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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Speaking of Animal Rights assholes
Here's a story of a guy who quit research because of animal rights assholes/terrorists in California. It's like I've been saying, Bush sucks for science, but as bad as he is, it's the animal rights protestors in the long run that will be worse for us.

Ringach's name and home phone number are posted on the Primate Freedom Project's Web site, and colleagues and UCLA officials said that Ringach was harassed by phone - his office phone number is no longer active - and e-mail, as well as through demonstrations in front of his home.

In an e-mail this month to several anti-animal research groups, Ringach wrote that "you win," and asked that the groups "please don't bother my family anymore."

The North American Animal Liberation Press Office, a resource for the media on "animal liberation actions," according to the group's Web site, posted a news release from the Animal Liberation Front, a separate group that sometimes engages in illegal activities, about Ringach's decision. The press release describes Ringach's research as torturous and "a far cry from life saving research." UCLA officials said that groups like ALF often misconstrue information, and that, in the interest of researchers' safety, the university is not releasing detailed information about projects being attacked by such groups.

Colleagues suggested that Ringach, who did not return e-mails seeking comment, was spooked by an attack on a colleague. In June, the Animal Liberation Front took credit for trying to put a Molotov cocktail on the doorstep of Lynn Fairbanks, another UCLA researcher who does experimentation on animals. The explosive was accidentally placed on the doorstep of Fairbanks's elderly neighbor's house, and did not detonate.

Here are some of his papers. Yeah, he's not exactly working on cancer, but 90% of basic science research is just like this, and this attitude that science isn't valuable if it isn't directly attacking a disease is not only shortsighted but suicidally stupid. Basic science is required to even begin to understand how to approach human illness. It's not clear why he got singled out for attack, but it could just as easily been an one of dozens of labs.

This is also representative of something a lot of people don't understand about biological science, we need to use animals in research. One common refrain is that we don't need to do animal experimentation, we can figure things out in cell culture, or just test drugs directly in humans (yeah right) but they don't understand how fully dependent biology is on animal products. Those cell lines we work with? Harvested from animals, especially primary lines which often have to be regularly re-derived. And what do we feed those cells with? Serum. From where do we get the serum? Animals. And those antibodies we use to detect proteins? From rabbits, mice, goats, donkeys, etc. How do we figure out what a gene does? We knock it out/overexpress it in mice. How we study a disease that affects humans? We model it in animals, then try to understand it and cure it there first. Virtually everything on our shelves and in our arsenal of techniques comes from animals, or involves direct study on animals or their tissues or proteins purified from them and there is no other ready source. To say we must stop animal experimentation is, quite simply, to say we don't need to study biology, period.

Goerge Bush has nothing on animal rights radicals when it comes to being a danger to science.


minimalist said...

Animal-rights people have also proposed computer models as an adequate substitute for animals. Yes, really.

Apparently they base this on nothing more than their vague idea that Computar Machines these days are really really advanced and stuff. Pointing out the obvious (that such a model is only as good as our current state of knowledge, which is why we do the damn research in the first place) falls on deaf ears.

Fuck hippies, seriously.

11:14 PM, August 27, 2006

Rev. Dr. said...

I've heard this too. Apparently they've never heard of chaos theory, or the very simple idea, even for those who might still believe in complete reductionism, that you need to know a great deal about a system before modeling it with a computer.

12:32 AM, August 28, 2006


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