PETA's New Target: UT-Medical Branch in Galveston

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Ashbel_Smith_Building_UTMB_Galveston.jpg
UTMB gets hit by PETA complaints about experiments
PETA, fresh off claiming a victory over NASA about monkey experiments, has a new target in its sights: The University of Texas medical branch in Galveston.

PETA has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging "abuse and neglect of animals housed and used in experiments at UTMB facilities."

"Being burned and cut open in experiments is upsetting enough, but if animals are also being denied basic care and pain relief, UTMB must answer to the law," PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo said."We're calling on the USDA to launch an immediate investigation, protect the animals, and hold UTMB accountable if these very serious allegations of animal abuse are borne out."

The group says a whistleblower has reported several incidents:

-- [An experimenter] subjected sheep, pigs and mice to third-degree burns on up to 40 percent of their bodies using a Bunsen burner or scorching-hot metal rod and forced the animals to inhale smoke.

-- UTMB faculty members cut open dogs and surgically implanted tubes into their colons. One dog died during surgery, and another suffered in pain following surgery when staff didn't provide painkillers. The dog later died.

-- UTMB experimenters induced spinal cord and nerve damage in sheep. One sheep couldn't stand for three days following the surgery and was given no pain relief.

-- One sheep suffered a broken leg and trauma so severe that it caused the animal's intestines to penetrate her chest cavity.

-- A highly social macaque monkey was kept alone in a steel cage and denied contact with other nonhuman primates in violation of the law.

-- Mice died of dehydration after staff failed to notice that the animals did not have access to water.

We asked UTMB for reaction and they issued this statement:

As a leading research institution committed to advancing the treatment and prevention of illness and injury, UTMB strives to adhere to the highest ethical standards and to follow all federal, state and campus regulations in every aspect of its research enterprise. Our animal facilities are regularly inspected and approved by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, the US Department of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health and the institution's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

Read the complaint:

Utmb Usda Complaint
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Sixxers
Sixxers

Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: "Because the animals are like us." Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: "Because the animals are not like us." Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction. ~Charles R. Magel

If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons. ~C.S. Lewis

kt511
kt511

Poor peta, there's no reason to parade naked people around for this one!! Now, if UTMB is indeed doing what they claim (and until there is an official investigation, these are nothing more than unsubstantiated claims), then yes, they need to be penalized to the full extent of the law. Personally, I find animal abuse to be one of the worst crimes imaginable. However, peta is infamous for exploiting murky situations like this for fame and profit, and they have a pretty radical agenda (it's a well-known fact they happily gave legal funds to a man who bombed several research facilities). Whether it gives us warm fuzzies or not, PROPER animal experimentation is still necesary to biomedical science; technology is not organic and will never replace actual animals, no matter how much we delude ourselves into thinking it will. As for duplication, that is key to the scientific method (and I really doubt anyone would fund random baboon skull cracking). Would you want a surgeon opening you up if he'd only ever practiced on dummies, or was using a technique only once or even never attempted? You're far braver than most of us if you would. Like I said, if peta is right, then by all means, throw the book and anything else handy at UTMB. But until someone with authority rather than an extremist agenda says so, don't give the scammers your time or legal fund donations.

Wmccli711
Wmccli711

monsters...no new medical research can come from burning animals..stupid excuse for research

Gabi_d
Gabi_d

what about methods to treating serious burns? Have you ever seen a burn victim? Do you know how critical it is to treat a burn patient immediately? What can come about researching on burned animals is how to properly treat patients, with what method, critical times, signs to look for. Researchers aren't just sitting around thinking of ways to cause trauma to animals just for the heck of it. Look at published articles and science and medical journals and you'll see it's for a cause and thanks to researcher's work patients are being treated for injuries/illnesses more adequately with better outcomes.

big red
big red

PETA = Morons

Without research on animals, our lives as humans would be much worse. You cannot cleanly solve problems using a computer. Some things must be solved using the science from animals that have some genetic aspects as humans. Michael DeBakey, when he was with us, made mincemeat out of these no nothings arguments.

Ahtalk1
Ahtalk1

that is absolutely untrue. yes, there have been animal experiments that have proven valuable to humans. however, there are much better methods now. its really like any other technology. sure rotary phones are good, but touch tone is better.

secondly, big red, there is so so so much duplication...some professor at the university of wisconsin decides to see how many times you have to hit a baboon over the head for it to die. simultanously, a professor at the university of oklahoma wonders the same thing...so much animal experimentation is "dreamed up" by academics who need desperately to publish something in order to be taken seriously.

does any of that make sense?

if there is to be such experimentation, lets avoid duplication, and lets make sure that it is truly WORTH it to do it.

Sihaya
Sihaya

Actually, a result that can't be duplicated independently isn't scientifically valid. That's high school science. So yeah, ALL lab tests should be duplicated.

Secondly, though you haven't actually cited the test you throw out there, I'll assume it's real and not that you've just asserted it's true based on something your cousin's hairdresser's roommate told you. Medical experts are starting to hypothesize that minor head injuries that aren't individually deadly might be killing athletes when applied repeatedly over time. How minor, and how many? Frankly, just assuming that the hypothesis is true or that we know the threshold is stupid. If scientists can get more info, they might be saving thousands of human lives. They can't do it with a petri dish or a computer simulation. Gaining lifesaving scientific knowledge about a possibly deadly phenomenon seems to be a valid use of animal testing to me.

DRevis
DRevis

Even if that is the case, big red, that doesn't give researchers a license to do whatever they want to animals without repercussion. There are laws in place to govern the treatment of animals in research. PETA seems to have inside information indicating that UTMB has violated those laws, and if that's the case they must be held accountable.

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