Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Primate Vivisectors Target and Mislead Children

"Saving Lives With Biomedical Research" [.pdf] is a comic book produced by the National Institutes of Health's Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) paid for by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, and intended to be used to propagandize middle school-aged children. Their propaganda efforts target children as young as 6 years of age.

At ONPRC's sister facility, the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, vivisectors have said that the issue is far too complex and nuanced for lay people to grapple with... simple-minded citizens ought not be empowered to make ethical decisions about the use of animals in the labs. They must wish we'd all been forced to read the "Lucky Puppy" when we were six.

In any case, "Saving Lives With Biomedical Research" is a gem of the propagandist's art. Bright colors, characters the target audience can (hopefully) identify with, a talking monkey, half truths, hidden realities, falsehoods, and its all just so politically correct.

It's my sincere desire that readers will come away from this essay a bit more informed and aware of the efforts underway nationally to convince young children that hurting and killing animals is a good thing.

This is how the story begins. Readers have no idea what Brandon might have said in his report. Did he have visual aides? Lots of pictures from inside ONPRC are available. Maybe he even showed the video of the macaque having his penis electro-shocked and the technician saying that if the animal rights people ever saw what was going on that they would probably be able to shut down ONPRC. We just don't know what Brandon said in his report.

The rest of the comic book is dedicated to a debunking Brandon's classmate Zach's apparently erroneous impressions about vivisectors and animal experimentation.

It's more than a little odd that ONPRC chose to use a very anthropomorphic monkey to be its chief spokesman in the story; criticism has been leveled at animal rightists with claims that they are doing exactly what ONPRC is doing:
Groups such as PETA and the Animal Liberation Project (ALP) frequently employ graphic photos of animals suffering in laboratories and slaughterhouses. They make Holocaust analogies or employ anthropomorphic depictions of animals that would make Walt Disney blush. (The Nonhuman Animal. Michael P. Orsi. The American Spectator August 10, 2010. Linked to by the Discovery Institute.)

Should we be surprised that Zach's mother has cancer or that she believes that experiments on animals were necessary for the development of her treatments, or that Zach's opinions might be pitted against his mother's health?

This picture of Max, the talking monkey, is sort of funny. His hands and feet are very un-monkey like. I'd have thought that an institution dedicated to using monkeys would have at least not misled children this way. I think too, that they ought to have named him something else, maybe Quisling?

This is a bit of oleo. The title of the page says that these animal types are needed for research, but it offers a conglomeration of reasons. Scientists "need" lobsters to study Parkinson's? Pigs have certainly been used by scientists studying burns, but whether they were needed is a question left unasked in this comic book. I wonder whether Brandon showed pictures of pigs being burnt with blow torches in his report?
There is a lot wrong on this page. At ONPRC, no one can just ride up to the front door on their bike. At ONPRC, no buildings can be seen from the road. A winding drive leads to an electric gate where surveillance cameras determine whether or not the security staff ought to be sent to interrogate you.

And tours? Please. Vivisectors at the Wisconsin primate center promised repeatedly in public to show people around their facility. When they were asked for a tour, they quickly changed their minds and offered instead a very limited number of people a very carefully guided tour.

"Open air shelter"? ONPRC calls them corrals; they raise monkeys to sell to other labs. Wisconsin keeps all its monkeys indoors, as do most labs using monkeys. At ONPRC, a USDA inspector cited them for the poor conditions in the corrals. They had to walk through feces-fouled slime covered pools of rain water to get to their food. Disease outbreaks were common.

The page below is particularly misleading.

A few years ago, it was discovered that ONPRC vivisector Martha Neuringer had been videotaping some of the many individually caged monkeys there. She left cameras running for hours on end. It took a protracted lawsuit to get the tapes, but when they were finally turned over, we saw hours upon hours of endless pacing and "looping." Essentially all monkeys used in the labs live in small barren stainless steel cages, many of them alone (approx 200 in Wisconsin) and driven mentally ill from the grotesquely unnatural isolation forced upon them.

And positive reinforcement? Here's a less-comic glimpse of the reality:

The page above is filled with gibberish. Veterinarians in primate labs are not infrequently also vivisectors. At the Wisconsin center, for instance, the head vet, Saverio "Buddy" Capuano III, (no buddy to the monkey) has coauthored a number of scientific papers documenting monkeys' declining health after injecting them with always-terminal disease-causing viruses.

