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OSU President Cans Anthrax Vaccine Research On Primates

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the think-of-the-primates dept.

Medicine 230

Wrath0fb0b writes "Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis has abruptly canceled an NIH-funded study on an anthrax vaccine in primates. (The primates would have to be euthanized afterward.) There is suspicion that the decision was meant to appease large donor Madeleine Pickens, the wife of noted huntsman T. Boone Pickens, who had previously pressured the school over animal-rights issues. Scientists counter that the study was approved by the NIH peer-review process, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and subject to the Federal Animal Welfare Act (by virtue of using NIH money) and that the decision by the President has short-circuited months of planning and deliberation on the matter. Hargis has denied being influenced by Pickens and cited 'confidential factors' that he couldn't discuss, telling the faculty council that 'to go through every lurid detail is simply not prudent.' A post on Pickens' blog, on the other hand, obliquely takes credit for the 'great decision,' noting a faculty member's hunch that the 'generous benefactor to OSU and her ties to the Humane Society of the United States may have played a role in the termination of the project.' Meanwhile, the NIH expressed displeasure at the decision, stating, 'NIH fully expects institutions to honor these assurances and commitment to complete NIH supported projects as requested, approved and funded.' Some OSU scientists speculated that the fiasco would make it harder for them to receive NIH funding in the future."

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Vaccine funding useless (-1, Flamebait)

robinstar1574 (1472559) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513544)

If anthrax is what i think it is, then it is impossible to find a vaccine for it because it will mutate fairly quickly.

Re:Vaccine funding useless (3, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513612)

If you are thinking that anthrax is a virus then you'd be wrong. It's a bacterium and it isn't "impossible" to develop a vaccine for it. Viruses like Influenza tend to mutate and adapt faster than bacteria generally do and there are vaccines for Influenza so...

Re:Vaccine funding useless (5, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513648)

Ah of course, all of those PhDs and researchers at Oklahoma State University have been wasting their time. They should have just asked robinstar1574 on slashdot if it was possible.

Silly them.

Re:Vaccine funding useless (5, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513740)

Anthrax is a becteria that lives in soil. It's usually not life-threatening unless inhaled. In fact, you may have had it -- it's usualy from falling down and skinning an elbow in the dirt, and will leave a black mark that heals slowly, but will heal. The anthrax that's dangerous is "weaponized" anthrax that's engineered to hang in the air, and if inhaled is indeed deadly.

A Vaccine would make infected sores less painful, and could possibly make weaponized anthrax less deadly.

It's apparently not what you think it is (4, Informative)

El Gigante de Justic (994299) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513896)

There already is a vaccine for at least some strains of anthrax, first developed by Pasteur in 1881, which is why it's rare in domestic animals in modern times. Soldiers being deployed to areas where bioweapons attacks are possible are also vaccinated against it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthrax#First_vaccination [wikipedia.org]

It sounds like in this particular case they were trying to develop a vaccine that would be especially for use in humans (hence primary research subjects), and they were probably targeting some of the particularly virulent strains that were developed in bioweapons programs from World War II through Vietnam.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514028)

If anthrax is what you think it is, then it would be interesting to know what you think it was apart from what we already know, thankyouverymuch.

Re:Vaccine funding useless (0, Flamebait)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514544)

If anthrax is what i think it is, then it is impossible to find a vaccine for it because it will mutate fairly quickly.

Who the hell told you that what you think is a fact? Anthrax is what it is, a bacteria, not what you think it is.

You == dumbest poster ever.

"peer-reviewed" (0, Troll)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513552)

That phrase is used like "Genuine" (tm) or something.

Re:"peer-reviewed" (2, Funny)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513680)

I insist on only genuine, all-natural, organic, peer-reviewed research! Preferably it should also synergize multiple externalities whilst being fully recyclable and good for the environment.

Re:"peer-reviewed" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514010)

I insist on only genuine, all-natural, organic, peer-reviewed research! Preferably it should also synergize multiple externalities whilst being fully recyclable and good for the environment.

Everything is not carbon based.

Re:"peer-reviewed" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514652)

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They had better reveal the reasons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30513576)

Otherwise, they're going to have a lot of trouble with NIH grants in the future, and their standing amongst medical schools, residency programs, and medical research centers is going to take quite a hit. Nowadays, research brings in beaucoup money, and NIH grants are often the most respected in the community.

hope he switches to PETA members (4, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513582)

The animal rights peopel have slowed down animal research in the US.

