Secrecy and animal testing

November 10, 2008
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One of the most secretive companies in town has made its first public announcement in a long time.

Harlan Sprague Dawley, which is best known for supplying custom-designed laboratory rats for research, has reorganized its various units under a single name, Harlan Laboratories Inc. The move will present a more-coherent image to customers, the company says.

Harlan is publicity-shy for a reason. Its executives live in constant fear of attacks from animal-rights protesters.

What are your thoughts about animal testing?

Labels on shampoos and other consumer products increasingly note they werenâ??t tested on animals. â??Cruelty free,â?? some say. Yet, many drug and cosmetic companies say they still need to reserve the option. Same goes for universities.

Should the testing be banned outright? Is enough being done to minimize the tests?

To put it personally, would you be willing to have a promising cancer drug tested on you before it had gone through animal testing?
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  • Interesting isn't it how many of the same people who want to assure the continutation of a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy, even if there is nothing wrong. But, boy oh boy, let's not harm those innocent rats in the name of product testing. I'm certainly all in favor of reasonable policies that decry the wanton abuse of animals. But, and a big but it is, sometimes these advocates throw common sense out the window.

    I wonder......will their cause ever address the ongoing warfare against the lowly fly/mosquito? Perhaps including the ban of flyswatters?
  • While I understand the need for animal testing to advance science, it still saddens me that it is necessary.

    I appreciate how many businesses continue to look for animal-free testing options and have reduced the number of animal trials they perform now on existing compounds to meet the public's demand. Those of you who work for a not to be named large pharma in town are familiar with the posters that show antimal testing protestors with the caption, These people can voice their opinions an average of 20 years longer now thanks to medical advances, testing, etc. (Which, by golly, if you think about it is most likely the truth.)

    BTW, berwickguy, I think you missed the mark here on this comment line. Animal testing (that which most often subjects a viable, healthy specimen to massive doses of compounds for eventual mandatory termination) has nothing to do with pro-choice / anit-choice movements. Stay on topic.
  • I think it's funny how you mention that they are publicity shy because they don't want to draw attention to the fact that they work in animal testing, so they test the waters with one harmless media release, and what's the first thing that happens? You jump on them about animal testing. As someone who works in the business communications field, I'm willing to bet that there was a PR guy in there somewhere who said, We should send out a release. Then someone from management said, No. If we do, we'll get bad press about animal testing. Now that manager is saying, See! I told you so! And the PR person is groaning in disgust. I bet we won't be seeing more releases from them any time soon.
  • Uh Indygirl, I would say the vast majority of terminated pregnancies involve viable, healthy specimens too. Berwickguy has a point. If ending a pregnancy abnormally does not bother people, and in fact 1/2 of this country would say its a woman's right to choose, then why should animal testing bother anyone?
  • Berwicky,

    They have already essentially spared the mosquito in the name of saving birds. DDT which was a completely inoccuous pesticide to human beings was used to destroy millions of malaria spreading mosquitos in Africa. Of course it made some birds' egg shells more brittle and thus meant many more birds might die. This was famously told about in Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring. So under pressure from animal rights whackos they banned DDT to save the birds and by doing so have caused millions of malaria deaths in Africa. To these people humans are expendable in the name of saving the environment.
  • Reasonable point, E101, however DDT also proved to be harmful to humans. I believe that was the final trump card.
  • Funny you should mention DDT being harmful to humans. It's never been conclusively tested on humans, and the reason it is considered a possible carcinogen is because of results of... you guessed it! Animal testing!
  • Wrong, DDT was never proven to be harmful to humans.
  • Regarding DDT... our world is a delicate balance of all species. If the birds were being harmed it could lead to their extinction which begins a domino effect on the natural world. All species are here for some purpose whether or not we like them all. The idea that we should always overlook the animal kingdom in favor of human issues is ignorant in my opinion. We're all in this together, human, bird, mammal, reptile, insect, ect. I'm not saying all those people in Africa should die, but there are other solutions and they should be used. The wanton use of chemicals in our environment in the modern world has probably caused us more problems than we'll ever realize.
  • I've known many animal-rights/earth-first types and actually, many of them are opposed to abortion. They would probably deny it, but many people involved in these movements are pretty conservative.
  • E101,

    Perhaps you should read what the eonEcon Foundation has to say about DDT:

    http://www.eonecon.org/blog/2008/ddt-and-it-harmful-environmental-effects/

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  1. You are correct that Obamacare requires health insurance policies to include richer benefits and protects patients who get sick. That's what I was getting at when I wrote above, "That’s because Obamacare required insurers to take all customers, regardless of their health status, and also established a floor on how skimpy the benefits paid for by health plans could be." I think it's vital to know exactly how much the essential health benefits are costing over previous policies. Unless we know the cost of the law, we can't do a cost-benefit analysis. Taxes were raised in order to offset a 31% rise in health insurance premiums, an increase that paid for richer benefits. Are those richer benefits worth that much or not? That's the question we need to answer. This study at least gets us started on doing so.

  2. *5 employees per floor. Either way its ridiculous.

  3. Jim, thanks for always ready my stuff and providing thoughtful comments. I am sure that someone more familiar with research design and methods could take issue with Kowalski's study. I thought it was of considerable value, however, because so far we have been crediting Obamacare for all the gains in coverage and all price increases, neither of which is entirely fair. This is at least a rigorous attempt to sort things out. Maybe a quixotic attempt, but it's one of the first ones I've seen try to do it in a sophisticated way.

  4. In addition to rewriting history, the paper (or at least your summary of it) ignores that Obamacare policies now must provide "essential health benefits". Maybe Mr Wall has always been insured in a group plan but even group plans had holes you could drive a truck through, like the Colts defensive line last night. Individual plans were even worse. So, when you come up with a study that factors that in, let me know, otherwise the numbers are garbage.

  5. You guys are absolutely right: Cummins should build a massive 80-story high rise, and give each employee 5 floors. Or, I suppose they could always rent out the top floors if they wanted, since downtown office space is bursting at the seams (http://www.ibj.com/article?articleId=49481).

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