And the tired claim that monkeys live longer in the labs than in the wild is just that, a tired propaganda device. In order to fairly judge the comparative risks between a life in the wild and in lab, one would need to look at the age of death of a population of monkeys. Except in very rare cases, every monkey in the labs will die an unnatural death. Almost all of them will be killed by a vivisector. And the ones who aren't are likely to be found dead in their cage after a long bout of incurable diarrhea, or dehydration from a clogged water tube gone unnoticed by the lab staff, or a chronic undiagnosed infection, and even in some cases death from being scalded in a cage-washer. The claim that monkeys live longer in the labs than they do in the wild are far-fetched wild unscientific assertions intended only to mislead the public, and in the case of this comic book, intended to mislead children.

The claim above is a common one: something said to be the result of some use of animals could not have occurred otherwise. But this is a fallacy. It's sort of like saying that for want of the nail, the war was lost, or in this case, without dogs insulin couldn't have been discovered. But this is nonsense. It's like saying that without Christopher Columbus, Europeans would never have found North and South America.

The numbers the comic book cites are also misleading. Type 2 diabetes represents about 90 to 95 percent of the cases in the US and its frequency is increasing. Sadly, the primary risk factors are diet and lifestyle. It wasn't the use of animals that led to the understanding that overweight sedentary consumers of diets high in meat and dairy are at much greater risk of developing the condition. ONPRC could have served their targeted audience by including characters more representative of American children and urging them to eat less animal fat and to exercise more.

Complete baloney. In fact, even USDA inspectors sometimes have a difficult time getting into the labs. These people look forward to visitors the way normal people look forward to a colonoscopy. Saying otherwise in a comic book for children is manipulative and dishonest.

Zach's report is misleading. It conflates "needed" with "used." Even vivisectors admit that other vivisectors may not be doing important work and are using animals in ways that they ought not to. Also, the report says that since 1970, there has been a 50% reduction in the number of animals used. But the USDA didn't start keeping such statistics until 1973, so it's hard to know where Zach got his information. And, the USDA reported that 1,653,345 animals were used that year, and that 1,134,693 were used in 2010, hardly a 50% drop, and moreover, most observers agree that the widespread demand for mutant mice has added an astronomical number of animals to the actual total, but because neither rats nor mice are counted by the USDA, they do not appear in the reported numbers. All told, Zach seems to have been duped by the vivisectors he spoke with and the information they gave to him.

You'd think that by now, given the essentially limitless number of mice and rats experimented on, that rats and mice would be disease free and now would be more or less immortal. But, of course, they aren't. A few years ago we took a sick rat to the vet. He had no idea whatsoever how to help him. He tried some drug that was used in cats to no effect. He did help the poor guy a little by giving him some oxygen, but in spite of at least many hundreds of millions of rats having been dissected, injected, force fed everything under the sun, subjected to millions of different surgeries, help them when they are dying is still just as difficult as it is to help a dying human. As much as anything else, this simple fact would seem to put the lie to the specious arguments that experiments on them will benefit us; those experiments don't even lead to cures for the animals the vivisectors use the most.

It's telling that most of the sources ONPRC encourages children to consult are matter-of-fact special interest groups whose common mission is selling snake oil.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Monkeys unlikely to provide reliable evidence ...

Mark Petticrew, Professor of Public Health Evaluation at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, says that without assessing the validity of primate studies first, there is little point in using them to build theories of causes of human ill-health.
Some animal rights nut, probably.

Puzzling Over Links Between Monkey Research and Human Health

ScienceDaily (Mar. 21, 2012) — Studies in monkeys are unlikely to provide reliable evidence for links between social status and heart disease in humans, according to the first ever systematic review of the relevant research.

The study, published in PLoS ONE, concludes that although such studies are cited frequently in human health research the evidence is often "cherry picked" and generalisation of the findings from monkeys to human societies does not appear to be warranted.

Mark Petticrew, George Davey Smith. The Monkey Puzzle: A Systematic Review of Studies of Stress, Social Hierarchies, and Heart Disease in Monkeys. PLoS ONE, 2012.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Global Warming

blog: a portmanteau of the term web log; a personal journal published on the World Wide Web.

personal: concerning or affecting a particular person or his or her private life and personality.

private: 1. confined to particular person; 2. concerning things deeply private and personal; 3. concerning one person exclusively.

So here ya go, all you lurkers who defend hurting and killing.... something personal, deeply private, as in the things I probably ought not to have uttered in public:

I was walking Mickey today -- one of his at least two daily walks. The weather is awesome... unseasonably warm. And I got to thinking about this passage from today's paper: "'This is to me the most unusual weather event I've witnessed in my lifetime,' Jonathan Martin, chairman of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at UW-Madison, said in an interview.

