Animal research benefits

Sherry Pauly pauly at neuro.fsu.edu
Thu Jun 2 10:59:31 EST 1994


>Goodness, I'm overwhelmed by your own precision. How could I hope to
>successfully dispute your apparent position that the figures relative to
>cruel animal-based research are "countless" and many, if not an
>"overwhelming majority" of the supposed advances "incredible"? Perhaps we
>can agree on this. 

Certainly.  However, I do have a big book of figures on my desk, it's just 
difficult for me to look thru it when I'm too busy typing straight from my 
hippocampus & limbic system straight to my keyboard. ;)

>[By the way, as an aside, do you happen to have handy the most precise
>available figures relating to the incidence, in each region of the world,
>of Alzheimer's?]

I'll look......  A professor in my dept studies this...

>Let me offer an analogy. Let's say that you were given 20 billion dollars
>to go to the market and bring back some provisions for the community.
>Let's say that you spent most of it on overhead and came back with a few
>thousand cases of corn chips, frankfurters, potato chips, twinkies, 3
>cases of broccoli and two of carrots, and a bushel basket of vitamin
>pills. You might quite properly state that your expedition had saved quite
>a few lives, and you might list case of broccoli after corn chip after
>corn chip after individual frankfurter as a compilation of your
>accomplishments. On the other hand, we might quite properly turn around
>and give someone else our next 20 billion dollars, feeling that the value
>received, though not nonexistent, had not measured up to your own
>estimates when you initially requested funding for your shopping
>expedition. We might quite especially wish to find other recipients if we
>learned that you had careened around smashing into the vital organs of
>countless animals on your trip to the market and back. 

I didn't realize that the *only* reason for government funded animal research 
is medical advance.  I was under the impression that humans want to learn 
about the world, etc...  Without animal research, how would we know what 
chemicals were harmful (ie- the effects of pollution, etc) in time to reverse 
the trend?  We'd be ignorant.  Most (Esp NSF) funded research doesn't have one 
specific goal in mind because many findings generalize to other disciplines 
and contexts which weren't planned.  In other words, many important findings 
are serendipitous -- the researchers find something and then realize that the 
implications are much more far-reaching than originally intended.  The main 
trouble with basic research is selling it to the people who pay for it, 
because they do often want science to be a *business* which produces an exact 
output/solution.  I think it is man\inly paying smart people to be curious and 
follow that curiosity as far as they possibly can.

>I am glad to hear this (the *never* part). I hope that when cats, rats and
>other animals are treated cruelly elsewhere, you are an outspoken opponent
>of such practices. 

I would hate to be confronted by anyone doing animal research who wouldn't be 
an outspoken opponent...  They are the people who make it harder for humane, 
honest scientists.

Regards,

Sherry

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Sherry Pauly, 904-644-1400, pauly at psy.fsu.edu         /////
Florida State University, Neuroscience Program       (o)(o)
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