Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Cashing In on Childhood Malnutrition

The WHO has an informative factsheet on malnutrition.

I was gathering and summarizing data on the amount of tax money received by primate vivisectors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2021 [About $35 million for the NIH-Funded projects and about $140 million over the life of the ongoing NIH-funded projects. And an additional $1.2 million that is slated to be awarded through September of 2025 by the National Science Foundation. I can send you a spread sheet if you are interested.] and got to wondering how NIH funding for projects using mice compared with the funding for projects using monkeys. I didn't get too far before I got sidetracked by project 1R21AI156151-01A1, "The role of DNA methylation in dysregulated monocyte immune responses during malnutrition and recovery."

The PIs (Primary Investigators) explain: "The first aim of the study will investigate how two weeks of protein malnutrition, induced by a low protein (5% protein calories) diet, in weaning mice affects the monocyte immune response elicited by bacterial endotoxin.... In the second aim, we will explore the efficacy of different treatment diets supplemented with wheat, milk or peanut proteins administered for six weeks after a two-week period of induced protein malnutrition."

Mice aren't humans. Here's an example of real science studying the treatment of malnutrition.

There is something particularly disturbing about intentionally starving baby animals. It's even worse when it is dressed up and defended with claims about wanting to help children.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

My Friend PeeWee

We adopted a young male mouse about eight months ago. We call him PeeWee.

One of the things I’ve thought about as a result of getting to know him is his experience of time. When PeeWee gets in my hand, his tiny warm feet feel to me as if they are almost electric. He seems to be buzzing with energy.

Numerous sources cite a mouse’s heart rate to be between 310-840 beats per minute, mine is about 60 beats per minute.

Likewise, a mouse’s respiratory rate is reported to be between 80-230 breaths per minute; a normal adult human’s is 12 to 16 breaths per minute.

Even though PeeWee will live for only a couple of years, maybe his life span and mine feel more or less the same to each of us. He lives a fast life. Everything he does, he does at a quick rate. (That's why my pics of him are always blurry.)He never seems to move slowly except when he is evaluating whether he can make it down a steep surface. Other than that, he generally runs everywhere, he scurries. When he's holding something and eating it, his hands are turning it this way and that a mile a minute. He bites off little pieces so quickly that it seems almost to disappear. When he grooms himself, his foot is a blur. Maybe to him, when he is grooming, the speed of his scratching feels the same to him as it feels to me when I scratch myself. And he does have hands; he isn't a four-footed animal like a horse or an elephant or a dog. He has hands. Others have noticed this too. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0226774

PeeWee isn’t on the same schedule I am. His “days” and “nights” seem to last a few hours. In the period of my single 24 hour day, he seems to have a number of days or active periods.

The speed of his life has increased my sadness and alarm over the use of these small animals in labs around the world. The overwhelming majority of them live out their lives in small barren plastic bins; typically, about 80 square inches of floor space. https://www.allentowninc.com/rodent-housing/nexgen/ In most cases, from what I can glean on-line, they have very little to do and no place to go. Their environments are cramped, bleak, and often crowded. While they seem to us to live for only a short period of time, to them, their life in a plastic tub in a lab must seem to go on forever. I wonder whether they are all somewhat insane as a result.

The annual number of mice used worldwide is anyone’s guess, but sources I’ve looked at acknowledge that it is over 100 million. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-79961-0

It is hard to calculate the area of floor space PeeWee has, but it’s around 40 sq. ft. and is filled with many places to hide. Tubes of varying sizes and construction connect his main area to satellite areas. The longest tube is about ten feet in length. He is essentially on an archipelago in my office. The only barriers he encounters are the edges of his islands. He has three exercise wheels and four water sources. We periodically give him a block of wheatgrass which he seems to like, both for the grass and the roots.

His diet is varied. We also put bits of popcorn (thanks JB for that tip) and oats throughout his estate.

He seems glad to see and interact with me. I call him early in the evening and most of the time, but not always, I can hear him rustling around in his ship for a while (one of the pieces of furniture upstairs in his main house) before he comes down and visits with me. (Lately, he has been shacking up in one of the more distant annexes, but still gets out of his nest box there to come see me when I call him.) He walks around on my lap and climbs into my hand. He seems genuinely glad to see me. I don’t feed him by hand; I assume he interacts with me simply because he wants to.

The other day, I leaned a small mirror where he could see it. He stops and checks it out every once in a while. I've learned that he is very alert to changes in his environment. He scopes out new things, investigates new passages and seem altogether fully aware of everything around him. The zillions of mice in the labs live in a never-changing mind-numbing environment.

