UW surrenders more images from the Tom Yin Lab.

Sound Localization Images

Released to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Below is a series of images released in July 2013 to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) under Wisconsin’s open records law. The images, from a procedure performed in 2009, show a surgical procedure to place a cochlear implant into a cat, the subject of a hearing study. Earlier images were used by PETA, an organization that objects to the use of all animal models in research, to misrepresent the clinical and technological value of the work, as well as the treatment and condition of the animals used in the study. We are posting the images to preempt their misuse and continued mischaracterization of a study that has demonstrated clinical and technological benefit for humans. Read the university’s full article here.

See too:  More images from the Yin Lab.

4 thoughts on “UW surrenders more images from the Tom Yin Lab.

  1. The animal rights organization, PETA, reports on its website, http://www.peta.org/features/uw-madison-cruelty.aspx, that as a result of a lawsuit PETA filed against the University of Wisconsin at Madison to force the release of documentation with regards to the sound lateralization project, evidence has emerged that this University applies for funding to continue this project every year, despite the cruelty to cats and no conclusive results, just to “keep up a productive publication record that ensures our constant funding.”


  2. Nine years of experimenting with a reported 30 cats a year for a total of 270 cats and according to documents obtained by PETA, subjected to repeat surgeries to implant steel coils in their eyes and steel posts into their head, and then decapitated when they were too ill with infection and exhaustion to continue with the experiments. What have we learned from this? According to documents obtained by PETA, the stated purpose of this project is to understand how the brain determines the location of a sound, but with other investigations going on at prestigious institutions around the world that don’t involve invasive surgeries on animals, PETA and other Americans are asking why is the NIH continuing to fund this project?

    Millions of Americans, including the elderly, are living useful productive lives with hearing aides and even cochlear implants. We have hearing aides that can be inserted by a physician into the ear for months at a time. This newer type of hearing aide reportedly costs about $5,200. The problem is that not everybody who needs hearing aides can afford them.

    The millions of dollars invested in sound lateralization research projects might perhaps be put to better use by subsidizing the cost of hearing aids to the hearing-impaired, particularly the elderly, many of whom can ill afford to pay for the purchase, repair, and upkeep of expensive hearing aides, which many of them so desperately need.

    According to the PETA’s official blog, the PETA Files, at http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2012/10/12/former-uw-vet-says-lab-violated-the-law.aspx, the attending veterinarian, Dr. Richard Brown, responsible for animal care at the University of Wisconsin at Madison resigned in protest in 2010 because of the abuse and neglect of laboratory animals that he observed at the University. According to PETA, the United States Department of Agriculture recently cited the University of Wisconsin at Madison for chronic deadly infections of the cats used in this project and burning one cat with a heating pad so badly that surgery was required.


  3. Go the NIH website at http://www.nih.gov and click on the tab, Grants and Funding, at the top of the page. On Quick Links, click on RePORT, then click on the tab, Funding, and scroll down to Awards by Location and click on the link, which will list all of the organizations in this country that receive money from the NIH. The NIH is also funding projects in Brazil, the Netherlands, Canada, China, Belgium, Iceland, and other countries for millions of dollars. Scroll down until you come to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. If you look to the right, you will see that the University of Wisconsin at Madison awards summary for the fiscal year 2013 is over 96 million dollars, $96,837,200.00 to be exact with a total of 302 awards.

    Now, let us examine one specific project at the University of Wisconsin at Madison involving an orange tabby cat, Double Trouble, which has attracted a lot of attention in the media lately because of a lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals forcing the University of Wisconsin to release photographs of their sound lateralization experiments on cats. According to documents obtained as the result of a lawsuit, a gentle orange tabby cat, Double Trouble, was kept in restraints and cruelly experimented on at the University of Wisconsin at Madison for months until she was too ill to continue and she was euthanized. Despite an investigation by the USDA, this type of experiment continues on other cats to this day at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. This was a stunning victory for PETA as they were able to penetrate the veil of secrecy that usually surrounds these projects. This is a study that has reportedly subjected about 30 cats a year for the past nine years to nine-hour surgeries to deafen the cats, implant a steel post into the top of their heads for immobilization purposes, place steel coils into their eyes, and place electrical devices in their ears. This research project continues with other cats in the fiscal year 2013. This University has a total of 775 projects slated for 2014.

    Go to the website, http://www.nih.gov and click on the tab, lightly touch on Grants and Funding, at the top of the page to bring up the menu. Under the quick links section to the right, click on RePort. Click on the RePORTER icon on the left of the page under the magnifying glass, which will take you to the Research Online Portfolio Reporting Tools (RePORT). On the top of the next page, click on new query (the old query format is available until July 11). In the organization search box, type in exactly University of Wisconsin Madison. You can specify the type of animal study you wish to research in the text search box. In this case, type in feline. Scroll back up to where you typed in University of Wisconsin Madison and click Look Up to the right of the text box. On the page that comes up, put a check into the box next to the University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI, and hit select to the right. This will take you back to the previous page. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit submit query. (Could this be any more confusing?) This will take you to a list of five research projects involving cats at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. (If you don’t type in feline in the text search box, the search results will show you a list of all the projects at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

    The last entry with a project number of 5 R01 DC007177 09, a title of Behavioral and Physiological Studies of Sound Localization, and project leader, Yin, Tom C.T., a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison is the project we are looking for. Click on this research project at the bottom of the list. This is the sound lateralization study of cats, which involved the cat, Double Trouble, euthanized and decapitated by researchers when this animal was too ill to continue with this study.

