bismuth bismuthahdagain at smithroad.net
Wed Nov 14 12:05:06 EST 2001

This is a general response to the comments on the use of animals in teaching labs.

I too received my education in the 60's and 70's, long before any of these activities
were considered improper or regulated.

However, I don't agree with the sentiments that these demonstrations and lab. exercises
are useless or that the same learning can take place without them.

I'm a microbiologist, but also  someone with a very strong animal physiology background
that has included extensive experimental surgery on dogs and sheep.

I think the key element is balance---making the determination of which demonstration
is important for which class and level of student.

In my present employment I work in an environment where there is a huge amount
of microbiology and in vivo animal work.  The in vivo stuff crosses the lines form
serology and cellular immunity to toxicology, to nutrition-- all of it intersecting with
host-pathogen interactions and resistance issues.

One problem I see in today's newly minted graduate students is that they have a
great knowledge of genetics and dna manipulation but an often very poor
understanding of host-pathogen interactions.   Even those with some immunology background
often are lacking in real understanding of the complexities of pathogenesis.

If anything, we have abandoned reasonable classroom use of in vivo experimentation
on the alter of "animal rights" and we are losing something in the way of the skills and
knowledge in today's bioscientists.

Yup, I've done the rabbit bleeding and the rest of the horror stuff that Larry talks
It bothers my conscience.  One incident involving a particular research dog that died
an horrific and unnecessary death is constantly on my mind and conscience.

Still, I think the pendulum has swung excessively, and to a degree that our interest
in animal protection has reduced our ability to educate.

(Larry Farrel,  you know who I am....the guy you interviewed way back circa
Summer of 1975--at Pocatello.)

JEDilworth wrote:

> Yes, I realize that animal studies are necessary to move forward in
> medicine.  My point is that I decided that I personally was not destined
> to do this type of work after reacting like I did to the mouse
> experiment.
> The following quarter I had signed up for some sort of physiology
> course.  After attending the first day's class, it became apparent that
> there would be animal experimentation involved in the course.  I
> immediately dropped it.  I have been none the worse for wear over the
> years because of the drop.
> I think it is necessary to be realistic with students.  However,
> photographs are much different than killing an animal before someone's
> eyes.
> I cannot watch overtly violent films.  As my husband loves those
> shoot-em-up guy movies, this sometimes restricts what we go to see when
> we go out to a movie.  He's lived with it for over 25 years, though, so
> it can be overcome.  I also won't watch movies with torture scenes,
> which I guess Silence of the Lambs contains.  I told him I don't want
> these images permanently etched in my brain.  Obviously one can't avoid
> all of them.  My sister called me on the morning of 9/11 and told me
> what was on the TV (I sleep late as I work second shift and don't
> usually go to bed till 2).  My immediate thought was that I knew I was
> going to see awful stuff and I really didn't want to see it.  I did turn
> on the TV though, as obviously curiosity and the need to know sometimes
> wins out, unfortunately.
> Judy Dilworth, M.T. (ASCP)
> Microbiology
> "Larry D. Farrell" wrote:
> >
> > Judy, I am not saying that those procedures were desirable or even necessary, simply
> > that they *were* done regularly in years past in standard teaching labs.....

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