PeTA has Nothing to Offer

It’s been a tumultuous couple of weeks for the University of Wisconsin following an aggressive media campaign by PeTA suggesting photos of animal studies are “proof” of abuse, while the university responded point-by-point. Now that both sides have had their say, how does the university move forward? In a recent article, the student newspaper, The Daily Cardinal, suggested that PeTA’s involvement might be helpful.

Normally, Speaking of Research would agree to the idea of bringing two opposing sides together to collaborate and compromise. But that’s not always a good idea. In this case, the newspaper fails to recognize that PeTA isn’t an animal welfare organization dedicated to ensuring animal care practices meet the highest standards. Instead, they hold an extreme view. PeTA is opposed to any and all animal studies despite the fact that this research has saved millions of lives to date and will save millions more in the future.  In the words of PeTA’s Ingrid Newkirk “Even if animal tests produced a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.

It’s disappointing that an organization with the well-meaning goal of advocating for animals takes such a careless and extreme stance, which ultimately places public health at risk. Therefore suggestions that PeTA can play a helpful “role” in ensuring the responsible use of animals in medical research are naive.

For those unfamiliar with PeTA, the kind of campaign they’ve launched against the University of Wisconsin is nothing new. We at Speaking of Research have seen PeTA target countless well-respected universities throughout the country. The animal rights group has used dishonest propaganda to attack the integrity of well-regulated research that benefits countless patients. Their tactics also include targeting renowned medical scientists and portraying them as monsters who must be stopped by any means possible.

One example of PeTA’s outrageous tactics has included naming of a “Vivisector of the Week.” This horrendous campaign involves posting the names and photos of university scientists and falsely portraying their research as being barbaric and useless. Actions like these are clearly dangerous and they undoubtedly put scientists and their families at risk. Sadly, placing those they disagree with in the firing line seems to be on page one of PeTA’s playbook.

PeTA has also placed undercover “investigators” in research labs and then held press conferences to make claims of abuse and mistreatment. Other than the fact that PeTA is by no means impartial, there is one significant problem with this tactic: follow-up investigations often reveal no instances of abuse. The end result is that reputations are wrongly damaged and more importantly, the public has been misled.  PeTA walks away from these instances without assuming any responsibility.

When we assess the value of any research, one must recall what medical science was like merely a few generations ago: a visit to a physician might have resulted in a recommendation to induce vomiting, diarrhea or, more commonly, bleeding. Years ago, diphtheria, mumps, measles and polio were common and untreatable. Life expectancy in the United States was less than 50 years; it is now close to 80 years. Animal research was an integral part of these achievements. Our generation benefits from treatments and medicines that our parents and grandparents only dreamt about.

If the goal is to truly move forward, we must all work hard to promote an atmosphere where civil and open dialogue can occur.  The news media can play key role as a neutral party providing serious reporting on the harms and benefits of research.  In contrast, PeTA has nothing to offer but their absolute rigid stance and their promotion of harassment of scientists, veterinarians and animal care staff that work hard to advance the well-being of humans and non-human animals alike.

Speaking of Research

Addendum October 11, 2012 : The USDA inspection report has now been published and confirms that no non-compliant items were identified during the focused inspection at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in late September and early October.  In his story “Feds Clear UW of Wrongdoing Following PeTA Complaint”, Capital Times reporter Todd Finkelmeyer posts the USDA inspection report  and this summary:  “’This officially closes this matter for us,’ USDA spokesman David Sacks said in an email to the Cap Times. Sacks added that this was a ‘focused inspection — not a full facility inspection,’ and was designed to look specifically at the allegations leveled by PETA.”

50 responses to “PeTA has Nothing to Offer

  1. You make an excellent point: If you’re looking for an “honest broker,” you should not look to PeTA.

  2. PeTA sends its representatives to campuses around the country, where they address local animal rights-leaning students. During these visits, PeTA’s representatives identify faculty and graduate students on campus who are involved in animal research, distort and lie about their work and about the persons themselves and tacitly encourage the local animal rights groups to harass these scientists for their work. In this context, what PeTA has offered is a road map to violence, which is not surprising in light of the position it and its founder have taken at various points since the inception of this organization.

  3. The public places it own health at risk, why should animals have to pay for the stupidity of humans?

    • I am not sure how exactly you define “stupid” behavior… I presume you it would be something along the lines “someone behaving in ways that are known to negatively affect his/her well-being while being in full cognitive control of their actions”. Or something like that?

