Articles to Read Before the March 16th Hearing

via Ann, Rick, and Bill Lueders (champion of freedom of information whom we completely LOVE)

Your Chance to Speak Up

This Monday, you have a chance to speak up against the open records exemption. Our dedicated anti-viv committee volunteer, Ann, forwarded the following:

Senator Fred Risser and Representative Terese Berceau will be hosting a listening session at Madison Public Library – Sequoya Branch to hear from constituents about the budget. Please stop by to share your ideas and concerns.  This is your opportunity to let your voice be heard.

Monday, March 16, 2015

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Madison Public Library – Sequoya Branch

Meeting rooms A and B

4340 Tokay Boulevard

If you are unable to attend in person and have any questions, comments, or concerns about the budget or any other matters facing state government, please contact Senator Risser at or Representative Berceau at

Please email if you need a ride or can give a ride.

Below is some reading to help you understand the measure before you attend.

The Measure
Update 3-16-15: This is the accurate text:

“The bill creates an exception to the open records law for information produced or collected by or for UWSA faculty or staff with respect to commercial, scientific, or technical research until that information is publicly disseminated or patented.”

What It Means

The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council explains what this means:

This would create a blanket exemption for all records of UW research that university officials choose to not disseminate or patent. It would be invoked to prevent public access to records regarding controversial research. It would keep the public from knowing details about the conduct of publicly funded institutions and allow abuses to go undetected.

Previous Attempts By UW
Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, R-New Berlin, introduced a bill last week that would exempt all materials tied to any commercial, scientific or technical research from the state’s open records law before the research is published.
2013: Jason Stein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,  UW Madison seeks limits on open records regarding research
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 some research information from the public until it is published or patented.
That sounds familiar…
Articles and Editorials About the Current Attempt

Ernst-Ulrich Franzen editorial, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 8, Budget item to hide UW research is bad public policy: 

But can the university offer examples of where research has been hurt by the current rules? Or examples of a loss of funding because they were unable to compete because of the current rules? As to the level-playing-field mantra, that can serve to cover a host of sins, and doesn’t condone following bad policy elsewhere.

This is bad public policy explicitly designed to hide what university researchers are doing, never mind the public relations claims of university spokespeople.

Racine Journal Times editorial, reprised in the Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 10, Keep access to UW research records:

In theory, university officials want the ability to deny access to research records to protect researchers from having to disclose information that might allow others to peek at their research efforts and compromise possible patents.

In reality — as the 2013 attempt showed — the university was also trying to curb inquiries into research involving the use of animals. That’s not only controversial, but it’s a matter of university ethics and something the public needs to know.

Editorial in The Capital Times, Feb. 12, Don’t close records of UW animal researchers:

The researchers who use monkeys, cats and other animals in their research bristle at the scrutiny by animal rights groups, who complain that in many instances the research amounts to torture.

Their tenacity has caused researchers to explain and justify their methods, which is nothing more than what  public employees working in public institutions with public money need to do.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, posted online Feb. 15, Scott Walker’s budget would allow UW to keep research secret:

“It doesn’t serve anybody’s best interest if science is being held privately or secretly,” said Joseph Ross, an assistant professor of general medicine at Yale University who studies drug company issues. “All scientists are better if their work is known and they are held accountable.”

Letter to the Editor, The Capital Times, Feb. 16, Bob Schwalb (Alliance member!), UW animal research records must be open to public:

I could not agree more that the absolute least we should accept from animal researchers is full public disclosure of their records. Creating an exemption for them does nothing but further the public distrust of an institution notorious for barbaric animal experiments.

Badger Herald article, Feb. 17, UW would be able to keep research secret under Walker’s proposed budget:

Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, said there are internal checks on research, so it would not free researchers of all constraints. They still have to justify research for funders and to internal oversight committees, but would not have to share this information to the public unless the research is published, he said.

“It would mean if a citizen asked UW for records on an ongoing experiment involving baby monkeys or dangerous pathogens, the university could just say ‘sorry, we don’t have to give you that information,’” Lueders said.

Your Right to Know column, Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, Feb. 18, Your Right to Know: Don’t let the UW hide research records:

Barker also cited the “very significant burden” of records law compliance. He said one recent request from USA Today for all open and closed session minutes for the UW-Madison’s Institutional Biosafety Committee “consumed much of one of our employee’s time for almost three-and-a-half months” because of the need to painstakingly redact certain information.

