Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Vilas Monkeys (Part Three)

The Vilas Monkeys (Part Three): The Ten-Year Anniversary of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Most Blatant Instance of Animal Cruelty and Lying to the Public. A Story of Cover-up, Conspiracy, Adultery, Battery, Disdain for Public Sentiment, and Crimes Too Unbelievable and Hideous to Discuss in Polite Company

Part 3

The Vilas Monkey Scandal in Local Headlines

Interwoven throughout the Vilas affair was the illicit and apparently abusive affair between the director, John Hearn (at left), and Kim Bauers, a scientist studying the behavior of stumptail macaques at the zoo and in Thailand. Hearn used Bauers’ concern for the zoo monkeys as a lever to force Bauers into continuing the relationship. Once Bauers was out of the country she felt safer in breaking off the affair (she allegedly had had to visit the emergency room on at least one occasion following a disagreement with him), but Hearn would have none of it and ran up at least $60,000 in phone bills to her while she was out of the country, which he charged to the university.

An interesting story about Hearn, which I have no way of proving but don’t doubt, is that as a youth he would capture birds, place firecrackers in their cloaca, or vent, light it, and release them. Good times.

Of particular interest is the fact that the University went after Bauers for money it claimed she had squandered while working in Thailand (and being continuously brow-beaten by Hearn), but forgave most of Hearn’s debt, and then couldn’t find a dime for the monkeys.

The institution seems to be vindictive and unable to accept responsibility for its own grotesque misdeeds and violations of the public’s trust.

Wisconsin State Journal, Wed Jun 25 1997

Capital Times, Wed Jun 25 1997

Capital Times, Thu Jul 10 1997

Wisconsin State Journal, Thu Jul 10 1997

Wisconsin State Journal, Wed Jul 9 1997

Capital Times, Sat Aug 9 1997

Capital Times, Sat Aug 9 1997

Capital Times, Sat Aug 9 1997

Wisconsin State Journal, Sun Aug 10 1997

Capital Times, Mon Aug 11 1997

Capital Times, Tue Aug 12 1997

Capital Times, Tue Aug 12 1997

Wisconsin State Journal, Tue August 12, 1997

Capital Times, Wed Aug 13 1997

Wisconsin State Journal, Thu Aug 14 1997

Wisconsin State Journal, Thu Aug 14 1997

Capital Times, Sat Aug 16 1997

Capital Times, Tue Aug 19 1997

Wisconsin State Journal, Wed Aug 20 1997

Capital Times, Wed Aug 20 1997

Capital Times, Sat Aug 23 1997

Capital Times, Sat Aug 23 1997

Capital Times, Wed Aug 27 1997

Capital Times, Wed Aug 27 1997

Wisconsin State Journal, Thu Aug 28 1997

Wisconsin State Journal, Sun Sep 7 1997

Wisconsin State Journal, Sat Sep 13 1997

Capital Times, Fri Sep 17 1999

Capital Times, Thu Sep 18 1997

Capital Times, Thu Nov 20 1997

Capital Times, Thu Nov 20 1997

Wisconsin State Journal, Thu Nov 20 1997

Capital Times, Thu Jul 1 1999

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A minimal amount of suffering

Richard Davidson is a well-known and much-admired scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His work on the neurobiological effects of meditation, particularly that of Tibetan Buddhist monks resulted in Time Magazine naming him one of the world’s most influential people in 2006 and the local Madison Magazine naming him Person of the Year for 2007.

In the past year or so, Davidson has twice spoken about his research in public venues, and on both occasions activists handed out leaflets as people arrived that called attention to his experiments into the neurobiology of fear and anxiety using rhesus monkeys and the contradictions inherent in his claim of compassion and concern for all beings.

At both events, the leaflets led to Davidson making specific claims about his use of monkeys and about Buddhism. In a previous essay, I addressed a number of claims he made during the first presentaion.

This is a reasonably accurate transcript of the comments he made on this topic on November 7, 2007, at the Madison Public Library in a program titled “How the Brain Changes.” An audio recording is available here.
It’s actually, I feel, wonderful that people know that I do do some research in nonhuman primates, it’s not the bulk of what I do, I have that work, I continue to do that work, and I’m proud of that work, and I really welcome the opportunity to directly address it.

I’ve been, I have had many soul-searching discussions about this issue with myself, with my colleagues, and with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. One of the things which is the most important issue for me is what one’s motivation is to do the work that one’s doing. Actually this is something the Dalai Lama has always asked [about] any kind of work, and my motivation is really to eliminate suffering, and that is why I do my science and why I’m dedicating my life to [it].

In addition to the research that we do on meditation and always compassion, we also study devastating disorders like depression which is responsible for extraordinary morbidity and fatality across the world. There are untold numbers of suicides daily in this country as a function of these disorders. A recent epidemiological study that was done in Scandinavia found that just asking people how happy or unhappy they are in a large epidemiological study predicted over a 20-year interval the extent to which a person would commit suicide with a tenfold increase in suicide rates among people who consider themselves to be very unhappy.

So these are issues which are really profound, they affect people’s lives and they are responsible for devastating suffering on the planet to the extent that the work that we do can help develop new interventions which I firmly believe they can and will and are currently doing. That is something that I think is critical in this program of research and the work that we do in nonhuman primates has been done with noninvasive methods to image the brain, we are actually one of the pioneers in developing methods to study the brain in nonhuman primates in ways in which actually don’t create suffering which are the same methods which I subject myself to all the time.

Modern brain imaging methods we have one of the few systems in the world today for doing that kind of noninvasive imaging of the nonhuman primate brain. So I believe this work is really important, it is done with the intention of relieving suffering. I also do it in a way in which I try to muster all of the gratitude I can for the animals that participate in our research and if you bring that quality to the work that you’re doing I think it transforms it and so I appreciate the sensitivity that this issue raises, I applaud the efforts of people who are working to relieve suffering throughout the animal kingdom and I welcome the opportunity to address this and to underscore the fact that this work is done to actually eradicate suffering on the planet, so I thank you for listening to that.

