dollars thrown away on pointless animal experiments
issued earlier this month by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Tom Coburn,
R-Okla., blasts 100 "questionable," "mismanaged" and
"poorly planned" stimulus-funded projects, including an especially
pointless and cruel experiment that the report aptly calls "Monkeys
Getting High for Science." The study in question is being conducted
at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, a Winston Salem, N.C.based
facility that was awarded $71,623 in stimulus funds to feed cocaine to monkeys.
think all of (the projects) are waste," McCain told ABC News. "(S)ome
are more egregious than others but all of them are terrible."
monkeys on coke definitely falls into the "more egregious" category.
Unfortunately, this study is just a drop in the proverbial crack pipe. Wasteful
and cruel addiction studies on animals are currently being conducted all
over the country - and most are simply slight variations on experiments
that have been conducted for years. Often the "results" have been
known for years as well.
example, it has already been well established that smoking harms developing
human fetuses. But that hasn't stopped the federal government from funneling
more than $10 million to Eliot Spindel of the Oregon National Primate Research
Center. Spindel impregnates monkeys and then continuously injects them with
nicotine to cause damage to their unborn babies' lungs. The preterm babies
are then cut from their mothers' bodies and killed so that their organs
can be cut out and dissected.
experiments on animals could easily be conducted on willing human volunteers.
University, experimenter Marina Picciotto has squandered nearly $10 million
in taxpayer money from the National Institutes of Health for nicotine, amphetamine
and cocaine addiction experiments on monkeys, mice and rats. The stated
goal of one such experiment was to determine how long one should wait after
ingesting nicotine before brain imaging is done.
rather than using actual human smokers who were enrolled in a clinical study,
Picciotto isolated monkeys in cages and fed them nicotine-laced Kool-Aid
for eight weeks. One monkey received a dose of nicotine each day that was
equal to the amount of nicotine found in 17 packs of cigarettes (far more
than even chain-smoking humans consume), and the monkeys had to suffer through
the distress and discomfort of nicotine withdrawal.
addiction experiments appear to be almost sadistically pointless. At Harvard
Medical School's McLean Hospital, Jack Bergman has conducted federally funded
experiments on squirrel monkeys in which they were isolated in steel cages,
addicted to methamphetamines and cocaine, strapped in restraint chairs and
given electric shocks.
now wants to spend an additional $1.75 million of public money from NASA
to blast squirrel monkeys with radiation and then cage them for the rest
of their lives to see how it damages their brains and bodies - even though
four decades of government-funded radiation experiments on primates have
not produced any results that are relevant to humans. A NASA space station
engineer who resigned in protest over the experiment says she believes that
the agency's resources would be better spent devising ways to prevent radiation
from entering spaceships rather than trying to figure out what to do after
it is always unethical to confine, poison, mutilate and kill animals for
experimentation, it is especially egregious that experimenters are trying
to use animals to model addiction, which is in large part caused by social,
psychological and even economic factors. Studies on animals can't resolve
vast fundamental biological differences between humans and other animals
make the results of such experiments difficult if not impossible to extrapolate
to humans. Data from mice, rats and monkeys who are trapped in a laboratory
and forced into an unnatural and involuntary addiction are of no relevance
to humans suffering from drug addictions. Federal tax dollars would be much
better spent funding cash-strapped addiction treatment centers and studying
drug addictions in humans in a clinical setting rather than torturing animals.