Animal Research Case Study: Binaural Auditory Processing in Cats

I wanted to share with you a case study in the politics behind animal research. This case study hits close to home because the research targeted is very similar to the research we do in our laboratory. The summary is that a very prominent auditory neuroscientist has been doing experiments using cats as animal models for many years. PETA obtained photos from the experiments and created a media storm. The protested the campus and even threatened the scientists at their houses. I would like you to read the PETA page first. Pay attention to the language used in the article:

http://www.peta.org/features/uw-madison-cruelty/

Then, I’d like you to read the page from the researcher’s perspective, including interviews with the researcher

http://speakingofresearch.com/2013/10/08/animal-welfare-inspectors-clear-uw-madison-cat-research-of-peta-allegations-important-hearing-research-continues/

Here’s the local paper on the original story:

http://host.madison.com/news/local/education/university/peta-complaint-alleges-mistreatment-of-cats-in-uw-research/article_4288b2a4-fcf8-11e1-ab8e-001a4bcf887a.html

Then the University’s official response:

http://animalresearch.wisc.edu/uw-madison-cat-study-resolution/

And then the story summarizing the outcome

http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/column/guest/eric-sandgren-cat-research-after-all-the-drama/article_6af13b52-77c9-11e2-8b77-001a4bcf887a.html

And finally a perspective piece from the Foundation for Biomedical Research

http://fbresearch.org/university-of-wisconsin-cats-and-protesters-whos-right/

 

I’d like you to read through the links and then comment below. If one of your friend showed you the PETA site and said “look what scientists are doing to these poor cats!” how would you respond?

One response to “Animal Research Case Study: Binaural Auditory Processing in Cats”

  1. C. Huston says:

    Bottom line! What about the cats point of view? You ask about viewpoints and what people think based on the information they’ve been given. What about the cats, which should be priority. Did they volunteer for these experiments? In your scientific ethics guidelines does it say you can take a being without its consent and experiment on it for your own or man kinds benefit? To not allow it to live a normal life as it would in nature as well as cause it great distress, pain, fear, death, and much more?

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