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30513728)

To be fair, they exist because those pesky human rights people stymie medical research even more. Oh, if only we could go back to the good ol' days with things like Unit 731. Why, we would've practically cured cancer by now!

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (2, Insightful)

happy_place (632005) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513732)

The real problem with testing on animals, and then putting them to death, is that monkeys are cute. Cute animals cannot be subjected to research for the sake of society or even to save the lives of anthrax ridden monkeys. Rats work because most people think of rats as filthy and repugnant creatures. We need an ugly animal that's further up the foodchain--more human. Like say tree-sloths, or grad students... either of which people and professors would have no ethical qualms on experimenting on... or euthanizing.

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (-1, Troll)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513824)

I think we should use anti-animal rights, right-wing wackos as our test subjects. They're just vermin anyway, and we have far too many of them.

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (1, Flamebait)

kdcttg (980465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513886)

Monkeys being "cute" has nothing to do with it. Some would argue that experimentation on rats would be just as wrong, and some would argue that discriminating based on species is wrong, and would point out the fact that a human child is less intellectually developed than certain primates, but the majority would be shocked and disgusted at the thought of experimenting on one, so why should we experiment on the monkeys?

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (2, Insightful)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514000)

Because the human child has a reasonable chance to outgrow this condition.

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (1)

kdcttg (980465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514110)

In that case, why not experiment on the mentally ill, or children born with severe learning disabilities?

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (2, Insightful)

Virak (897071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514008)

Some would argue that discriminating based on arbitrary metrics like "being alive" is wrong, and that a rock is as equally deserving of rights and freedom as any human.

These people are quite reasonably regarded as being batshit insane.

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (3, Interesting)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514202)

Monkeys being cute has everything to do with it (OK, not everything, but plays a big role). Related to cuteness - why do you think "save the pandas" is such a popular thing? Next to the animals that are endangered and which are important to the eco-tree, pandas are practically useless. They're only popular because they're cute (another case in point is WWF's logo). It's aptly named survival of the cutest [scienceagogo.com] . Another reason monkeys factor in so much is because in terms of appearance, they're closer to us than the rats.

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514204)

By that logic, the whole experiment is pretty evil. After all, even though antrax isn't "cute", it's still alive. Sure, it's not furry like rats or monkeys, but does that imply that it has any less right to life?

Save the bacterium!

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (0, Troll)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513992)

The real problem with testing on animals, and then putting them to death, is that monkeys are cute.

The real problem is that generations of scientists have been so casual about using animals for experimentation with no ethical concerns whatsoever that it has started to cause problems even when the cause, as it seems to be here, is good. There has for the most part not been any sort of balance approach -- "will this experiment's social utility in the long term justify the pain inflicted on this particular animal"?

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514146)

using animals for experimentation with no ethical concerns whatsoever

You make the common mistake of confusing "no ethics" with "ethics that differ from my own".

For example, I would personally slaughter every last kitten on earth if it would save a single child with cancer. That does not mean I am without ethics, but rather that according to my concept of ethics, a human life is worth an incredible ammount of animal lifes.

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514340)

But would you slaughter every kitten on earth in order to develop an eye liner that lasts all day? I think that is the kind of animal research he was talking about.

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514660)

Yes. And kill 1,000 kittens to prove some obscure hypothesis that you'll publish in a third-rate academic journal that nobody will ever read again or use.

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514682)

He is making blanket statements without qualification and I am making a point that ethics are perspective.

Would I slaughter every kitten on earth for eye-liner? No. Would someone that would be "without ethics"? Of course not.

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514548)

Lawyers?

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513804)

Or the animals PETA is euthanizing... Over 85% of the animals they take in are killed [petakillsanimals.com] instead of adopted. So many animals were killed by PETA in fact, that they purchaced a 9,000$ freezer to temporarily store the animals that have been killed.

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514628)

Anti-peta troll is obvious. Thanks for playing, fuckhead.

Re:hope he switches to PETA members (1)

Aeros (668253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514374)

Cant they somehow just find a way to research on the animal rights people?