Before this month, Madison's weather history had recorded only five days in March where the temperature climbed past 80 degrees. In the last week alone, there have been three, he said.

'This is simply unprecedented,' Martin said. 'I think that the longevity of this particular warm streak, the time of year it comes at, and the record high temperatures that we've set, are simply remarkable.'

But forecasters say it's not over, with more record highs likely Tuesday through Thursday, before cooler weather moves in for the balance of the week."

And I couldn't help but feel good, happier than in a while; giddy in fact, at the realization that I'm getting to be alive at a time when we could very well get our comeuppance. It's hard to find anything other than marginal evidence (A huge thank you and shout-out to those of you in the margins!) that humans don't suck.

So, when you and I are dying of thirst, our parched skin cracking and oozing thickened blood, our eyes and eyesight long gone, you'll be freaking out, but I'll be smiling inside, knowing that hope for the Earth's other beings -- most yet unknown -- is reborn. I'll be humming Hallelujah with my bone-dry, cracked, bleeding vocal cords.

NBAF again in the news

You may remember when UW-Madison was frothing at the mouth in hopes that USDA/Homeland Security's proposed BSL-4 lab, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, would be built here.

For much background see: NBAF

In spite of concerns from just about everyone else (who was unlikely to get a bite of the gazillion dollar pie) that the risk was simply too high.

Well, things aren't going so well for the project, and at the heart of the problems is the nagging unresolved problem of safety. What a surprise.

Plans stall for biodefense lab: US National Academy of Sciences reassesses risks of high-security work in cattle country.
Susan Young
28 February 2012

Animal Research Ethics

It is probably assumed by most people who stop to think about it that research using animals -- particularly research that hurts or kills animals -- is subject to some required ethical review. But in the United States, there is no required ethical review and largely no ethical review at all.

This doesn't mean that proposed and actual experimental use of animals isn't subject to oversight, only that an ethical review isn't required and generally isn't undertaken.

The oversight of research using animals is limited to an evaluation of a proposal's compliance with existing law and regulation, and then, once approved, an occasional cursory check to ascertain whether the vivisector is adhering to the approved methods.

But this oversight isn't a consideration of ethics; it's more like a city issuing a building permit -- as long as the zoning laws and construction methods meet the legal requirements, there isn't any required discussion as to whether or not you ought to build a new garage or put an addition on your house.

You might think I'm making this up, after all, vivisectors say they care about the animals they hurt and kill and that hurting and killing them is a privilege rather than a right. Surely the industry, filled as it is with caring people, would establish committees that would think carefully about the harm to the animals and whether or not their suffering could be justified by the promised results.

But currently, there is nowhere along the pipeline between the publicly-funded research dollar geyser (the NIH) and the lab where an ethical evaluation can occur. Everywhere along the way the system is staffed by vivisectors -- people with clear unambiguous financial interests in promoting the use of animals.

Projects receiving public funding for research using animals generally start in one of two ways. Either the NIH issues a request for proposals or else a vivisector comes up with an idea on his or her own. The two routes quickly converge at one of many committees acting under the auspices of the National Institute's of Health's Center for Scientific Review(CSR). These committees are called Study Sections.

Study Sections are committees made up of recognized experts in the sort of research they are asked to evaluate. Their task is to determine a proposal's technical and scientific merit. There is no ethical review, and in the typical committee, an unbiased review would be impossible. Michele Basso, a well-known and despised monkey vivisector at UW-Madison was a member of one of these committees. See my essay "The 'Best Science'" to get an idea about the biased make-up of these committees.

Once a project is approved, the next and last step in the approval process is the committee at the vivisector's own institution called either an Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) or an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

The ACUC is made up of vivisectors, their handmaidens, and a token member, sometimes two, to represent the concerns of the community. A 2012 paper looked at the composition of these committees and verified the obvious biases that critical observers have always pointed to. See: Hansen L.A., Goodman J.R., Chandna A. Analysis of Animal Research Ethics Committee Membership at American Institutions. Animals. 2012; 2(1):68-75.

But ACUCs do not generally address the ethics of a proposal. The IACUC Handbook, Second Edition, by Jerald Silverman, Mark A. Suckow and Sreekant Murthy explains:

12:3 Should the IACUC perform an ethical review of protocols?

