Respectful Insolence

I have to admit, this one made me chuckle.

In an earlier post today, in which I expressed my outrage at animal rights terrorists targeting an investigator’s children for harassment at their school, I asked the following question:

That reminds me: Where were these animal rights loons 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?

Paul Browne responded in the comments:

Perhaps crank magnetism also acts as a force field that protects cranks from other cranks.

I suspect the AR extremists took one look at AoA or Generation Rescue and thought “these folk are even more unbalanced than we are…and there are more of them. Lets find an easier target; somebody who is doing ethical and scientifically sound research and doesn’t have an army of cranks to call on”.

Well, Paul, you may have a point. A commenter named Raging Bee made the point even more explicit:

These people are bullies, and bullies are cowards. (Why do you think they harass rich women who wear fur, but not bikers who wear leather?)

Exactly. Camille Marino and her crew clearly think that, given that Ringach had little choice but to stop doing primate research after his family was harassed and threatened in 2006, such bullying tactics will work again.

Comments

  1. #1 Adam_Y
    February 24, 2010

    Exactly. Camille Marino and her crew clearly think that, given that Ringach had little choice but to stop doing primate research after his family was harassed and threatened in 2006, such bullying tactics will work again.

    You know I don’t particularly like it sometimes but Encyclopedia Dramatica had a pretty good takedown of her on the website.

  2. #2 Mu
    February 24, 2010
  3. #3 Mu
    February 24, 2010

    P.S.: That’s a hoax, don’t take it serious.

  4. #4 Paul
    February 24, 2010

    Suddenly, I see the hypocrisy of disliking the fur trade whilst wearing a leather jacket.

    However, I’d feel more guilty if cows were cute and not filled with beef.

  5. #5 FreeSpeaker
    February 24, 2010

    “Where were these animal rights loons 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?”

    Gee, whillikers, what makes you think that no one has done so? No, I am not saying that I did, but, there are phsyicians groups that supposedly monitor these things. I did check out their website, and did ask a question.
    ;)

  6. #6 BKsea
    February 24, 2010

    Following on Paul’s comment (#4), I think one could argue that cows have been incredibly successful as a species by being docile and tasty. How many cows would there be in the world if they weren’t?

  7. #7 CaptTu
    February 24, 2010

    While the extremism of the so called AR activists on negotiationisover.com is disturbing… they have a comment section towards the bottom of the page… where a majority of the postings are not agreeing with the website’s views. Will be interesting to see if those comments are ever moderated into obscurity.

  8. #8 Paul
    February 24, 2010

    I’m a little reluctant to suggest this, but I don’t think you can accurately claim that the Wakefield macaques were tortured. I have read the unedited accepted manuscript of ‘Delayed Acquisition of Neonatal Reflexes in Newborn Primates…’ (since the published study has been withdrawn), and it says the macaques were simply vaccinated in a similar way to human babies and various reflexes were assessed.

    There is no mention of them being killed at the end of the study, so I’m guessing they are still alive, ready for the next instalment of the continuing series of vaccine studies they seem to be the subjects of. Given enough time and ingenuity I’m sure they can squeeze some convincing evidence of vaccine damage out the these furry little chaps.

    No doubt animal rights activists would consider these macaques to be political prisoners, but I don’t think they were tortured, not even sleep-deprived and water-boarded.

  9. #9 synapse
    February 24, 2010

    @Paul: Monkeys grow up much faster than people, so these monkeys would have been given shots much more frequently than human babies are to remain on an equivalent schedule. I wouldn’t really call that torture, but it’s worse for the monkeys than it is for babies. In any case, good monkeys shouldn’t be wasted on bad science.

  10. #10 LovleAnjel
    February 24, 2010

    Paul, they consider all lab animal conditions to be torture. Especially with primates kept in their solitary cages (about 2m x 2m, barred, facing a black wall), subjected to (what is to the monkey) a frightening procedure involving heavy handling, restraint, and injection.