Peta and the HSUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514664)

Or HSUS members. The only difference between PETA and the HSUS is the latter wear nice suits and pretend to be related to your local humane society when they're collecting money and/or lobbying for crazy animal rights causes.

  Support your local humane society, not the HSUS. No money donated to the HSUS will go to support any animal shelter anywhere - it will only go to close them all down for being immoral, which will lead to massive overpopulation and suffering in your local animal population.

Animal rights activists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30513640)

will still take the drugs tested on animals when they become ill.

I say we test drugs not on animals but on the activists? I think we'll get more realistic results...

Re:Animal rights activists... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513708)

will still take the drugs tested on animals when they become ill.

Maybe maybe not. If they're really concerned about the animal testing, it is conceivable that they may try out alternative medicine before they actually use drugs that were developed using animal testing methods.

huntsman T. Boone Pickens? (1)

zerosomething (1353609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513656)

Where does "huntsman T. Boone Pickens" appear in the original article? I'm not saying he is or isn't a hunter but for accuracy is that phrase in the article? I can't seem to find it? Maybe I'm just blind or didn't see the right article.

Re:huntsman T. Boone Pickens? (3, Informative)

mrisaacs (59875) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513796)

Try this url -

http://www.tboonepickensfoundation.org/pdf/PCQU%20Pickens%20FINAL.pdf

There are others as well.

Re:huntsman T. Boone Pickens? (2, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513846)

It doesn't even mention his hunting in his Wikipedia article, which at the very least casts doubt onto his huntsmanship being "noted," as the summary suggests. As far as I can tell, he's hardly a Ted Nugent.

Re:huntsman T. Boone Pickens? (1)

boxxertrumps (1124859) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514402)

Do you really need relevancy to call someone "Huntsman T. Boone Pickens"?

The title and name stir images of a stereotypical english hunter, khakis and all.

Primate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30513664)

I guess the Pope did't volunteer.

Not OSU (3, Informative)

forand (530402) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513698)

While I am sure that Oklahoma State University refers to itself as 'OSU' if you go to osu.edu you will get The Ohio State University.

Re:Not OSU (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30513836)

I always find it funny how Ohio State just has to have "The", usually capitalized, in front of its name.

I realize that the "The" is part of its name, but I'm commenting on how militant people are in putting it there. At medical meetings, the attendings, residents, etc. almost always spend far too much time correcting others- "It's THE Ohio State University". It's really funny- I don't know if Ohio State people realize that others make fun of 'em for it.

Also, just because somebody owns a domain doesn't mean that they're the only "OSU".

Re:Not OSU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30513968)

the "The" is probably because there is another "Ohio State" college/university that goes by just "Ohio State".

Re:Not OSU (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514710)

No, it's because some time ago, when they felt like they weren't getting enough funding, some politician changed the name to "The Ohio State University" to emphasize that the university was the flagship.

That's right, the "The" that the OSU people are so fond of was born of political grandstanding and obnoxious pretentiousness. Which is exactly how it's still looked at to this very day...

Re:Not OSU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30513840)

Yeah OSU != Oklahoma State University, OSU = Ohio State University

Also, Ohio state was established 20 years before Oklahoma state.

Re:Not OSU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30513994)

yeah, this. I tagged the article !ohiostate, but it doesn't seem to have shown up. I can't figure out how Slashdot tags are supposed to work.

Re:Not OSU (1)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514284)

Did you go to okstate.edu [okstate.edu] , Oklahoma State University's home page? They refer to themselves as "OSU" on multiple occasions, most notably the big "About OSU" link at the home. Just because Ohio State snatched the domain first doesn't mean they can't both be called "OSU". (You should try living in Iowa but close to Illinois and guess which "U [of] I" people are talking about.)

Re:Not OSU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514632)

I live in Idaho, and attend the U of I. I sometimes travel to Portland, Oregon, where friends of mine go to OSU.

Re:Not OSU (1)

forand (530402) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514698)

Then my point is made, referring to it as OSU is ambiguous at best.

I prefer bottles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30513712)

Call me a snob, but canned anthrax vaccine tastes like aluminum. And it should be poured into a glass so that it develops a nice head. Keep in mind, most of the flavor is actually the aroma, or "nose," as it's called.