    If you click on the project title, it will take you to the description tab, which provides a brief abstract about the project beginning with the sentence, “The overall aim of this project is to understand the neural mechanisms of sound localization and selective auditory attention” and ending with “Defects in binaural function in human patients can lead to considerable difficulty in understanding conversations in a noisy room, which is the most common complaint of the hearing-impaired and can lead to severe social withdrawal.”

    If you click on the history tab for this project, it will show you the financial history of this project from the years 2005 to 2013 in the right column. At the left top of the page, you will see the total project funding amount from 2005 to 2013 in the amount of $2,570,646.

    If you click on the details tabs, you will see that this project is scheduled to end on November 30, 2014, and has a budget end date of November 30, 2013. There is nothing that would explain why the federal government continues to fund this project after nine years, two million plus dollars, and some 270 cats. Given the 9-year history of this project, it will probably be funded by the NIH again.

    If you click on the similar projects tab, there are four pages of similar projects to 5 R01 DC007177 09 currently being funded by the NIH for a total of 100 projects.

    If you click on the results tab, there are five articles that have been published in scientific journals that are so vague and non-specific with regards to what is supposed to be accomplished with this study and the implantation of steel coils in the eyes of cats with deafening and immobilization devices implanted in their heads, operant conditioning (remember Pavlov’s dogs) with the deprivation of food to gain cooperation in terms of getting the animals to turn their heads in the direction of sound. When you get past the medical jargon, the question that comes to mind is what are those people doing and what do they hope to accomplish?

    If you read the section on the NIH website regarding the use of animals in research, you will be assured that great care is taken to ensure the welfare of animals used in research. We have all seen the videotaped footage of animals being experimented on. The videos and photographs obtained by whistleblowers and provided to animal rights organizations tell the real story.

    Critics of the NIH claim that we are enabling scientists to use taxpayer money that could be used more wisely than to speculate in scientific journals about the conclusions of scientific studies that lead nowhere in terms of any real measurable benefit to human health.

    As nation, we need to carefully monitor how our money is being spent. In this country where millions of people cannot even afford to buy health insurance, we need to focus on common sense practical solutions to our healthcare problems instead of spending taxpayor dollars on expensive repetitive medical research studies funded by the NIH. We need to let our elected representatives to Congress know how we feel about this important issue. Email the White Houar at info@messages.whitehouse.gov or call your senator and representative in Washington, D.C., at (202) 224-3121.


  4. One final note: truly alarming is the Madison, Wisconsin-based Alliance for Animals report that the University of Wisconsin at Madison is attempting to influence the state legislature to limit access to public records regarding research involving animals until the results are published in scientific journals or a patent application is filed. The Alliance for Animals reports “Two years ago, the University of Wisconsin bamboozled lawmakers into approving an exemption for all its animal experimentation from Wisconsin’s crimes against animals statutes. Now the UW has asked lawmakers to exempt information about the things they are doing to animals from Wisconsin’s public records laws.”

    The Alliance points out that researchers can already do anything that they want to animals in the laboratory because of the state legislation passed two years ago and are now trying to get policymakers to ensure that they can also keep it secret. This is the University of Wisconsin’s attempt to keep its misuse of animals hidden from the public and protect its cash cow of over 96 million dollars a year of taxpayer money.

    A memo from the UW officials to state legislators complains that the University of Wisconsin at Madison spends more than $100,000 annually dealing with records requests from animal activist groups and how much this is costing taxpayers. What about the 96 million a year that taxpayers in this country are funding to finance the medical research program at the University?

    A research exemption in the state’s open records law would “eliminate the incredible disruption to ongoing research,” according to the UW’s request for the provision. The memo goes on to state that “this exemption is critical to the University’s ability to serve as an economic engine for the state of Wisconsin”, at the expense of animals one might add.

    The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel at http://www.jsonline.com/news/uw-madison-wants-to-protect-research-by-limiting-open-records-law-b9917542z1.html reports that the “University of Wisconsin-Madison is seeking to limit the state’s open records law — potentially through language slipped into the state budget — to keep from the public information about research until it is published or patented.”

    The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article goes on to describe the numerous financial ties and compromise to human health over the years between physicians at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and pharmaceutical and medical device companies and the millions of dollars that have been paid to these physicians that came to light as a result of open records requests by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel newspaper.


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