Jeremy Beckham: UW’s cruelty to cats should be stopped : Ct

Jeremy Beckham: UW’s cruelty to cats should be stopped – March 2, 2013, Capital Times

Academy award-nominated actor James Cromwell and I were recently arrested for protesting at a meeting of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents for its failure to take action to end horribly cruel and wasteful experiments on cats at UW-Madison. UW’s response has been to distort, deny and dismiss well-documented cruelty in its laboratories and attempt to silence dissent about the issue.1500-double-trouble-10

Despite UW’s shenanigans, the truth is out and these barbaric studies should end now.

According to documents that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals obtained from UW through a public records request and subsequent lawsuit, experimenters cut cats’ heads open, screwed steel rods to their skulls, implanted electrodes in their brains, and placed metal coils in their eyes. Some cats were deafened and had electrical devices implanted into their ears. The cats were then starved for up to six days straight because when they’re so hungry they will cooperate in experiments in exchange for a morsel of food. As a result of all this trauma, nearly every cat PETA obtained records on — including Broc, Cali, Daisy, Mama Grey, Marble, Patches, Slinky, Tiger and Timmy — suffered from constant infections, illnesses, physical pain and depression.

This was graphically documented by UW staff in photos they never imagined the public would see and fought tooth-and-nail to keep secret. The images depict a cat called Double Trouble with a metal post and wires protruding from her head. One of her eyes is half-closed because her face was partially paralyzed by an apparently sloppy surgery.

Records show that she became lethargic and depressed. She started to twitch. Her head wound never healed. More than three months after surgery, records describe the wound as “open, moist w/bloody purulent discharge, (with) moderate swelling.”

Each horrifying detail above is taken directly from records that were written in UW staff and faculty’s own hands, and captured with their own camera. A former UW veterinarian who worked in this laboratory has also confirmed PETA’s allegations of abuse.

Experimenters eventually killed and decapitated Double Trouble because she became too sick to continue and the devices implanted in her head didn’t work. While PETA objects to these experiments because they’re cruel, they’re also bad science. UW experimenters told colleagues that the project was a failure. Indeed, the experiment has never been published in any scientific journal, nor has any other cochlear implant experiment on cats from this laboratory. Yet UW has defended itself by deceptively claiming the suffering caused to Double Trouble has made important contributions to human hearing research.

Hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens, Wisconsin residents, and taxpayers have urged the federal government and UW to end this publicly funded cruelty to animals. UW’s strategy for dealing with this exercise of democracy has been to block emails from the public, to diligently delete thousands of critical messages from its Facebook page, and to remove the contact information for Board of Regents members from its website.

I used to live in Madison and I’ve learned that the school will go to great lengths to shield itself from criticism. In 2006, following open records requests by myself and the Isthmus newspaper, UW destroyed 60 boxes of videotapes showing footage of experiments on monkeys. In 2011, PETA and Madison’s Alliance for Animals sought to have UW prosecuted for experiments in which they killed animals by decompression and forced mice to fight in apparent violation of state law. UW responded by successfully lobbying to completely exempt its experimenters from all state cruelty to animals statutes.

UW is more than happy to take our money to torment animals. But, unless you have some good lawyers, don’t start asking questions about it.


Jeremy Beckham is a research project manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, based in Norfolk, Va. JeremyB@peta.org

 

Jeremy Beckham: UW’s cruelty to cats should be stopped : Ct.

State Sen. Fred Risser wants dogs out of wolf hunt

MADISON (AP) – A Democratic state senator plans to introduce a longshot bill that would prohibit Wisconsin wolf hunters from using dogs, marking another chapter in a months-long battle to stop the practice before it begins.

Sen. Fred Risser of Madison sent an email to the rest of the Legislature on Monday asking for co-sponsors. He noted that Wisconsin is the only one of seven states with a wolf hunt that allows dogs. He said humane societies are concerned about the risk of bloody clashes between dogs and wolves.

“It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s nothing more than state-sanctioned dog fighting,” Risser said in a telephone interview. “We shouldn’t have done it in the first place and maybe we can stop it before it becomes too ingrained.”

A lawyer representing a group of humane societies that sued last year to ban wolf hunters from using dogs called the bill “wonderful.”

“That would be a very sane change in public policy,” said Carl Sinderbrand, an attorney for the Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies, Inc. “It would reflect the will of the vast majority of Wisconsinites.”

But the bill has almost no chance of success; Republicans control both the state Senate and Assembly.

Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, was the chief sponsor of the bill that established the wolf hunt. He serves as Assembly majority leader and plays a huge role in deciding what legislation makes it to the floor for a vote. He said during a telephone interview Monday that Risser’s proposal will probably go nowhere.

“To totally eliminate an entire privilege that is out there for sportsmen, it goes too far,” Suder said.

The wolf hunt has been a flashpoint of contention since Republicans passed Suder’s bill about a year ago. Animal rights advocates see the hunt as unnecessary; farmers maintain something must be done to control a burgeoning wolf population preying on their livestock.

The bill scheduled the wolf season to run from Oct. 15 to the end of February or whenever hunters reached a kill limit imposed by the state Department of Natural Resources. The legislation allows hunters to pursue wolves with up to six dogs after the end of the November gun deer season.

Emergency rules the DNR crafted to get the first hunt off the ground limited dog use to daylight hours but set no other restrictions. A group of humane societies filed a lawsuit in August alleging the lack of regulations would lead to deadly wolf-dog fights during the season and throughout the rest of the year as hunters trained their hounds on wolves.

Dane County Circuit Judge Peter C. Anderson temporarily barred hunters from using dogs while he weighed the case. The first season began and ended while the prohibition was in place. The ban didn’t seem to hamper hunters; the DNR closed the season two months early in December after hunters had killed 117 wolves, one more than their limit.

When Anderson revisited the lawsuit in January, he concluded that the DNR didn’t have to impose restrictions on dogs in wolf hunts but that it should have tweaked its rules to account for the risk in training dogs on wolves. He issued a double-sided ruling, saying hunters could use dogs to pursue wolves during the season but barred them from training on wolves.

The DNR is currently drafting permanent rules that would allow hunters to train dogs on wolves during in-season daylight hours and the month of March. Each dog also would have to be tattooed or wear a collar with its owner’s name and address. The agency doesn’t expect to implement the rules until 2014.

The humane societies say that’s not good enough because hunters will face no restrictions going into the 2013-14 hunt.

State Sen. Fred Risser wants dogs out of wolf hunt.

Jerry Polder: Good alternatives to animal testing available : Wsj

In response to a recent guest column by director of UW-Madison’s
Research Animal Resources Center Eric Sandgren titled “Cat research,
after all the drama,” we, like actor James Cromwell, want to know the
whole truth about what goes on. Where do the cats come from and what
happens to them after being experimented on?

Whether this testing violates provisions of the Animal Welfare Act or
not, it is still likely unnecessary, as animal tests are rarely
relevant to humans and do not reliably predict outcomes in humans.

If these studies on cats, which seek to show how the brain receives
and makes sense of sound, benefit humans, doesn’t it make sense to do
these studies on humans?

It’s about time UW-Madison emerged from the past and joined modern
times to follow the lead of institutions such as Johns Hopkins, with
its Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing devoted entirely to
developing and promoting alternatives to this testing.

The center has worked with scientists since 1981 to find new methods
to replace the use of laboratory animals in experiments.

— Jerry Polder, Madison

 

Jerry Polder: Good alternatives to animal testing available : Wsj.