NIH opened a 30-day window for public comment, but for those who might be opposed to this change in federal policy and choose to write them a thoughtful letter, they might as well shout their concerns into the toilet. (I still think you should write a letter.)
This is the sort of issue that should be debated in public and decided on by the public; 30 days is hardly enough time. So much for democracy.
One of the articles that showed up in my newsfeed was "You Can Now Grow Human-Animal Hybrids, But You Can’t Breed ‘Em," from Wired magazine. The article relies in part on an apparent conversation with Robert Streiffer, a "bioethicist" at the University of Wisconsin, Madison who once chaired one of the university's Animal Care and Use Committees and with whom I have occasionally argued. Over time, Streiffer has inched toward a more ethical position on animal use, and even publicly criticized vivisector Ned Kalin's revival of maternally depriving infant rhesus monkeys.
To Streiffer's credit, he apparently told the article's author that animals used in research have less protection that humans used in research. While that simple observation should surprise no one, it is the opposite of the university's usual claim. R. Alta Charo, for instance, the Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics at the university, is on the faculty of the Law School and the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at the medical school. She has served on many federal commissions related to bioethics. In a public forum ostensibly about the ethics of using animals in research, she ridiculously said: "We have federal laws [to protect animals in the labs] that actually go further than the federal laws that govern human subjects research...".
There are two main things that caught my eye in the Wired article, the main one has to do with consciousness, which I wrote about here. The other was this:
After a nearly year-long ban, on August 4 the NIH said it would soon lift its moratorium and again start accepting grant applications from vivisectors who want to develop human-animal chimeras. “We thought it was good time to take a deep breath, pause and make sure the ethical frameworks that we have in place allows us to move forward and conduct this research responsibly,” says Carrie Wolinetz, associate director for science policy at NIH.Whenever NIH funding for animal experimentation is mentioned in conjunction with ethics my BS-meter goes berserk. And so, I Googled Carrie Wolinetz. All I can say is holy shit.
It would be impossible I suspect to have found someone with more love for experimenting on animals than Ms. Wolinetz. This is the NIH director's announcement of her appointment, plagiarized from here, and published on my birthday. The links in the text were added by me to clarify the positions on animal use of some of the organizations she has worked for.
February 2, 2015So, the woman who is apparently involved at a senior level in determining national policy on the creation of animal/human hybrids is now and has been in the past, immersed in organizations lobbying for more money for animal experimentation, reduced constraints on their use, and publicly promoting vivisection.
Appointment of Dr. Carrie Wolinetz as Associate Director for Science Policy, NIH
Carrie Wolinetz, Ph.D.
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Carrie Wolinetz, Ph.D., as the new Associate Director for Science Policy, NIH. This appointment is effective February 23, 2015.
Dr. Wolinetz has most recently been serving as Deputy Vice President for Federal Relations with the Association of American Universities (AAU). Her primary responsibility was to coordinate advocacy on funding and policy issues relating to the National Institutes of Health and biomedical research.
Outside of AAU, Dr. Wolinetz serves as current President of United for Medical Research, a leading coalition of universities, patient groups, and private sector companies advocating for sustainable funding for the National Institutes of Health. [Essentially all the coalition members are very pro-vivisection.] In addition, she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service’s program on Science, Technology & International Affairs, as well as past Chair of the advocacy committee for the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). She has a B.S. in animal science from Cornell University, and she received her Ph.D. in animal science from The Pennsylvania State University, where her area of research was reproductive physiology. [She seems to have published a single scientific paper.]
Prior to joining AAU, Dr. Wolinetz served as the Director of Scientific Affairs and Public Relations at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), where she worked on a portfolio of issues that included federal funding of research, the use of animals in research, cloning and stem cells, and biosecurity.
I would like to thank David Shurtleff most sincerely for serving as the Acting Associate Director for Science Policy over the last several months. His wise and gracious leadership kept this critical part of NIH on a steady and effective path.
Please join me in welcoming Carrie to the NIH leadership team, congratulating her on her appointment, and offering her your full support as she begins her work with us.
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. [and vivisector]
It is unethical for Carrie Wolinetz to be involved in any policy decisions concerning the use of animals or non-human/human chimeras.
As I said above, please do write a letter.