Thursday, August 23, 2018

Recognizing Fake News

It can be hard for many of us to spot some fake news. This becomes even more difficult when the purveyor is believed to be honest and forthcoming. A case in point is the propensity of universities to publish statements and articles that are not true. I looked at numerous examples from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in my book "We All Operate in the Same Way."

Peta has recently been running bus ads and billboards pointing to the plain fact that vivisectors kill animals.





UW-Madison responded with a fake news blast. I'm copying it here because I don't trust them to change or delete it.
PETA bus ads target animal research

Posted on August 15, 2018

University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers study animals, including monkeys like the one depicted in an advertisement on a Madison bus, to learn about human disease and to explore basic biological processes.

Alternatives to animals are always considered before research begins, and whenever possible methods without animals are used. However, animals remain the only way to study many vital aspects of human and animal health. UW–Madison scientists rely on animal studies to design new treatments and advance our knowledge of AIDS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dangerous infections like influenza, many types of cancer and more.

All animal research on campus includes the attention of skilled veterinarians. All animal research is closely reviewed and regulated by our animal care and use committee and several federal agencies.

Everyone benefits from what scientists have learned from these studies. Where there is a better way, UW–Madison researchers use it. To exclude animals from research would leave us without the opportunity to answer many questions about the way our bodies work, and leave many people — and future generations — struggling with deadly and debilitating conditions without prospects for help.

That is why UW–Madison is committed to conducting responsible and ethical research with animals.

Learn more about animals in research and teaching at UW–Madison at animalresearch.wisc.edu.

Posted in UW News

Let's deconstruct this nonsense. Like all good propaganda, they start out with some facts. They use monkeys like the one seen in the ads. And they use animals in research on human diseases and biology. But from there, the truth quickly falls apart.

1. "Alternatives to animals are always considered before research begins, and whenever possible methods without animals are used."

In 2008, the British government reviewed the use of goats in research on rapid decompression, like that experienced in diving or submarine accidents. They reported that: "the remaining associated areas of uncertainty in submarine escape and rescue relate to events that are considered highly unlikely and do not therefore need to be addressed by means of animal testing."

And yet, the university refused to stop its horrifically cruel decompression experiments on sheep. (There was just too much money associated with it.) And that's just one example.

2. "However, animals remain the only way to study many vital aspects of human and animal health."

The misleading implication is that every terrible thing they do to animals is done only because there is no alternative. In fact, I don't think that is ever the case. One way to test this is to look at whatever it is that the vivisectors say they are studying and check the National Library of Medicine's database of research publications, PubMed, to see if there is research on the topic that was not a report on research using animals. I'll wager there is no human medical research topic at the university that isn't being explored somewhere with non-animal methods, vital or otherwise.

3. "UW–Madison scientists rely on animal studies to design new treatments and advance our knowledge of AIDS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dangerous infections like influenza, many types of cancer and more."

This is straight-up fear-mongering. Why didn't they include trivial topics? For instance, Paul Kaufman's invasive experiments on monkeys to study presbyopia -- the age-related need for reading glasses. And just what are those "new treatments" for Alzheimer’s? Gibberish.

4. All animal research on campus includes the attention of skilled veterinarians.

This is like saying that all the experiments on people at Auschwitz had the attention of medical doctors. That's true, but that only added to the depravity. Likewise, the ranks of vivisectors claiming to be studying human disease are filled with veterinarians. A case in point is the attending veterinarian at the university's primate center, Saverio (Buddy) Capuano III. Capuano is a co-author of many papers reporting on the terminal course of monkeys infected with infectious diseases.

5. All animal research is closely reviewed and regulated by our animal care and use committee and several federal agencies.

In fact, veterinarian Capuano has argued during these committee meetings that the committee has no right to stop funded projects. He was outspoken on this point when Ned Kalin's plan to revive some of Harry Harlow's grotesque methods became public and the shit hit the fan.

The referred to regulations are cursory and proforma. Worse, enforcement has become secretive and opaque to the public.

6. "Everyone benefits from what scientists have learned from these studies. Where there is a better way, UW–Madison researchers use it."

By "everyone" maybe they mean the people at the university whose salaries are tied to tax-payer-funded research. Certainly, most people, the overwhelming majority, will receive no benefit from killing sheep by means of decompression, staging fights between mice, raising birds in isolation, blinding monkeys, inventing more mutant rodents, or breeding dogs with genetic illnesses. And clearly, someone who has been getting paid for twenty years isn't about to change course.

7. "To exclude animals from research would leave us without the opportunity to answer many questions about the way our bodies work, and leave many people — and future generations — struggling with deadly and debilitating conditions without prospects for help."

Wow. Just wow. Talk about dissing one's colleagues. I suspect there is a clinical researcher or two who might think that their efforts might someday provide a prospect for help. In fact, their work is exactly where all advancements come from.

8. "That is why UW–Madison is committed to conducting responsible and ethical research with animals."

Well, at least they end with a joke! Everyone knows its all about money. Everyone knows how irresponsible it is. And no one but a fake news glutton could believe it is ethical.

Finally, there is something particularly ethically distasteful when those who the public is told to trust mislead them; and doubly so when they knowingly mislead them to benefit themselves. It's despicable. But then, this isn't even news.

"It is hardly to be expected that a man who does not hesitate to vivisect for the sake of science will hesitate to lie about it afterwards...." -- George Bernard Shaw. "The Doctor's Dilemma." 1909.

1 comment:

Jillian Hussey said...

As you note, there are ALWAYS alternatives to using animals in research, invariably with truer results, and to say otherwise is particularly misleading. As far as I can see, the benefits to humans are to the paypackets of those humans abusing the animals, and calling it research.