prisoners, and so on.

    Ironically it is science which is revealing more and more about the complex
    lives of animals, making it harder to justify experimenting on them, even if
    you do believe in vivisection .

    As far as I’m concerened, it’s totally unethical to defend a methodology which harms both animals
    and people,delays progress , gives patients false hope,and which may have
    lost us potential cures.

    From VERO

    Oxford Vivisectionists are Swimming Against the Tide

    Marius Maxwell
    As a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist with two decades of research
    experience, I feel qualified to contribute to the debate on non-human
    primate vivisection. The arguments of the Weatherall Committee defy much
    current scientific evidence, and have served only to confirm my view that
    the data supporting non-human primate vivisection are profoundly flawed and
    together with the moral case are indefensible.
    I concur with the findings of the crucial Perel study in the December 15th
    (2006) issue of the British Medical Journal (www.bmj.com), which represents
    a comprehensive and quantitative statistical meta-analysis to test the
    usefulness of a broad spectrum of animal based drug testing in predicting
    human outcomes. This analysis, which undermines the conclusions of the
    Weatherall Committee, found that only three of the six categories actually
    succeeded in predicting the results of subsequent human trials and that in
    all animal experimentation studied “the quality of the experiments was
    poor.” No better than the toss of a coin in other words. The predictive
    power may actually be even worse, since the study found evidence of broad
    publication bias in those experiments that did predict human outcome. They
    concluded that “Discordance between animal and human studies may be due to
    bias or to the failure of animal models to mimic clinical disease
    adequately.”
    Many are fond of claiming the importance of animal research to early
    scientific discoveries as if the same historical models bear any relevance
    at all to contemporary science. Obviously animal research in the past
    century, in the absence of better alternatives, has benefited mankind as did
    ancient studies of human anatomy. Michelangelo’s anatomical drawings and
    William Harvey’s description of human circulation spring to mind, but who
    would seriously argue that cadaveric dissection represents cutting-edge
    science today?
    The field of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) research was greatly stimulated by the
    therapeutic attempts of neurosurgeons using dopaminergic brain
    transplantation in animals and humans which came to the fore in the 1980’s
    and have since largely receded. There have been too many false positives to
    record here. Many possible false negatives may also have been ignored as
    part of widely documented publication bias. The most common non-human
    primate model of PD results from monkeys being poisoned with the neurotoxin
    MPTP. It is widely acknowledged that profound disparities (anatomical,
    physiological, neurochemical, pathological, and temporal) exist between the
    MPTP non-human primate model and humans with idiopathic PD. Despite these
    paramount concerns of human reproducibility, hundreds of studies involving
    thousands of animals have followed with conflicting and non-predictive
    results. There is no evidence to suggest that their overall predictive
    concordance to human PD treatment, if subjected to the meticulous
    quantitative analyses of Perel and co-workers above, would exceed the best
    case 50:50 coin toss probability established.
    Many are fond of claiming the importance of animal research to early
    scientific discoveries as if the same historical models bear any relevance
    at all to contemporary science. Obviously animal research in the past
    century, in the absence of better alternatives, has benefited mankind as did
    ancient studies of human anatomy. Michelangelo’s anatomical drawings and
    William Harvey’s description of human circulation spring to mind, but who
    would seriously argue that cadaveric dissection represents cutting-edge
    science today?
    The field of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) research was greatly stimulated by the
    therapeutic attempts of neurosurgeons using dopaminergic brain
    transplantation in animals and humans which came to the fore in the 1980’s
    and have since largely receded. There have been too many false positives to
    record here. Many possible false negatives may also have been ignored as
    part of widely documented publication bias. The most common non-human
    primate model of PD results from monkeys being poisoned with the neurotoxin
    MPTP. It is widely acknowledged that profound disparities (anatomical,
    physiological, neurochemical, pathological, and temporal) exist between the
    MPTP non-human primate model and humans with idiopathic PD. Despite these
    paramount concerns of human reproducibility, hundreds of studies involving
    thousands of animals have followed with conflicting and non-predictive
    results. There is no evidence to suggest that their overall predictive
    concordance to human PD treatment, if subjected to the meticulous
    quantitative analyses of Perel and co-workers above, would exceed the best
    case 50:50 coin toss probability established.

