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Vote for the March Mad Scientists!

Written by PETA | March 18, 2008

It’s been 16 long weeks since we last had a Vivisector of the Week to vote on, but we’re going to make up it for all in one go right here: You asked for it (OK, whatever, you didn’t ask for it), so here it is … just in time for March Madness, 16 of the nation’s most reprehensible, university-funded animal torturers going head-to-head in PETA’s first-ever Vivisector of the Week tournament—ladies and gentlemen, meet the March Mad Scientists!!!

For the next four weeks, I’m going to be highlighting one of the biggest showdowns in the tournament, then opening up voting for the remaining contenders. If you want to do this scientifically, you can check out this handy cheat sheet to get an idea of which institutes of learning have the most sick, pointless, and barbaric animal-experimentation programs hidden away in their basements. Or you could just vote for your hometown school and pick a bunch of other ones at random (that’s pretty much how I’m doing my NCAA brackets). So let’s get this thing underway—here’s the top bracket in this week’s … Sick Sixteen!

University of Pittsburgh vs. Michigan State University: Commons

Patrick Kochanek, Pittsburgh.

Down in Pittsburgh’s secretive laboratories, a team of experimenters led by Dr. Patrick “Frankenstein” Kochanek are working deep into the night to reanimate the corpses of dogs, pigs, and mice. Seriously, I couldn’t make this crap up if I wanted to: Under Kochanek’s cold-hearted guidance, a group of “scientists” drain the blood from animals for up to three hours, pump an ice-cold salt solution into their veins until they’re scientifically dead, then shock them back alive. The animals usually suffer massive physical and psychological trauma in the process, but that’s a small price to pay for a zombie army, right? Right?? Commons

Arthur Weber, Michigan State.

Michigan State University’s Arthur Weber ain’t afraid of no zombies. This guy has a signature move that would frighten even the undead. This cat torturer’s got his technique down pat: First he injures their optic nerve, then he dissects the overlying tissues, inserts a surgical hook, and places a clamp on the nerve. Next on the agenda: Wait for seven days until it’s time to remove the cats’ eyes while they’re still alive! Then it’s killing time, and onto another batch of kitties—Weber’s been at this game for more than 25 years. That’s a whole lot of cats!

Only one of these contenders can advance to the next round, so choose carefully! Cast your vote for the vilest vivisector using the form below, and feel free to leave a comment explaining your selection.

The cheat sheet will help you decide which other universities deserve to advance, and we’ll be back next week with the Evil Eight! Stay tuned!!!

.vote td { width: 150px; font-size: 90%; } .vote select { width: 125px; } Use the dropdown menus to pick a winner!

Please Select Pittsburgh Michigan State Please Select Stanford Kansas State Please Select Washington State Texas A&M
Please Select UT Austin Ohio State Please Select Duke Purdue Please Select Johns Hopkins Harvard
Please Select UConn Vanderbilt Please Select Washington UW Madison


Commenting is closed.
  • Mad Scientist says:

    Since so many of you are providing anecdotes as evidence that tells me that there is a real lack of understanding of how science is actually done. Scientific method 101 you test a hypothesis by manipulating a variable and measuring the resulting change of interest. Perhaps you guys could explain to me how exactly you could do an experiment in humans that tells us the function of the thalamus for instance. Sure you could do correlations with human cadavers these are confounded by that person’s lifestyle history. You can do imaging which will tell you something but you cannot directly manipulate the variable of interest. How you answer that question is to manipulate the thalamus excision drug infusion electrophysiology etc. and measure the change. If you believe that there is no value in adding to human knowledge about physiology then we really don’t have anything to talk about. If you believe that animal life is equivalent to human life then we don’t have anything to talk about. If you are making the claim that animal research does not produce knowledge than cannot be gained any other way then you are wrong. Humane treatment of animals is good general practice and ethical but animal research is also necessary for advancement. As another poster pointed out it must be nice to live in a cushy privileged modern society such as ours and not be plagued by biological diseases such as malaria that claim millions of lives worldwide. It must be nice to not require insulin to live. It must be especially nice to not be 6 years old and diagnosed with leukemia. If you don’t care about human life fine just say so.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Derek That’s what I’m talking about though. There should be no one to pay for it except themselves. If their choices were to pay out of pocket NOT depend on Medicare or the rest of us paying extra to make up for the indigent discounts they get or not have the medication they would have to change their lifestyle or they would end up in poor healthdeath. THAT is what should happen.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Editor Humans share with the mouse the gene that produces a tail. Because of gene regulation the mouse produces a tail and we don’t. Genetic mapping of animals produces no assurance that the resultant data will have any relevance or benefit if not detriment whatsoever for humans. The human species itself varies geneticallyresearch should be solely focussed on this aspect if it’s in fact human life we’re trying to improve.