      Is someone that got paralyzed for riding a motorcycle stupid? Is someone driven to alcoholism stupid? Is someone with depression stupid? Is a parent who failed to vaccinate their children stupid?

  4. Interesting that Mr.Jentsch feels justified in attacking PETA for posting pictures, which he calls “a roadmap to violence.” Interesting that his keen sense of what’s ethical or moral does not extend to the actual violence that is perpetrated daily in research labs across the country. That’s rather like Charles Manson telling people not to litter. As far as the lame argument presented by “Speaking of Research” goes….well, it’s awfully easy isn’t it when all you present as “evidence” are generalizations such as PETA has used “dishonest propaganda” or PETA has “falsely portrayed” the research. Here’s a newsflash for you: generalizations do not equal facts. PETA does not need to rely on abstractions. What they have presented is indeed factual evidence: video and photographs of the horrendous and often pointless tortures and mutilations that these animals endure, often for their entire lives. There is no justification for abuse, torture, mutilation, and murder. You attempt to justify it by saying they are only animals. Well, that’s what the Nazis said about the Jews when their “scientists” performed horrible and often pointless experiments on their subjects. That’s probably what the U.S. Public Health Service said about the Tuskegee airmen back 50 years ago. It’s the same thing you are saying about animals now. You really should be ashamed.

  5. Do what you can with research but leave the animals out of it. Stupidity by ingesting high fructose corn syrup is one example, eating meat that is fed gmo’s, corn [not its natural diet] and now they are feeding the cows gummy worms and other crap [ http://www.naturalnews.com/037351_cattle_candy_marshmallows.html ] stupidity by having unprotected sex and getting aids, stupidity for smoking cigarettes and then getting lung diseases and experimenting on animals to find out why, stupidity, for yes, riding a motorcycle when you get on a motorcycle there is a good chance you will become paralyzed. Stupidity for falling for every advertisement on TV ask your doctor about this, insert name of poison here, stupid of the typical american diet, eat meat and dairy and gmos and all the hormones that come with it, slather your body with cancer causing parabens then get cancer and heart attacks then experiment on animals to find out why. DO YOU WANT ME TO GO ON????? STUPIDITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I understand.

      You are saying that if someone is paralyzed in a motorcycle accident that it was their choice to accept the risk and should accept the consequences. That if a child is sick because a parent provided an unhealthy diet that society should not care. That if someone’s early life led him/her to depression or alcoholism — well, it is their problem. That if a child is awfully sick because her parents failed to vaccinate her (perhaps her parents are animal rights activists?) that we should let her die.

    • Is it the fault of the child who has leukemia? I suppose they should just suck it up and die heroically to make you happy. I suppose too it’s the soldiers returning from places like Iraq and Afghanistan who have been seriously wounded should just be placed in a corner to die rather than trying to save their lives? After all, it’s clearly their fault for getting wounded.

  6. To be fair, the USDA is constantly defending itself from allegations of favoring industry over animals, and has been caught numerous times turning a blind eye to egregious animal abuse in all areas of animal enterprise. Holding out a USDA endorsement as the gold standard exposes the writer as having biases (maybe even “extreme ” ones) of his own.

    Animal rights activists have proven to be the only meaningful oversight biomedical research on animals has. Sorry, but I’m siding with PeTA on this one. PeTA isn’t a welfare organization, that’s true They’re People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and they’re right. Treating animals like laboratory equipment isn’t ethical, and can’t be made so simply because torturing animals benefits humans.

    • Actually, the veterinarians at the USDA and at the NIH work themselves beyond belief to ensure that animal welfare is protected. The few cases where the system fails is nothing compared to the number of cases where it succeeds.

      As I mentioned here: http://unlikelyactivist.com/2012/06/25/a-modest-proposal/
      “While I assert that even one example of unjustified animal death and suffering is unacceptable, I also underscore the fact that they are extraordinarily rare. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of research institutions in the nation. There are literally tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of persons who work in labs around the country. Yet the number of problems with animal welfare are comparatively few, meaning that almost all scientists do the job that society expects of them exactly how public expects them to do it. Most laboratories function for decades with no single example of a problem with animal welfare. Don’t take my word for it – simply review the USDA inspection records that are freely available on the web; the number of findings that affect animal welfare are remarkably few and far between. These are facts that people pointing to a few bad apples want you to miss. They want to convince you that the exception is the rule.”

  7. “Treating animals like laboratory equipment isn’t ethical”

    That’s correct. That’s why nobody treats them like that.