[A question from the audience] I’d like to follow up on what you just said given the fact that you’re involved with Buddhism and compassion and [unclear] the right to induce pain or kill sentient creatures [unclear] you said that you do experiments on monkeys at the primate center that you do noninvasive work, well my understanding is that you’ve done experiments with Dr. Ned Kalin, and I know that Dr Ned Kalin does a lot of basic brain experiments on monkeys who have been [unclear] restrained for extended periods of time, who’s amygdala is burned and destroyed with acid. These are sentient creatures who should be living in their natural environment and frankly it causes me great pain to think of their suffering.

Well, thank you for that articulate statement I can tell you that we have been pioneers in the development of noninvasive methods to image the brain. To the extent that there is suffering that occurs in the context of the research that we do, we believe that the motivations that we have for doing the research are critical to take into account, we do everything we possibly can to minimize both of the animals, the nonhuman animals as well as the humans.

The experiments that we do in humans require a great deal of sacrifice as well and we can have a very extended discussion here and take the rest of the time on this issue, I think there are probably other questions, but I think the most important thing is the attitude of the scientist who is doing this work, the motivation the scientist brings to the task and also the extent to which gratitude is expressed in the act of doing the work that we’re doing which transforms the nature of one’s relationship with the monkeys that we study.

You know, I think in the best of all possible worlds it would be wonderful to have outdoor enclosures where the animals are not within cages, there are places where the climate permits where that kind of work can be done, it’s not possible to do it in Wisconsin because of the climate and if I had my druthers I would much rather have that kind of facility, but given, sort of the circumstances that present themselves, the opportunities, and the difference I believe we can make in terms of treatment for dramatic suffering that exists on the planet, I’m proud of this work and I think the good that it does so far exceeds the minimal amount of suffering that we create and I think that some of the comments that you made are comments that are made, frankly, for lack of knowledge of the details of this work, and if it really is of interest you should actually look at the papers which are all available free online and take a careful look at what it is that’s actually done.
Let's look at his separate claims:

1. “It’s actually, I feel, wonderful that people know that I do do some research in nonhuman primates, it’s not the bulk of what I do, I have that work, I continue to do that work, and I’m proud of that work, and I really welcome the opportunity to directly address it.”

I don’t really know whether this total crap or not. Eric Sandgren, Director of the UW-Madison Research Animal Resource Center, has said that he is unable to find anyone on campus (other than himself) willing to publicly debate the use of animals in biomedical research. [Note to Eric: Why not give Davidson a call and find out whether he would welcome the opportunity to address this issue at length in a public venue.]

2. “I’ve been, I have had many soul-searching discussions about this issue with myself, with my colleagues, and with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. One of the things which is the most important issue for me is what one’s motivation is to do the work that one’s doing. Actually this is something the Dalai Lama has always asked [about] any kind of work, and my motivation is really to eliminate suffering, and that is why I do my science and why I’m dedicating my life to [it]….”

Davidson appeals to his motivation to do good and his good intent as justifications for his actions throughout his statement. It’s a hackneyed aphorism but appropriate to point out that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In considering this defense, we should keep in mind past instances when the same justification was employed.

In the most infamous case, the Nazi medical experiments on unwilling human subjects, we see immediately the risk of any appeal to good intention. An outstanding and important essay on these experiments in this context is “The Ethics Of Using Medical Data From Nazi Experiments.” Baruch C. Cohen. Jewish Virtual Library. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise

The Nazi’s experiments were not intended as torture. This is an important point to bear in mind when considering Davidson’s work and his claims. The Nazis experimented on unwilling subjects in the pursuit of medical treatments and cures for those they valued more than those who they used. According to Cohen, they were, in some cases, successful in their pursuit of benefit.

But few people would be willing to claim that the experiments – no matter the possible or even actual benefit – were justifiable. They were heinous. They were depraved. They were unethical and immoral. Yet, Davidson defends himself just as the Nazi doctors and scientists did. The harm he does is cancelled out by the potential benefit, or so he claims.

This is the identical claim used by the U.S. government in its radiation experiments on unsuspecting human subjects and in all secret potentially harmful experimentation that has ever occurred. It is only and precisely the complete discounting of an actual individual’s interests and the conflating of a (sometimes hypothetical) larger population’s interests that allows doctors, government, and scientists to use us as they wish without pause or concern for our personal preferences not to be harmed.

We should keep in mind the company in which Davidson places himself.

3. “the work that we do can help develop new interventions which I firmly believe they can and will and are currently doing.”

Davidson’s primate-based experiments have led to no new interventions and it is unlikely that they ever will or even could. His fundamental implicit claim is that anxiety and fear in monkeys and humans are biochemically and metabolically identical. This is the only possible justification for using these animals given the complex nature of emotion. Here’s a challenge: Name one intervention for depression in humans that is a direct result of studies into the neurobiology of induced fear, anxiety, or depression in monkeys. (I won’t hold my breath.)

4. “That is something that I think is critical in this program of research and the work that we do in nonhuman primates has been done with noninvasive methods to image the brain, we are actually one of the pioneers in developing methods to study the brain in nonhuman primates in ways in which actually don’t create suffering which are the same methods which I subject myself to all the time.”

This is so misleading. I suspect that it was intentionally misleading. Here are a few passages from a 2007 paper, “Role of the primate orbitofrontal cortex in mediating anxious temperament.” (Kalin N. H., Shelton S. E., & Davidson R. J. Biological Psychiatry):
Methods and Materials

Experimental Subjects Twelve experimentally naïve adolescent colony-born rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) were the subjects. Animal housing and experimental procedures were in accordance with institutional guidelines. The animals were housed as pairs; each experimental animal lived with a control animal. At the beginning of the study, subjects were, on average, 34.4 months of age. Six randomly selected males underwent surgery at an average age of 35.6 months. Six nonoperated male control animals were used for comparison, since we previously demonstrated that the nonspecific effects of the surgery do not significantly affect the behavioral and physiological measures of interest.

