Activist: We Need More Deadly Hurricanes

This week, of course, the major news is the ongoing disaster in New Orleans where Hurricane Katrina has forced the evacuation of the city and likely killed thousands of people. And if animal rights activist Rick Bogle had his way, there would be many more Katrinas.

On an animal rights mailing list devoted to primate research, Bogle posted a link to Tulane’s main web site, noting there was no mention yet of the status of the university’s primate research center, Covington.

Animal rights activist Jean Barnes replied to that e-mail to the effect that she had talked to a USDA official who said there were no primate deaths at Tulane, but that there were other animals that were stuck in the facility.

Bogle replied,

If there were no primate deaths at Covington over the past few days, then this must be the first time in a long time that a monkey hasn’t died. We need more Katrinas.

Barnes then replied,

Katrina would need to extend to DC to be most effective.

Animal rights activists always get angry when their critics charge that they care more about animals than people, but Bogle and Barnes demonstrate the casual disregard for human beings that is characteristic of many activists. A hurricane that likely killed thousands of people and caused upwards of $50 billion in damages is a good thing, and would be even better if it would land elsewhere.


Primfocus: Tulane. E-mail messages, Jean Barnes and Rick Bogle, September 1, 2005.

Primate Freedom Project Publicizes University of Wisconsin Documents on Experiments that Lead to Researcher’s Suspension

The Primate Freedom Project recently released internal documents it obtained through an open records request about an experiment at the University of Wisconsin that led to a number of primate deaths and, ultimately, the suspension of the researcher.

Ei Terasawa, a professor or pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin, received approval to do experiments involving primates to study how the animals’ brains developed during menopause.
But Terasawa’s experiment was plagued by a number of problems. In one case, a monkey died because an attendant left a laboratory for lunch during an experiment. That was just one of at least four times when animals involved in experiments were left unattended when the protocols of the experiment required that someone be present at all times.

Other monkeys involved in the research were given drugs that had not been approved by the university’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. In other cases, monkeys were given the correct drugs but at dosage levels that had not been approved.

According to the Associated Press, Terasawa was barred from working with animals for two years and the experiment in question was stopped. Eric Sandgren, chairman of the university’s IACUC, told the Associated Press,

It’s one of the most severe actions that the committee has ever taken.

Which seems, frankly, a mild punishment. If dereliction of duty and ignoring experimental protocols that leads to the unnecessary deaths of experimental animals garners only a two year suspension, what would a researcher have to do to be handed a more severe penalty?

Even more disturbing is that although Terasawa was suspended in 2004, her suspension and the circumstances surrounding it were never made public. The Primate Freedom Project’s distribution of the university’s internal documents on the case were the first opportunity that the public had to learn of this mess.

Not going public in 2004 about the suspension was beyond stupid. How can researchers expect to be taken seriously when they talk about their commitment to the welfare of the animals they use if they cannot even be open and honest about a case like this? Why in the world did the University of Wisconsin put itself in the position where Rick Bogle was the first person to talk to reporters and the public about the suspension of a research that happened last year?

The following University of Wisconsin internal documents are available regarding this case:


U. of Wis. Records Show High Monkey Deaths. Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press, August 16, 2005.

UW monkey deaths during experiments raise questions. Aaron Nathans, The Capital Times, August 16, 2005.

Primate Freedom Project and University of Wisconsin in Fight Over Land Near University’s

Many weeks ago, Rick Bogle abruptly announced the cancellation of yet another Primate Freedom Tour in order to announce some Next Big Thing near the University of Wisconsin. It turned out that The Alliance for Animals and the Primate Freedom Project were in talks to buy land and sheds near the University of Wisconsin to set up an animal rights museum to protest the University’s primate research. Hardly the earth shattering revelation Bogle had promised, but hey it might come to rival the Mutter Museum.

A gentleman named Roger Charley owns a parcel of land that is situated between two University of Wisconsin research labs. Bogle claims that Charly reached a binding agreement to sell his property for $675,000.

But the University Research Park, an entity which is independent of but closely aligned to the University of Wisconsin, has offered Charly $1 million for the property, and Charly has said he does not have a binding agreement with the activists and is leaning toward selling to the University. Charly told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he fears the building might be used to stage attacks against the laboratories,

The money is certainly a part of it. But I’ve heard from various people at various levels, various informal and not-so-informal customers, neighbors, just giving their two cents. If something were to happen a year from now because I sold this building, I would feel pretty terrible. I feel terrible about the whole thing in the first place.

But someone like Bogle would advocate for or excuse violence, would he? Well, Bogle offered this statement to the Wisconsin State Journal on what might happen if the University of Wisconsin prevails and buys the property,

If you don’t allow civil discourse on a public issue to occur, then people become frustrated and they are going to act out. My fear is that more radical elements of the animal-rights movement will react in ways that are going to upset everyone. I think the researchers at the primate center would actually be safeguarded by having us there.

Hmmm, seems Bogle has an offer for the University that they just can’t refuse.

Bogle’s evaluation of the animal rights movement is pretty telling. If they’ll react with violence if they lose out on a simple property transaction, this is a movement that isn’t worth engaging at all until it renounces such nonsense.