Re:I prefer bottles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514466)

Choosing your favorite aroma, or "picking your nose," was something we did back in the day. We'd walk around drunkenly with favored bottles in plain brown bags, as was the custom at the time, ranting at passersby and picking our noses.

Lol, denied being influenced by Pickens (4, Informative)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513726)

Look, you might as well be honest about it. T Boone owns your university at this point, everyone knows it. You may as well just rename it for him and get it over with.

Re:Lol, denied being influenced by Pickens (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513780)

Why bother renaming it? Even if your silly assertion is true, he is scheduled to die sometime soon (for various definitions of soon).

Re:Lol, denied being influenced by Pickens (3, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513884)

At which point you add "Memorial" to everything. Problem solved.

Re:Lol, denied being influenced by Pickens (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513912)

Far simpler to just continue calling it Oklahoma State.

Rename OSU for Pickens? (4, Funny)

igaborf (69869) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514386)

Sure, and they can call the Agricultural College "Boone's Farm."

Monkey Love (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30513730)

The dude was just getting a little side action at the primate house, but got a little too attached. He had to act quickly and confidentially to save 'Rachel'. Unfortunately, he didn't think things through. He's now got anthrax and just ended any chance of a cure.

What? Oh. (2, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513736)

Will he be marketing this canned anthrax to the general public? Does Homeland Securitah know about this?

Now they'll have to use students instead. (2, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513756)

Too bad. It would be better to use something closer to humans.

Simple solution (5, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513764)

NIH should put OSU on a blacklist and not fund anything involving them until OSU provides a valid (as judged by NIH) explanation for why they wasted the time (and money) of NIH.

OSU is of course free to not do so and rely on non-NIH funding. Or there might be a perfectly valid reason that they don't want to disclose publicly that they can provide to NIH.

Re:Simple solution (4, Informative)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514520)

NIH should put OSU on a blacklist and not fund anything involving them until OSU provides a valid (as judged by NIH) explanation for why they wasted the time (and money) of NIH.

OSU is of course free to not do so and rely on non-NIH funding. Or there might be a perfectly valid reason that they don't want to disclose publicly that they can provide to NIH.

It's actually a little worse than this. I have currently, and have had NIH funding in the past as well. They take things seriously. When you are awarded a grant, either you, the individual resaercher, or the university where you work, sign a contract stipulating that the work will be done as described. (Exactly who signs these contracts varies from grant to grant.) Sometimes there are serious penalty clauses. Naturally, each institution negotiates its own contracts, and I am not privvy to the ones that OSU has with the NIH, but if my home institution is a good indicator, OSU is screwed here. Pickens better have promised a heap of money in compensation.

Also, the heads of universities are, generally, not idiots. At least the ones I've met have been actual leaders, rather than just figureheads, and understand the potential fallout from a major decision like this: faculty revolt, potential lawsuits from post-docs and graduate students whose projects have been cancelled, blacklisting by the NIH (and possibly the Department of Defence who also fund anthrax research), loss of stature for the department, potential lawsuit from the NIH for breach of contract, etc. There must have been a very compelling reason (like a pledge of lots and lots of money; a standard NIH contract represents about $1.5 million, and if there were say 10 faculty members who now have NIH grants that have been placed at risk, the donation needs to be in the tens-to-hundreds of millions of dollars range). Their entire bioterrorism program has been put at risk.

I'm going to express an unfounded speculation: on the face of it, with all of the potential downsides, seems like it's a mistake, and a better solution could have been found (like curing the animals of anthrax once the study was over and then retiring them to an animal conservation range).

Antibiotics & PETA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30513772)

PETA members should be required to disavow all use of antibiotics. They are, after all, the product of animal "abuse". This problem would then self-correct nicely.

Bullshit (5, Interesting)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513784)

I worked at a Humane Society once. Animal Testing is not Animal Cruelty.

I wish that everyone who thinks we shouldn't do animal testing would volunteer to be have said tests run on themselves. Maybe then they would understand that Human Life is more valuable than Animal Life.

Just as it is better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man suffer, so it is better that ten animals die in the name of science than one human being die because a vaccine was not properly tested, or, worse still, never brought to market because of a lack of testing.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30513852)

You seem to have a rather realistic, pragmatic view on the situation. Unfortunately, plenty of people do not, and are happy to whine about the things the poor animals have to go through without a care for the things the poor humans will have to go through if we just shut down all research that requires animal testing.

