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December 11, 1985 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-12-11

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 11, 1985 -Page 7

Scientists defend annal
luse in iomedical research

ALEXIAN
BROIHERS

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(Continued from Page 1)
have a very bad impact."
But Leslie Coates, of the Huron
Valley Humane Society, says the
figures are deceptive and the actual
cost will not be as high as the resear-
chers fear.
Coates notes a report prepared for
the committee by Gary Sullenger says
the cost may be as high as $1.6
million. The cost, however, will be
split between the University of
Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne
State, Ferris State, Grand Valley
State, and Oakland University.
"That's all the universities com-
bined," Coates said. "It would not be
that much more expensive for each
college." Coates notes that univer-
sities that already use only specially-
'bred animals, don't find the cost
prohibitive.
Dafoe, though, insists even today's
costs are extreme. "It's a real scram-
ble to keep research going," he said,
"This is a very bad period as far as
growth in funding for basic research
is concerned."
The cost is not the only thing that
has researchers worried about the
bill.
Dickson, of the Fund For Animals,
among others, says there are many
alternatives to the use of animals in
research - especially pets. Computer
models, chick embryos, tissue
cultures, and any number of other
methods should be used first.
Animals, she said, should be used only
as a last resort.
"You can't have all of this waste
and terrible abuse going on," she
said.
Ringler says that animals are
sometimes the only way to solutions of
medical problems, alternate methods
falling short. "I think all those things
have a use," he said, "but that
animals are absolutely critical for
further progress in the biological
sciences and medicine.
"You need to have the integrated
system which is available in the
animal," he said. "Our computer
-~sophistication just isn't there yet to
simulate it. Maybe someday, but it
isn't presently there."
Coates says the Humane Society
does not think pound-released
animals are appropriate to use in the
labs.
Ferrets are now being used instead
of cats for much research. This prac-
tice may not.be sound, Ringler says.
At the University's Unit for
Labratory Animal Medicine, ferrets
are used in a spinal cord trauma
project. The goal of the research is to
develop drugs that will be helpful to
those paralyzed by spinal cord in-
juries, he says.
But Ringler says that less is known
about the ferrets' nervous system
than the cat's. "I think it is impeding
research in neuroscience, dropping
back to use the ferret where less
background data is available.
"I think there will be some medical
cures, and certainly much medical in-
formation, that will be available
much more slowly because of that
public pressure," he said.
Ringler says the Senate bill will
simply compound that problem many
times over.
The pound animal bill is only one
aspect of what reseachers call their
battle for scientific survival. Dafoe's
experiments, for example, involve
transplanting the pancreas of one pig
into another. His goal is to develop
better techniques for transplanting
complicated organs like pancreases
and livers in humans. To develop
these techniques, he said, nothing but
the real organs will do.
"There's no way for a computer to
simulate that," he said, "or do it on a
plastic model or something."
Dafoe said that such animal ex-

periments are necessary before the
operation can be attempted on
humans. "You just can't go intc
something like that cold," he said.
Dickson, of the Fund for Animals,
says this type of reasoning is empty
rhetoric. "I'm sick of this
rationalization," she said. "So much
cif this is rationalized as being okay
but it's not. It's not that I don't ap.
preciate medical progress, but I
really think it would be further along
if we stopped this. By and large,
we're going to be better off if we don'
rationalize that cruelty."
Researchers are most defensive or
the issue of cruelty. Dickson charges
that the researchers are frequently
cruel to animals, and that living con-
ditions for them are inhumane.
Price says that the University's
veterinarians, which are responsible
for caring for all the research animal,
on campus, at least once a year.
hADickson is opposed to having the

he said. "The accusation that
animals are used without anesthesia
is ridiculous - we use the same type
on the animals that is used on
humans."
The constant defensive posture the
researchers take angers Ringler.
"They drag out these stories (of
cruelty) from 25 and 30 and 40 years
ago," Ringler says, to stir people up.
"I think it's a shame that people
devote their time and talent to this
issue when there are so many issues
more important," he said.
According to Ringler, the
Correction
In Friday's Weekend Magazine
story on Soviet Jewry, two quotes
were printed incorrectly. A statement
by Jennifer Roth should have read as
follows:
"The Jews have to resort to tricks to
get anywhere," Roth added. "They
hesitated to let him in, but then let
him go because they thought he
wasn't Jewish," she said.
A statement by Rep. Sander Levin
should have read: "We have to put
immense pressure on Russia. There's
not much quarrel about that in
Congress - the only disagreement is
how best to do it."
USE DAILY CLASSIFIEDS

photographs of apparently suffering
animals that animal rights groups are
fond of using are more propagandistic
than accurate.
But Dickson defends the animal
rights workers, saying they are not
out to skew the facts.
"Absolutely not," she said. "If
there are people like that, I don't
know of them."
"These are not just isolated instan-
ces," she said, referring to the cruelty
accusations. All these people aren't
just looking for something to do."
Dickson says the animal rights ac-
tivists can be more objective than the
researchers because "we don't have a
vested interest in it."
KARATE INSTRUCTION
Learn the art of Korean Karate and self de-
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Beusking. Classes begin Mon., Jan. 13 at
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663-9839 ask for Tim.
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