Imagine the situation were reversed. Imagine if by chance a building near People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ headquarters went up for sale, and the Consumer Center for Freedom made an offer on said property only to see PETA try to trump that offer with a much larger one. If CCF then said, “If they don’t sell to us I’m afraid more radical elements of the anti-AR movement might react in ways that are going to upset everyone” no one would be fooled into thinking this was anything but a veiled threat. Moreover, PETA and other activists would be justified in denouncing such an obvious appeal and encouragement of violence.

Apparently, if the animal rights movement doesn’t get its way, it will take its ball and go home and then return in the middle of the night to vandalize and destroy the opposition. Yeah, that’s certainly dedication to free speech and civil discourse there, Rick.

That said, Bogle’s quite correct that if he has a binding contract with Charly that predates any offer or contract with the University Research Park, then that should certainly prevail, as it will in court if the contract he had with Charly is as airtight as Bogle claims. Charly, however, told the University of Wisconsin that his lawyer identified unspecified problems with the document he signed with Bogle.


UW wins round on disputed land. Karen Rivedal, Wisconsin State Journal, August 14, 2005.

Land between primate labs in dispute. Associated Press, August 11, 2005.

Rick Bogle: Research Facility Controversy Just Like Roman Catholic Church Scandal

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection recently produced the usual edited undercover videos of a primate research facility in Great Britain. Cambridge University is taking the charges seriously and has started an investigation, but BUAV has a track record of crying wolf (in fact, BUAV itself once used British laws to prevent the release of a government investigation into its charges).

Primate activist Rick Bogle weighed in on an animal rights mailing list, comparing the BUAV’s charges to the recent sex scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church. Bogle wrote,

I was struck by the similarities between the situation in Cambridge, the U.S. primate labs, and the Catholic church.

In all three cases, those with power over others make public claims about the respect they have for those in their power, the self-policing they engage in, and the importance of their work.

. . .

It is worth noting that both groups are faith-based institutions that seek to shield their own behavior from public scrutiny by claiming that they are able to, and in fact do, self-police and act with integrity and morality in the public interest.

Of course, what struck this author was how similar Bogle’s rantings were to the rush to cast blame on Gary Condit for the disappearance of Chandra Levy.

Cambridge is in good company, however. Just a couple weeks ago, Bogle favored this writer with the best compliment he has yet received for his work highlighting the animal rights movement when Bogle posted to an e-mail list that one day,

The Carnells will be mentioned en masses as the quislings of the vivisection industry, the traitors of compassion.

Somebody seems to have a bit of the drama queen running in his veins.


Re: primfocus: University probe into monkey lab claims. Rick Bogle, e-mail post, May 2002.

Activists Unhappy at Animal Researcher's Appointment to Head National Institute of Health

Rick Bogle summarized the animal rights view of Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni who was appointed yesterday as the new head of the National Institute of Health. “Dog vivisector named to head NIH,” Bogle headlined his e-mail to an animal rights mailing list, complete with a few citations to Zerhouni’s publications. Zerhouni’s fascinating work gives a prime opportunity for animal welfare activists to highlight the important work being done by researchers with dogs and other animals.

Zerhouni specializes in radiology and has spent the last decade working on techniques that will revolutionize the field. What Zerhouni does mostly with dogs is give them MRIs.

The MRI is, of course, an incredibly useful diagnostic tool, but it does have its limitations. Take, for example, myocardial infarction (MI) — commonly referred to as a heart attack.

During a heart attack, blood flow to muscles cells in the heart is inadequate and the cells die. In almost all heart attacks, decline in blood flow is caused by a closing of the blood supply from the coronary artery.

Researchers used to think that heart attacks only occurred when there was severe blockage of the coronary artery, but it turns out that even very minor blockages in the coronary artery can cause a heart attack. Unfortunately measuring how much blood is flowing through the heart is still a rather difficult procedure. Obtaining accurate results currently involves a two-day regiment of tests that is very expensive.

Zerhouni and his colleagues are working on a technique that couples the MRI with sophisticated computer analysis and that replace that two-day, expensive test with a one-hour, relatively cheap enhanced MRI that produces a full three dimensional view of the heart and blood flow.

This would revolutionize treatment and, almost as important, prevention of heart attacks. As Zerhouni said in a John Hopkins press release a few years ago,

I would like to develop a one-stop shop approach to cardiac disease that will revolutionize cardiac testing. If we can make proactive screening for heart diseases cheap and rapid enough with radiology, then, combined with genetic techniques, we could identify individuals most likely to get cardiac disease.

So where do the dogs come into play? Dogs’ cardiovascular system is very similar to the human respiratory system, making dogs a popular animal model for cardiovascular research (dogs were instrumental in the development of open-heart surgery, stent implantation procedures, heart transplants and other cardiovascular innovations).

Zerhouni uses dogs in his research to refine and improve the computer algorithms that he uses to post-process the data from the MRI. Researchers can plug in new algorithms and quickly find out how accurate or inaccurate they are and in this way build a better system much faster than could ever be accomplished with human beings.


