Quick Hit: Justice for Double Trouble

In case you hadn’t heard…UW ended their live cat experiments!

Congratulations to ALL of you who worked so hard on this project – PETA, Alliance for Animals and the Environment, and all the community members who testified and protested.

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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.

UW-Madison Cat Cruelty Confirmed by Feds | PETA.org

Following a complaint filed by PETA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed PETA’s allegations of rampant abuse of cats in a taxpayer-funded brain experiment at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW), where actor James Cromwell was arrested during a protest last month. The USDA also cited UW for violating federal animal protection laws by burning a cat named Broc so badly with a heating pad that she required surgery.

In a scathing report just obtained by PETA, a federal inspector found “a pattern of recurring infections” and that all the cats whom PETA profiled in its complaint had been “diagnosed with chronic infections” after having steel posts screwed into open wounds on their heads and metal coils implanted into their eyes. Read full article by clicking the link below.

Victory: UW-Madison Cat Cruelty Confirmed by Feds | PETA.org.

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.

Actor James Cromwell, PETA official arrested at University of Wisconsin System Regents meeting

Madison – James Cromwell, the Oscar-nominated actor who starred in “L.A. Confidential” and “Babe,” was arrested Thursday morning with protester Jeremy Beckham of PETA for shouting during a University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents meeting, calling campus research on cats torture, not science.

The two burst into the meeting room as a UW System official was beginning a report to the regents about student success predictors of whether the system is on target to reach its goal of producing 80,000 more degree holders by 2025.

Regents appeared taken aback, but no one responded to Cromwell and Beckham. They held two large signs showing a cat named Double Trouble with metal implanted in its head at a UW-Madison lab, while shouting about the treatment of cats.

“This is not science, this is cruel,” Cromwell said.

“This is the reality of what happens to cats in labs,” Beckham said. “Take a look at the photograph. This is the pride of the university here.”

Beckham, a PETA spokesman who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, went limp and dropped to the floor in front of the regents.

Two campus police campus officers dragged him from the room, and the meeting resumed. They were taken to the Dane County Jail and will be charged with disorderly conduct, according to UW spokesman David Giroux. Cromwell, 73, said that police were very courteous, and that he was led out in handcuffs, “which is always fun.”

Cromwell said in a telephone interview the meeting was being streamed, a plus he and Beckham hadn’t known about.

“People saw us and heard us, and if we’d known, we would’ve gone up to the cameras, but I think a lot of people got out their phones and took photographs,” he said. “I’m sure it’ll go viral, and that’s why I’m here.”

Beckham said the two have a date to appear in court next Thursday.

PETA said in a release that 30 cats a year at UW-Madison are starved, deafened and decapitated for brain research that hasn’t done accomplished its goals of improving human hearing.

Eric Sandgren, director of the Research Animal Resources Center on campus, said in an email that PETA’s claims are false, and that the USDA has conducted independent examinations that came to the same conclusions.

“Today’s events are just another attempt by these outside activists to get attention,” Sandgren said. “They have attacked and distorted this line of research, which has very real benefits for people who are deaf, from every angle, and they are getting no traction with the public.”

Cromwell said in a telephone interview that he was shooting a television series in Philadelphia a few weeks ago when PETA asked him to do the protest. He has been working with PETA ever since he made the movie Babe, and PETA contacted him about helping to save 4H pigs from slaughter.

“These photographs were very powerful,” Cromwell said. “It is something that can be seen that does affect people outside the scientific community and raise their ire, as it should.”

Actor James Cromwell, PETA official arrested at University of Wisconsin System Regents meeting.

PETA claims additional animal cruelty at UW-Madison : Daily-cardinal

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents Tuesday urging the board to end a UW-Madison animal research project, presenting new allegations the university practiced animal cruelty in the experiments that began in 2008.

PETA’s accusation states UW-Madison harmed cats in research to improve cochlear implants, which improve hearing. PETA’s letter to the Board states nine cats faced “cruel and wasteful treatment,” including having metal posts drilled into their skulls and not receiving adequate treatment for infections.

