In An Ivy League Of Their Own
By E.M. Wollof from SLN
From the A New Itch Blog Series
Laboratory animal testing, a tricky subject on either side of any argument. Is it a necessary evil? Why do they do that to those poor animals? Would you rather they did it on humans? How can you even live with yourself when you know what they are doing to those cute little bunny rabbits? Would you prefer that all the scientific discovery that comes from the testing disappear? Are we sacrificing part of our humanity by doing what we do to these animals?
This week in the news, Harvard University enters the spotlight after losing their fourth, non-human primate, in their New England Primate Research Center. While I would love to lay out for you all the quotations by angry animal rights activists and back-pedaling bureaucrats, I won't because I know that you have heard them all before. What I will lay out for you is Harvard's track record over the last three years (as far as killing animals in labs is concerned anyway):
January 2009 - Cute Little Dog - COD: anesthesia overdose
September 2009 - Adorable Sheep - COD: upper airway infection, loss of weight, skin lesions
June 2010 - Non-Human Primate - COD: washed to death (The investigative panel said that the crew had left the primate in the cage when it was put through the industrial strength cage washing machine that puts out 180 degree water. The university claims that a necropsy performed immediately after the primate was found, points to the said primate being dead before being put through the wash...what a relief.)
July 2010 - 2 Fluffy Bunnies - COD: anesthesia overdose
August 2011 - Goat - COD: anesthesia overdose
October 2011 - Non-Human Primate - COD: dehydration
December 2011 - Non-Human Primate - COD: dehydration
February 2012 - Non-Human Primate - COD: dehydration
Now, the fact that Harvard has been called out on losing another primate and this loss has brought to light a slew of other animal testing deaths that are on their hands doesn't really concern me. Animals have been dying in labs for years and that is unlikely to change anytime soon. This fact is apparent when you look at how long Harvard's Primate facility has been registered with the USDA...45 long and glorious years!
What does concern me is that it will continue without the correct questions being asked. First and foremost, how did they really die? Yes, I understand that they were dehydrated, I will even give you the anesthesia overdose, but those are both symptoms of the research. What is this research that is killing these animals? With the recent H5N1 moratorium, are we seeing a pattern of underground research coming to the surface?
Secondly, there will be a massive outcry by PETA and the like to stop all funding for these research facilities. As a matter of fact, PETA has already mailed the letter. I for one, don't really care about this letter, as it will only amount to a slap on the wrist at most. These groups are all about posturing, there is no positive change to the overall scheme of things, only wasted breath and the dramatic visage of actual pain. My question(s) for them...What do you suggest? What would you do to replace the invaluable research that comes from these animals that prove to be worth more to society than you could ever dream to be?
Third: Why is it that Harvard isn't leading the charge in microscopic testing? There is a new generation of labs emerging that focus less on live animals and more on live tissue samples, where you at Harvard?
Lastly: When do we stop whining about all these testing hiccups and step to the plate? Week after week I read about group after group complaining about this or that, some species rights or some persons moral obligation to uphold common human law, frankly I grow weary my dear people. At what point in time do we stop complaining and start actually saying something....like if you don't think your trial is ready to be tested on a human, than you aren't ready yet Doc. When you do think that you are absolutely ready, let's test this thing on the only subject that fairly represents what it will be used for....a human.