I think he has the best life a lone male fancy mouse could have. A “fancy mouse” is a mouse bred for the pet trade, for humans who fancy mice. We breed them to entertain us. We also breed mice to use as tools in laboratories. We also breed them to feed to other animals we fancy who we keep in confined spaces. The astronomical number of mice we create and consume each year must make them the most suffering-filled species on the planet.

I’ve been struck by the claims of some of the people who work in labs that use animals that they got into their profession because they like and care about animals. This seems to me like a concentration camp guard saying they got into their line of work because they like people. Given the fact that the overwhelming majority of the mice in the labs are stored in plastic tubs that are stored in racks and that they are accessed only to clean the tub, refill the water bottle, or to do something to the mice, I’m doubtful that many, if any at all, of the animal care- and lab-techs ever get to know any of the mice in the tubs. It’s unlikely that they could even if they might want to.

There is something dark and very ugly about our use of animals, our indifference to their suffering, our arrogance. I’m glad I’ve gotten to know PeeWee, and am glad I have been able to make his life a little better than the lives of most other captive mice.

PeeWee is most assuredly a someone rather than a something.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

How Should We Kill Them?

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Homeless_Man.jpg

It must be terrible to be homeless, on the street, to wonder where your next meal will come from, to deal with all the stares, the cold shoulders, the business owners and local residents who want you out of their neighborhood, the rain, the cold, the heat. I doubt that I can fully imagine the stress, distress, the pain and suffering that must at times simply overwhelm someone in this terrible predictament.

We could put them in shelters, and I know that many people are actively pushing for more shelters, better shelters, greater shelter capacity, but it's a plain fact that we just don't have room for all of them. Leaving them on the street, to fend for themselves, its inhumane.

Gas chambers and electric chairs seem particularly gruesome; they don't seem very humane. Lethal injection seems less violent. That might be the kindest way to kill them.

It's a big problem. An article in the NY Times reports that the 2020 estimate of 580,000 homeless people in the US is likely much too low given the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Here's a crazy idea: let's not kill them. Let's provide for them. Let's make vasectomies and other birth control methods free and something to be celebrated. Let's take a tiny sliver of our tax dollars and build free and very low-rent public housing all across the US. Let's make free cafeterias a part of these housing projects.

If this seems like the right way to go, I don't see a reason not to expand it in ways that will provide shelter and meals and birth control for homeless dogs and cats as well.

How should we kill them? We shouldn't kill them. Homeless humans, dogs, and cats are victims, not criminals, and certainly are not guilty of capital crimes simply for being alive and homeless.

In every case, in every circumstance, homeless is better than dead.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Little Downside for Multiple Federal Law Violations

On April 15, 2020, the USDA fined the University of Wisconsin $74,000 for series of twenty-two violations of the Animal Welfare Act that occurred from March 4, 2015 to April 25, 2019.

The USDA reports that the university has not been inspected since December 10, 2019. [To see the data, you need to enter 35-R-0001 into the "Certificate Number" field.

Since December 10, 2019, the university has self-reported thirty-seven violations (most involving monkeys) to the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW). [See UW-Madison's Self-Reported Animal Welfare Violations] OLAW rarely, if ever, issues citations or levies fines.

You might imagine that an institution fined for multiple violations would warrant extra attention, but in the world of tax-payer-funded vivisection, that does not appear to be the case. There is no downside for repeat violations of the so-called Animal Welfare Act.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Isn't Doing Its Job and They Know It.

USDA Inspector General's Audit Report: 33601-0002-31 "Animal Care Program Oversight of Dog Breeders."

APHIS is responsible for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act. The agency not doing its job is like all the cops being on vacation at the same time.

There's really no one policing APHIS. This is just the latest scathing report on APHIS from the USDA's Inspector General's Office.

Excerpts from the summary:

"We identified data reliability issues with reports generated from APHIS’ Animal Care Information System (ACIS) database. This occurred because the agency no longer has a data manager for ACIS, and several large patches to the system have made it unreliable. As a result, APHIS is impeded in its ability to make informed management decisions, identify trends in noncompliant items, and identify how many inspections have been completed."

We also found that APHIS did not consistently address complaints it received or adequately document the results of its follow-up. This occurred because APHIS does not have a documented process for responding to complaints or for recording the results of the agency’s actions. As a result, some dog breeder facilities may be conducting regulated activity without a USDA license or oversight. Therefore, APHIS is not able to ensure the overall health and humane treatment of animals at these facilities."

"APHIS agreed with our findings."

Saturday, July 17, 2021

The vaccination problem.

The risk of acquiring or transmitting covid (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2,) is reduced in vaccinated humans. It isn't clear to me that that is sufficient reason to get vaccinated.

Try as I might, I haven't been able to find the details on all the vaccines' production methods. I don't get a flu shot because I don't want to be part of the reason that chickens are hurt and killed.