PETA made similar allegations in September 2012 about a cat named Double Trouble. The United States Department of Agriculture opened an investigation into the research and found no violations.

PETA also sent complaints about the additional cats to the USDA and the National Institutes of Health, both of whom opened new investigations, according to a statement released by the group.

The Board received PETA’s letter and opened its own investigation into the allegations and found the claims to be unsubstantiated, according to Student Regent Katherine Pointer.

“We had an outside group of individuals and animal researchers and veterinarians do an investigation and they found [the allegations were] unsubstantiated,” Pointer said. “So unless new information is revealed or something else happens, the Board isn’t going to take any more action.”

Pointer also said the researcher involved with the experiments was “mortified” by the allegations, also saying they are unsubstantiated.

PETA spokesperson Jeremy Beckham said the group hopes the new investigation by the USDA will bring an end to the “sloppy and cruel experiments” at UW-Madison.

“We hope the USDA has the will to take action,” Beckham said. “They certainly have the evidence at their hands to give them the ability to do it.”

Additionally, Beckham said even if the new investigations find no violations, PETA hopes the Board of Regents will intervene and stop the experiments.

“Even if [the NIH and USDA] fail to act, we think the University of Wisconsin system has an obligation to act here because this experiment is tarnishing the university’s reputation,” Beckham said.

The USDA Office of the Inspector General declined to confirm or deny if the department is conducting an investigation.

PETA claims additional animal cruelty at UW-Madison : Daily-cardinal.

Dr. Lawrence Hansen: Cruel cat experiments unnecessary

I was invited by UW-Madison last year to participate in a series of lectures exploring the ethics of animal research.

I made the case that the reality of experiments on animals is largely hidden from the public and that many would consider what routinely happens to cats, dogs and monkeys in labs to be torture.

I explained that many current experiments on animals have a tenuous link to improving human health. I also offered that an oversight system in which animal experimenters are charged with reviewing and approving the work of other animal experimenters is seriously flawed.

Sadly, these observations were quite prescient, and the recent case involving UW-Madison’s horrible brain experiments on cats is a case in point.

For years, the U.S. National Institutes of Health has funded, and UW-Madison has approved, an incredibly cruel sound localization experiment on cats based on the explanation that cutting into the brains of dozens of cats, drilling holes in their skulls, placing wire coils in their eyes, deafening them and starving them into compliance would help the experimenters, in their own words, “keep up a productive publication record that ensures our constant funding.”

The faculty members made virtually no claims that these inhumane studies would help treat humans, and that is further evidenced by this work not being cited in studies on human hearing.

As a physician and expert in human brain research — the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has named me one of the top 100 researchers on the world on the subject — I can tell you that research to better understand how the brain processes sound can be conducted ethically on human volunteers using sophisticated brain imaging and recording techniques.

Indeed, it is already being done in many university laboratories that recognize that best way to study the human brain is to do just that. Funding the UW-Madison’s violent and unnecessary experiments on cats means $3 million less is being spent on research that can actually improve human health and well-being.

If the fact that animals who most people view as family members are being tormented and killed in expensive, needless experiments that are irrelevant to humans is not enough to make people question the integrity of scientists and rethink support for this kind of work, the unsettling photos of these studies that the university fought to keep secret for the last three years should be.

The images of a sad tabby cat with her head ripped apart and grotesque contraptions implanted all over are enough to turn anyone into an animal rights activist.

This kind of cruel research on cats only continues because most people don’t know about it and, as a result, animal experimenters are only answerable to one another.

Now that daylight is being shined on this abuse, it’s only a matter of time until the public demands answers, accountability and an end to these deadly and unnecessary studies.

Dr. Lawrence Hansen is a professor in the departments of neurosciences and pathology at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine in La Jolla, Calif.

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Dr. Lawrence Hansen: Cruel cat experiments unnecessary.