]]]]]]]]]]]]]]        ANIMALS AND SICKNESS        [[[[[[[[[[[[[[
                                                  (4/24/1989)
  Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 24 April 1989, p. A14:1

          [Kindly uploaded by Freeman 10602PANC]

   If it's  spring, the ``animal  rights movement''  can't be far
behind.  It will  be on display today  at the National Institutes
of  Health  in  Washington,  demonstrating  on  behalf  of  World
Laboratory  Animal Liberation  Week.   On Wednesday  two  of this
country's most renowned doctors will  travel to Washington to try
to  counteract the  demonstration  with a  news  conference.  Dr.
Michael De  Bakey of  Baylor is  the well-known  pioneer in heart
surgery.  Dr. Thomas  Starzl of the  University of Pittsburgh has
become famous  in recent  years for  his work  in providing liver
transplants  for  children.   Both  consider  the  animal  rights
movement to be  one of the greatest  threats to continued medical
research in the United States.
   Polio,  drug  addiction, cystic  fibrosis,  most  vaccines and
antibiotics, pacemakers, cancer,  Alzheimer's, surgical technique
-- it's hard  to identify many  breakthroughs in medical progress
that don't depend on researchers  using higher animal forms.  For
most of the past decade, the animal-rights movement hasn't merely
opposed animal research; it has tried to destroy it.
   On  April 2,  in an  Animal Liberation  Front break-in  at the
University of  Arizona, two buildings  were set  on fire (causing
$100,000 damage) and 1,000  animals, including mice infected with
a human parasite, were stolen.  The list of such incidents in the
U.S. is long:
   The director of  Stanford's animal facility  got a bomb threat
in December. Intruders stole dogs and records of heart-transplant
research at Loma Linda University in August.  Indeed, dating back
to  1982  there have  been  break-ins  and thefts  of  animals at
medical-research laboratories at Berkeley, Johns Hopkins (rats in
Alzheimer's  research), the  head injury  lab and  the veterinary
school  at   Penn  (arthritis   research,  sudden   infant  death
syndrome),  U.  Cal.  Davis (an  arson  attack),  New  York State
Psychiatric  Institute  (Parkinson's   research),  University  of
Oregon, and U. Cal. Irvine (lung research).  Currently,  trial is
imminent for a woman who  allegedly tried to murder the president
of U.S. Surgical Corp. in Connecticut with a remote-control bomb.
   The animal-rights movement  is a textbook  example of how many
activist  groups  press  their  agendas  into  today's  political
system.   It  hardly  matters,  for  instance,  than  an American
Medical  Association poll  found that  77%  of adults  think that
using  animals in  medical research  in necessary.   Those people
answered the phone and went back to their daily lives, working at
real  jobs  and  raising  families.   Meanwhile  the professional
activists     --    animal     rights,     anti-nukers,    fringe
environmentalists, Hollywood  actresses -- descend  on the people
who create ``issues'' in America.
   They  elicit sympathetic  free  publicity from  newspapers and
magazines.   They do  Donahue and  Oprah.  And  they beat  on the
politicians  and bureaucrats.   They  create a  kind  of non-stop
Twilight Zone of  ``issues'' and ``concerns''  that most American
voters  are  barely  aware  of.   They  do  this  because  it has
succeeded so many times.
   As  an  outgrowth  of   congressional  legislation,  the  U.S.
Agriculture   Department    recently   proposed   animal-research
regulations  that would  engulf  medical scientists  in reporting
requirements,  animal  committees,  ``whistleblower'' procedures,
and directives to redesign  laboratories (``the method of feeding
nonhuman primates must be varied  daily in order to promote their
psychological well-being'').  The  cost of compliance,  in an era
of declining funding  support for much  research, is estimated to
be  $1.5  billion,  and  of  course  this  will  not  satisfy the
``movement.''
   If the U.S. is forced to work under the constant burden of all
these varieties  of public-issue nonsense,  it can  never hope to
realize  continued   gains  in   either  human   welfare  or  its
international  competitiveness.   Happily,  evidence  is emerging
that the scientific community has decided it's time to fight back
against all these activist movements.
   In what should be the  beginning of a counter-movement against
the  animal-rights  groups, NIH  Director  James  Wyngaarden, HHS
Secretary Louis  Sullivan and drug  czar Bill  Bennett all issued
statements last  Friday supporting  medical researchers  who must
work  with animals  (Dr. Wyngaarden's  statement is  excerpted in
Notable & Quotable nearby).  Dr.  David Hubel, of Harvard Medical
School and 1981 winner  of the Nobel Prize  in medicine, has just
sent a  letter signed  by 29  other Nobel  laureates, urging U.S.
Surgeon  General  C.  Everett Koop  to  speak  out  against these
groups.   Led by  a  multiple sclerosis  victim,  there is  now a
counter-group called Incurably Ill for Animal Research.
   And  of   course,  scientists  rallied   against  the  Natural
Resources Defense Council's recent  assault on the chemicals used
to kill insects that prey on the U.S. food supply.  The spectacle
of schools protecting students from  apples was too much even for
the  gullible.  Now  perhaps it's  time  to see  through ``animal
rights,'' a clear and present danger to the health of us all.

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