    The ‘spin’ perpetuated by overly credulous and biased media reporting that
    opponents of animal experimentation are ‘anti-science Luddites’ is hollow.
    How on earth can an animal researcher still claim to be pro-science while
    wilfully ignoring the vast body of current evidence undermining broad
    swathes of animal research? It is extraordinary how many media reports of
    the significance of recent studies casting doubt upon the accuracy and
    reliability of animal research are casually undermined by the irrelevant
    assertion that they will only serve as grist to the mill for “animal rights
    activists.” Surely the end-point of the debate should be human safety.
    Simply stated, the fact of the matter is that animal research in general has
    now been revealed to be dodgy science which ultimately endangers human
    lives.

    It is clear to anyone who cares to study the matter closely, honestly and
    objectively that the scientific justification for non-human primate
    vivisection is unsound. I cannot accept that its practitioners really
    believe it to be morally or ethically defensible either. The argument that
    supports non-human primate experimentation because of close kinship to
    humans but, blind to their moral worth, denies them ethical rights is
    sinister and repugnant. The resigned and credulous “Nasty but necessary”
    defence of non-human primate research coined by a Guardian Leader (13th
    December, 2006) is simplistic, naive, and selectively ignores the mountain
    of conflicting scientific data.
    Sadly, history reminds us that doctors and scientists have often been blind
    to the moral dimensions of their work. It is instructive to recall that only
    little more than sixty years ago, unspeakable and nightmarish forced human
    vivisection was performed by the notorious Unit 731 of the Japanese Army
    during development of their wartime chemical and biological weapons
    programmes (The Guardian, 27th November, 2006).

    Indeed, the Toxicology Working Group of the House of Lords Select Committee
    on Animals in Scientific procedures in 2002 recommended that “the
    reliability and relevance of all existing animal tests should be reviewed as
    a matter of urgency.”
    Following the recent catastrophic Northwick Park clinical study, 250 MPs (a
    clear majority of those eligible to do so) signed Early Day Motion 92: “That
    this House, in common with Europeans for Medical Progress, expresses its
    concerns regarding the safeguarding of public health through data obtained
    from laboratory animals, particularly in light of large numbers of serious
    and fatal adverse drug reactions that were not predicted from animal
    studies; is concerned that the Government has not commissioned or evaluated
    any formal research on the efficacy of animal experiments, and has no plans
    to do so; and, in common with 83 per cent of general practitioners in a
    recent survey, calls upon the Government to facilitate an independent and
    transparent scientific evaluation of the use of animals as surrogate humans
    in drug safety testing and medical research.”

    BMJ 2004;328:514-517 (28 February), doi:10.1136/bmj.328.7438.514
    Education and debate
    Where is the evidence that animal research benefits humans?
    Pandora Pound, research fellow1, Shah Ebrahim, professor1, Peter Sandercock,
    professor2, Michael B Bracken, professor3, Ian Roberts, professor4,
    Reviewing Animal Trials Systematically (RATS)

    I AGREE we need an open dialogue about animal experimentation
    issues It is now widely acknowledged that, like humans,
    animals suffer pain and distress. Researchers have described
    depression and anxiety disorders in animals used in
    experiments.
    Many excuses historically used to justify abuses of human
    research subjects are now offered to defend animal research
    practices. We must reconsider the protection of animals and
    also the failures of animal experimentation.
    Genetic differences across species manifest as profound
    differences in disease physiology and treatment effectiveness.
    That explains why more than 80 HIV/Aids vaccines and
    approximately 150 stroke treatments successful in animals have
    failed in human trials.
    A move towards computer models, human cell lines and other
    human-based methods would be both ethically and scientifically
    superior.
    Dr Hope Ferdowsian, Physicians Committee for Responsible
    Medicine, Washington DC, USA