    There is a reason they aim their pee at you through the cage bars.

  11. #11 DLC
    February 24, 2010

    They have all the hallmarks of cranks, but with bully syndrome included, which makes them borderline personalities.
    they use all the typical gambits — false equivalence, straw men, special pleading and more. You know, I can even understand not wanting people to do animal testing that is unnecessary or testing it on animals because that’s cheaper than live cultures or simulations. But the truth is, sometimes you have to use animals. It’s not actually convenient or easy, and oftentimes difficult even to get approval, let alone get staffing. What grad student wants to waste their time cleaning out cages or taking 50 sets of vital signs every 4 hours ? None. and not many undergrads either. As a matter of fact, at one school where such research was going on, a reliable source (a TA I was dating at the time) told me that it was considered a right of passage to have to spend a semester doing those sorts of chores. I want to emphasize — nobody is talking about gratuitously inflicting pain on animals here.
    But nobody is going back to the “golden age before animal testing”, because none such exists.

  12. #12 marcia
    February 24, 2010

    Um, why protest fur? Go to the PETA site and watch animals killed for their fur being stomped on and skinned alive only to live 10 more minutes without their skin. Go ahead, watch it.

    To equate that with the quick death suffered by leather-producers is
    just plain wrong to those who care about the treatment of our distant cousins.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1043067/Fur-goodness-sake-Skinned-alive-catwalk.html

  13. #13 marcia
    February 24, 2010

    Sorry,
    I forgot to include the skinning alive of animals for their fur. You need not go to PETA. It’s right on youtube:

    http://blog.timesunion.com/animalrights/johnny-weirs-fur/1442/

  14. #14 Chris
    February 24, 2010

    So, marcia, why is leather okay? (really read what was written above)

  15. #15 T. Bruce McNeely
    February 24, 2010

    marcia:
    The reporter is getting her information from an animal rights group. I consider information from ARA groups to be extremely suspect until proven otherwise. I know that the claims they make about animal research are largely exaggerated or completely untrue. Why should it be any different for fur?

  16. #16 ababa
    February 24, 2010

    Animal rights groups also thrive on using cute animals and extreme visuals to make their point. I don’t recall seeing a lot of rats in their videos. They also directly insinuate that the extreme cases are the norm. I’m immediately suspect of the manipulation techniques.

    It’s just like those creepy circumcision activists. They love to make their “demonstration” videos dramatic and add extra sounds for effect.

  17. #17 marciav
    February 24, 2010

    Chris,

    Are those animals skinned for their fur ethically treated? Leather producers most often die with a quick blow. An animal killed in the wild most often dies with a quick blow, strangulation, bite, etc. Cows usually have a degree of freedom before their quick death. Fur producers have little freedom and nasty, unnatural deaths. That’s musch less ethical.

    BTW, I’m a vegetarian and am wearing a pair of faux leather, synthetic sneakers right now. But, so what. One cannot truly compare the fur industry with the leather industry as Paul has done with his comment that Orac has highlighted.

    The research on the fur trade is there. You can find it.

  18. #18 Chris
    February 24, 2010

    So is fur from farmed animals okay? Mink are often raised in farms (which have been raided by animal rights activists where the animals are released with tragic results).

    Personally I like the idea of someone not wanting to confront a very big guy wearing studded leather.

  19. #19 marcia
    February 24, 2010

    The crowding and confinement is extremely distressing to mink — solitary animals who may occupy as much as 2,500 acres (10 km²) of wetland habitat in the wild. Life in a cage leads minks to self-mutilate — biting at their skin, tails, and feet — and frantically pace and circle endlessly. Zoologists at Oxford University who studied captive mink found that, despite generations of being bred for fur, minks have not been domesticated and suffer greatly in captivity, especially if they are not given the opportunity to swim.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fur_farming

    There are plenty of videos of caged mink to view.