Surgical Procedure Prior to surgery, atropine sulfate was given to depress salivary secretion, and dexamethasone was given to reduce potential brain swelling. Animals were pre anesthetized with ketamine hydrochloride, fitted with an endotracheal tube, and maintained on isoflurane anesthesia. An experienced surgeon made an opening in the frontal bone posterior to the brow ridge to expose the frontal cortex. Both hemispheres were lesioned in a single procedure by lifting the brain to expose its ventral surface. Using microscopic guidance, electro-cautery and suction were applied to the targeted brain area.
But Davidson told his audience that he is “one of the pioneers in developing methods to study the brain in nonhuman primates in ways in which actually don’t create suffering which are the same methods which I subject myself to all the time.” I wonder how often he has the ventral surface of his brain exposed and electro-cauterized and sucked out? Oh yeah, “all the time.”
Threat-Related Anxiety To assess defensive and anxiety-related behaviors, all animals were tested before and after the lesions were made using two different paradigms, each with three different conditions (alone [A], no eye contact [NEC], and stare [ST]). Control and experimental subjects were tested at the same time, and the mean time between the lesioning procedure and the first postsurgical behavioral test was 4.3 months. The first test was conducted using the classic human intruder paradigm (HIP), consisting of 9-min periods of A, NEC, and ST. As part of a separate study, the second test used a modified HIP paradigm. In the classic HIP, during the A condition, animals were placed alone in a test cage for 9 min. This condition predominantly elicits coo vocalizations and locomotion. This was followed by the NEC condition, in which a human entered the test room, stood motionless 2.5 m from the cage, and presented her profile to the monkey while avoiding eye contact. The NEC condition elicits freezing behavior. After NEC, the intruder left the test room for 3 min and returned for the ST condition, during which the intruder stared at the monkey with a neutral face 2.5 m from the test cage. The ST condition elicits defensive hostility and barking, an aggressive vocalization. The modified HIP consisted of 20 min of each of the three conditions (A, NEC, ST) on three different days. The classic and modified HIP paradigms were repeated for all subjects after the experimental animals were lesioned.

Assessing Snake Fear Subjects were adapted to the Wisconsin General Testing Appa-ratus (WGTA) test cage, and their food preference was determined. Subjects were taught to reach for their preferred rewards on top of the clear plastic stimulus presentation box. Subjects were presented with two of their most preferred foods randomly placed on the distant left and right corners of the clear plastic stimulus presentation box, requiring the subjects to reach over the stimulus for the food rewards. The box contained one of four stimuli: 1) nothing: empty box; 2) tape: roll of blue masking tape; 3) rubber snake: curled black rubber snake 120 cm long; and 4) snake: live northern pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus) 170 cm long. Subjects were tested for 1 day, during which each stimulus was presented six times in a pseudorandom order. The real snake was never presented during the first five trials and no item from either the snake or the non snake stimulus categories was presented for more than three consecutive trials. Each monkey received the same order of stimuli. Each trial lasted 60 seconds regardless of the subject’s response, and the inter-trial interval was 45 seconds. Latency for the animal’s first reward retrieval in each trial was used for analysis.
We should also keep in mind that the monkeys Davidson uses are born into a captive environment known to induce mental illness and that all the monkeys, or a significant portion of them, are sick all the time. This is the baseline suffering he adds to in his own unique way.

5. “You know, I think in the best of all possible worlds it would be wonderful to have outdoor enclosures where the animals are not within cages, there are places where the climate permits where that kind of work can be done, it’s not possible to do it in Wisconsin because of the climate and if I had my druthers I would much rather have that kind of facilility...”

Davidson is an ignoramus. And worse, he’s an ignoramus who people trust and believe. No matter the climate – balmy or tropical – every monkey used in the sort of studies Davidson does and in essentially all others, are kept in small barren cages. Davidson either doesn’t know this, in which case he speaks about something he has no knowledge of, or else, he was just telling the public what he imagined they would like to hear from a Buddhist initiate, a man of compassion, a personal friend of the Dalai Lama, or a Person of the Year.

6. “I’m proud of this work and I think the good that it does so far exceeds the minimal amount of suffering that we create and I think that some of the comments that you made are comments that are made, frankly, for lack of knowledge of the details of this work, and if it really is of interest you should actually look at the papers which are all available free online and take a careful look at what it is that’s actually done.

“The minimal amount of suffering.” This is always what one hears from those who don’t have to do the suffering. Suffering is a relative term; it is always greater for the one enduring it or being subjected to it. This discounting of others’ pain and fear is grotesque and monstrous.

Davidson’s claim about the “ignorance” of his questioner is an insult given the realities of his work as highlighted above in his 2007 paper. I hope people will look at his papers as he urges. Here they are. These are his primate-related papers:

Role of the Primate Orbitofrontal Cortex in Mediating Anxious Temperament. Kalin NH, Shelton SE, Davidson RJ. Biol Psychiatry. 2007

Brain Regions Associated with the Expression and Contextual Regulation of Anxiety in Primates. Kalin NH, Shelton SE, Fox AS, Oakes TR, Davidson RJ. Biol Psychiatry. 2005

Calling for help is independently modulated by brain systems underlying goal-directed behavior and threat perception. Fox AS, Oakes TR, Shelton SE, Converse AK, Davidson RJ, Kalin NH. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005

The role of the central nucleus of the amygdala in mediating fear and anxiety in the primate. Kalin NH, Shelton SE, Davidson RJ. J Neurosci. 2004

The primate amygdala mediates acute fear but not the behavioral and physiological components of anxious temperament. Kalin NH, Shelton SE, Davidson RJ, Kelley AE. Related Articles, J Neurosci. 2001

Cerebrospinal fluid corticotropin-releasing hormone levels are elevated in monkeys with patterns of brain activity associated with fearful temperament. Kalin NH, Shelton SE, Davidson RJ. Biol Psychiatry. 2000

Asymmetric frontal brain activity, cortisol, and behavior associated with fearful temperament in rhesus monkeys. Kalin NH, Larson C, Shelton SE, Davidson RJ. Behav Neurosci. 1998

Individual differences in freezing and cortisol in infant and mother rhesus monkeys. Kalin NH, Shelton SE, Rickman M, Davidson RJ. Behav Neurosci. 1998

A new method for aversive Pavlovian conditioning of heart rate in rhesus monkeys. Kalin NH, Shelton SE, Davidson RJ, Lynn DE. Physiol Behav. 1996

Lateralized response to diazepam predicts temperamental style in rhesus monkeys. Davidson RJ, Kalin NH, Shelton SE. Behav Neurosci. 1993

Lateralized effects of diazepam on frontal brain electrical asymmetries in rhesus monkeys. Davidson RJ, Kalin NH, Shelton SE. Biol Psychiatry. 1992

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fear Inc.

