Earlier this year, I noted the controversy created by animal rights activists and groups over canine bone research at Tufts University that involved killing five dogs in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the surgical procedure being tested.
Tuft’s Dr. Robert Bridges was unhappy at a story on the controversy that appeared on January 3rd in the Boston Herald and fired off the following letter that the Herald published on January 22,
The Herald’s portrait of Tufts Veterinary School’s canine research project was unbalanced and unjustified, causing undeserved harm to an institution with a history of caring animals (“Dogs now gone: Tufts destroys five research canines,” Jan. 3).
The four non-veterinary students who first went to the press did so with the urging of a local anti-vivisection chapter and did not represent the veterinary students. Inspections following the lodged complaint of cruelty were determined to be without merit by multiple regulatory agencies, including the US Department of Agriculture, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Moreover, the experimental protocol had received critical and careful review by Tuft’s internal animal care committee prior to being approved.
The Herald did not engage in responsible journalism. The result: damage to a compassionate institution.
Frankly, it’s difficult to know what Bridges was so upset about, as the article appeared fairly balanced to this reader. It didn’t mention all of the above, but it quoted Tufts officials on the need for such research as well as outlined some of the layers of oversight that oversee animal research in at institutions such as Tufts.
New England Anti Vivisection Society president Theodora Capaldo wrote a letter in response saying, in part,
We must be precise: it is what Tufts allowed to be done to those dogs that did “damage to a compassionate institution” not the students, not NEAVS and not the Herald. Once Tufts accepts responsibility with policy that prevents this kind of experiment from ever happening again, its esteem will be restored.
Well, to keep with Capaldo’s desire to be precise, she and NEAVS claimed that the research at Tufts was unreasonable and unjustifiable and that Tufts’ Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee was derelict in approving the experimental protocol. But as Bridges noted in his letter, that was nonsense and several external organizations that examined the protocol agreed with the IACUC that the experimental protocol was appropriate.
Letter to the editor. Theodora Capaldo, New England Anti Vivisection Society, February 2004.
Rap on Tufts Unfair. Robert Bridges, Boston Herald, January 22, 2004.
Dogs gone now; Tufts destroy five research canines. Elisabeth J. Beardsley, The Boston Herald, January 3, 2004.