Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Marina Picciotto, Ph.D. Yale University. Animal Experimenter. Animal Cruelty. Animal Torture..

PETA has once again been able to root out those who practice animal cruelty in the name of science, those who hide behind their white lab coats, rubber gloves and plastic goggles, their high education, proclaiming that they are at the cutting edge of science, those who say it's all for our own good and we should just turn a blind eye to the suffering of lab animals. How nice of them to think of us.

As for me, if my own good comes at the expense of innocent animals undergoing cruel and painful experiments, maybe it's time they don't think of my welfare. Leave my own good to myself and let those hapless, imprisoned and miserable animals go. Heck, I am not even a smoker, and so Marina Picciotto's work on nicotine addiction is as relevant to me as another person's toe fungus. The scientific community has done enough study and experimentation in the past to come to the basic conclusion that nicotine is addictive, bad for you, but can be overcome. That's all you need to know. Past generations of lab animals have given their lives for us to come to this point. But, Marina Picciotto wants to tweak it a little bit more.

There are people like Marina Picciotto, Ph.D. who find some obscure, marginal, little niche in a well-trodden scientific field and make that the cornerstone of their career, that they know so much about so little, the very definition of a specialist. Impressive, isn't it? But Dr. Picciotto, if she desired to contribute significantly to the societal good, could simply object to cruel animal experimentation than by pursuing a narrow line of medical research that is stale and desiccated. To stay employed and well-funded, experimenters like Dr. Piccitto would concoct new theories that, of course, would ultimately lead to needless experimentation on innocent and captive animals like mice, chimps, and other animals. Surely, the doctor will get the applause she craves for at the next convention or accept another merit award from some institution, but lab animals bear the brunt of the pain and misery of her experiments. They don't get any consideration. Lab animals never have a good day. Dr. Picciotto knows that profoundly. How does she sleep at night? Let's see what was said about her work, this one is from the Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska website:

" ...she developed a line of mice lacking one of the primary subunits of the brain receptor for nicotine using molecular genetic techniques. She and her colleagues used these mice to demonstrate the pathway leading from a single molecule to behaviors associated with nicotine addiction. In her own laboratory at Yale she continues to work on models of nicotine addiction using laboratory mice, as well as investigating the role of nicotine in other behavioral paradigms using mutant and wild type mice. "

Very useful to everybody, indeed. I feel much better now that someone is working on this, using our tax money on cruel animal experimentation without our consent. And the animals that are abused to further this specialty will just have to live with the pain and misery, purposely hidden from public view and awareness, intentionally killed for examination after experimentation, because the good doctor interested in it. These animals, doctor, are God's creatures too. There are no ifs or buts about it. They have a God-given right to freedom and a natural life in their natural environment. Like all vivisectors, Dr. Picciotto has chosen to ignore it. The doctor may deny it or be vague about it, but overdosing these animals with nicotine just to satisfy her scientific curiousity is more about inhumanity than science.

Let's see what PETA has to say :

" Marina Picciotto of Yale University forcibly exposes mice and rats to nicotine by injecting it into their abdomens, placing it directly into holes cut in their skulls, or forcing them to choose between drinking water laced with the drug and dying from dehydration. In some of her studies, Picciotto hangs mice by their tails from paper clips, supposedly to see if exposure to nicotine affects anxiety and depressive behaviors. In another study, Picciotto and her colleagues gave monkeys as much nicotine every day as is contained in up to 17 packs of cigarettes. Since 1996, Picciotto has spent $15 million—Americans' tax dollars—on these cruel experiments. "

Here is how In Defense of Animals (IDA) described Marina Piccitto's work:

" ...deliberately gets mice and rats addicted to drugs and kills them to analyze their brains. In federally-funded experiments, Picciotto has hung mice by their tails attached to paper clips to observe the effects of nicotine on their physical activity. She has also given cocaine to pregnant rats to induce brain damage in their babies, and placed the pups in cages with electrified floors in order to shock them repeatedly. "

Can you believe that a human being is behind these experiments? Was " human being " giving too much credit? This is pretty hideous stuff. Is it scientific pursuit or sanitized barbarism? May God judge Dr. Picciotto appropriately, and may Karma always be with her. God is not interested in science, and so one day the good doctor will have some explaining to do.