What kind of person would choose to spend their life frightening animals? What sort of early experiences must they have had that contributed to their decision to live the life of a monster? Did they watch and thrill to see an older brother torment a kitten or burn ants with a magnifying glass? And did they do these things without any sane adult catching them and instilling some modicum of concern for others in them? We can only wonder, but the fact remains that some people have chosen to spend their lives hurting and frightening others. And what does this say about the society we live in? Good and bad, right and wrong, these seem to be relative terms that have little real meaning.
A case in point is the Karl R. Zurn family of Burlington, Vermont. Karl Zurn, an electrical engineer, started Med Associates Inc. in 1971.

It is a family owned and operated business. Here’s a link to an article on the three daughters; they seem like nice and normal people. The fact that they were homeschooled says something about their parents since they all seem intent on remaining involved in the family business, described by The View, the University of Vermont's online newsweekly: “Their father, Karl, started his business, Medical Associates, when the girls were quite young, first running it out of the family home in East Fairfield, Vt. The firm, which manufactures electronics for research ...”

Electronics for research, indeed.

Here’s Med Associates’ description of one of their products related to learned helplessness:

This triadic design has been used for more than 30 years to study the impact of stress controllability on a variety of behavioral as well as physiological indices (Current Protocols in Neuroscience, Feb 2001, Supplement 14). Each of the three wheel turn chambers is housed in its own sound isolation cubicle. This feature optimizes acoustic, visual, and olfactory isolation between subjects. Extending from the end of each wheel turn chamber is a holder to securely restrain the tail. Chambers are completely removable for easy cleaning. Animals may be assigned randomly to "Escape", "Yoked-Aversive Stimulation " and "Yoked-No Aversive Stimulation" categories. Aversive Stimulators, a MED-PC® Interface package, and software must be ordered separately. The programming flexibility of MED-PC®IV software permits any programmed contingency across animals.

I wonder whether the girls sing about “Yoked-Aversive Stiulation”?

Now, there are lots of companies on the internet selling instruments to torture animals, so why would I single out the good Zurns to criticize? About a month or so ago, someone posted a link to Med Associates’ new “Primate Startle reflex System.” It is a particularly hideous device, co-invented by the Zurns, David Amaral, and Elena A. Antoniadis.

I recently went back to the site because I wanted to call readers’ attention to the reality of the primate vivisection industry as illustrated by the tools of the trade. The page detailing the Primate Startle Reflex system is gone. It used to be at, but that’s now a dead link. Perhaps one of the many lurkers on primfocus alerted the Zurns that activists might be looking at the page, so they killed it. Or, maybe (Oh, right) its just a glitch.

In any case, in the spirit of full exposure of the industry, here are bits and pieces of the missing page:

See too: “Role of the Primate Amygdala in Fear-Potentiated Startle: Effects of Chronic Lesions in the Rhesus Monkey.” Elena A. Antoniadis, James T. Winslow, Michael Davis, and David G. Amaral. Journal of Neuroscience, July 11, 2007.

The Vilas Monkeys (Part Two)

The Vilas Monkeys (Part Two): The Ten-Year Anniversary of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Most Blatant Instance of Animal Cruelty and Lying to the Public. A Story of Cover-up, Conspiracy, Adultery, Battery, Disdain for Public Sentiment, and Crimes Too Unbelievable and Hideous to Discuss in Polite Company

Part Two
Let me add the example of the adult rhesus monkey females who will be treated in the next chapter. Their pen has a row of six large, reflecting observation windows near the ceiling, more than 5 meters above the floor. Every birth season, we see females place their newborn baby on the floor, walk a few steps, and intently stare up at one of the windows, shifting their head as if searching for a particular reflection. Then they pick up the baby again. They start doing this within a day or two of giving birth. All the windows are used for this activity, regardless of which one we are standing behind.

I cannot explain this behavior. Perhaps mothers like to have a look at their infant from a distance of more than 10 meters, without the risk of leaving him too far behind. They never stare at the windows in this particular way when carrying their baby, or when another female’s youngster is walking free. They seem to connect their own behavior (placing their offspring on the floor) to the mirror image. That they do not, like chimpanzees, use the mirror to look at their reflection may be a matter of how much interest they have in themselves compared to such attractive creatures as their new infants. Fox speculates that apes and humans may simply have reached a higher level of narcissism. (de Waal, 86-87.)
As I review the many news articles and documents generated by the Vilas monkey affair in 1997-98, I can’t help feeling a renewed sense of shock and surprise. The primate center (and by extension the UW itself) was so underhanded, so unethical, so disgustingly dismissive of public sentiment, that even now, ten years later, I’m dumbfounded by its arrogance and deep callousness. It is beyond belief that anyone could today believe anything they might claim.
Monkeys killed despite no-harm pledge
AIDS research:UW primates used for organs and tissues
Telegraph Herald. Sunday. August 10, 1997

MADISON (AP) - At least a dozen zoo monkeys were killed during University of Wisconsin AIDS experiments despite a pledge by administrators not to use them in harmful research, a newspaper reported Saturday.

The rhesus monkeys at the Henry Vilas Zoo were killed for their organs and tissue, by researchers at the UW Primate Research Center unidentified sources told The Capital Times.

UW-Madison owns the zoo's monkey house, which has about 150 rhesus monkeys and stump-tailed macaques used for observational research and public education.

The experiments occurred over a five-year period despite a June 15, 1989, letter that said the animals "will not be used in studies at our facility involving invasive experimental procedures." The newspaper said it was signed by seven primate center administrators. "Such animals will be assigned to the center's nonexperimental breeding colony, where they are exempt from experimental use." the letter said.

Primate center officials denied using the zoo monkeys for research that could harm them until The Capital Times obtained information that showed that monkeys were born at the zoo and died during research, the newspaper said.

Interim center director Joe Kemnitz said there were exceptions to the agreement that would allow some monkeys to be used in lethal research experiments.

Certain monkeys were used because they had unique qualities important to researchers Kemnitz said.

