People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a complaint over University of Wisconsin animal research, which they believe violates the Animal Welfare Act. The allegations specifically cited veterinary care without adequate anesthesia, which allegedly caused significant suffering to a cat creatively nicknamed “Double Trouble.”
The PETA complaint against UW was closed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after it was unable to find any ethical violations. However, in light of the fact it recently received a letter from Richard Brown, former senior program veterinarian for UW’s Research Animal Resource Center, the case may be reevaluated.
In the letter, he reveals what USDA spokesman David Sacks called “additional information, previously unknown during the time of original inspection.” On the other hand, RARC Director Eric Sandgren stated “he found no new details after reviewing the letter.”
Despite the gory campaign PETA waged, this case does not need a reevaluation. It has already been effectively decided upon by the USDA, and PETA is an extremist organization that is effective only at generating debate and emotion directed at frivolous issues.
PETA continuously stands in the way of beneficial innovations in the field of science. Animal testing has been essential in developing new cures for breast cancer, childhood leukemia, AIDS, diabetes, Parkinson’s and many other diseases.
The animals in these tests receive the best possible care given the procedures they will endure, and guess what? Mistakes will be made, and some of the animals will suffer. But if a few unlucky animals must suffer in order to find cures to deadly diseases, so be it.
I want to see advances in medicine that contribute to higher survival rates of human beings — the species that contributes to society.
PETA’s campaign for animal rights has always centered on making experiments on animals sound as gruesome and anthropomorphic as possible. Let’s analyze the specific case brought forward with the cat named Double Trouble.
First, the reason they gave the cat a name was that it made people think their own house pet was being experimented on. This is nowhere near the truth — many of the animals used for experiments are bred in captivity for the sole purpose of experimentation.
Second, PETA uses a gruesome tone whenever it talks about animal experimentation. In a letter to The Badger Herald, PETA’s Associate Director of Laboratory Investigation, Justin Goodman, claimed “UW-Madison apparently thinks it’s acceptable to mutilate, deafen, starve, paralyze and decapitate cats.” This is a strong statement that depicts UW scientists as a sinister group of researchers whose sole goal is to cause harm to animals.
This accusation is blatantly false — the cats in question merely had monitors strategically placed within their heads to measure brain activity. Goodman is gravely misinformed about research practices here at UW and the breakthroughs to which they lead.
UW is a research institution, one of the best research institutions in the world, in fact. I have full faith in the researchers at this university, both past and present, who have contributed to major advancements in the scientific community.
UW scientists were the first to isolate and culture embryonic stem cells, developed UW solution, which allows for the cold storage of transplant organs, and made the world’s first synthetic gene.
Researchers at UW have made amazing breakthroughs, and I expect to see more amazing discoveries. If animal testing is necessary in order for such discoveries to continue, I fully support researchers’ actions in UW laboratories.
Jared Mehre ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science and sociology with a certificate in criminal justice.
A previous version of this article referred to PETA’s Associate Director of Laboratory Investigation as John Goodman. This has since been corrected.