  27. #27 SisterMaryLoquacious
    March 19, 2010

    there seems to be alot of ad hominem attacks, erroneous assumptions, sweeping generalizations, and inaccurate representations of others’ arguments going on in here.

    booooooooo.

    it is soooooo disappointing when open communication, careful understanding, and reasonable progress are murdered in favor of a perceived “win” in any disagreement. makes me feel like i’m watching a cock-fight, or c-span, or a nasty divorce.

    what a pity. so many of you seem so intelligent and passionate. too bad not many of you seem remotely interested in finding common ground or resolving any of these issues.

    disclaimer: this is not directed at everyone here! i just didn’t think it would be prudent to single out individuals.

  28. #28 gray Stanback
    March 31, 2010

    The way I see it, animal rights activists wont be satisfied until a nematode is elected President of the United States.

  29. #29 gray Stanback
    March 31, 2010

    The way I see it, animal rights activists wont be satisfied until a nematode is elected President of the United States.

  30. #30 GoAnimalTesting
    August 27, 2010

    I think we should experiment on animal rights activists, it would be cheaper and better, and we would be getting rid of a few profoundly retarded people because we all know animal rights is retarded.

    Animals wouldn’t give us rights, hell no they would just gobble us up, so why should we give them rights?

    Humanity has fought long and hard for this planet, we are not giving it back to animals!

  31. #31 GoAnimalTesting
    August 27, 2010

    PS. Dear User Life, you are retarded, please do not have children and pollute the human gene pool, if you must, then go hump an animal, thank you.

  32. #32 elaine
    March 7, 2011

    I realize I am 8 months behind here, but I can’t help but think that all this activism is also driving animal research to other countries where animal welfare is extremely low on priority lists. With human rights not even high on China’s list, and since they are an up an coming scientific mecca, I cringe to think how their lab animals are faring.

  33. #33 Ginger Peterson
    July 7, 2011

    Dr. Orac,
    I read your recent blog entry, and found parts of it to be pretty funny. Especially your description of how you are perceived as being ” … researchers as sadistic mini-Mengeles..or “In the twisted world of animal rights extremists, any scientist who does animal research must be a cackling sadist getting his rocks off on the suffering and killing of animals. ” Just made me laugh as a comparison of the story previously mentioned. Also, the irony of activists demanding that all animals be “liberated” while walking their dogs on leashes while passing Ringach’s house. It is a bit humorous in a satirical sense. I’d like to think of myself as an animal rights advocate, but there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what is morally correct which makes things quite frustrating. When I got involved I thought that everything was pretty straight-forward, and everyone was on the same page. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s already such a small minority that identifies themselves as vegans/vegetarians, but now vegans seem to want to further isolate themselves from vegetarians.

    I was curious, if you don’t mind me asking, why do you put the word “vivisection” in quotations?

    You say that you are opposed to animal cruelty, which most people appear to be, and probably practice in alignment with your ethical code, and try to reduce suffering as much as possible, but I’m going to assume here, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, this is only in regards to the physical suffering of the animal? Do you also take in to consideration the psychological suffering? I always found that so fascinating about meat eaters. The most important thing to them is that the animal doesn’t physically suffer, but no one seems to consider the psychological component.

  34. #34 Rogue Epidemiologist
    July 7, 2011

    1. This is not a recent blog entry. This is pretty freakin’ old, considering the thread ended in March, and Orac posts on a near-daily basis.

    2. I’m not Orac, but I eat meat. I am not concerned with the psychological welfare of my meat. Is my meat force-fed hormones and unnecessary antibiotics? Is it slaughtered under unsanitary conditions? Is it raised in sickly conditions? I care about those things. Is my meat happy? No, sorry, I hadn’t considered it until you mentioned it. And I wonder what you mean because the meat is dead when it’s served to me. At that point, I don’t think it cares.

    Anyway, your post is a hit and run as is mine, and we’ve seen your name come up before. I sure hope no one feeds the trolls beyond this.

