I’ll admit I haven’t listened to the whole course yet, but it reeks of the stuff I had to read while working in animal research. It appears to be a pretty accurate picture of the scientists’ point of view concerning animal welfare.
I’m not defending or attacking anybody here. This mess, and my opinion of it, is too huge and complicated for me to summarize it in one journal post. But if you were looking for a good introduction to how scientists look at animal research, and where they are coming from when they say, “But we are doing everything we can for the animals in our care,” this is where a lot of them are standing right now. The jargon and the general attitudes are appropriate and seem pretty representative.
They aren’t cackling and rubbing their hands together, drooling over the prospect of thousands of dead mice. On the other hand, these animals routinely undergo experiences we would not inflict on our pets.
Posted in animal research, self-education
Tagged 2013, Alan Goldberg, alternatives to animal testing, animal research, animal welfare, Enhancing Humane Science, how to, humane, husbandry, James Owiny, johns hopkins university, lectures, mice, online course, research, science
The Huffington Post recently featured an editorial by William T. Talman, M.D., defending animal research. It’s a…poisonous little read, interesting primarily in that it runs, as though on rails, through the scientific community’s long-standing, standard responses to the animal welfarists’ long-standing, standard objections to animal testing. There is nothing new here, and everything he says has already been thoroughly debunked. My inner angry person wants to scream and shout and take down every argument he presents, but it has already been done, in the excellent work Sacred Cows and Golden Geese, by C. Ray Greek and Jean Swingle Greek, which came out more than ten years ago.
If I start pointing out all the errors in this editorial, I will be up all night attempting to re-write Sacred Cows. I would just like to point out that the man can in no way be considered an unbiased source: here’s a sampling of his rat-based research — any beneficial results of which will still need to undergo testing on humans (“Really!”) before being officially adopted. (And dude? People do volunteer to be research “guinea pigs”. In fact, your own facility has a web site where people can sign up for that very thing. Why are you dismissing the idea of skipping the “animal” part, and just doing the human research you will still need to do anyway?)
In fact, Talman’s job is trying to convince people that animal research is a great idea. Here’s an issue of The Physiologist, published by the American Physiological Society — he’s the chair of the APS Public Affairs Committee (or at least he was in 2006 — check out page 44/266 of the PDF). This is not a disinterested party listing verifiable facts — this is an invested participant feeding you propaganda.
For what it’s worth, my aversion to his arguments is not just automatic denial. Despite all that I have seen I still think it’s possible to perform animal-based research humanely. Do I think that we are doing so right now? Particularly in research? God no. Do I think any of Talman’s arguments in this article are valid? No. I call absolute shenanigans on this man, and I really wish the Greeks hadn’t written Sacred Cows already, because the urge to explain why this man is wrong is making me want to write it again. Perhaps I should just mail him a copy.
Posted in animal research, books, idiocy, news, the Machine
Tagged 2012, animal research, animal testing, defense of animal research, Huffington Post, jean swingle greek, Sacred Cows and Golden Geese, shenanigans, University of Iowa, William T Talman, William T Talman MD