Zerhouni appointed chairman of Hopkins radiology. John Hopkins Medical Institute, February 7, 1996.

Dog vivisector named to head NIH. Rick Bogle, E-mail, March 26, 2002.

Drug Discrimination in Monkeys: How Animal Rights Activists Distort Medical Research

Someone sent me an e-mail today that was originally written by Rick Bogle that shows just how animal rights activists often blatantly lie about medical research involving animals.

In this case, the topic was a recent report by Harvard Medical School about research into heroin addiction with monkeys. Bogle sent an e-mail to an animal rights mailing list with the subject line: “Harvard announces major breakthrough in heroin research” and described the research in one sentence,

Researchers at Harvard University’s NIH supported New England Regional Primate Research Center have announced the breakthrough discovery that monkeys are able to distinguish between injections of heroin and a saline placebo.

The implication is pretty clear — what sort of idiots would sit around running experiments with monkeys to see if they can tell the difference between heroin and a saline placebo? The answer to that question is “no one,” because that is not at all what the study actually involved.

Given that drug addiction is such a problem in U.S. society, many people might think that researchers already know everything there is to know about addiction. In fact, the reality is that much about addiction is still poorly understood, especially when it comes to how specific drugs cause addiction.

To try to better understand addiction, researchers perform tests in monkeys called drug discrimination tests. Here’s the basic idea behind a drug discrimination test: suppose researchers have a drug like heroin and they want to find out what it is specifically about heroin that causes people to become addicted to it. One way to do that is to train the monkey to give a certain response when it is injected with heroin — for example, the monkey is trained to push a lever that rewards it with food. When the monkey is injected with a placebo, however, it is trained that if it wants the food reward, it needs to push a different lever. In this way, the monkey is able to tell researchers whether it is receiving an injection of heroin or of a placebo. The monkey can now discriminate between the two.

Now, the researchers move on to finding out what it is about heroin that makes human beings “high.” Heroin turns out to be a difficult drug to figure out for a number of reasons. As the Harvard researchers explain,

Heroin is a complicated drug with some unusual properties. For example, heroin is converted to a number of metabolites in the brain and liver. How this occurs is shown in the Figure below. Once heroin passes from the blood stream to the brain, it is rapidly converted to other chemicals by enzymatic activity. First, heroin in the brain is converted to a chemical called 6-MAM, then Metabolic pathway of heroin after intravenous injection. After activating the brain’s natural opioid system (by binding to proteins called “mu opioid receptors”), morphine returns to the blood stream where, like most drugs, it is metabolized by the liver. Enzymatic activity in the liver converts morphine into two other substances called M3G and M6G, which can re-circulate back to the brain.

So here’s what the Harvard researchers wanted to find out — do these 6-MAM, M3G, M6G, and morphine byproducts which go back to the brain contribute at all to the “high” that users feel after injecting heroin. Or, are they just an otherwise a relatively unimportant side effect in the way heroin is experienced? Before these studies, the general consensus was that M3G did not play much of a role in heroin experience.

To test this, they took a saline solution and put each of these byproducts in it, and then injected the monkeys with the solution. The result? When the monkeys were injected with a solution containing saline and 6-MAM, they pushed the lever just as if they had received a heroin injection. The results were exactly the same for solutions containing M3G, M6G and the morphine byproducts. As Harvard summarizes the importance of this research,

These studies, to our knowledge, provided the first demonstration of discriminative stimulus effects produced by i.v. injections of heroin in nonhuman primates. Also, the finding that M3G may contribute to the subjective effects of heroin was very surprising, since this compound previously was believed to be a harmless, inactive by-product of heroin metabolism. Another surprising finding was that the brain dopamine system the system most commonly implicated in the addictive properties of drugs seems to play almost no role in the subjective effects of heroin. The i.v. heroin discrimination model appears to be an especially useful tool for identifying potential medications that, by acting through the mu opioid system, may prevent the intense subjective experiences associated with heroin addiction.

This research, in other words, strongly challenged traditional thinking about heroin drug addiction.

But to animal rights activists like Rick Bogle, none of this matters. This is simply a case of researchers wasting time and tax dollars to prove that
“monkeys are able to distinguish between injections of heroin and a
saline placebo.”

And this will certainly enter animal rights lore in just this way — few activists (no activists, actually) seem interested in ever doing any sort of fact checking of these sorts of assertions. This will end up on some fact sheet at some group and be endlessly copied and pasted without any activist wondering if there might not be more to the story, much less anyone in the animal rights community bothering to do any research into the matter.

One of the ways to judge a social or political movement is by how accurately it presents the position of its opponents. The animal rights movement is apparently satisfied with distorting, obfuscating and outright lying about its opponents rather than try to make an extremely difficult case against them. Like creationists and other advocates of pseudo-science, animal rights activists rely on distorting science and playing to the general ignorance of the general public about medical research rather than objectively looking at research methods and ends and then critiquing those methods and ends from the animal rights position.


Heroin’s Effects in Monkeys. Harvard Medical School, Accessed: March 20, 2002.