UW-Madison (the University of Wisconsin–Madison) has conducted ghastly experiments on the brains of cats for the sole purpose of maintaining and perhaps enhancing government funding via the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Apparently, the experiments resulted in no actual benefit to people. In addition, alternative methods that did not necessitate animal testing would have been beneficial to humans. If this is true, it’s an upside down world.
The experiments, which entailed drilling and cutting into cats’ brains were ostensibly done to research how the human brain processes sound but the scientists appear to have admitted otherwise. The animal experimenters stated that it would help….
“keep up a productive publication record that ensures our constant funding.”
Funding has been in place for the university for many years. It’s a money for old rope. Money for the boys. A cosy club. In this case the true cost has been cat cruelty and unconscionable behavior by people who should know better.
“Budgets” are always an issue in business environments. If someone or some group, no matter where it is, is being funded consistently the funded group has to spend the money to justify future funding. It is rather odd. If they underspend one year the providers question whether they should continue to provide.
In this instance the money was spent on experimenting on cats. It would not be so bad if animals were not involved. Sure, it would be a waste of government money – taxpayer’s money – but at least it would not be objectionable work.
According to Dr Hansen the $3m funding could have been used on research that genuinely benefited people.
Animal experiments are controversial. As science progresses it is more and more difficult for supporters of animal testing to justify them because of the availability of more ethical alternatives. For others, like myself, they always have been completely unjustifiable.
We must not kid ourselves that scientist are immune to unethical behavior concerning animals because they are educated. Education does equate to good behavior. Competition within the scientific community is as fierce as it is the boardroom of big companies.
Note: the original article was written in Sept 2012. I hope the university has changed its attitude over the intervening year.