.... For the most part, the IACUC does not and cannot conduct this explicit ethical review. The IACUC is charged with reviewing the rationale (preferably statistical) for the numbers of animals chosen, for instance, but not whether a particular line of research warrants that number. Similarly, the IACUC evaluates a technical claim that nonhuman primates alone are likely to provide the sort of data sought, not whether a particular projects ethically merits the use of primates...

It's understandable that people sometimes think that there is some sort of ethical review involved in publicly funded research that entails hurting and killing animals, and in fact, even vivisectors have been unclear about whether there ought to be some ethical review.

In the First Edition of the IACUC Handbook, the answer to the question of whether or not IACUCs should perform an ethical review was the exact opposite of what it is today. The First Edition answered the question this way:

You can't help but notice the difference, and moreover, the reason that the authors felt that there ought to be some sort of ethical review: the regulations covering the use of animals might become more restrictive if the public doesn't believe that some sort of ethical review is taking place. It isn't really a matter of ethics, its a matter of public relations.

My deep cynicism makes me wonder about the aboutface. I wrote to the authors and asked what led to the change, but they said only that the Second Edition is the current opinion.

ACUCs are not ethics committees anymore than giraffes are zebras, and calling them ethics committees doesn't make them so. There is no ethical review of proposed experiments on animals.

Universities and the NIH as a rule don't do much ethical review of research unless it involves the use of humans. This lack of ethical review of research is what led to the current dust-up over the NIH-funded development of an airborne strain of the H5N1 influenza or bird flu. In the article below, "dual use" refers to the potential of the research results being used to develop bio-warfare agents.

From NPR’s health blog:
Bird Flu Studies Getting Another Round Of Scrutiny By Panel
by Nell Greenfieldboyce. March 26, 2012.

... The whole debate has had some people asking why these questions are being asked after-the-fact, instead of before scientists did this work, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health as part of an effort to better understand how influenza viruses in animals can mutate and cause human pandemics.

But it looks like the safety committee at the University of Wisconsin-Madison actually did recognize the work's dual use potential.

"In the meeting minutes it does say that there was a dual use discussion," says Rebecca Moritz, a research compliance specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's biological safety office. "I don't know the specifics of that discussion but there was one."


The U. S. government currently does not require institutional biosafety committees to consider the dual use question. These local panels review lab procedures to ensure safety. They are not tasked with asking whether an experiment might produce information that might be dangerous in the wrong hands.

"They had no requirement or obligation to report or to share their concerns if they concluded in the end that the concerns were worthy of further pursuit," says Ruth Faden, a bioethicist at Johns Hopkins University.

Faden served on an influential National Academy of Sciences committee that issued a report on dual-use issues in 2004. It recommended that the government set up a mandatory oversight system. Under its plan, local biosafety committees would be required to screen research to identify projects with dual use potential. For projects of potential concern, an additional review at the national level would determine whether and how to let the research go forward.

But so far, the government hasn't set up any system like that. "In the absence of such a structure, people are going to continue to flounder, and not know what they ought to do," says Faden.

She says the concept of dual use got a lot of attention even before this bird flu controversy. But mere awareness of the concept of dual use doesn't mean scientists, institutions, and funding agencies understand what it is that they should do in any given situation.

"This is not a problem any one person can solve," says Faden. "It's hard to ask people to do the responsible thing if they don't have an environmental system that supports them knowing what is the right thing is to do and then being able to do it."
The thing to notice is that bioethicist Faden believes, and I agree with her, that without an overt system in place to facilitate or require the evaluation of such matters, that no committee or individual will be able to make decisions on questions and matters outside their official purview.

This explains why today's ACUCs do not evaluate the ethics of the projects that come before them: they are not charged to do so and do not have the tools or training to do so.

Additionally, ACUCs couldn't do this even if they were told to do so, and had the tools and training, so long as they are comprised as they are. The overwhelming and clear biases and conflicts of interest of the committee members make any ethical weighing impossible.

The result of all this is that the use of animals in the United States being paid for with tax dollars is essentially a ship without a captain when it comes to evaluating the ethical issues surrounding the harm to the animals being used.

In the United States, there is no such thing as an Animal Research Ethics Committee.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Lab Rat Chronicles

I’ve lived with a number of animals other than humans during my adult life: fish, a monkey, goats, dogs, a gerbil, horses, cats, chickens, a pig, chimpanzees, and six rats.

Rats continue to get a bad rap. For some reason, their relatively naked tail bothers some people, and of course, they have been associated with disease and squalor. But rats I’ve known have been friendly, inquisitive, and have seemed to like my companionship.