IT's really not. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513882)

Just as it is better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man suffer

It's really not better to let ten guilty men go free, though. That's the thing.

Re:IT's really not. (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514026)

So you're ok with putting innocent men in jail, just in case?

Re:IT's really not. (4, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514328)

So you're ok with putting innocent men in jail, just in case?

From a perfectly rational perspective, allowing, for instance, ten violent criminals to go free probably does more overall harm to society than imprisoning one innocent man. That doesn't mean that it's OK, but it's better than the alternative. You can argue what the threshold should be. Maybe you really think that it would be better to release every imprisoned person in the world, because there are bound to be innocent people among them, but I don't think you'd get much support for that idea.

Re:IT's really not. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514346)

So you're ok with putting innocent men in jail, just in case?

No, but the point is that the justice system serves a purpose to keep society safe. There is a probability that it will make mistakes and punish the innocent, and there is a social cost for that, and there is a cost to setting guilty men free. The most desirable outcome, logically, is the maximum of that system, and I highly doubt that the number is empirically 10.

Re:IT's really not. (3, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514690)

There is a probability that it will make mistakes and punish the innocent, and there is a social cost for that, and there is a cost to setting guilty men free.

The cost of letting a guilty man go free is always less than the cost of punishing the innocent, since unless the crime was completely fabricated, a guilty man went free so that the innocent man could be punished.

Re:IT's really not. (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514070)

Well then what is your threshhold? Is it better to let 5 innocent men suffer than let 10 guilty men go free? Is it better to let 10 innocent men suffer than let 10 guilty men go free?

Why don't we just imprison everybody, just to make sure a handful of guilty men don't get through the cracks?

Re:IT's really not. (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514184)

Well then what is your threshhold?

That's the real question. Whether it's 5, 10 , 100, or 1000, the only way to ensure you never imprison an innocent person is to refuse to imprison anyone.

Of course there's another threshold you need to consider. Is it better to let 10 innocent people be murdered than imprison one innocent person? Where do you draw the line? The families of those four policemen who were murdered by a paroled felon last month would like to hear your answer.

Re:IT's really not. (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514272)

Of course, everything is relative. I think the real meaning of the quote though, which the person to which I was responding seemed to be missing, is the importance of the presumption of innocence.

Re:IT's really not. (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514716)

There is no answer as long as asshole criminals are willing to break the law. And naturally they will use every trick in the book to get away with it, including getting society tangled up in moral debates.

In that respect they are like spammers.

Re:IT's really not. (1)

Sprouticus (1503545) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514198)

Just as it is better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man suffer

It's really not better to let ten guilty men go free, though. That's the thing.

Wow, you are either trolling or you really really must be new here...

Re:Bullshit (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513940)

I worked at a Humane Society once. Animal Testing is not Animal Cruelty.

I wish that everyone who thinks we shouldn't do animal testing would volunteer to be have said tests run on themselves.

Doesn't it matter what the purpose of the testing is?

I'm all behind using primate models for antibiotic testing. I'm entirely against animal models for cosmetics research.

Re:Bullshit (0, Troll)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513954)

Human life more valuable than animal life? Talk about a redundant statement. Newsflash, humans are animals. If you wanted to be intellectually honest you should just say humans are more important than other "lower" animals. It's not like we are part of the web of life or anything, humans are obviously gods amongst animals.

Re:Bullshit (1)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514020)

Nice. There's nothing wrong with my argument, so bitch about semantics.

Re:Bullshit (1)

mugurel (1424497) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514280)

apart from the `semantics' I do think your analogy about guilty and innocent men is hampered. I see how an innocent man suffering equates to a human dying, but not how ten guilty men equate to animals dying in the name of science. I would say the animals are at least as innocent as the human.

That's why I say: people, stick with car/horse/pizza analogies. It's safer.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514048)

Bad Aspie day? Anyone with half a brain ought to know that colloquially 'animal' is short for 'non-human animal,' when it's used as distinct from 'human.'

Re:Bullshit (1)

kdcttg (980465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513966)

Maybe then they would understand that Human Life is more valuable than Animal Life.

Last time I checked, human life was animal life.