  20. #20 Chris
    February 24, 2010

    You are straying into off-topic land. How does this relate to the total silence to the “made for court studies” done by Wakefield and friends?

    Yeah, sure, you have an issue with fur, but not really with leather… and not with using petroleum products (faux fur).

    But using primates in questionable studies is also okay with you. Because why should children have vaccines, they are just silly humans who will eat animals. Which is probably why animal activists think it is just fine to threaten the children of a researcher.

    You are what I would call an “issue troll.” You have a google alert on your pet issue and show up where ever it is discussed, ignoring what the actual discussion is about. Just like Dana Ullman on homeopathy and Jed Rothwell on cold fusion. I suggest you be ignored until you can post on topic.

  21. #21 Party Cactus
    February 24, 2010

    I wonder what Camille Marino and other loonies think of Mary Beth Sweetland, the PETA VP who uses insulin?

  22. #22 MikeMa
    February 24, 2010

    marcia,
    How does mistreating mink become the excuse to terrorize young children?
    How does releasing mink almost all of whom die very quickly and tragically in the wild make sense? Or mice?
    How does firebombing a house ever make sense?

  23. #23 dogmatichaos
    February 24, 2010

    After reading the comments and justifications of Camille Marino and her like, I can’t help but feel they would feel completely at home in a cave next door to Osama Bin Laden. I have little problem saying that without a hint of sarcasm, as its nearly the exact same sort of mindset that leads to this type of terrorist thinking and actions.

  24. #24 marcia
    February 24, 2010

    Give me a break, Chris. Orac knows I’m no troll. Orac’s post was about comments, one being by a gentleman named Paul.

    My comments have been directed to Orac’s quoting Paul.

    I agree with Orac on most things pseudoscience and quackery. I have a bit of difference of opinion on ethical treatment of animals. I’m no terrorist. I’ve never protested. I’m a concerned citizen who wants the best treatment for our distant cousins.

    There are degrees of poor treatment. Fur producers are not treated well at all. Cows, much better.

    Go ahead. You can have your last word.

  25. #25 Chris
    February 24, 2010

    Work on your reading comprehension, Paul said:

    I suspect the AR extremists took one look at AoA or Generation Rescue and thought “these folk are even more unbalanced than we are…and there are more of them. Lets find an easier target; somebody who is doing ethical and scientifically sound research and doesn’t have an army of cranks to call on”.

    Yeah, the bit about being “unbalanced” was all about fur, not! You are not a terrorist, but a single issue troll. That is all.

  26. #26 Chris
    February 24, 2010

    Also Paul said:

    These people are bullies, and bullies are cowards. (Why do you think they harass rich women who wear fur, but not bikers who wear leather?)

    From him describing the activists as bullies and cowards, because the they go after fur wearing bullies and not bikers in leather… you got it in your head that this was only about fur?

    Yes, you are a single issue troll.

  27. #27 Pareidolius
    February 25, 2010

    From Camille’s “Troll Policy”

    I created “Negotiation is Over” to promote abolition, veganism, and activism. Everyone is free to discuss issues, but understand that this is not a neutral forum. [Then you are a liar] I define a “troll” as an individual who posts comments designed to instigate unproductive debate and promote anti-AR propaganda. Pro-sadism diatribes will be deleted. Hate comments will be deleted. Comments containing other people’s personal information will be deleted. [unless it's a researcher's kids' preschool] Sexist comments will be deleted. Ad hominems will be deleted. [only if they're about me] Unproductive Debate: The point at which discussions cease to foster an exchange of critical ideas. [i.e. anything critical of us] This is a forum for vegans. We demand respect in our “home”.

    [italics mine]

    She sounds like a screechy, Maoist idealogue but she looks like a New Jersey Mafia housewife . . .”yo, nice track suit Camille”. Oh, that was ad hominem wasn’t it? That, and I was eating a BLT whilst in her “home”.