  8. Ruth Kaethe Mayer

    We assume that because other sentient beings are different, their capacity for suffering is proportionate to our degree of empathy for them. It is that very same thinking that has allowed for the murder of millions of people of different color, different religions, different political views. Could any of the researchers imagine placing a loved one in a cage to experiment on for the greater good of humanity? That would be inhumane and generally recognized as such.
    The concept of ‘saving lives’ is a faulty one, and a powerful one at such, by our own need for survival. No one saves anyone’s life. At best, we can serve as instruments in prolonging a life by averting a life-threatening condition. The puppets of Nazi-Germany’s war machine are now the propagators of animal research: the Mengele of seventy years ago is the face of any animal researcher then and today.

  9. Why is so much of this fraudulent science predicated on the NIH funds? One has to pretend it’s working to be able to get the funding. Why is it that so many drugs are taken off of the market after animal testing as they’re not suitable on humans? Fraudulent science with government complicity. Here’s an idea that’s a win-win. I would wager there’s plenty of humans that would do this — for a price. But I would surmise that it’s a lot cheaper to use and abuse those that can’t fight — or scream — or relate their experience of abuse and torture. Also I would think that it would be “illegal” (notice how I didn’t say “immoral”) to kill the human test subject once they’re no longer useful. Animal testing is archaic and anyone involved is a bona fide sadist. Period.

    • No, Alice, you are completely wrong…
      You say “One has to pretend it’s working to be able to get the funding.”
      But in actual fact “One has to PROVE it’s working to be able to get the funding.” The scientific review at NIH is exceptionally rigorous with fewer than 10% of all proposals being selected. Those committees that review proposals are made up of medical doctors and basic scientists … and the medical doctors understand that which you do not… that animal research is humane, defensible and leads to substantial advances in human and animal welfare.

  10. darioringach, no one treats them like that???? are you saying that no one treats them bad?

    • Darioringach, since you are so adamant that “these are isolated instances” (a claim, by the way, that is always made as a defense), let me ask you one question. Would you be willing to solve the problem by having CCTV installed in every room of your “gold standard” labs and have them monitored by an impartial third party?

    • In fact, darioringach, why not have them installed in all animal research labs? Let EVERYBODY see what goes on in those hell holes you call labs.

      • I tell you what, I’ll agree that cameras should be put in labs when organizations like PETA and the HSUS begin donating money to local shelters to help care for the unwanted pets there. They raise money on the basis of helping unwanted and abused animals yet donate almost nothing to help with the problem.

  11. dariooingach -You’re just plain ignorant, immoral, hearthless and inhumane.

    • No, he’s not. Actually, he’s a humble, kind and thoughtful person. Your words show how readily you see as truth that which you do not know or understand.

    • Passing judgement on fellow human beings without any knowledge is a hallmark of animal activists.

    • Do you have pets? Have you had them vaccinated for the various illnesses that can befall household pets? If so, those vaccines were developed using animal research. You’re welcome.

  12. Mr. Jentsch, please then, enlighten me. How could any sort of research involving mutilation be “humane”? I’ve seen literally thousands of photos and not in one does it look like the subject is at peace or not in pain. Please explain that.

    • Alice,
      I don’t know what pictures you have seen, but no doubt, some of them have deceived you.
      If you were to see pictures of one of your loved ones being operated on to remove a cancerous tumor, those pictures would no doubt shock and dismay you.
      Surgery is mutilation, to use your terms.
      But it is humane. And so is the protocols used in animal research. Yes, sometimes animals are subject to surgery – under the same anesthetics used in humans and receiving the same pain killers your animals receive when they go to the vet.
      Yes, sometimes animals are killed during experiments. They feel no pain and are subject to no distress during the act. It’s performed, for the most part, exactly as happens in a vet’s office when someone is forced to elect euthanasia for their pet.
      The pictures can be sad and shocking, but they deceive. Particularly when they are taken by people intending to deceive. http://speakingofresearch.com/2008/07/04/peta-out-with-the-new-in-with-the-old/
      Certainly, you haven’t see pictures of animals involved in purely behavioral experiments where the most painful stimulus they ever receive is a brief shot.
      Certainly, you haven’t see pictures of animals involved in studies where their entire lifetime is living together with other members of the same species, breeding and engaging in social interactions until they are painlessly euthanized for an experiment.
      Certainly, you haven’t seen pictures where mice develop a disease for study but receive pain killers from beginning to end and never experience a complication.
      Perhaps those are the pictures you should see next, and then, you will have a deeper understanding of what goes on in research laboratories.