  • Derek says:

    “If they had no other choice they would do it trust me. If there were no insurance and someone knew they had to pay for their medications out of their own pocket they would be much more likely to change their lifestyle.” I wish this were the case but sadly it is not. I won’t fill this board with a discussion about Medicare and uninsured patients as we are already far off topic.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Derek The point I was making was in response to your comment about people not wanting to live a healthy lifestyle. I was trying to say that they should not have the option of a healthy lifestyle or taking a pilltheir option should be a healthy lifestyle or the consequences diabetes high blood pressure eventually death. Unfortunately humans are becoming lazier and more apathetic and I think that all of society not just the medical industry allows them to be that way. That is why we need to stop letting people off with the excuse that it is “hard to live a good lifestyle.” If they had no other choice they would do it trust me. If there were no insurance and someone knew they had to pay for their medications out of their own pocket they would be much more likely to change their lifestyle. If not quite frankly I think they deserve the consequences. It is not fair that I spend as much on insurance as an unhealthy person because we are distributing the cost. I do NOT want to pay for their poor lifestyle choices and I certainly don’t think the animals should have to.

  • editor says:

    Derek thank you for your statement to Antigone who does not seem to realize that diet and exercise alone cannot help everyone. Even if all patients followed a strict diet and exercise program it would not produce the same results in all people. Yes we are an obese society but that does not mean that there aren’t people who actually need medicines. What about anorexics or people who exercise to the extreme? Do they not need treatment to help them get back on track mentally so they do not starve themselves? Do you think a doctor could tell them to diet and exercise and that would cure their problems? What I can’t seem to get across to you all is that I’m not just saying animal testing is necessary for medication development. I’m saying that animal testing is necessary to find genetic links and genetic mapping. All these studies cannot be performed on humans. Also there are many studies that use animals to judge the behaviors that might be elicited in certain situations. I am most familiar with studies involving alcohol so these are not generally studies aimed at developing medications but rather at trying to discern who becomes alcoholic how to prevent that from happening what the genetic links are what happens to a person’s brain when they become alcoholic to the point where they cannot help themselves at all etc. There are human studies done in these areas but the preliminary studies are usually required to be performed on animal models in addition to some being done at the cellular level.

  • Derek says:

    Antigone Perhaps I misread the tone of your response to me but it seems as though you missed that I am NOT in favor of animal testing and that I promote a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. In response to your following post to editor “A GOOD doctor should simply say that his patient MUST exercise and lose weight or heshe will develop diabetes and maybe lose a limb as a result. I realize that doctors have to be wary of potential malpractice issues but they still need to start focusing on medication as a SHORT TERM solution only. I work with docs and I know of only one who is actively working with his patients on a program of PREVENTION that includes diet and exercise. EVERY doctor should focus on prevention not maintenance on drugs. The way that medicine is practiced in this country with the pharma and insurance industries playing a much too major role” I don’t want to argue with a fellow PETA member but you obviously know very little about how medicine is really practiced if you think simply telling a person something is bad for them will get them to stop that behavior. As I said prevention and education are the cornerstones of any treatment plan but as a doctor I cannot ignore the standards of care which often require medication prescriptions. In most cases medications are not the first line in my treatment of patients especially in those “borderline” patients that could help themselves and avoid medications for diabetes hypertension or high cholesterol for example. Now I not the pharmaceutical companies decide what I prescribe although some insurance plans have restrictions on what medications are covered thank goodness for generic medications. I applaud you for living such a healthy lifestyle but you are in the minority in regards to patients who seek out medical care and you would be amazed at what some people find “difficult” in regards to behavior change. By the way if the doctors with whom you work are not focusing on prevention then they are the ones who will be on the receiving end of a malpractice suit eventually.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Editor The problem is that animal testing is not reliably predictive for humans. I’ve posted many examples of the possible dire consequences for humans by relying on these tests. The fact of the matter is that individual humans react differently to a given drug due to their unique genetic makeup. Any pharmacist will tell you to never take someone else’s prescription drugs. Personalized humanbased medicine is what researchers should be focussing on if they truly want to better the lot of the human species. If you study the works of Dr. Dean Ornish Dr. John McDougall and Dr. Joel Fuhrman among others you might be amazed at the cures these doctors have elicited solely through diet exercise and stress reduction. The human body has a remarkable capacity to heal itself if given half the chance.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Editor I disagree that animal testing is necessary. The scientific community should be pushing for the adoption of the better methods that already exist. It should not be up to AR people because as pointed out by many people on this board there are scientific reasons against animal research and in favor of those better methods. There is also the moral issueit is simply wrong to torment animals to save human lives even if does work. I also believe that people need to take responsibility for themselves. Our bodies are pretty selfsufficient as created. We should not be given the choice of taking care of our bodies or taking a pill. A GOOD doctor should simply say that his patient MUST exercise and lose weight or heshe will develop diabetes and maybe lose a limb as a result. I realize that doctors have to be wary of potential malpractice issues but they still need to start focusing on medication as a SHORT TERM solution only. I work with docs and I know of only one who is actively working with his patients on a program of PREVENTION that includes diet and exercise. EVERY doctor should focus on prevention not maintenance on drugs. The way that medicine is practiced in this country with the pharma and insurance industries playing a much too major role is a shame and it’s one of the reasons we have become the fat slovenly Americans that many nations find so disgusting.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Derek The problem is that these people are sentencing others to torture and death by not changing their lifestyles to SAVE THEMSELVES. Why should another die for you if you are not willing to make even the slightest effort to help yourself??? As someone who has lived a “healthy lifestyle” of proper diet and exercise for 15 years needs NO medication NEVER gainsloses weight and is almost never sick I can absolutely attest to the fact that a healthy lifestyle is NOT difficult and is worth the minimal amount of effort it takes. If these people want to eat poorly and be lazy let THEM suffer the consequences not the poor animals.

