Written by Jim Newman
The University of Iowa has shown a commitment to abiding by animal-welfare laws when performing research.
The animal-rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now is working overtime to generate headlines about the University of Iowa. But before rushing to judgment, consider two things.
First, a full examination of the already publicly available documents distributed by the group do not support its claims of abuse. Instead, they illustrate an intense, ongoing commitment by the university to provide good animal care. Take for instance the most significant document, which accounts for 82 percent of the animals that the group raises concerns about. It explains the reasons behind the unfortunate loss of a school of fish being used for health studies. In this case, an animal-care technician proactively sought to reduce high pH levels in the tank in which the animals were living and made a mistake in doing so. Most readers will likely agree that an error by a well-meaning employee who spots and attempts to fix an issue is regrettable … but not abuse. Read more.
Letter to the editor by Paula Clifford
The University of Iowa is the latest victim in a dangerous campaign aimed at smearing scientists and derailing health research.
The UI website provides a clear picture of the important work taking place with animals in university labs. Researchers are combating Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, mental health issues, obesity, cystic fibrosis, diabetes — the list goes on and on.
Groups like Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! want to cast a dark shadow over all scientists who study animals. Here are the facts: All major institutions that conduct health research require the use of animals. In many cases, there are simply no alternatives. Another fact: The University of Iowa’s animal studies are highly regulated. SAEN’s complaint itself — based on publicly available documents — is proof that our country’s animal welfare laws are extensive and provide transparency. Read more.
Written by Michael Schulson
If there’s any activist who can thrive in Donald Trump’s Washington, it’s Anthony Bellotti, a conservative political consultant who is adept at social media campaigns, at ease with the press, and fluent in the language of small-government politics. Bellotti worked on campaigns to defund Planned Parenthood, the women’s reproductive rights nonprofit, and to end Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.
But his current effort, called the White Coat Waste Project, has what many might consider an unusual crossover appeal. The group aims to stop government-funded animal research, using a mix of Tea Party-ready rhetoric about government waste and heart-tugging appeals to animal-lovers of all political persuasions. Toward that end, Bellotti makes a straightforward pitch: Animal research, he argues, is cruel, unnecessary, inefficient, and expensive. Plus, much of it is funded by taxpayers, whether they like it or not. The solution, according to White Coat Waste’s website, is to “drain the swamp” and “cut federal spending that hurts animals and Americans.” Read more.