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Kindness is the best science

Posted: November 24, 2013 - 12:00am

Dear Editor

I came to this conclusion after looking into the recent Humane Society complaints with regard to the treatment of research animals here at Georgia Regents University. Treating our living research subjects as nonhuman persons is not just the ethical course of action, it is a step that could vastly improve the quality of the scientific and medical research produced. Treatment of animals should mirror how we would treat humans so that the findings discovered are most relevant.

Animal research subjects serve the purpose of modeling new treatments and procedures, the model with research animals should be directly transferable to human trials. In a human trial, you would encourage the subjects to live normal lives so as to eliminate confounding variables related to being sedentary. So, why in animal trials would we keep our living research subjects in cramped cages, forcing a sedentary lifestyle onto the animals?

How do the sores that these unfortunate animals get as a result of the wire cage bottoms impact the treatments and procedures? The suffering of animals is bad for science.

When a human is undergoing a medical treatment plan, there is always an underlying objective to minimize suffering, and for good reason: suffering directly equates to changes in the plan.

If a human gets sores, those sores must be treated or the possibility of infection becomes too great and the infection could have a powerfully negative impact. If an animal gets sores, how do we know that the treatment plan they received would be valid for a healthy animal that was not suffering? When animals suffer, the scientific results suffer as well.

The benefits of healthy diet and exercise are constantly bombarded onto the general population by the scientific and medical communities; moreover, nutritious diets and exercise have become part of medical treatment plans.

Results derived from animals that are not given ample opportunity to exercise or feed healthy diets are skewed and much less useful. If we treated our animal research subjects with kindness, we would be producing much more relevant (aka significantly better) results.

Patrick Dale Moorehead, Harlem

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Comments (3)

Sweet son

@Lucy

You and our Southern Baptist would be in agreement on the things to be thankful for at this time of the year. His only qualification would be that we all thank the Lord for all of our blessings! :) Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Little Lamb

Conclusion

What conclusions can we readers draw from Mr. Moorehead's letter? The following sentences give us some evidence:

Treating our living research subjects . . .

. . . in animal trials we keep our living research subjects . . .

. . . gets sores, how do we know that the treatment plan . . .

If we treated our animal research subjects with kindness . . .

I conclude that letter writer Moorehead must be a research technician at Grooo. His work involves handling, or at least observing, research animals. I also conclude that he feels he is outside the decision-making apparatus. The professors, doctors, fellows, and administrators who set up and approve the research protocols do not consult Mr. Moorehead. He feels powerless to speak up. He even feels powerless to question a procedure.

The emphasis of his letter is on post-operative sores on the animals. I wonder whether Mr. Moorehead's job involves cleaning and treating said sores with antiseptics and bandages?

I also wonder whether the research that results in sores may possibly involve coming up with better post-operative techniques in treating such sores in the future?

I don't expect any in-depth articles about medical research involving animals in the local media. The researchers don't want to talk about it in the current accusatory climate that led to yesterday's Chronicle editorial. And the reporters can't meet deadline requirements on a story that will take months and years to cover all angles.

Sweet son

My comment is on the wrong story. Sorry.

Meant for an opinion piece.

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