But Lenon and other officials could not produce written proof of any exceptions and zoo director Dave Hall said he could not recall any such exceptions to the 1989 letter.
After the public learned that the university had lied in 1989 when it had promised to stop using the Vilas zoo monkeys in invasive and terminal experiments and that it had continued to lie about the monkeys for eight years, the primate center colluded to some degree with the NIH, or perhaps manipulated the agency, into killing any funding for the care of the monkeys at the zoo.

In her August 13, 1997, official statement, then Graduate School Dean Virginia Hinshaw said:
The center's lease at the zoo is expected to expire in 2003, and we are currently working to find a long-term home that is best for the welfare of the animals and are committed to supporting the animals financially. But there is no quick resolution to this issue and finding an appropriate arrangement for the colony may take several years. [my emphasis, obviously]
On November 19, 1997, the UW issued a press release stating:
The National Institutes of Health will end a long tradition of funding the Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center's monkey colony at Henry Vilas Park Zoo, effective Feb. 1. The decision will restrict the Primate Center from using funding from its $4.5 million base grant to maintain the Vilas Zoo colony. The facility costs approximately $100,000 a year to maintain, which includes personnel, food and supplies, and utility expenses. … "This decision puts us in a very difficult position," said Virginia Hinshaw, dean of the UW-Madison Graduate School. "The change in funding means that we have to work rapidly to find options for the colony."
When Hinshaw told the public: “we are currently working to find a long-term home that is best for the welfare of the animals and are committed to supporting the animals financially,” she was still lying, still telling the public what the university thought was expedient to tell us. The primate center and the university certainly did not then, or ever, have any commitment to the animals.

But the pure unadulterated filth of the university’s vivisectors isn’t clear until we put these conflicting lies into context. It wasn’t just the fact that the primate center had lied so baldly to the public for eight years, it wasn’t even the fact that once discovered in their lies that the vivisectors didn’t want to spend any money caring for animals that they couldn’t torture, no, it wasn’t just all that. The icing on this shit-cake was that over the period of time they were lying, they were selling the monkeys and banked somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars.

This amounts to not only a lie, but in a manner of speaking, grand larceny. And, after secretly selling these animals, not one thin dime could be found to feed them, to find them a safe home, to make amends with the public, to do at least one right thing.
Uw Reports Cash From Zoo Monkey Sales
Capital Times :: Front :: 1A
Saturday, August 23, 1997
By Scott Russell The Capital Times

The UW Primate Research Center made between $200,000 and $275,000 by selling off monkeys from Henry Vilas Zoo for research, according to data released Friday by the university.

Of the 110 monkeys sold over an eight-year period, 42 monkeys went to government agencies or outside universities, such as Harvard or East Carolina University. Another 35 monkeys were sold to private pharmaceutical companies, such as Hazleton [renamed Covance] Laboratories in Madison. The other 33 monkeys were used by UW-Madison researchers.

In June 1989, the primate center entered into an agreement with the zoo that none of the zoo monkeys would be used for invasive research. University officials have not disclosed the fate of the monkeys that were sold to other institutions.

Pharmaceutical labs in all likelihood tested the monkeys with drugs.

The zoo monkeys sold for between $1,800 and $2,500 each, depending on their age, their reproduction potential and their history, according to information released Friday by the UW-Madison.

On Aug. 11, after reports in The Capital Times, Graduate School Dean Virginia Hinshaw stopped any further assignment of monkeys from the zoo colony to invasive research.

One UW-Madison project that used zoo monkeys evaluated the effectiveness of a new medication for osteoporosis, the brittle-bone disease linked to calcium deficiency. The monkeys provided one way to test for the safety of the drug for human use.

Drug company Ciba-Giegy paid nearly $1 million for the 32-month study, which used 56 monkeys in all. Of those, 12 were monkeys from the zoo, including four monkeys that were covered by the no-invasive-research agreement. Of the 12 zoo monkeys used in the project, 10 were euthanized during the research. The other two died after the project ended.

Here's where the monkeys went:

Hazleton Laboratories, 20; East Carolina University, 15; Baxter-Travenol,15; UW-Madison Harlow Primate Lab, 14; UW-Madison Clinical Sciences Center, 12.

National Institutes of Health-Poolesville, 9; Boston University, 4; University of Pittsburgh, 4; UW-Madison Department of Psychology, 3; UW-Madison Medical School, 2; Harvard University, 2.

University of Iowa, 2; University of Minnesota, 2; Vanderbilt University,2; Waisman Center, 2; University of South Dakota, 1; University of Nebraska, 1.

The money generated by the sale of the monkeys went into the center's cost recovery account, which augments a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The majority of the money for that grant pays for animal services such as food, housing and care for the animals.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Vilas Monkeys (Part One)

The Vilas Monkeys (Part One): The Ten-Year Anniversary of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Most Blatant Instance of Animal Cruelty and Lying to the Public. A Story of Cover-up, Conspiracy, Adultery, Battery, Disdain for Public Sentiment, and Crimes Too Unbelievable and Hideous to Discuss in Polite Company

Part One

In 1996, I learned that the United States government maintains giant facilities dedicated to using monkeys and chimpanzees as medical and behavioral research subjects. The details of the inherent cruelty of this endeavor motivated me to give up my teaching career and to dedicate myself to ending this publicly funded atrocity. [An extended essay Teaching Kindness [.pdf 250K] details the events in 1996/97 leading to my decision.]

When I first learned about the primate labs, I thought that the differences between those who worked in the labs or supported them and those who were working to close them was a simple matter of differences in honest opinion. Like past arguments over the use of Africans as slaves, it seemed to come down to whether or not anyone other that a human (or a white land-owning male) was deserving of some legally enforceable, stipulated set of basic rights. My error was based on the notion that honest people can have honest disagreements coupled with my then naïve view that the people working in the labs are as honest as most people.

In 1997, a year-long saga ensued over the fate of about 200 monkeys owned by the Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center housed at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison. Shortly afterwards, I wrote an essay detailing some of that year’s events.

The Vilas Monkey Debacle and subsequent scandals involving the primate center make it plain and clear that primate experimentation attracts a subset of individuals lacking in some characteristics common to the public at large. Because we expect people to be fundamentally honest, it is easy for the primate researchers to consistently hoodwink the public and our policy-makers.