Just as it is better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man suffer, so it is better that ten animals die in the name of science than one human being die because a vaccine was not properly tested, or, worse still, never brought to market because of a lack of testing.

So are you saying that other animals are intrinsically guilty, and humans innocent by definition? If so, I would have to disagree.

Re:Bullshit (1, Insightful)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514054)

Please see this [slashdot.org] .

Then get the fuck off of /. and go to a website where Logic and Reason aren't part of rational debate. Maybe 4chan.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514056)

Some kinds of animal testing is animal cruelty. It depends on how it is conducted and for what purpose. A lot of abuse has occurred over the years which is why the scientific community and its funders have invested heavily in developing protocols, review processes and inspections to prevent abuses. In my review the research should be for a very important purpose and researchers should take maxim care to avoid inflicting unnecessary pain or discomfort. Anthrax vaccines seem to be an important purpose. Eye liner and other cosmetics don't meet my standard.

Re:Bullshit (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514076)

I wish that everyone who thinks we shouldn't do animal testing would volunteer to be have said tests run on themselves. Maybe then they would understand that Human Life is more valuable than Animal Life.

That makes zero sense. Why would someone have testing run on themselves make them understand that? Wouldn't it make them understand that testing is terribly cruel and shouldn't be run on anyone?

Re:Bullshit (3, Insightful)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514166)

I've watched a lot of animals die. A lot. In misery. I've held them in my arms. I've found them half-dead, with their intestines hanging out on the sides of roads. I've seen them left at the front door of a Humane Society in boxes on nights when it gets below freezing. I don't like watching animals suffer.

I hate watching people suffer even more.

The problem with the world is that people seem to care more about cute little animals than they do about living, breathing, thinking human beings.

Animal Cruelty is doing horrible things to animals because you enjoy it or you just don't care. Animal Cruelty is shooting a kitten with a twelve gauge. Animal Cruelty is keeping a dog in your back yard tied up to a tree, rarely feeding it, keeping it on such short line it has to sleep in its own filth. Animal Cruelty is torturing small animals for your own amusement.

Animal Testing is conducting experiments on animals that, while they may, and probably will, kill the animal, will save human lives, in part due to the fact that you don't have to do the same test on a human being.

Re:Bullshit (1)

gitoffmylawn! (1639005) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514390)

Well said!

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514242)

I agree that certain types of testing shouldn't be done on anyone. The problem I have with all these arguments is that animals (and by that I mean in the sense of non-humans) are not people. I am absolutely against pointless cruelty to anything, however, if I thought that running tests and then euthanizing 500 monkeys would save a single person from death or life with terrible disabilites then say goodbye to the monkeys.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514282)

I detest animal testing. If you want to see what something does in humans, use a human. At least they can consent to the testing.

Re:Bullshit (3, Insightful)

nycguy (892403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514344)

First off, your archaic use of capitalization is interesting.

Animal testing is certainly cruel to the animals involved. Whether that cruelty to animals is justified by the savings in cruelty to humans is a matter of debate.

The argument can also be made, though, that some human beings' lives are more valuable than others. Certainly every society practices this, no matter what beliefs they profess, as some members of every society (e.g., chieftans, priesthood, nobility, aristocrats, "party members") receive a disproportionate allocation of that society's resources. So, we could just go down that route. Already done that [wikipedia.org] , of course.

A better argument against animal testing would be that a society that practices cruelty to animals is one step closer to practicing cruelty to its fellow humans. A society that respects animal life, on the other hand, is more likely to respect human life.

Finally, your oft-stated argument that "better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man suffer" is specious. The ten guilty men will almost certainly victimize other innocents, which is why we incarcerate them in the first place. An argument of "better that a guilty man go free than an innocent man suffer" would carry more water.

Re:Bullshit (0, Troll)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514676)

Vaccines are a bunch of horseshit much of the time because they are backed not by a desire to cure, but by profit motive.

Which ultimately means that if a company CAN get away with cutting corners, it will. And quality being anything but the highest priority with something as vital as a vaccine...well call me skeptical but I don't trust them.

Look at Nutrasweet's aspartame scandal if you need an example of how unrestrained greed can gum up the works.

They should "offshore" this. (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513786)

I am certain that the Chinese would take this research money, and use political prisoners instead of primates for experimentation. They then can "euthanize" them after the experiment, and PETA would not complain. Besides, they would probably have "euthanized" them anyway.