I am mentioning rats because of a book I read a couple weeks ago written by experimental psychologist Kelly Lambert. It’s titled The Lab Rat Chronicles: A Neuroscientist Reveals Life Lesson’s from the Planet’s Most Successful Mammals.

It’s a disturbing read if you care much about what we do to animals. Though she doesn’t stop to do the calculations, her's and the other studies she writes about must have consumed many many thousands of animals. It’s hard to find anything in all the studies she cites that has been very beneficial to humans – other then the ones cashing those taxpayer signed paychecks.

She never stops to wonder whether another stress-inducing manipulation of her subjects' lives is moral or whether using more public funds to publish another obscure bit of trivia is ethical. To her, the results, no matter what they are, are just so very interesting that more research is needed, and she's ready to assign another round of sad manipulations of these small animals' lives to another grad student.

In my opinion, it’s nothing more than a disturbed person’s self-congratulatory indulgence that demonstrates exactly why so-called scientists hurting animals ought to be barred for life from feeding at the public trough.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Contemporary Science, Values and Animal Subjects in Research

A pretty good overview of the issue.

Science, Values and Animal Subjects in Research

This site, developed at North Carolina State University, is an Office of Research Integrity (ORI) sponsored project. It is intended to be both a learning tutorial and a clearing house. Ethics and the use of animals in research is an enormous topic: this site is an introduction both to the central issues and the information resources available. The format is the same throughout each Tutorial; an essay with numerous links to further websites. Think of the essay as an extended annotated bibliography, with the written text suggesting connections between the online materials. Study Questions found at the end of each Tutorial or section of a Tutorial in Part I: Ethics and Part III: Mini-Lessons are intended either for self study or for group or class/lab use at your institution.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tammy Baldwin

The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act has 161 co-sponsors; Wisconsin's "progressive" Congresswoman from the 2nd District, who is a candidate for the U.S. Senate, isn't one of them.

She's been asked repeatedly why not. She has said on numerous occasions, in public, that she just hadn't heard about it, even after being sent lots of information and after meetings with her and her aides.

That excuse has apparently been abandoned -- she's been called on it too many times, apparently, even for a politician. Now she claims that her "constituents" have advised her not to support this legislation.

And that's always been the real reason. She's just tried to dodge the issue when asked about her position in public -- probably because she believes that other than the UW-Madison vivisectors and a university administration that reaps immense financial benefits from their publicly-funded cruel experiments on animals who worry about the slippery slope -- her lefty constituents, like me, would be overwhelmingly appalled by her turning her back on the chimpanzees subjected to torture and lifetime imprisonment.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

NYT: "the latest bizarre twist..."

What? Vivisectors change their story to suit their personal interests??? There's a revelation.

The Truth About the Doomsday Virus?
Published: March 3, 2012

Two months ago we warned that a new bird flu virus — modified in a laboratory to make it transmissible through the air among mammals — could kill millions of people if it escaped confinement or was stolen by terrorists. Now Ron Fouchier, the Dutch scientist who led the key research team, is saying that his findings, which remain confidential, were misconstrued by the press.

He says that the virus did not spread easily and was not lethal when transmitted from one ferret to another by coughing or sneezing, and that it became highly lethal only when big doses were injected into the animals’ windpipes.

That is hard to square with his original assertions. Experts who read his original manuscript say it reported that the new virus spread through the air and remained as virulent as the natural virus, which has killed 60 percent of the humans it has infected.

Dr. Fouchier’s new claims are only the latest bizarre twist in a global health debate that badly needs an objective, independent arbiter. ...

Federal advisory board as slap-dash as an ACUC

Details of H5N1 study spark queries from congressman, experts

Lisa Schnirring \ Staff Writer
Mar 5, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – A US congressman has stepped into the debate over two controversial H5N1 transmission studies, asking President Obama's science office why a federal advisory board didn't consider dual-use issues until after the experiments were completed and what safeguards are in place.

The letter from Rep Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., was sent on Mar 1 to John Holdren, PhD, who leads the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. It was released a day after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) asked the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to reconvene to reexamine new details about the studies, according to a press release from Sensenbrenner's office.....


I taught adolescents for about ten years, first as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, and then as a public school teacher in eastern Oregon. Along the way, I took many teaching methods classes.

There's been a substantial amount of research into the ways people -- particularly children -- learn and a commensurate number of recommendations for the best ways to teach. Nothing very earth shattering has been discovered, and good teachers have pretty much always done the same things.

Successful teaching involves the incorporation of a few key principles into one's lessons. Though not an exhaustive list, a successful teacher is likely to:

1. Respect their students, and require that their students be respectful of each other and the teacher.

2. Plan lessons that move from the known to the unknown.

3. Check often, as continually as possible, for understanding.

4. Explain things in more than one way more than one time.

5. Recognize that people learn by doing and give their students much to do.

6. Recognize that the people doing the talking are the ones learning: avoid lecturing.

The reason I mention any of this is because I don't think that number 2 above is understood or used appropriately in much science education, at least not when it comes to anatomy and physiology.

One of the guiding principles of good teaching related to the basic notion of moving from the known to the unknown is to move from the simple to the complex. This is the reason that so many biology curricula have students dissect grasshoppers, crayfish, earthworms, and starfish. Of course, there is nothing simple about the biology of any of these animals.

How should we teach anatomy and physiology? Basic pedagogy suggests that students ought first think about and investigate something they know and then learn about other things that their prior understanding can build on.

The first thing most students ought to explore is their own hand. They can see and feel the movement of tendons and bones and can see blood vessels through the skin. This would lead to an investigation of the arms, the legs, and the entire human body. They could palpate some of their own organs, and use that firsthand experience to make sense of drawings and models of the human anatomy.

Their own body is a structure that students know intimately. This is a reasonable and likely fruitful place to begin any sequence of lessons on anatomy and physiology. They ought to have a strong grasp of their own biology before investigating the biology of very dissimilar organisms.

The study of the anatomy and physiology of animals like grasshoppers, crayfish, earthworms, and starfish -- or frogs, pupfish, or whatever animal is being dissected -- more appropriately belongs in a comparative physiology class for students with a good understanding of human anatomy and physiology.

Unfortunately, elementary teachers wishing to provide hands-on experiences for their students (number 5, above) and junior and senior high school biology teachers commonly believe that it is easier to understand the anatomy and physiology of "simpler" "less complex" animals "lower" on the "evolutionary scale" and that by cutting up these animals, students will gain important knowledge. These teachers mean well, but their embrace of such practices suggests that they don't understand the implications of evolution, they don't care about animals, and they don't understand how people learn.

Vegan Nation

I've written a couple of books and have self-published three of them. Two have been read by me and a handful of friends and curious anti-animal sorts looking for nasty things to say about me. None of them are particularly well written, but writing them was cathartic.

One of them is set in a future America after the Germans won World War II. A small student group begins complaining about the use of Jews in a university's labs, and resorts to some direct action to free them. The little blurb on Amazon says: "A slight change of circumstance led to the Nazis winning the war and eventually ruling the world. One result was the firm institutionalization of experimentation on "subhumans." Now, people who oppose this government-sponsored science are labeled enemies of the State. It's called Tell Me Your Story.

Another is a collection of nonfiction essays and a one act play. It's titled Monsters and Pygmies. Here's the Amazon blurb:
Children imagine that monsters lurk under the bed or in the closet. We keep the nightlight burning because we know instinctually that monsters are afraid of the light. But real monsters are all around us, snatching up the weak and powerless, children and animals, torturing them, killing them. But we were right: monsters are afraid of the light. In the case of real monsters, it is the light of public scrutiny that they fear. They can be defeated; public education is a stake that can be driven into their cruel hearts. Learning the details of what goes on in the animal labs, on the farms, in the slaughterhouses, and telling others about it, shines a light on the dirty deeds being performed out of sight. The people doing these things don't want to discuss the details in public. But we can shine a light so bright that everyone will have to look. Monsters and Pygmies might be the spark that will light your torch.
The first book I published was Vegan Nation. It's a cautionary tale about a guy who suddenly finds himself with immense wealth and decides to use it to strike out against cruelty to animals. He becomes a serial killer of vivisectors. It's pretty graphic in its depictions of the way people are murdered. The story is particularly bothersome to some people because his methods -- much like anti-slavery activist John Brown's -- seem to work.

It's cautionary because today's efforts to hide what is done to animals, to criminalize the private investigation of cruelty, to make it illegal to even show someone a picture of what is done in the labs, on the farms, behind the scenes at circuses and rodeos, all of the efforts to hide what is being done to animals and to criminalize the exposure of the cruelty, is a sort of pressure cooker. Even a small amount of water in a closed un-vented container can rip steel when heated to the boiling point.

I am writing about this book today because it is being republished; of all the things I've written, its the one going into a second edition; odd. I wouldn't have guessed that this small novella would have been the one thing I've said that seems to be growing legs. See Warcry Communications. Order your copy today!