I checked in with USA Today reporter Nick Penzenstadler, who made this request. He said the paper obtained two years’ worth of minutes but noted that federal rules require these to be made public on request. In other words, changing state law would not alleviate the UW’s burden in this instance — a statement Barker, given a chance, did not refute.

Huffington Post, Stephen Wells of ALDF, March 9, Monkeying Around With the Law: Scott Walker Bill Aims to Allow University of Wisconsin to Keep Cruel Experiments on Baby Monkeys Secret:

The public, whose tax dollars fund these experiments, shouldn’t be kept in the dark. Nearly 400,000 people — including leading bioethicists — have already signed a petition calling for an end to these unimaginably cruel maternal deprivation experiments. Instead, Walker’s proposed legislation would mean an end to the transparency the public is entitled to under the law, allowing the experiments to continue under the shroud of secrecy in spite of public concerns.

A Superb FOIC Action Alert Everyone Should Read

Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, Bill Luders, sent Feb 5th, Action alert on proposed exemption for records of UW research:

Current law already allows state universities, like any state or local public authority, to deny access to records if they can make the case that the harm from release outweighs the presumption that the public is entitled to access. This bill would eviscerate that standard for the University of Wisconsin. No longer would our universities need a good reason, or any reason, to deny access.

We hope that advocates for open government in Wisconsin will unite in opposition to this bad idea.

A follow-up alert asked the subsequent questions:

1. What examples can university officials cite of research that could not be done in Wisconsin or where UW researchers lost opportunities to more secretive states because records of research are presumptively open under our open records law? It would be good to ask the UW for a handful of these examples, maybe 10 or so, and then check them out. Irony alert: Checking out such claims using records of research that did not lead to publication or patent would no longer be possible if this change is allowed to pass.

2. Which are the “more than 20” other states that Marsha Mailick, the UW-Madison’s interim vice-chancellor for research and graduate education, says now protect university research? Are these exemptions in other states as broad and as sweeping as the one proposed in Wisconsin? Do all of these other states also have, like Wisconsin, a mechanism within existing state law that allows records to be withheld if the public authority has a good reason for doing so?

3. What difference does it make if other states are doing it? Would you accept that excuse from a child? This is Wisconsin, where we don’t torpedo the public’s right to know just because that makes things less of a hassle for government bureaucrats.

4. News organizations should look for examples of past stories in Wisconsin that used records of research prior to publication or patent. Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel identified some of these in his 2013 article on an earlier incarnation of this proposal. A more contemporary example is the story published last year by Isthmus and the Wis. Center for Investigative Journalism (where I work) on the UW’s plans to conduct controversial experiments on baby monkeys. That story, which was based extensively on records of approved but not yet conducted research, drew substantial public reaction and discussion. Is Wisconsin really better off not having these discussions?

Let’s Meet March 26th For The Monkeys And The Beagles


The Isthmus and the Wisconsin State Journal both just ran articles about testing on animals, and it’s clear that Wisconsin is ready for action.

Mark your calendars for March 26th, 7 – 8 pm at the Lakeview Library, 2845 N Sherman Ave, Madison, Wisconsin 53704. (We’ll send an e-alert out later today with other dates for the month.)

Here’s the plan:

7:00 – 7:30 Discuss Kalin actions, possible collaborations with other groups, sign up for continued action and fundraising teams

7:30 – 7:35 Quick meet and greet, snacks (?!!!)

7:35 – 8:00 Town hall meeting about Ridglan and the beagles. Ask any questions you want, propose any ideas you have.

If you missed the articles,

Noah Phillips’ Beagles bred at two Dane County facilities go to labs around the country

David Wahlberg’s Controversial UW Madison monkey study won’t remove newborns from mothers

RSVP to our facebook event, and contact if you need a ride or can give a ride.

See you there!

#ThrowbackThursday: When Animal Rights Was Mainstream

Don’t believe me? Read on to see media from the 1983 Mobilization for Animals Rally, which 3,500 – 4,000 people attended on the UW campus, and which happened concurrently with 18 other rallies at primate centers around the world.

It happened once, and we can make it happen again. People care about this issue. They just have to learn about it first.

Thank you to long-time volunteer Ann for bringing this to my attention and to former Alliance co-director Rick Bogle for providing additional documentation of the event. Rick’s Primate Freedom blog is the best chronicle of anti-vivisection efforts in Madison and beyond, and you can learn a lot from spending an afternoon there.