  • editor says:

    Derek and Antigone I am not arguing that diet and exercise will definitely improve a person’s life. I have found this to be true myself and am a big proponent of that. What I am arguing is that there are times when medications are absolutely necessary take diabetes thyroid psychiatric problems for example. Derek if you are in fact a family doctor then you know that there are diseases and afflictions that require medication and cannot be cured or even controlled by diet and exercise. If we did not have these medications people would be dying young due to the fact that their systems could not be regulated. In order to gain approval of these medications there must be some type of testing done. Since people cannot by law be used as guinea pigs that unfortunately leaves animals. I have seen tests done on all kinds of animals from mice and rats to worms and honey bees. Scientists do search for better models and are aware that they should treat the animals as humanely as possible. There is still going to be a need for animal testing though at least for the time being. The fact that there is a need for medications and testing of such medications does not mean that PETA should be threatening the lives of scientists. I find it offensive that PETA posts the names of researchers and incites others to vote for who is the worst leading them to post statements about how these people should DIE! This is extremely disturbing to me and quite frankly illegal. It is not legal for people to make threats of bodily harm toward another person. The fact that you are posting the names and locations of these targeted researchers is scary. What if one of your less than stable members were to look these people up and carry out what you all are suggesting? That is just not acceptable! Maya I understand what you are saying that all experiments on animals do not automatically translate to the same results in humans. Unfortunately there is no method currently that will replace all animal testingresearch. Perhaps with the induction of a new president there may be more tax dollars to expand towards research using other means ie stem cells but that will not happen automatically. It will take some time to undo what’s happened in the last 8 years. Maybe when this country recovers from the excessive war expenditures we will be able to see some change in scientificmedical research funding. In the meantime I would very much appreciate it if you all would consider what you are suggesting before threatening the lives of scientists. These are people who are not purposely torturing animals but rather trying to improve the health and welfare of all of us. Perhaps we should all concentrate on aquiring the passage of new laws allowing further research using other methods? This might be a more productive and less threatening use of your time. Just a thought…

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Well put Derek. We all want a magic bullet to take care of our health indiscretions. With a little bit of effort most of us can enjoy glowing health which in itself is its own reward.