Better yet, some US Pharma company can fund this on the cheap, then patent the resulting drug and make huge profits.

Works out all the way around, well, except for the subjects of the experiment.

Re:They should "offshore" this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514134)

I am certain that the Chinese would take this research money, and use political prisoners instead of primates for experimentation. They then can "euthanize" them after the experiment, and PETA would not complain. Besides, they would probably have "euthanized" them anyway.

Great idea. Also they can skin, section, pose and then plasticize the bodies for display. Afterward they can ship the plasticized bodies around Western nations for display as educational and morbid curiosities.

Re:They should "offshore" this. (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514352)

You say this like it would shock PETA, who themselves advocate this option. PETA's opinion is that if a disease would kill everybody within a week, but a single animal test could save everybody, animal testing is still not an option. PETA's founder goes one step further, saying that disease research should not be done at all, even if no animals are harmed, because disease is natures way of correcting the error that allowed humans to exist, and we have no right to fight back, and should just die already and stop raping mother nature. Of course, she has so far declined polite offers of "You first!"

Big problem on various levels (4, Interesting)

idiot900 (166952) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513834)

What a stupid move.

NIH study sections will now perceive Oklahoma State as an institution that isn't prepared to do research that they have been awarded a grant to do. There are plenty of other institutions willing keep their promises; why take a chance on this one?

They'll also have a harder time attracting good faculty who can win grants. Why would a good scientist go to an institution that will arbitrarily stop her research? And why would good scientists who get offers from other institutions choose to stay? That will impact their bottom line.

Not to mention competent biology students will want to go someplace where politics doesn't interfere in their education.

Re:Big problem on various levels (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30513936)

As it should be. Perhaps the system does work.

Re:Big problem on various levels (1)

Weedhopper (168515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514006)

In the long run, it'll work out better for everyone else involved. The only loser here is Oklahoma State.

Re:Big problem on various levels (1)

SimonJG (1245970) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514636)

Absolutely the NIH should stop funding OSU.

$5 million is significantly less than the NIH funding that OSU has received. From the NIH site it seems that OSU at its various sites gets between $3.4 million (2008) to $10 million (2006) each YEAR from the NIH. Clearly the University has more to loose from upsetting the NIH than the Boone-Pickens family. Unless, of course, there is something we don't yet know about.

Alternatively, the President should grow some balls.

Source: http://report.nih.gov/award/trends/State_Congressional/StateDetail.cfm?State=OKLAHOMA [nih.gov]

6 Billion People ... (1)

abbynormal brain (1637419) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514080)

... This, by itself, is a problem. Solution? Experiment on some of those "monkeys". Oh, and a certain percentage need to be scientists. Would that be wrong?

Re:6 Billion People ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514176)

6.8 billion, actually. And it isn't a problem, actually. And humans aren't monkeys but rather share a common ancestor with them, actually. And yes it would, actually.

just like alot of modern arguments (2, Interesting)

Sprouticus (1503545) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514322)

animal rights boils down to a simple statement. Is a (non-human) animals life worth less than a humans. If you say yes, then animal testing is a no brainer. If you say no, then its not. Of course you have sub-issues like behaving in a humane manner, but that is really not the root of the issue.

This same simplicity can also be put to things like abortion, guns, and even healthcare***. The problem in our country is that we dont actually try to answer the question at the root of the issue, we nip at the corners, trying to get what we want from laws without making folks actually think or choose. We end up with crappy laws with all kinds of exceptions. Its a very bad way to manage a country IMHO.

*** Note: Im saying the question is simple, the answer may not be.

Re:just like alot of modern arguments (1)

mugurel (1424497) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514488)

animal rights boils down to a simple statement. Is a (non-human) animals life worth less than a humans. If you say yes, then animal testing is a no brainer.

No, no, no! I'm inclined to say animal life is worth less than human life. But I don't agree with animal tests at all! The point is that there should be a proper balance between the suffering imposed on animals and the benefit for humans. I find it utterly cruel to sacrifice the (quality of) life of animals just because there might be a slight chance that in some distant future it helps us find a cure for some human disease. There should be strict criteria in terms of the likelihood that animal tests bring concrete benefits in the form of adequate medication or crucial knowledge.

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