Thursday, February 7, 2013

A little more traction

I'll go out on a limb and assume that most readers of this blog are well aware that James Cromwell and and my friend Jeremy Beckham who is a PeTA employee and representative disrupted the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents meeting that was held today in Madison. You can watch a video of the the disruption on the PETA website.

I'm writing here to call attention to the statements made by Eric Sandgren, the front man for the university whenever their cruelty is mentioned by the media.

His statement that has been printed in a couple places was this:
Today's events are just another attempt by these outside activists to get attention. They have attacked and distorted this line of research, which has very real benefits for people who are deaf, from every angle, and they are getting no traction with the public.
There are two equally erroneous claims here. It's hard to know whether he believes them himself or believes that the public will believe them. Maybe both these things are true; maybe he believes them and so also believes that the public will believe them. It's hard to tell whether he's simply wrong or being misleading or both.

He says "Today's events are just another attempt by these outside activists to get attention."

Does he believe that "outsiders" shouldn't be involved in what happens in Madison? Or has he been prepped by some university spin doctor who has told him that painting critics as "outsiders" will play well in Madison?

Mere pennies of the 100s of millions of dollars that pay for his and his cronies' experiments on animals here in Madison come from Madisonians. It is outsiders who pay local people to experiment on animals. It is outsiders who are getting attention by hiring Sandgren and his crew. He should have clarified his position. He'll suck up to outsiders who give him money, but outsiders who take exception to the university's cruelty ought not be listened to.

He goes on to say that these outsider's criticisms "are getting no traction with the public."

He must believe that censorship means that the people who are kept in the dark don't really care or are actually happy that disturbing facts are kept hidden from them, or he must believe that the local media is clairvoyant and knows precisely what the public's opinion is and merely and conveniently repeats it in their reports.

For reasons I can only guess about, no one in the local media market has been willing to report on the university's use of animals since Bill Lueders left the Isthmus and Todd Finkelmeyer left the Capital Times. A lack of courage? Awe of people with titles? Inferiority complexes about not working in the ivory towers? Intimidation? I don't know why local media has decided to shield the university from criticism or even simply take note of its very dirty laundry. Media hasn't even had the gumption to accurately report on the very serious public health risks related to the university's sponsorship of incredibly dangerous infectious disease research. What goes on in the university labs is a black box as far as the local media coverage is concerned. And Sandgren says PETA's criticism of Tom Yin's cruel experiments on cats isn't getting any traction? Is he really this stupid? Maybe he recognizes that local media have for some reason decided to shelter the university from any substantive criticism and is just playing to that fact? Maybe he's just playing his part in the charade.

As stupid or dishonest or both as the above claims might be, the real gem is the comment he made to Madison's NBC affiliate, Channel 15:
It's still important to have the discussion. It's important to know what the cost is to the animal. It's important to know what the potential benefit is to, in this case it's humans, but a lot of animal research also benefits animals. And then you you you come up, you compare those, and decide for yourself whether or not something you think it's ethical, and that where people have a right to differ.
It took PETA three and a half years to get the photographs of Double Trouble. The university fought tooth and nail every step of the way to keep them hidden from the public. How could someone begin to imagine "what the cost is to the animal" when something as simple as a picture of the animal paying that cost is kept hidden? Sandgren's statement is typical. UW monkey eye vivisector Paul Kaufman made a similar claim during a public debate with me. He said that hurting animals is just a sacrifice we have to bear. It is you and me who are sacrificing, not the monkeys whose eyes are being mutilated or the cats in Yin's lab, we are the one's suffering.

Sandgren says that everyone should decide for themselves what is or isn't ethical, but the university works very hard to keep you and me from knowing what it is doing. How can we decide? He's either stupid or a liar. Or both. What other option is there?

The university literally shredded 628 videotapes of various experiments that had been conducted on monkeys after we asked for a single one. How can they claim that they think everyone should decide for themselves what is and isn't ethical? How can they make such an outlandishly misleading claim? Easily. They believe that the public is too dull and stupid to notice and they believe that they will continue to be sheltered by local media's voluntary censorship of all things evil at the university.

WMTV - NBC15 Madison, Wisconsin:

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