March 12th 2021
We have detailed the irresponsible behavior of those opposed to animal research during the pandemic and the hypocrisy of their rhetoric now that vaccines have received Emergency Use Authorization—thanks to over a decade of animal research as well as in safety and efficacy testing. Yesterday, we wrote about how recent media coverage of Catholic leaders’ endorsement of COVID vaccines provides an interesting model for thinking about public information and decisions concerning the use of nonhuman animals in research and testing for medical products and treatments. It thus is timely to highlight one of our #Evergreen posts from 7 years ago further emphasizing how detached the beliefs of groups opposed to #AnimalResearch really are from facts and science.
The Science and Medicine of “Progress for Science”
Originally posted 03/03/2014
The animal rights group “Progress for Science” (P4S) made one more appearance last night to harass a UCLA professor at his home. Don’t let their name fool you. The consequences of P4S’s advocacy are backwardness and regression. To advocate for science you must be familiar with it; to advocate for progress you must understand medical history. But it does not take much digging to discover just how detached from facts and science their beliefs really are. Take for example their views on vaccinations:
There is absolutely nothing progressive or pro-science about being anti-vaccination. Those who, despite the evidence, continue to advocate against childhood vaccinations are nothing short of a public health hazard who have directly contributed to a rise in avoidable disease and death in our state and elsewhere. Such groups are not pro-science. Instead, they have the features of a cult.
Another commonly held view among animal rights activists is that one’s diet is the source of all maladies and that a vegan diet is an effective remedy to many of them. There is no doubt that science supports the view that eating a good, balanced diet and getting a daily dose of physical exercise are integral components to a healthy life. But disease, it turns out, can strike at any point in time, in ways you cannot anticipate or prevent.
So what happens when a healthy, young vegan gets sick with… say gallbladder stones? Do they immediately reach for the oregano oil or yerba santa? Perhaps ginger or cayenne will do the trick? Or maybe they will follow the recommendation to use dandelion and milk thistle?
There is no need to ask the hypothetical question, because one can easily discover what P4S member Sarah Jane Hardt did. Despite her vegan diet, she developed gallbladder stones, and the pain seemed to have been intolerable. What did she do? She decided to set aside all her personal beliefs about biomedical research and went to the hospital for surgery —
I would bet she does not have much knowledge about how cholecystectomies (the surgery she received) were initially developed. As it happens, it was a naval surgeon named Herlin who first performed the procedure in cats and dogs, leading him to famously conclude:
“One can remove the gallbladder without great danger, and this discovery opens the way to a safe approach to stones collected in the gallbladder or impacted in the biliary ducts where they often produce fatal complications”.
In other words, this adamant opponent of the use of animals in research was treated with surgical techniques that were developed as a direct consequence of the work she opposes. Experimental studies on gallbladder surgery are still performed on animals, to this very day, in order to improve the prognosis of individuals that receive the surgery.
So Sarah Jane Hardt can today have a good night. Thanks to animal research.
It is doubtful any other member of P4S would act in any other way. They raise no objections when they are the direct beneficiaries of animal research, but they outrageously claim it is compassionate for them to deny the benefits of today’s research to others, including our children and grandchildren. No, it is not compassionate. Their point of view is nothing short of cruel.
Additional insight into Sarah Jane Hardt’s beliefs are revealed in a view of medical profession that she posted a few days after her surgery regarding the ability of physicians to provide advise on nutrition and diet:
However, at the same time, she had no trouble at all swallowing the other pills the doctor prescribed:
Funny… Topping all this, Ms. Hardt and her friends also had the ethical chutzpah to suggest that UCLA Professor David Jentsch, against who they demonstrate, had firebombed his own car, instead of accepting the claim of responsibility made openly by the Animal Liberation Brigade.
Progress for Science has made it clear they cannot find it in themselves to condemn the violence of the animal rights movement. Carol Glasser, the group’s founder, said:
Whatever we are doing as a movement is not working, it is not saving animal lives. I think it is a waste of our time to demonize people who put their own life, their own safety, their own health, and their own freedom at risk, because they can’t imagine another way to help the animals. It is total bullshit of us, to point a finger and demonize them.
Not only do they refuse to condemn those that firebomb cars or homes, but they publicly offer support to convicted animal rights arsonists. Here is Tyler Lang, another member of the group, offering support for two of them:
Members of “Progress for Science” masquerade themselves as peaceful, compassionate, pacifists, and pro-science.
Nothing is further from the truth.
They are scientifically illiterate, cheerleaders of violence, cruel, anti-science and, obviously, dishonest.
Update: More discussion from David Jentsch here.
To learn more about the role of animal research in advancing human and veterinary medicine, and the threat posed to this progress by the animal rights lobby, follow us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/SpeakingofResearch
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