    And for what it’s worth, I have friends who work for PETA, and I really like them.

  35. #35 Antaeus Feldspar
    July 7, 2011

    I was curious, if you don’t mind me asking, why do you put the word “vivisection” in quotations?

    I, also, am not Orac, but I presume the reason he puts the word “vivisection” in quotations is because much of what is called vivisection by extremists just simply isn’t. The word has a specific meaning: it is surgery conducted for experimental purposes on an organism while it is still living. But because the term has a nasty sound and nasty associations, there are some who choose to call all animal experimentation vivisection, even experiments that don’t involve surgery at all.

    Mature adults generally understand that debating things in a rational fashion includes using words to convey actual meaning, and not abusing them just to trigger knee-jerk reactions or insert premises without examination. Unfortunately, mature adults sometimes need to discuss views put forth by people who can’t or won’t abide by that social contract.

    For an example, pretend that I’m a fanatic who believes for religious reasons that the earth is flat and that it’s heretical to express any dissenting view. I might demand to know whether you will bow to my insistence on a flat earth in the following unfair phrasing: “Do you insist on clinging to your sinful heresy?” How do you respond to that?

    If you don’t challenge the use of “sinful heresy,” I can pretend that you’ve agreed with my view that the scientific truth of a spheroid world is a heresy. If you go into great detail about why you don’t agree that the spheroid-earth view is heretical, I’ve still won by dragging the discussion off the actual topic, that of the shape of the earth. The best approach is probably to either ignore my “heresy” allegations, or, if they must be addressed, to put them in quotation marks, to indicate that you are only discussing what I am calling “heresy,” not endorsing that characterization.

  36. #36 Ginger Peterson
    July 7, 2011

    Rogue-I’m not sure what you mean by “feeding the trolls”, and I don’t think you have seen my name in here before.

  37. #37 JayK
    July 7, 2011

    @Antaeus Feldspar: Here is the only mention of “Ginger Peterson” on the blog:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/03/animal_rights_terrorists_target_students.php#comment-3565262

    Turns out she thinks she’s a therapist. You probably nailed it on the head, but you forgot to mention she is a necromancer as well.

  38. #38 Ginger peterson
    July 7, 2011

    Wow did I enter hostile territory…

  39. #39 Ginger Peterson
    July 7, 2011

    I guess the idea for some here is to get a reaction by using abusive, denegrating comments, but I’m just trying to gain insight in to this whole thing. It looks like emotions are running very strong on this blog.

  40. #40 Chris
    July 7, 2011

    You should lurk a bit more, and actually read some of the more recent postings. And as a general rule, it is often bad form to start posting comments on an old article, this one being well over a year old. Hence the comment about being a necromancer.

  41. #41 Ginger Peterson
    July 7, 2011

    Wow is there a manual for this, or just an unspoken rule? 😉

  42. #42 JayK
    July 8, 2011

    Ginger, the video at the link I posted before is proof enough of your intentions. Don’t belittle us all by pretending as if you have an objective reason for dredging up an old animal rights thread. Most of the commenters on this blog have advanced degrees and above normal IQ’s. You can be passive-aggressive all you want, but I doubt you’ll gain a bit of respect for it.

  43. #43 Ginger Peterson
    July 8, 2011

    Yes I suppose this type of blog would only attract those with advanced degrees, or others who are voracious readers, and claim to be “self-educated”. I’m not being passive aggressive that’s silly. I abhor passive aggressiveness. One of my colleagues is very passive aggressive…sorry you hit a nerve 😛

    I guess, ( at this point anyway)what I’m trying to understand is why emotions are running so strongly on this particular blog? So much so that I’m perceived as a threat, and most feel the need to launch pre-emptive strikes?

  44. #44 Chris
    July 8, 2011

    Ginger, the rules have been around since the era of Usenet Newsgroups. Sometimes they were even posted in a form of “Frequently Asked Questions” for newcomers (which I first read back when we had a phone modem). It has always been a good idea before jumping into any discussion to lurk for a while and learn about the general “climate.”

