Thursday, May 23, 2013

UW-Madison wants exemption from state open records law

First, they slipped in an exemption from the state's anticruelty laws for themselves; now they want to keep their cruelty even more secretive. Evil is as evil does.
UW-Madison wants to protect research by limiting open records law
By Jason Stein and Karen Herzog of the Journal Sentinel
May 23, 2013 1:44 p.m.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is seeking to limit the state's open records law — potentially through language slipped into the state budget — to keep from the public information about research until it is published or patented.

No specific incidents of harmful disclosures were cited in language for a possible motion that is being passed among Republican lawmakers and was obtained by the Journal Sentinel.

University officials have been seeking to convince GOP lawmakers to advance the legislation either as a separate bill or by inserting it into the state budget when the UW System's part of the bill comes before the Legislature's budget committee Thursday.

In an interview Thursday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) made clear he was at least open to the idea, though he didn't know all the details on it. He didn't say if the provision would be included in a larger and still unreleased motion on the UW System that is expected to be voted on by Joint Finance Committee members later in the day as it considers funding for public universities and colleges in the 2013-'15 state budget.

Vos said he saw a need to make changes to the open records law to ensure a researcher's work wouldn't have to be released publicly before the researcher was ready to publish it.

"In general, if it's a public institution things should be public, but I don't want to hurt (research)," Vos said.

And here’s UW’s memo:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Discovery Institute gets one right

I don't think I've ever agreed with anything I've read from Wesley J. Smith a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute who is a regular critic of protecting animals. The organization is very pro-status-quo when it comes to exploiting animals. Animals don't have souls, so piss on them, they seem to be saying. I guess they think that's what God wants. Whatever. Our apparent shared close observation of modern experimental biology has though resulted in a rare convergence of opinion on at least this point: Self Regulation of Science Doesn't Work.

Vivisectors ask you to ignore the obvious.

Opinion: Ethics Training in Science: The NIH has required researchers to receive instruction about responsible conduct for more than 20 years, but misconduct is still on the rise. James Hicks. May 14, 2013. The Scientist.

.... Today, 1 in 3 scientists responding anonymously to surveys admits to “questionable” research practices; research misconduct cases handled by the US Office of Research Integrity (ORI) are at an all-time high; and retractions of scientific papers have increased exponentially since 2005. It should be noted that not all retracted papers involve foul play, but a recent study reported in PNAS surveying 2,047 biomedical and life-science papers revealed that 67 percent of retractions were directly attributable to misconduct.
It strains credibility to imagine that an industry based on harming animals and filled with those who admit to unethical behavior treat their research subjects with compassion or respect.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Animal Testing Thrown into Doubt, Again: Idiocy Confirmed

I don't know how many times I've seen someone post the dismal statistic regarding the very low success rate of new pharmaceuticals in an on-line discussion about the use of animals. Invariably, some numbskull will write back that the crazy vegan animal rights nuts who point out this little problem simply don't understand science and the drug development process. The assertion frequently comes with a puffed-up chest and the anonymous assertion that of course scientists, like them, know more than the nut.

Well..., as many of us nuts have known for some time, financial and other factors tend to turn those with vested interests into total idiots. The research finding discussed below will be vigorously argued against and disparaged, and given the gigantic financial benefits of producing animals and experimenting on them, in spite of the absence of significant benefit, things probably won't change any time soon.

Nevertheless, I simply can't wait to hear the idiots yelling that the many authors of this paper simply don't understand science and the drug development process.
The Experiment Is on Us: Science of Animal Testing Thrown into Doubt
May 6, 2013 Environment, Health, News

by Pat Dutt and Jonathan Latham, PhD

New scientific research has cast grave doubt on the safety testing of hundreds of thousands of consumer products, food additives and industrial chemicals.

Everyday products, from soft drinks and baby foods, to paints, gardening products, cosmetics and shampoos, contain numerous synthetic chemicals as preservatives, dyes, active ingredients, or as contaminants. Official assurances of the safety of these chemicals are based largely on animal experiments that use rabbits, mice, rats and dogs. But new results from a consortium of researchers and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest such assurances may be worthless (Seok et al. 2013).

The results of these experiments challenge the longstanding scientific presumption holding that animal experiments are of direct relevance to humans. For that reason they potentially invalidate the entire body of safety information that has been built up to distinguish safe chemicals from unsafe ones. The new results arise from basic medical research, which itself rests heavily on the idea that treatments can be developed in animals and transferred to humans.

The research originated when investigators noted that in their medical specialism of inflammatory disease (which includes diabetes, asthma and arthritis), drugs developed using mice have to date had a 100% failure rate in almost 150 clinical trials on humans.

According to Kristie Sullivan, Director of Regulatory Testing Issues at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), this is not unusual “about 90% of all pharmaceuticals tested for safety in animals fail to reach the market, or are quickly pulled from the market”. Wanting to understand why this might be so, the consortium decided to test the effects of various treatments that lead to inflammation, and systematically compare results between mice and humans. This postulated correlation across different animal species is sometimes known as the concordance assumption.

“appalling irresponsibility”

Just like UW-Madison...
New strain of killer flu created in a lab

May 6 2013

London - Senior scientists have criticised the “appalling irresponsibility” of researchers in China who have deliberately created new strains of influenza virus in a veterinary laboratory.

They warned there is a danger that the new viral strains created by mixing bird-flu virus with human influenza could escape from the laboratory to cause a global pandemic, killing millions of people.

Lord May of Oxford, a former government chief scientist and past president of the Royal Society, denounced the study published in the journal Science as doing nothing to further the understanding and prevention of flu pandemics. “They claim they are doing this to help develop vaccines and such like. In fact the real reason is that they are driven by blind ambition with no common sense whatsoever,” Lord May told The Independent.

“The record of containment in labs like this is not reassuring. They are taking it upon themselves to create human-to-human transmission of very dangerous viruses. It's appallingly irresponsible,” he said.

Friday, May 3, 2013

"Very dangerous work disguised as big science."

Study: Lab-made H5N1-H1N1 viruses spread in guinea pigs

Robert Roos - News Editor May 2, 2013

(CIDRAP News) – Chinese scientists report that lab-generated hybrid viruses combining genes from avian H5N1 and pandemic 2009 H1N1 (pH1N1) influenza viruses can achieve airborne spread between guinea pigs, a finding that seems likely to renew the debate about the risks of creating novel viruses that might be able to spark a human pandemic.

Writing in Science, the researchers say that 5 of 127 hybrids they generated by shuffling genes from the two subtypes showed "highly efficient" transmission in guinea pigs. None of the guinea pigs died, but some mice that were infected with the reassortant strains did succumb.

Guinea pigs are not regarded as the best experimental model for human flu, a distinction that belongs to ferrets. The Chinese team did not test any of the hybrid viruses in ferrets, because a voluntary moratorium on "gain of function" research on H5N1 viruses—studies involving the creation of potentially dangerous new strains—intervened in January 2012 and lasted a year.

The moratorium was prompted by the controversy that erupted in late 2011 over two earlier studies in which researchers generated novel H5N1 strains that spread among ferrets via respiratory droplets. One of the studies involved an H5N1-H1N1 reassortant; while the other involved an H5N1 virus in which specific mutations were induced. The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) sought to prevent publication of full details of the two studies, but eventually reversed itself, and the studies were published in May and June of 2012.