  13. If PETA cares so much about animals, why do they euthanize more of the animals in their care instead of adopting them out? If the HSUS cares so much about animals, why don’t they donate to local shelters to help care for the animals there? It’s because both organizations are about raking in money by playing to peoples emotions.

  14. Dave, Peta is not a shelter so if the animal has made it there it is as they call it the shelter of last resort, how do you know who they donate to?

    • Because they publish it. What about the PETA workers who euthanized the animals in the back of a van and threw the carcasses in the dumpster?

  15. David Jentsch what is the sugar coating for the monkeys, cats and dogs and others that live their entire life in a steel cage?

    • It’s clear from your Facebook page you’ve read all the PETA and ALF talking points, but you don’t have any real first hand knowledge of what an animal facility is like do you? In reality, you’re kind of a fraud because you’re complaining about that which you have no knowledge about except for what others have told you. You want to believe it’s true, so it is. Kind of sad really. You’re kind of like a lemming.

  16. That’s it resort to calling names that is always effective! I have been involved in the anti-vivisection movement before there was an ALF and when PETA first began. I believe all living being have a right to their own bodies and are not property of you or anyone else. You are the Fraud and the Lemming!

    • Your position is clear enough. What is also clear is that over 98% does not agree with the notion that we owe the same moral consideration to the life of a chicken and that of a human. Otherwise, we would not have <2% of vegans in the US. So you are entitled to your position and to argue for it. The rest of society is entitled to theirs. And the 2% can scream as loud as they want… but when the noise subsides, and all is said and done, this will not change the final numbers.

    • I didn’t call you a name at all. You might want to climb down off that white horse before you fall. I called you a fraud, which you are, because you don’t have any actual knowledge of what a lab is like, just what you’ve read. And I said you’re like a lemming, which is actually a metaphor, because it’s come to describe people who go along unquestioningly with an opinion. And that’s what you’ve done. So I’m not sure what name I may have called you.

      • Does it matter what a lab is like? I don’t care if it is an exact replica of Buckingham Palace, you do not have a right to have animals in there. Point blank, the end. How does that make me a fraud and a lemming?????

      • Because you rant and rave about how horrible it is inside a lab, but you have no idea because you’ve never been in one. But hey, if you don’t like what happens in biomedical research then by all means reject any benefits. Break you arm? Set it yourself. Get cancer? Just die. Need an MRI or CT or PET? Nope, not you. Many diseases are genetic, not lifestyle based, so no matter how healthy you may think you are, you could still come down with something life threatening. So long as you agree to shut-up and die quietly, I will respect your opinion, which is all it is, about animal research.

      • I have three cats at home. I guess I don’t have a right to keep them there though? It’s not quite as grand as Buckingham Palace, which is god-awful ugly from the outside, but it’s comfy. I’m sure it beats living on the streets.

  17. we domesticated cats, we have to take care of them or do the right thing and spay and neuter until they are back to the wild. I am not against bio-medical research i am against using innocent beings for it so use your so called scientific brain and figure out something that does what you took an oath to do; Do no harm!

    • Well I’m not a doctor so I’ve taken no oath. I did take an oath to defend the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic once, but that’s another story. Cat’s, by the way, are barely domesticated. Just ask them.

      As for figuring out alternatives to using animal models, you won’t find many in our industry that would disagree with that. And in fact we do when we can. Cell cultures, computer modeling, and other techniques are all part of the process. Unfortunately, for now, none of those methods can give the same information as using an animal model. And those funding such innovations are NOT the PETA and HSUS organizations out there. They spout off about using alternatives to animals but provide almost zero money to developing them. That’s because they haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about. It’s easy to say, “Use alternatives” but when you press them for examples…silence.

  18. Yay Peta – Boo you!

  19. I do not believe that animals should have to suffer testing because a person with a sexually transmitted disease, or any other disease needs a cure. And IF testing on animals has found a damn cure, how come no body has received it yet? How come these pictures and videos of animals getting harnessed to the ground stuffing tubes of chemicals into their bodies or stuffing monkeys into tubes just as small as they are or forcing them do undergo any testing inhumanely? I would really like to see how this helps people? If I were to get diagnosed with ANYTHING, I would die right then and there because putting these drugs, vaccines, and to get me better absolutely does not benefit the animals God intended to have put here on this Earth live a FREE life. I believe PeTA is 100% for the animals and I 100% agree with them. No matter what they do or say.