A speech given by Dr. Charles Magel, Professor of Philosophy, Moorhead State at the 1983 Mobilization for Animals Rally. On April 24, over 3500 people assembled at Library Mall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Rallies and Demonstrations were held simultaneously in 18 cities around the world… Atlanta, Boston, Davis and at other primate research and breeding centers in England, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, New Zealand & Australia.

This rare historical raw footage (some never before seen) was videotaped at the library mall. See the entire video here:

Read the article that accompanies the startling photo above. Credit to Primate Freedom. My favorite part is this:

Dean Rowland drove 7% hours in a van from Bowling Green, Ohio, and brought his friendly white dog Shucka along. Rowland, who is active in animal rights activities, said he had heard about scientists who cut the vocal chords out of experimental animals to keep them from crying.

“If they want to test something for humans, test it on humans, that’s what I say,” Rowland said

People care about testing on primates, and with Kalin’s experiments, we have a renewed chance to bring that awareness to the public. Share the information with everyone you know, as well as actions to take to stop the experiments.

If you want to get involved with the Alliance’s anti-vivisection efforts, come learn more at the Volunteer Info Fest and Appreciation. Food will be provided by donations from Willy St Co-Op, Bunky’s, Brown Rice and Honey, and Ian’s. The raffle prize is a gift certificate from Kneaded Relief.

Alliance Volunteer Info Fest and Appreciation
February 21, 2014
Madison Central Library, Room 302
201 West Mifflin St
1:00 – 3:00 pm

Silent Vigil for the Kalin Monkeys Tomorrow

From Ann and Leslie:

It is supposed to be a balmy 40 degrees on Thursday. If you could come to the event 30-minutes before it is scheduled to start, I will bring our signs and we can stand in front of the building until the panel discussion is set to begin.  We also have some wonderful flyers from ALDF that we can give to those attending the discussion.

If you cannot attend the panel discussion itself but have time to stop by for the 30-minute vigil, please do.

The more of us who show our continuing opposition to these experiments, the better.

A generous sponsor has offered to cover rides, so call 608-255-1234 & mention the Vigil to get a free cab ride there & back!  Rides available from 5:30 – 10 pm.
Read below for more information on IACUCS and animal research.

Photo credit to Animal Legal Defense Fund.

1. The questionable protocol that led to approval of the Kalin maternal deprivation experiment.
2. More on the experiment from former Alliance co-director and fierce primate advocate, Rick Bogle:

3. Here are 2 excellent analyses of IACUC committees.

Nov 6, 2012 Institutional animal care and use committees need greater ethical diversity  -Lawrence Arthur Hansen

Animals 20122(1), 68-75; doi:10.3390/ani2010068 Analysis of Animal Research Ethics Committee Membership at American Institutions, Lawrence A. Hansen 1, Justin R. Goodman 2,3,* and Alka Chandna

Thanks to Leslie for organizing the vigil and to Ann for all the links!

Thursday, Dec 11th 2014: Ask your questions about IACUCs and more!

A message from our anti-vivisection chair, Leslie:

A Rare Opportunity to Question the Biases and Conflicts of Interest Inherent in the Approval and Oversight of Animal Research

Many of you are aware that the Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture regarding the process used (abused?) by the University of Wisconsin when it approved Ned Kalin’s maternal deprivation experiments.  On Thursday, December 11, the UW Madison will host a presentation regarding the procedure used to approve animal research and the legal mandates and limitations of that process.  The panel (composed of UW faculty/employees) will address the following questions and will also take questions from the audience:

How are research protocols involving animals reviewed and approved?
Who is on the review committees?
How often are labs and facilities inspected, and by whom?
What are the legal and regulatory standards for animal research?

Panel members:

  • Eric Sandgren, Director of UW-Madison’s Research Animal Resources Center
  • Craig Berridge, Chair of the UW Letters and Science Animal Care and Use Committee
  • Dreux Watermolen: Non-affiliated Members of the UW Letters and Science Animal Care and Use Committee

Time and Location:

7:00pm – 9:00pm
Thursday, December 11, 2014
1111 Biotechnology Auditorium
UW Biotechnology Center
425 Henry Mall
Madison, WI 53706

Parking available in Lot 20 (1390 University Ave.), Lot 17 (1525 Engineering Dr.), and under Union South (enter at 1320 W. Dayton St.).

Here is a campus map that you can use to locate the the UW Biotechnology Center and nearby parking: