Saturday, June 23, 2018

Vivisectors call for more transparency.... yeah, right.



Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there [sic] parents once they cross the Border into the U.S.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018

Let's continue animal testing: America's scientific community
USA TODAY June 20, 2018

We call upon our country’s research institutions — large and small — to embrace openness. — Speaking of Research, et al.

USA Today’s headline slipped across the ethical journalism line. It is an example of what has become known as “fake news,” though in this case I doubt it was an intentional hoodwink. But implying that America’s “scientific community” had reached some sort of consensus on the use of animals was frankly wrong.

It’s hard to know how many people there are in the U.S. who should be counted when thinking about the “scientific community,” but it’s a whole lot more than the roughly 500 people who have signed the letter (as of 6-22-2018). Most of those who have signed are involved in the use of animals; of course they want to keep using animals. Quite clearly, the scientific community hasn’t voted in favor of using animals, but maybe a majority might be in favor of greater transparency, but there is no way to know at the moment.

What can be said unequivocally is that the labs generally keep the ugly details of what they do to animals hidden from the public. They started doing this big-time more than a century ago. See for instance, Lederer, Susan E. "Political animals: The shaping of biomedical research literature in twentieth-century America." Isis 83, no. 1 (1992): 61-79.

A minuscule sliver of the scientific community signed a letter that said in part: “We call upon our country’s research institutions — large and small — to embrace openness. We should proudly explain how animals are used for the advancement of science and medicine, in the interest of the wellbeing of humans and animals.” Indeed.

Peta commented on the letter saying it welcomed the call for transparency. “We urge animal experimenters to video everything they do, from inducing heart attacks in dogs to shocking the feet of mice to cutting open the skulls of monkeys, and release it to the public that funds most of it. We ask them to be open about the fact that 90% of animal studies fail to lead to treatment for humans and to explain why they still use animals in drug research when 95% of new drugs that test safe and effective in animals fail in human trials.”

I have to laugh at the vivisectors' sugary call for greater openness. As of June 23, the directors of six of the seven NIH National Primate Research Centers (Nancy L. Haigwood, R. Paul Johnson, Jon E. Levine, John H Morrison, Jay Rappaport, Sally Thompson-Iritani) has signed on. Only Robert E. Lanford, director of Southwest is missing.

They know full well that they are the ones keeping the public from seeing what is going on in the labs. Implying otherwise is no different than Trump saying that he wishes children didn’t have to be taken from the parents.

Thinking only about the six NIH Primate Center directors who are calling for an embrace of openness, I have a couple easy suggestions for them.

1. When someone asks for a copy of a video or photograph, give it to them.

2. Better yet, put all your video footage and photographs on line.

3. Make your daily care logs accessible to the public.

4. Advertise the time and place of your IACUC meetings. Make sure they are open to the public. Make the minutes publicly available.

There is no reason they can’t do these things any more than Trump couldn’t order a halt to separating children from the parents.

I’ve got $100 that says none of them will.

Like many other claims about their use of animals, this one rings hollow; it appears to be simple propaganda intended to mislead the public about the morality of the participants in their cruel and lucrative profession.

I mention an example of the videos they could easily put on line in my essay, “The Future of Primate Vivisection.” (4-15-2017)

2 comments:

Rick Bogle said...

More misleading PR: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/06/cataclysmic-wake-call-can-more-candor-win-back-support-animal-research

Rick Bogle said...

This brand new GAO report makes it pretty clear that industry is not interested in transparency. https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-18-459