  45. #45 JayK
    July 8, 2011

    @Ginger: “One of your colleagues” would be in an office with a single lead psychologist in which you currently are employed as a 6-month intern?

    You obviously aren’t objective, which is why I view you as nothing more than a fraudulent troll.

  46. #46 Ginger Peterson
    July 8, 2011

    I was responding to Orac’s blog, that was all. I usually don’t bother to read the comments section because it’s usually the same “you suck… no you suck” rhetoric without any real thought put behind it. I was simply trying to gain some insight into the world of medical research, and some of the various perspectives that have developed as result of engaging in this kind of work. I’m finding out quickly however, that this is not the best way to go about doing so. Actually, what I’ve noticed is many of the underlying behaviors are similar to those who have been dubbed “extremists”. Similar behaviors…similar characteristics….I should design a study.

  47. #47 Chris
    July 8, 2011

    What made you decide to comment on an article written in February of 2010?

  48. #48 JayK
    July 8, 2011

    @Ginger: I see you are still unable to admit to the fact that you aren’t objective about this subject, that your strong bias is well documented as a youtube video. There is no reason to treat you as genuine. You are neither a scientist nor a professional, by the look of things. You might be working on the piece of paper, but you appear to lack the essential ethical components necessary to “design a study”.

  49. #49 E-Dogg
    July 8, 2011

    I LOVE Ginger Peterson! She was merely trying to ask some questions and, while understanding JayK’s fear of where Ginger was going with this, I believe, with all due respect, that he jumped the gun on attacking her. I think Chris was being helpful and merely tried to show Ginger about newbie rules on a forum.

    In no way am I trying to start something up right now or become a “troll.” I mean no offense to anything contained in my comment.

    I did want to express though that I really do love this girl. She is truly a good freakin friend. I also know this isn’t the best place to express my love for her, but I wanted to use the opportunity to do so. If anybody is going to bash her though, please pick on me instead.

    Thanks,

    E

  50. #50 JayK
    July 8, 2011

    Dude, I sat through almost a minute of her video. Pure farking torture. I do feel sorry for anyone that goes to her for “therapy”.

  51. #51 Antaeus Feldspar
    July 8, 2011

    Ginger, I’ll answer your question seriously.  I think people are overreacting to your comments, but I think there’s very understandable reasons why.

    You seem sincere, and frankly you seem pretty nice.  But over the years we’ve seen a lot of people who pretend to be sincere and nice when they’re actually here with ulterior motives.  There are those, for instance, who are here to employ a propaganda technique called JAQ (or sometimes “JAQing off”) where the JAQ stands for “just asking questions.”  

    The person employing this technique pretends to be someone they’re not; they show up in the comments of a post, usually an old post, and start “asking questions”:

    “Gee golly!  Everyone seems so smart at this place!  (Note the feigned wide-eyed innocence, and the pre-emptive stroking of egos; these are designed to get people to lower their guards.)  I’ve only started learning about this whole vaccination controversy in the last few months, so it’s all new and confusing to me.  (If they told the truth, that they have been suing a vaccine manufacturer for the past five years, they would be correctly recognized as having an interest that prevents them from being neutral on the subject.  By lying, they get to pretend that their views originate from unbiased observation, which they do not.)

    “Maybe there’s a good answer to this question, and I just don’t know it ’cause I’m so new to all of this (phony humility) but really, is there any good reason why all those big, huge multinational conglomerates that make the vaccines (note that judgmental characterization slipped in there, where “vaccine manufacturers” is the term that someone who was actually neutral on the subject would have used) have to put toxins like mercury in the first place??  (Yes, and it’s such basic information that there’s no excuse for someone who’s been involved in the debate for any real length of time to not know it:  the “toxins like mercury” that anti-vaccine activists rail against are there to keep bacteria from contaminating the vaccine and endangering the life and health of everyone who receives it.  If the substance used wasn’t “toxic” in any way, shape or form, it would not kill the bacteria.)  I mean, look at how toxic mercury is; wasn’t there some awful incident in Japan where they all got mercury poisoning and virtually all the kids got autism-like symptoms?  (Again, there’s no excuse for someone who’s been in the debate for any length of time to not know the truth that these statements are intended to conceal:  the mercury to which the residents of Minamata Bay were exposed was methyl mercury; the mercury that was used as a vaccine preservative was ethyl mercury.  The two have wildly different effects, just as the effects of ethyl (grain) alcohol are radically different from those of methyl (wood) alcohol.  And the symptoms experienced by the residents of Minamata, while severe and debilitating, were not at all like autism.  But by pretending to not know any better, the JAQing commenter can continue to push the Big Lies that they want people to believe.)