  28. #28 Christophe Thill
    February 25, 2010

    Where are the FBI and anti-domestic-terrorism laws when you need them ? Why are those maniacs not rotting in jail already ?

  29. #29 Paul Browne
    February 25, 2010

    (Other) Paul “I’m a little reluctant to suggest this, but I don’t think you can accurately claim that the Wakefield macaques were tortured. I have read the unedited accepted manuscript of ‘Delayed Acquisition of Neonatal Reflexes in Newborn Primates…’ (since the published study has been withdrawn), and it says the macaques were simply vaccinated in a similar way to human babies and various reflexes were assessed.”

    You are absolutely right. I had intended to raise Orac’s inappropriate use of the word “torture” with respect to the Wakefield/Hewitson macaque study but was distracted by other points. I know Orac was using the term for dramatic effect but I still think it was unwise of him.

    As you point out the interventions these monkeys experienced were little different from what thousands of human babies experience every day in maternity wards across the country, in fact many babies, particularly those in the NICU, experience considerably more invasive treatment. It certainly isn’t torture for the human babies and it wasn’t for the monkeys in the Wakefield/Hewitson study.

    What made this study unethical was not the detail of the procedures conducted but the overall conception and design of the study, which were seriously flawed. Orac has discussed these flaws in depth in recent posts.

    The only thing that Wakefield and Hewitson tortured was the data!

    One thing though, Hewitson appears to have left Pittsburgh under something of a cloud a few months ago, so the good news is that it is most unlikely that this study will be taken any further.

  30. #30 sophia8
    February 25, 2010

    Marcia, that “Chinese fur farming’ video is deeply suspect. Nobody who kills animals for their fur will skin an animal alive. Completely apart from the horrific cruelty involved – which, if it were a regular practice, would soon be exposed in much more than a single Youtube video – getting blood on the fur ruins it; plus, skinning a live animal is incredibly difficult. Those reasons and more are why why fur hunters and breeders kill the animal before skinning it. And those idiots doing the skinning in that video were clearly doing it for the first time – I’ve seen experienced people skinning animals and its just not done that way.
    Also, that video has been around for over a decade yet the people who filmed it have always refused to identify any of the people and places in it. You’d almost think they didn’t want these people exposed and prosecuted for animal cruelty.

  31. #31 sophia8
    February 25, 2010

    Apologies if my post above was a bit OT. But that dammed torture-porn propaganda video keeps getting dragged up in any animal-rights related discussion, so it constantly needs squashing.
    The sad fact is that the violent end of the AR gang watch propaganda videos like this to gee them up for a good hate session. It’s their version of the prolifers’ Silent Scream video, in fact.

  32. #32 bones
    February 25, 2010

    Personally, I despise the individual who screams “SAVE THE WHALE!!!”, while stepping over the homeless.

    If we can’t treat ourselves with some semblance of dignity, what hope do we have in treating “others” with the dignity that they too deserve?

    Don’t mean to wax philosophical…I just think any and all fundamentalists need a good smack upside the head.

    Uhhhhh….not that I’m promoting violence.

  33. #33 daedalus2u
    February 25, 2010

    Why aren’t the ARA organizations designated to be the terrorist organizations that they are. That would make providing any “material support” to them a criminal act. Put the ARA donor base in prision and the groups will wither.

  34. #34 Raging Bee
    February 25, 2010

    …watch animals killed for their fur being stomped on and skinned alive only to live 10 more minutes without their skin.

    I smell bullshit here. First, there’s no practical reason to skin any animal while it’s still alive; Removing skin from an animal in such a way that it can be most profitably sold requires a bit of precision — enough that the animal should be dead and not resisting, at the very least.

    And second, only an idiot would stomp on fur that’s supposed to be sold in the best possible condition to discerning rich buyers.

    Also, this story conflicts with more plausible horror-stories I’ve heard, which state that the animals are killed by a needle through the eye, to AVOID damage to the fur.

