Animal experiments need public scrutiny


Regarding the article, “UNC-owned animal research facility showing improvement,” Mr. Lowman’s statement, “We have created a facility that should once again, with the completion of our wastewater system this spring, fade into obscurity again as a very quiet place where we are doing good research and should not, we hope, be bothering the neighbors,” is very telling. That is exactly what animal experimenters want — to be hidden from public view or scrutiny.

Regardless if you care about the lives of these 200 dogs, animal experimentation is flawed because social animals live very unnatural lives in cages, in artificial light and in constant fear of the next painful procedure. This can lead to stress, compromised immune systems, boredom, self-mutilation, depression, aggressive behavior, decreased motivation and a whole host of other issues which can then lead to inaccurate scientific results.

Humans who develop disease have very personal, individual experiences. Diet, traumatic experiences, abuse, family history, race, gender, use of pharmaceutical or recreational drugs, alcohol and cigarettes and many other factors influence how one gets disease. Trying to genetically create artificial disease in a dog, cat or any other species will not give us accurate answers. Epidemiology studies, prevention and progressive technology will.

UNC, it’s time to get transparent about your animal experiments. Please let the public know what you are doing to help those with heart disease and blood disorders, what happens to the dogs after their service is over and how much your researchers get paid with public tax dollars.

Jodie Wiederkehr
Center for ethical science

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