    It might sound like paranoia to think that people would come here and propagandize in such a dishonest manner, but we’ve caught people at it.  They pretend to be curious about our beliefs, but they’re really there to push theirs.  That’s one reason they prefer to comment on posts that have been dead for weeks or months; their comments will show up on Google searches and will contribute to a FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) effect, but the chance that anyone will show up and actually answer their questions is minimized.

    Now I have reasons to think that you might be actually sincere, enough so that I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.  (I’d rather not elaborate on what they are, because, well, that would tell insincere people what it is they need to fake.)  But I can also see a lot of warning flags that apparently caused others to believe you weren’t.  It’s not just the necromancy (posting on a thread that’s been dead a long time) but also presenting yourself as looking to others for their views on the subject (“there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what is morally correct which makes things quite frustrating…”) while elsewhere you are apparently decided enough on your own views to post at least one YouTube video presumably promoting those views to others.  Admittedly, I have not seen that video myself, so I am going by the descriptions of others, but I think you can see how that would come across as suspicious to people who have seen the “just asking questions” technique in action.

  52. #52 Ginger Peterson
    July 8, 2011

    Thank you, Antaeus, I really appreciate that, and yes I do have many questions, but after what I have experienced I don’t think that this is the appropriate place to ask them, but once again I do appreciate the explanation 🙂

  53. #53 Chris
    July 9, 2011

    Ms. Peterson, thank you for realizing that posting on an old article is not quite appropriate.

    Please in the future when you find a discussion on something that interests you to look at the time stamp, and then read the more recent articles of that blog or website. See if it a major interest, and to lurk enough to get familiar with the general tone of the forum before commenting.

  54. #54 augustine
    July 9, 2011

    Chris

    Please in the future when you find a discussion on something that interests you to look at the time stamp, and then read the more recent articles of that blog or website.

    Chris, Why do you care? Is this some sort of undiagnosed neurosis peculiar to you? Or do ALL sciencebloggers have this neurosis about the so called “necromancer”? Who cares if she commented 5 years from now?

    Is this tied into the “have to be right all the time” and “have to make sure I get the last word in” complex that seems to be a prevalent characteristic among SBM?

    Is it genetic, did your family raise you that way, or is it a learned behavior?

    If one wants Sgt-at-Arms Chris’s attention all they have to do is make a comment on an old thread. Ten-hut. Thread Police is here.

  55. #55 Chris
    July 9, 2011

    Wow, Little Augie, you really are an idiot. Too bad such rank stupidity is not painful, though it must be hard to feel anything given your lack of brain cells.

  56. #56 novalox
    July 9, 2011

    @Chris

    Well, that’s augie’s “christian” love showing right there.

  57. #57 augustine
    July 9, 2011

    Chris

    Wow, Little Augie, you really are an idiot. Too bad such rank stupidity is not painful, though it must be hard to feel anything given your lack of brain cells.

    Thread honor preserved: check.
    Feelings of superiority and righteousness: check.
    Last word in: check

    Diagnosis confirmed.

  58. #58 Gray Falcon
    July 9, 2011

    Augustine, is there a point to anything you say or do? Because I still haven’t found one.

  59. #59 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    July 9, 2011

    GF: “Augustine, is there a point to anything you say or do? Because I still haven’t found one.”

    Why expect there to be any point to augie or anything he excretes anywhere?

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