If I was stranded on a desert island with a dog, a chicken, or a human I could overcome, I wouldn't kill and eat them even if I would starve to death otherwise. The risk of getting and dying from Covid is lower than the risk of starving to death when stranded on a desert island.

I suspect that the mRNA vaccines use fewer animals in their producton, but, as I mentioned above, mRNA production details are hard to find.

At 68, I'm in a high-risk group. At my day job, I interact with the public. We are all masked, and when we are the closest and I'm speaking with them, there is generally a barrier between us. When I shop for groceries, I wear a mask and avoid being very close to other shoppers. I use self-checkout even though I'd prefer to help create a job by being checked out by a clerk. At the dog parks, no one is masked, but we are outdoors, and I keep my distance.

I wish I knew about the mRNA vaccine production methods.

For the record, the primate vivisection industry's claims about the need for monkeys in the development of the Covid vaccines rings hollow to me. Vivisectors have claimed that just about everything is the direct result of their experiments on animals. I've debunked many of these, and in the process of reading the history of medicine and the historical details behind many of the drugs and treatments ballyhooed by the vivisectors, I've learned that their claims can never be taken at face value. If their claims about the use of monkeys was the only mention of animals being used I might go ahead and get vaccinated because their claims are almost always bogus.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

PHS self-report(s) 11A to 11B

PHS self-reports


"... OLAW understands that on March 26, 2021, an adult macaque that was one-day post-op recieved its analgesic dose five hours later than scheduled when a veterinary technician tasked with administering the dose failed to remember the treatment.

"Corrective and preventative measures include the WNPRC considering how missed treatment alerts can be communicated in a timelier fashion via text to reduce the chance of similar events occurring in the future."

"The consideration of this matter by the University of Wisconsin-Madison was consistent with the philosophy of self-regulation. Similarly, the pending action to resolve the issue and prevent recurrence is appropriate."


"... OLAW understands that on March 18, 2021, a macaque sustained an injury that required veterinary intervention when it exited its enclosure while an animal caretaker was transferring the animal for cage sanitation.

"Corrective an preventative measures include WNPRC making improvements to transport devices to reduce the chance of a similar even occurring in the future."

"The consideration of this matter by the University of Wisconsin-Madison was consistent with the philosophy of self-regulation. Similarly, the pending action to resolve the issue and prevent recurrence is appropriate."

Friday, July 9, 2021

Cruelty pretending to be heroics at UW-Madison

Why are Chancellor Blank and vet school Dean Markell grinning? Does he imagine extra space for more hideous experiments on dogs and other animals like the ones he has conducted? [For example: rabbits, rats, and dogs]. Does she think her bosses, the Board of Regents, will extend her contract? Is she completely in the dark about the terrible things done to animals at the vet school? We need more sifting and winnowing.

There is something particularly distasteful, hideous in fact, about those who hurt and kill animals and at the same time portray themselves as “heroes” for animals. This would be like Joseph Mengele declaring himself a hero for children if something he discovered by experimenting on children turned out to be in some way beneficial to other children. A better example might be J. Marion Sims.

Sims, the “father of genecology” conducted experiments on enslaved Black women (and children) that led to improvements in gynecological care for women. His work is a textbook example of the ends not being justified by the means. He could and should have found unenslaved women willing to take part in his experiments.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is expanding its vet school. See the hype here and here.

Not mentioned anywhere in the propaganda are the terrible things done to animals at the vet school. I’ve pointed to a tiny fraction of them here.

People get rich by hurting the most vulnerable among us and they declare themselves heroes. No one but a tiny few seem to notice the dark irony. Local media jumps on-board. On matters concerning the terrible things done to animals there is next to no investigative journalism.

We live in a very sick world.

Monday, June 7, 2021

UW-Madison College of Letters and Science "Macaque Enrichment" Doc.

Of the 4 documents I recieved form the university on May 10, 2021, after 142 days of waiting, the College of Letters and Science was, in a way, the oddest.

These redactions are odd and questionable. The use of macaques at the School of Letters and Science generally takes place at the Harlow lab, just across an alley form the Primate Center. Why redact that location? Maybe if crazy animal rights fanatics learned that monkeys are being experimented on in the building that used to house and is named after Harry Harlow, they would go crazy? Who doesn't know that the Harlow lab experiments on monkeys? And why is the title of something staff are required to read hidden? Strange indeed. Or just silly and/or dumb.

It's doubly weird and silly because anyone can google "Harlow lab" and immediately see a picture of it and the address and phone number. And if you go to their webpage, you see immediately that the Director is (still) Chris Coe.

Whatever, here's the document:
SOP #325 DATE ISSUED: April 13, 2018
TITLE: Macaque Enrichment

There is no mention of what to do when a monkey starts exhibiting signs of mental illness. Maybe that's in yet another document. We'll see.