The Vilas Monkeys

A partial chronicle of a few of the Vilas monkeys’ lives prior to their unforgivable betrayal by the primate researchers and the University of Wisconsin-Madison is contained in chapters three and four of Peacemaking Among Primates by Frans de Waal, originally published in 1989. Excerpts here and in subsequent Vilas essays are from the 1996 Harvard University Press paperback edition (pp 88-169.) Before quoting him, let me be clear: de Waal shares the responsibility for the torture that the Vilas monkeys and their progeny endured and continue to suffer. In some ways, because of his personal intimate knowledge of these animals’ lives, his guilt is of a darker more disturbing kind than the guilt of the Wisconsin vivisectors who have never pretended much concern for the animals.

When the initial story about the monkeys broke in the local press, there were three colonies of monkeys at the Vilas Zoo, two rhesus macaque colonies of 40 to 60 animals each and a colony of stump-tailed macaques of about the same size. According to de Waal, one of the rhesus colonies was among one of the last groups to be trapped in India and shipped to the U.S. prior to the Indian government’s ban on monkey exports. According to Deborah Blum in The Monkey Wars (Oxford University Press, 1994. p 120) the ban was enacted when India (and Bangladesh) learned from U.S. activists that the U.S. military was using the monkeys in radiation experiments, a violation of formal agreements with the U.S. that the animals would be used in medical research.

de Waal says that one of the rhesus colonies had been captured in Uttar Pradish, a state in the Himalayas in northern India. The monkeys found there are commonly seen in the towns and villages living commensally with the humans.

Following Jane Goodall’s (at the time) controversial method of identifying animals, de Waal named the monkeys he studied rather than assigning them identification numbers. He writes about the O-family: Orange, Oona, Ommie, and Orkid, and members of other families like Ropey, Beatle, Heavy, Kashew, Gray, Hulk, Mopey, and many others as he details their relationships and political maneuverings.

de Waal sums up his chapter about the rhesus monkeys with this:
The point is that their actions become more understandable if we assume that they have insight into the social network in which they live. Regarding them as beings with a rich social knowledge and a will of their own permits us to interpret data that would not otherwise make any sense. So I am talking here about a theoretical framework rather than a proven position. This framework, known as cognitive ethology, is more stimulating and promising than the classic view of animals as robot actors in a play that they hardly understand. Instead of arrogantly thinking that we human investigators fathom the meaning of nonhuman primate behavior better than they do, the impression never leaves me that it is the other way around. It takes thousands of hours of waiting and watching to reach a depth of insight into their social life that, in my estimation, is shallow compared to the insight of the monkeys themselves. (p 141; de Waal’s emphasis.)
The monkeys at the Vilas Zoo were observed and their behavior recorded and analyzed almost daily from the time they arrived in 1972, until they were shipped to Louisiana in 1998. They were the most carefully observed group of monkeys in the world. But, when it was discovered that they had also been the victims of the primate researchers’ repeatedly broken promises to the Zoo’s owners (Dane County and the taxpayers of the county), the university acted swiftly to send them to another lab and to raze the building that had housed them for two decades.

When I first wrote about the Vilas monkeys I hadn’t understood the events leading up to the formal agreement between the university and Dane County safeguarding the monkeys. I had thought that the agreement had grown out of public protests and pleas to protect the zoo monkeys from the experiments occurring to other monkeys just a short distance across town at the primate center.

It turns out that the public protests and reasonable letters of concern may have been insufficient in and of themselves. The catalyst for the policy was probably the vandalism that occurred at the zoo. Apparently, over a period of months, repeated graffiti critical of the zoo and its willingness to allow researchers to harvest monkeys from the zoo appeared on the monkey house to the great embarrassment of those who claimed to actually like and respect animals, as most zoo officials are wont to do.

Over the next months I’ll be writing periodically about the Vilas monkeys and things that happened during the university’s year-long campaign to get rid of them once their lies were exposed, once the public learned some of the ways the animals were being tortured. All-in-all, this is the single darkest mark on the university of which I am aware, and I am aware of a number of events since the Vilas debacle that are examples of a profound deficit of ethics and honesty.

There are still Vilas Zoo monkeys in the UW monkey labs.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Bad Trip

I didn’t notice when I slipped through the looking glass; I must have been asleep when it happened; I didn’t notice at first how surreal things were becoming, but now I can’t deny that I am wandering in a fever dream. I am delirious.

When I was younger, healthy and the world was rational, things made sense. Americans were the good guys. We were the sworn enemies of dictators that maintained secret prisons and whisked people off the street and tortured them.

Curiouser and curiouser

Back when things made sense, veterinarians helped sick animals and doctors helped sick people. In my delirium, I read about doctors who expose sick poor people to full body blasts of radiation that they know will lead to their pain-wracked vomit-filled deaths. Veterinarians inject deadly diseases into animals and write scientific papers documenting their illnesses and agonies. And it is our public universities that host these fiends and publicly laud their “scientific” fiddlings.

This morning I read a story in a local paper about a scientist who is preaching meditation for children as a way to foster mental health. His name is Richard Davidson. He was named by Time Magazine last year as one of the country’s 100 most influential people. He’s good friends with the Dalai Lama, the living incarnation of the Buddha of Compassion.

“[Richard] Davidson says research at the UW and elsewhere shows that contemplative practices cause ‘changes in the brain that promote empathy, compassion, increased concentration.’” Kid contemplatives: UW neuroscientist's project aims to give middle-schoolers tools of “mindfulness” and meditation. Capital Times. 11/08/2007.

Empathy and compassion.

Here’s what Davidson wrote in 2004:
Rhesus monkeys and humans share similarities in social and emotional behavior, and rhesus monkeys express psychopathology similar to that observed in humans…. we have been using rhesus monkeys to characterize fear- and anxiety-related behavior and physiological responses…. In previous work, we described the adaptive behavioral and physiological responses that are associated with fear and anxiety in rhesus monkeys…. Eighteen males underwent lesioning procedures at an average age of 34.9 months. Sixteen unoperated male controls were used for comparison and at the beginning of the study were on average 34.6 months of age…. Using standard aseptic surgical techniques, the animals were mounted in a stereotaxic apparatus (David Kopf Instruments). The skull was exposed, and the skull opening was made above the intended lesion site as determined from the MRI procedure.

