Federal Agencies rebut Michael Budkie’s misrepresentation of scientific research

On June 1st, Michael Budkie, Executive Director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (Warning: AR Website) (SAEN), issued a press release that was picked up by some media outlets, including United Press International (UPI) and USA Today.

The press release read in part:

The next industry meltdown may be in the nation’s research laboratories, an independent research watchdog said today after it field a wide-ranging complaint against 26 laboratories, including those at Harvard, MIT, John Hopkins and the University of California, for fraud.

The formal complaint (Warning: AR Website) alleged that over 20 faculty members at these top academic institutions in the US, such as MIT, Harvard, John Hopkins and the University of California, are defrauding the government  by unnecessarily duplicating experiments in animals.  The complaint came accompanied with a table and an “index” developed by Mr. Budkie to support his conclusions.

On July 28th, Speaking of Research sent an open letter to Mr. Budkie, addressing his concerns and explaining the flaws in his analysis.  In an nutshell, Mr. Budkie’s argument is that because researchers use similar tools and animal species, they must be doing the same work.   He could as well argue that a computer technician and an auto mechanic do the same work because they both use screwdrivers.   His characterization reflects, at best, a gross misunderstanding of scientific research.

Mr. Budkie
Mr. Budkie

Mr Budkie has not replied to our open letter.

Perhaps, not surprisingly, his failure to respond might be due to the fact that his complaint was already investigated and rebutted by both USDA and NIH — an inconvenient document missing from his web site, which still contains the original complaint letter.  His recent newsletter (Warning: AR Website), also contains the same accusations, even though the reply from NIH and USDA must surely be in his hands.  Put simply, Michael Budkie has chosen to ignore the information that clears the investigators of his claims, leaving readers of his website without the vital facts of the matter.

The letter from NIH, obtained by SR through a FOIA request,  essentially parallels the same response we offered in our rebuttal.

Speaking of Research firmly believe that the Freedom of Information Act is an essential part of maintaining transparency and openness between the government and citizens,  however, in our opinion, over the years Michael Budkie has done little more than abuse of the regulatory system, requesting documents through FOIA from NIH and USDA, and filing trivial complaints.  Since 2007 he has filed a USDA complaints at a rate of seven per year (Warning: AR Website), all of which must be investigated at the expense of the taxpayer dollars.  When the resulting investigations fail to substantiate his claims, he argues USDA is failing to do its job.

Mr. Budkie represents himself as a “an independent research watchdog” group, but he is neither independent (he is a well known animal rights campaigner), and his “research” is limited to grotesque misrepresentations of important scientific work.

Mr. Budkie misleads the public and the media into thinking that his organization is concerned about failures of the animal research compliance system and that he supports alternatives to animal research.  Yet, his web-site provides negligible information on this topic, making it difficult to accept SAEN as an organization that has a stated goal of supporting alternatives to animal research.

This one-man “organization”, SAEN, is supported by the Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Foundation, which has the stated goal to “restore God’s original creation intent of a plant based diet” and to to promote “the elimination of the use of animals in biomedical research and testing, their use as food, or their use for any and all commercial purposes“.

Hopefully, this information will serve to clarify the only goal of Mr. Budkie’s “organization”: the abolition of the use of animals for medical research.


Speaking of Research

8 thoughts on “Federal Agencies rebut Michael Budkie’s misrepresentation of scientific research

  1. Congratulations in completing tautologies 101.

    The fact is that we care – we care about people dying around the world, we care about the suffering of humans and animals – but we know the only way to alleviate this is through the humane and regulated use of animals in medical research

  2. as long as humans think that animals can not feel animals feel that humans can not think……a mom is a mom is a mom, a baby is a baby is a baby is a baby, captivity is captivity and torture is torture so……all ur distortion tactics and all ur lies can not cover one think: YOU GOT NO FEEELINGS! u are a ROBOT!!! if u had anything even remotelly human and a concioussness and a concience there was no way u could rip away moms from their babies and subject them to this horrror!!!

  3. Yes, animals are biologically similar – they are, however, morally very different due to their much more limited capacity for reason and reflection. The result of this is that humans – but not animals – are moral agents. You cannot have an innocent mouse any more than you can have a guilty one.

    I have not said that animals feel no pain in labs – I said that most experiments do not inflict pain, and those that do tend to use anesthesia to alleviate these effects. Incidentally the website you linked to did not show indications of pain – furthermore, the USDA cleared UW-Madison of any wrong doing – PeTA is doing its traditional misinformation trick.

    I would not want to go through such research – that is why we use animals. And your last video is not a good summary as most of the clips appear to be VERY outdated. Welfare has been constantly improving in labs. There have certainly been incidents in the past where lab conditions have faltered – I’m sure there will be more in the future – but we must be diligent to ensure that they are picked up and sorted when they happen.

  4. It’s never to late to make fun of ignorant people.

    Interesting how the link you give is to the very same site that we are already on. I should also mention that in that very article it states that these experiments would be unethical to perform on humans while at the same time saying that animals are so similar to us. Very interesting, so basically you’re saying animals are like us in all these different ways that make it effective to test on them, but they’re so unlike us that it’s okay to testy on them. I’ve gotta say, that makes so much sense. So now that we’ve got that cleared up let’s move on.

    So, none of this is painful http://uwkills.wordpress.com/category/investigationsuncovered/
    That is just the negligence.
    And I’m sure you would be just fine with going through this http://www.globalanimal.org/2012/09/21/university-mutilates-cats-in-name-of-science-video/81657/
    Come on, let’s quit trying to act like these animals are just getting flu jabs. Okay?
    Here’s a good summary.

    Now to the part of what I said that you ignored.

    There is NO ends that justify these means!

    Just so we’re clear on what this means here is an explanation.

    Even if these experiments did some “good” it would not make it okay to do these things.

  5. They probably realized you’re hopeless and gave up on you (just like I’m about to.) Sorry, I know it’s cruel, but we gotta spend our time where it’s more likely to count. And let’s face it your not the ones getting surgeries that you didn’t consent to performed on you without anesthesia.

    Oh yeah, just so you’re aware, there is no ends that justify the means that are used in these inaccurate and excruciating experiments.

  6. Denis: They’re attention span is like a five year old child, something else shinny has caught their attention.

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