  35. #35 Mojo
    February 25, 2010

    Also, this story conflicts with more plausible horror-stories I’ve heard, which state that the animals are killed by a needle through the eye, to AVOID damage to the fur.

    The ones I’ve heard are more in line with the alleged fate of Edward II.

  36. #36 Paul
    February 25, 2010

    For clarity, I’m the Paul that made the point that the macaques weren’t tortured by most people’s definitions of the word, not Paul Browne.

    @synapse If you read the study, the macaques were given one shot of Hep B vaccine spiked with thimerosal at birth, no other vaccines.

    At least they weren’t subjected to unnecessary endoscopy and lumbar punctures. Dr (at time of writing) Wakefield apparently reserves that honour for human children.

  37. #37 Todd W.
    February 25, 2010

    @Paul

    Correction: The study states that they were given one shot of Hep B vaccine, but we do not know what else was done to them outside that study. IIRC, they were meant to be part of a larger study following a “normal” course of vaccinations.

    Also, the way I read Orac’s statement was using “torture” in the manner that the ARAs would use the term. In other words, any research at all on animals is “torture”.

  38. #38 katydid13
    February 25, 2010

    @daedalus2u The FBI gets their hands slapped every time they start looking at domestic terrorists. The last report they did on the issue freaked republicans because while clearly focused on violent groups, out of context some of the groups sounds like they veered a little too close to their core constitency. (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt by saying I don’t think they were really supporting violent skinheads.)

    The civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam War groups were targets of FBI investigations as terrorists. While, terrorist groups (think the Weathermen) lots of non-violent groups were harrassed as threats to America.

    While, I think it should be simple to seperate groups that use or advocate violence from legitimate groups using their first amendment rights, we don’t have a good history with it in the US.

  39. #39 wfjag
    February 25, 2010

    @bones:
    “Personally, I despise the individual who screams “SAVE THE WHALE!!!”, while stepping over the homeless.

    If we can’t treat ourselves with some semblance of dignity, what hope do we have in treating “others” with the dignity that they too deserve?

    Don’t mean to wax philosophical…I just think any and all fundamentalists need a good smack upside the head.

    Uhhhhh….not that I’m promoting violence.”

    Meanwhile, at SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla., Tilikum the Killer Whale seems to be even-ing the score. At SeaWorld, the score is Orcas 3, People 0.

    (Tikikum isn’t promoting violence, either. Just good ole Orca fun).

  40. #40 KevinL
    February 25, 2010

    I think you’ll find protestors aim at the most high-profile experiments, or the ones they know of – in the countless number of animal experiments being undertaken each year, the fact that some woo-based ones escaped attention is not surprising – I’m sure you could hold up any number of other studies that haven’t been attacked, too.

    I’d be very very surprised to find any AR activist who was willing to let Wakefield’s experiments slide – they represent _exactly_ the sort of mis-handling despised. The use of animals may be beneficial or needed in some cases, but without strong controls over exactly how it’s done, it’s just wasted lives.

    Disclaimer: The above is very much my view – I wouldn’t go to violence, but I believe something stinks around the use of animals in science. It has been reported elsewhere that a truly staggering number of animal experiments are linked to studies whose results are suspect for a variety of procedural reasons (ie. often animals lives are wasted in poorly designed or poorly managed studies), this is _exactly_ what Wakefield’s study is, and it _exactly_ the sort of thing AR activists loathe. So the strawman that makes up the basis of this article (that AR people are perfectly happy to let Wakefield and his ilk practice bad science) is, to me, exactly the sort of tactic the loony woo crowd uses against sceptics. Poor form, Orac.

  41. #41 Mike Crichton
    February 26, 2010

    Raging Bee: And second, only an idiot would stomp on fur that’s supposed to be sold in the best possible condition to discerning rich buyers.

    I _think_ the implication was that they were stomped after being skinned. Which is still idiotic. Personally, I’d bet the video in question was made by the activists themselves, rationalizing it as “For the greater good”.

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