Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Triple Whammy

One, two, three, you're outta here!

Only industry spin-doctors and their dupes make the consistent claim that animals in biomedical research are well cared for, that the research is carefully monitored, and that the suffering in the labs is not intense. Strike one.

Only the ignorant and the vested interests make the consistent claim that animal models of human disease and drug response are valid and generate meaningful helpful data regarding human health and care. Strike two.

The third strike is dishonesty. Over at Adventures in Science and Ethics on ScienceBlogs, Janet D. Stemwedel, who teaches ethics to aspiring scientists apparently, has made the observation that:
All scientists appreciate the need for honesty in reporting scientific findings and the wrongness of fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism.

Despite (1), a certain (alarming?) number of scientists nevertheless engage in fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism with some regularity.

A certain (even larger?) number of scientists are aware of the scientists who engage in fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism.

The known bad actors seem to get rewarded, rather than smacked down, for committing fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism.
ScienceBlogs is presumably heavily visited by scientists. Telling, is the fact that no one has challenged her claims. Apparently, visitors to her site agree that a "certain (alarming?) number of scientists nevertheless engage in fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism with some regularity." Strike three.

So, animal research causes much suffering, is meaningless, and a "certain (alarming?) number of scientists" are liars, which makes the misery they inflict all the more egregious.

It's no wonder that the few ethicists who address animal research can't come to grips with the fact that the oversight system is broken, the paradigm is suspect, or that animals have minds and feelings not qualitatively different from our own. If they can't even figure out how to address the mundane matters of fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism, how in the world could they hope to grapple with these profound and society-shaking issues?

My suggestion was to make the labs' activities transparent to the public. A little sunshine would go a long way toward cleaning up this godawful mess.


Anonymous said...

The monkeys are being mistreated and we must do something about it and i feel writing the senators in each state and passing bills and laws is what we need to do . please write me back at if you can help with this !!!

Rick Bogle said...


We certainly do need to enact laws to protect these and other animals. Unfortunately, our law makers (especially at the state and national level) have not proven themselves to be particularly interested in standing up to the very rich animal research industry. The answer is more likely to be citizens' initiatives rather than representative-sponsored legislation.

In the past, with animal welfare related issues, efforts toward improvement in the humane care of animals have been met with richly-funded no-holds-bared resistance from the industry.

In our current political system, the money calls the tune, which is why taxpayers are forced to fund our stay in Iraq and the torture of animals in labs.