  • Derek says:

    “As far as the continued statements of treatment being replaced by diet and exercise I know plenty of people myself included who diet and exercise on a regular basis but cannot change the health that is dealt them by genetics. This is a moot and less than intelligent remark.” I guess it’s time to come out of the closet…I am a Family Doctor. It is true that weight loss diet and exercise are the cornerstone of any treatment plan regarding hypertension hyperlipidemia and diabetes to name a few but the sad reality is that most people will not adhere to correct guidelines portion sizes duration and types of exercise etc.. Many prefer to instead “take a pill” and make excuses yes there are genetic predispositions to many diseases but that does not mean that 100 of people with “bigboned” families are going to be the obese…except they often eat the same amount and types of food. A healthy lifestyle takes hard work…it is rare to find someone truely willing to put in the effort but it is very rewarding when someone actually does. So to make a “less than intelligent remark” I absolutely 100 KNOW that diet and exercise improves disease outcomes and leads to in many cases reduction or discontinuation of medications associated with certain diseases. “My suggestion is as stated above take some of your time and try to put it to a more productive use instead of spending so much time attacking people who are actively trying to help others.” I do…it’s my job to try and help others.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Simpleton and editor The whole model of animal drug testing was predicated by the thalidomide tragedy. In the U. S. the KefauverHarris Act of 1962 and in the UK the Medicines Act of 1968 mandated that all drugs undergo preclinical animal testing to ostensibly guarantee their safety and effectiveness for humans. Ironically though thalidomide was the impetus for the passing of these Acts if thalidomide was tested on animals today for its original purpose of alleviating morning sickness it would pass since originally of all the animals tested only New Zealand White rabbits shared the same tragic sideeffects that humans suffered. Try as they could with many different animals researchers were unable to duplicate the human response in animals with the exception of the New Zealand White rabbit and what should have been an immediate withdrawal was delayed with tragic consequences. What assurance of safety did animal tests provide against the devastating reactions including multiple organ failure in ALL six of the volunteers in the TGN1412 clinical trials despite “proof of safety” supposedly established by tests on monkeys who were given 500 times the human dose? More than 106000 people die every year from adverse reactions to animaltested drugs and another 2.2 million have serious adverse reactions as reported by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Such reactions make animaltested drugs the fourth leading cause of death and cost the U.S. more than 136 billion in healthcare dollars. This puts animaltestedandapproved pharmaceuticals ahead of most other causes of death including diseases that animal testing is supposed to be finding a cure for. The role of animal tests in this carnage is highlighted by the fact that 92 of animaltested drugs are rejected in clinical trials as reported by the FDA and more than 50 percent of those few drugs that do reach the market are removed or relabeled because of unforeseen harm to patients. Thus animal testing fails to catch more than 96 of the problems with drugs. Even the president of Merck is aware of the inaccuracy of animal tests Merck has always believed that prospective randomized controlled clinical trials are the best way to evaluate the safety of medicines said Peter S. Kim Ph.D. president of Merck Research Laboratories from Merck’s Sept 302004 press release when pulling Vioxx off the market. Nevertheless the horrendous loss of life and human suffering still made Vioxx the worst drug disaster in history. Even though it’s been 46 years since animal testing was mandated to ensure drug safety for humans animal testing has never provided that assurance and the recent Vioxx fiasco proves it never will.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    I can’t respond to everything in those long posts by Simpleton and Editor but I can absolutely state that the majority of health issues in the US where animal research is conducted for the benefit of the US primarily are attributable to lifestyle choices. For instancemy grandmother had high blood pressure and diabetes. My Dad who eats poorly and does not exercise enough is currently on high blood pressure meds. When I told him to lose weight and exercise he said it didn’t matterhis condition was genetic. My mother no health nut herself then piped in and said that the doctor told him he would no longer need the meds if he lost 20 pounds. SoHE has the choice of getting his “geneticallymandated” diseases or not getting them. If you want to believe you cannot improve your own health you have just made that belief your reality. That needs to stop.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Editor I appreciate your moderate tone and open mindedness. I think there are a few unaddressed issues to consider. While it is unrealistic that humans will be allowed to be subjects some veterinarians have used medicines on cats and dogs that later held promise for humans. One example is glucosomine. It was proven to help with arthritis in pet dogs and was soon used for humans both species benefited. It is not the ethical obligation of PETA to fund alternative research. If there was a nursing home funded by the federal government taxpayer’s dollars and the nursing home had ethical violations would it be the obligation of Amnesty International to fund better nursing staff? Of course not. The USDA and those handing out grant money have the burden of providing alternative and humane methods. Animal advocate groups should not have to bear this burden as it should be the basic ethical obligation of those conducting and funding the experiments to constantly strive towards a more humane workplace. The only good science is that which moves forward with the passage of time. In the year 2008 it is outdated to use the same models over and over. If we want to defend or work for scientific experiments it is our obligation to continually search for more humane solutions and to be forwardthinking in our approach. I would hope that it’s not just PETA promoting this idea but the scientific community as well.