The production team responsible for the two and half minute Humane Society video “expose” of animal cruelty in the medical research labs of Georgia Regents University should step out of the shadows and take a bow. I am sure there have been more effective pieces of outrageous propaganda produced for various reasons over the years, but I don’t believe we have seen a local issue more totally and completely misrepresented, or blown out of proportion, than this effort resulting from a purported “three month investigation” of the goings on at GRU.
In case you missed it, the video, narrated to sappy perfection by that iconic champion of left wing causes near and far, Kim Basinger, inspired news stories all over the country, to the tune of well over 100 separate Google news hits, in both print and electronic media.
A two and a half minute digital presentation, 151 seconds to be exact, and tells us virtually nothing that a 100 word press release could not have told us, without benefit of melodramatic elevator music in the background, and 50 solid seconds of post mortem autopsy gore that “exposes” (God forbid) disturbing images shot during canine autopsies.
I have seen a few autopsies in my day and there are only two reasons to record the proceedings: to provide education or to provide shock value. This particular effort was about 90 percent the latter, no doubt about it.
Lingering shots of blood being drained from the expired animals into a huge holding sink and bodies being place in plastic bags (for incineration, by the way), which might convince you the entire operation is being run by blood thirsty, animal hating, sadistic bastards for no reason other than the pure joy of it. Or at least that is what Vicki Vale, pardon, Ms. Basinger would have you believe by calling the entire process “unnecessary dental experiments.”
Not so fast.
First of all, GRU officials are unable to describe the exact nature of what is going on, because this project is being done in conjunction with a private medical appliance research entity in the quest to improve and expand technology and hardware already widely in use in medicine. Suffice to say that it is technology, in the realm of bone and dental appliance implants, that are being used to improve the human condition.
Inspired by the video, protesters have called for the end of all animal testing in medical trials, or at least a great reduction in it.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.
Because of proprietary information, and the nature of exactly who and what is doing the work, that information will likely never be made public. I can say this, though; from what I am told it is work being financed by the private entity, completely legitimately, and conforms to the legal and ethical guidelines accepted and acknowledged as standard in medical academia.
To the well meaning (but under informed) folks who have been having conniption fits since the video was released, this particular research is not being done to enhance “cosmetic” procedures, but primarily to test specific issues involving rebuilding and recreating working and pain free chewing action in humans. The appliances are being used in cases where the jaw bone has been compromised by any number of causes, from trauma, to massive infection, to the side effects of cancer treatment. As you can see in the few shots of the appliances in the video, these are molar plates, which do not come close to being considered “cosmetic” in nature, by any stretch of the imagination.
Yes, there have been many such appliances approved in the past for human use, but as with all such devices and techniques, they can always be made to function better and last longer. That is the goal of this particular research. “Building a better mousetrap” is a concept that is not exclusive to mousetraps.
So why dogs? Apparently, and the Humane Society themselves acknowledge this: the use of live dogs is the industry standard for such implant testing of this kind. Ask a scientist if you don’t believe me. This testing can only be done with living bone, which means living dogs come attached to it.
I am very sorry that the dogs must be euthanized following this particular test, but the pain and suffering that results from a dog living with a compromised jawbone, and with pieces of it missing out of scientific necessity, requires the move.
As a lifelong animal lover, I hate seeing any creature suffer needlessly. I also happen to love lamb chops, and I promise you I don’t like to hang out around sheep for that very reason. Nor do I care to become emotionally attached to pigs, cows or chickens. These creatures have been put here by God, or random luck if you want to go that way, for superior species to use as they see fit, within reason. And yes ladies and gentlemen, humans are the superior species.
If my son or daughter was unable to chew because of compromised jawbone, or suffered serious disfigurement because of a lack of a proper bone implant, there is not one, 10 or one thousand dogs, cats or monkeys that I would spare in the quest to correct it. Most normal humans feel the same way.
One good point the video did make concerned the use of the animal vendor that provided the dogs used in the trial. It is true that the Kenneth Schroeder company, out of Wells, Minnesota, has been cited for violating the USDA’s rules regarding the care and procurement of living lab animals. They have been cited, yet still they operate. That is a problem that the USDA needs to address, not GRU. It is true the National Institutes of Health refuse to fund research involving animals obtained from “Class B” (random source) vendors, such as Schroeder, but this specific research is privately funded and exempt from the rules.
Perhaps GRU should consider making a policy adjustment to only do business with “Grade A” vendors who can account for the specific histories of their inventory, and completely eliminate the fear that someone’s house pet has been stolen from the backyard to be used in these experiments.
It would be nice to live in a world where the use of animals in medical testing is not a necessity. It would also be nice to live in a world where the grass is always green, the birds all sing pretty and poop doesn’t stink.
Maybe we will get there one day, but, for now, let the doctors and scientists at GRU do their work. Oh, and those of you protesting, quit being so damn gullible!