Between 2 and 10 injections of 1 µl ibotenic acid (1 mg of ibotenic acid hydrate/100 µl of PBS) were made to lesion the CeA. Ibotenic acid is a neurotoxin derived from Amanita (BioSearch Technologies, San Raphael, CA).
Then he frightened the hell out of them and then killed them. [The role of the central nucleus of the amygdala in mediating fear and anxiety in the primate. Kalin NH, Shelton SE, Davidson RJ. J Neurosci. 2004.]

Davidson’s co-author, Ned Kalin, is the chair of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine’s Psychiatry Department. Before I became feverish, in the rational world I remember, psychiatrists spent their time trying to help people with mental illnesses.

When I was sane, Buddhists were people who were exceptionally kind. I remember reading a lesson on loving kindness that was supposedly uttered by Shakyamuni – the historical Buddha. It’s called the Metta Sutta.
This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in saftey,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

In my fever-dream topsy-turvy world, a close friend of the living embodiment of the Buddha of Compassion can say: “[W]e have been using rhesus monkeys to characterize fear- and anxiety-related behavior,” and people ask him for advice on teaching children to be compassionate.

And, in my surreal world, the living embodiment of the Buddha of Compassion himself is a big fan of gourmet meats and a big supporter of sticking electrodes in monkeys’ brains.

I’m not too sure where to turn for help. Maybe I should have my water tested; maybe the CIA is spiking it with LSD.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

"Animals think they’re pretty smart"

Los Angeles Times
Animal Liberation spokeswoman takes a bite out of UCLA animal testing.
By Lindy Greene
November 7, 2007

The North American Animal Liberation Press Office is a legal, above-ground organization that receives, clarifies and releases to the media the anonymous communiques received by underground activists who carry out illegal direct actions in defense of animals exploited and abused by individual and industry profiteers. The NAALPO is unaware of the identities of these activists and cannot predict or control when, where, how or whether they will strike. One might say that we speak for those who cannot — and for those who dare not.

Vivisection is simultaneously an animal rights and a human rights issue. Contrary to Edythe London's claim in her recent Op-Ed article "Why I use laboratory animals," testing treatments on animals and applying the results to humans is the greatest confounding variable of all! Data from one species cannot be extrapolated to another with more than 5% to 25% accuracy (note that simply flipping a coin would yield 50%) and that explains why no cures come down the pike for decades. It underlies the multiple thousands of consumer injuries and deaths every year from adverse reactions to drugs tested "safe" in animals and, conversely, causes potentially beneficial drugs tested "unsafe" to be discarded. Vivisection accomplishes nothing more than to gratuitously torture animals and retard true advancement in human medicine. In sum, it is both immoral and scientifically fraudulent.

UCLA squanders hundreds of millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars to turn monkeys into tweakers while drug rehabilitation centers founder for lack of funds. Addiction is an area of inquiry that should lend itself admirably to human clinical studies. To understand substance abuse, investigators must examine and address the psychological, sociological, economic, political and other demographic parameters underlying a uniquely human inclination. Animals in the wild do not volitionally intoxicate themselves with psychotropic chemicals — and those in labs forced into artificially-induced dependence cannot communicate their experiences. Imagine the benefit to society by intervening through education and counseling before the prospective addict makes the fateful decision to try a drug. Some of the millions awarded to UCLA to hook primates might be redirected toward those more laudable endeavors.

While I have no love for the tobacco industry, I have to point out that smoking is completely elective. We have known for years that smoking induces chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and lung cancer, yet we are unwilling to accept personal accountability for conditions that are unequivocally the result of our own unwise behavior. Cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke are all on the rise. While a certain percentage may be due to heritable factors, much, if not most, is undoubtedly the consequence of eating animals. Our dentition, salivary and stomach acid composition and intestinal anatomy were designed for the ingestion of plants. Our air, water and soil are saturated with contaminants, yet the vivisectionists continue to hoodwink the gullible public into believing that we have to torture animals to find cures for ailments that can be mitigated or averted with more appropriate lifestyle choices and better environmental stewardship.

As a Jew, I cannot comprehend how someone who claims to be the child of Holocaust survivors can participate in a holocaust against other sentient beings. With London's reported background in psychiatry, she should be fully cognizant that animal abuse is the hallmark symptom of psychopathology.

History strives repeatedly to teach us lessons that we stubbornly refuse to learn. In order to achieve its objectives, every social justice movement has ultimately had to resort to violence against the oppressors or their property. When legitimate grievances go consistently unheard, the attendant frustration expresses itself with escalating vehemence. The Sons of Liberty tossed 300 chests of British tea into the Boston harbor. The suffragettes employed arson. It took a civil war to end slavery and a world war to dismantle the Nazi concentration camps.

The Animal Liberation Front adheres to a nonnegotiable policy that no life, human or animal, be harmed during an action. It seeks to liberate animals directly from the clutches of their abusers or engage in economic sabotage against those abusers. The purpose of the former is self-explanatory; the motivation for the latter is the unfortunate recognition that it is the only means to engage with those whose cognitive and empathic shortfalls render them otherwise unreachable.

Activists who risk life, limb and liberty to stand up for sentient beings who cannot speak or act in their own behalf are unsung heroes and must endure the barbs of others who lack courage and moral fortitude. But they know the animals have it much worse, and that realization impels them to continue the battle for creatures whom society would arbitrarily place outside the circle of moral compassion and beyond the reach of effective defense.

Lindy Greene is the North American Animal Liberation press officer.

See too: ALF Vandalizes UCLA Primate Vivisector's Home

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Mother of All Targets

H1N1, known colloquially as the 1918 Spanish flu, is the most deadly disease ever encountered.

John M. Barry, in his book The Great Influenza, says:
Although the influenza pandemic stretched over two years, perhaps two-thirds of the deaths occurred in a period of twenty-four weeks, and more than half of those deaths occurred in even less time, from mid-September to early December 1918. Influenza killed more people in a year than the Black Death killed in a century; it killed more people in twenty-four weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty-four years.
Over half of those who died in the 1918 pandemic were in their 20s and 30s, in the prime of their lives, not the elderly.

One of the characteristics of H1N1, besides being so nearly uniformly deadly, is that it has a 1 to 4 day incubation period (some sources say up to 10 days.) This means that if someone is infected, they may not know it for a while, and while they still feel healthy, they are spreading the virus to everyone they encounter. This is one of the reasons that it spread so very rapidly and killed so many people in 1918/19. Estimates vary, but everyone agrees that it killed tens of millions of people, maybe even 100 million.

What this means is that if someone in a lab studying H1N1 is infected, they won’t know it for a few days. When they stop in at a 7-11 to buy a loaf of bread on the way home from the lab, the clerk and everyone in the store is at risk of infection.
If someone there is infected, they take it home to their families, and their kids take it to school.

It’s very dangerous and shouldn’t be studied in a lab in a metropolitan area. It was extinct until only recently when Kawaoka and others reengineered it. How stupid and arrogant is that?

And yet, the University of Wisconsin is planning to store the virus and to study its effect in mice, ferrets, and monkeys in a lab in Madison, Wisconsin. The scientist who will be studying the virus is Yoshihiro Kawaoka.

The university claims that the public should not be concerned because the lab will be very secure.
Ten-inch walls made with crack-resistant concrete. Outlets sealed with silicone. Sensors for broken windows. Infrared surveillance beams. Redundant air handling systems. A back-up generator.

UW-Madison's $12.5 million Institute for Influenza Viral Research, nearing completion at University Research Park, will have a collection of safety and security features the university hasn't seen before.
But the university has a long history of lying to the public when it comes to any matter that might embarrass them or cause a hiccup in the flow of money into university coffers.

And in this case, it isn’t just lying about protections for monkeys at the zoo, or lying about the care of the animals in its labs, or lying about the oversight of its animal experimentation. No, this time they are lying about the risk to everyone in the Midwest, maybe throughout the world. A small accident, unrecognized at the time, could lead to a global pandemic that results in the death of millions, maybe billions.

And, if you have any concern whatsoever about another terrorist attack on the US, what better target than a lab housing the most deadly virus ever encountered?

Do you think 10 inches of concrete will stop a plane from breaching the security at the lab? Want to bet your family’s lives on it? No? Too bad. According the university, they’ve placed the bet for you.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Vivisection Connections

The view that torture and non-consenting potentially harmful human experimentation are violations of a person’s inalienable rights is based on the position that an individual’s interest in not being harmed always outweighs any potential benefit to others, no matter how many others might benefit, no matter the degree of benefit, or who the beneficiaries or who the research subjects might be.

This view isn’t universally shared.

The United States, long cherished by human rights proponents around the world as a country that abhorred torture, has officially reversed itself and now endorses cruel methods of interrogation and incarceration without trial or judicial oversight.

Many medical doctors, scientists, hospitals, and universities in the U.S. have engaged in deleterious experiments on humans without their knowledge or informed consent. The known examples include the Tuskegee syphilis studies (1932-1972), the Willowbrook hepatitis experiment on retarded children (1963-1966), the Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital case (1963), the University of Cincinnati whole body radiation experiments (1960-1972), and many others from as recently as 1999, when all medical research with human subjects was suspended at the West Los Angeles and Sepulveda Veterans Administration Medical Facilities due to long standing oversight failures and failures to obtain informed consent.

You might think that, of all places, Israel would be the safest place for vulnerable patients, and that Jewish doctors and hospitals there would have a heightened sensitivity to using uninformed humans as experimental subjects, but in at least some instances this hasn’t been the case. In 2006, four doctors were arrested and two hospitals cited for their failure to safeguard patients when it was discovered that the doctors had performed “thousands” of experiments on unsuspecting elderly Jewish patients, some of who died as a result.

It is likely that in many if not most or even all of these examples, the doctors and the hospitals involved justified their experiments with the idea that more people might be helped than were certainly being harmed, or that science would benefit (whatever the heck that means.) And this, of course, is the self-same justification used for all medical research using animals. That is, those who experiment on animals and those who experiment on humans without their fully-informed consent are of a like mind.

The similarities between non-consenting human experimentation and animal experimentation are substantial. There must be something about having power over others that is attractive to a certain segment of the population. Dress it up as medical research or even law enforcement, but physical control of others is seductive to a certain personality type.

Martha Stephens writes:
It can hardly be insisted too strongly that the doctors who carried out the radiation tests, or administered the College where the tests took place, were by no means alienated or marginalized physicians. They were graduates of Harvard or other prestigious schools…. The team investigators published in received journals and often served their profession in national posts. Their views, feelings, predilections, and habits of mind with regard to their patients and their research subjects must be assumed to be the views and habits of many in their profession, in that time and this. The Treatment: The story of those who died in the Cincinnati radiation experiments. Duke University Press. 2002. (pp 101-102)
What astounds me is that in the face of the federal government lying about torturing people, black-ops secret prisons, rendition, secret human experimentation, cover-ups about laboratory accidents, spying on its citizens, and on and on, that, when the same people claim that animals in labs are being well-cared for and treated with respect, or that a cure (for the disease du jour) is just around the corner, and so many people believe them.

How many lies do people have to realize that they’ve been told before they wake up to the fact they are being lied to?

And this brings us to an obvious but mostly overlooked weakness in the vivisector’s position: that is, his inevitable forfeiture of all claim to have his word believed. 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 to protect it from what he deems the ignorant sentimentality of the laity….

Here, then, is a pretty deadlock. Public support of vivisection is founded almost wholly on the assurances of the vivisectors that great public benefits may be expected from the practice. Not for a moment do I suggest that such a defense would be valid even if proved. But when the witnesses begin by alleging that in the cause of science all the customary ethical obligations (which include the obligation to tell the truth) are suspended, what weight can any reasonable person give to their testimony? I would rather swear fifty lies than take an animal which had licked my hand in good fellowship and torture it. If I did torture the dog, I should certainly not have the face to turn round and ask how any person there suspect an honorable man like myself of telling lies. Most sensible and humane people would, I hope, reply flatly that honorable men do not behave dishonorably, even to dogs. The murderer who, when asked by the chaplain whether he had any other crimes to confess, replied indignantly, “What do you take me for?” reminds us very strongly of the vivisectors who are so deeply hurt when their evidence is set aside as worthless.
The Doctor's Dilemma: Preface on Doctors (1909)
George Bernard Shaw