Animal lovers can express their disapproval here: marina.picciotto@yale.edu or at Telephone: (203) 737-2041 Fax: (203) 737-2043.

What really goes on in animal testing:

Yale University cancels Dr. Picciotto's lecture to kids of all ages:



air said...

I used to be in the business. Safety and efficacy of drugs and chemicals. Yes, my test systems were animals. I used to firmly believe in the research. But now I will never go back into the field.

Even back then, 15-20 years ago, we KNEW what BAD experimentation was. This is one of them. For pity's sake, we know the affects of nicotine on life forms.

Rob said...

I respect your opinions, but I disagree very strongly with the misrepresentation of Marina's work. The descriptions of the types of experiments she is doing demonstrate a clear lack of understanding and a purposeful misrepresentation of how laboratory animals are treated. I do understand that we will not agree on this issue - but thanks to medical research involving animals, we will be able to disagree with each other for an extra 20 years.

Chessbuff said...

Hi Rob. Thanks for commenting. This matter concerning animal experimentation has put people at extreme ends of the spectrum, hardly able to agree on many things. I don't think that Dr. Picciotto's work provide quantum leaps in science that it justifies the horrific cruelty that laboratory animals are subjected to. In order not to steal someone else's argument, I am providing a link to the Yale Daily News where a second year sociology student quite aptly framed what the problem is with Dr. Piccitto's work:

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to PETA, all descriptions of Dr. Picciotto's scientific research (or any scientific research involving animals for that matter), were taken out of context and described in the most negative light possible. Dr. Picciotto's research is not on some "obscure, marginal, little niche." Of course we already know nicotine is addictive and bad for you; we found that out through animal testing--on ourselves. Smoking is an act of animal "cruelty" as much as anything, and to think: Smoking is a conscious human decision! What do humans who make conscious decisions to be cruel to their own bodies have to say about scientists being "cruel" to animals to help others? At least in science, "cruelty" is exercised with an altruistic goal, and not just the selfish desire to be high and lose weight.

Second of all, one must understand that Dr. Picciotto's research is not simply beating the dead horse. Scientists around the world study nicotine addiction so that the millions of people who are trying to quit smoking can do so with the knowledge that there will be no adverse side effects and, most importantly, that it will be permanent. Nicotine withdrawal is a serious and debilitating experience, and without proper knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of nicotine addiction, we would not be able to help those suffering from nicotine withdrawal.

Third, laboratory animals know no life outside the lab. They are bred by companies specifically for research and live in the animal facility all their lives until the day they are to be peacefully euthanized. Scientists don't have qualms about using lab animals for research, because that is what they are bred for. An example of human breeding are the gymnastics organizations in China that hand-select gymnasts to represent the nation in the Olympics. These gymnasts know nothing outside training in the gym, and will do anything to do their country proud. It would be cruel indeed to take these gymnasts out of their zone of comfort and force them to live "ordinary lives," as that is just not what they were brought up to do. Similarly with lab animals, it would be outrageous to set lab animals free, because they simply would not survive in the wild. My point: these animals live to serve an honorable cause. Many of PETA's comments on scientific research are framed around the notion that scientists uselessly subject animals to cruel and unusual conditions. The aims of Dr. Picciotto's (as well as other scientists') research prove that what they do to animals isn't useless cruelty.

Chessbuff said...

Anon, thanks for commenting.

I strongly disagree in your assumption that if an animal is born and raised in a laboratory it doesn’t know any better. I find this mentality to be extremely callous. These animals are innately sentient. They have a natural desire to be free, to self-preserve, to be left unharmed, and they have earned a God-given right to some respect by dint of being alive. I suspect that you might find these matters to be ethereal, or superficial, but there is such a thing as respect for the living. What do you suppose we treat children who are born in orphanages without their natural parents or a loving home? Do you think that by dint of hard luck they are not entitled to the same rights we are, that they don’t know any better? I don’t truly want to get personal here but I hope you don’t have children of your own. This utter disregard for the basic rights of unfortunate living beings is a detrimental to the next generation and must not be passed on.

The analogy with the Chinese gymnasts is a bad one. Chinese gymnasts are the pride of their nation. Just like our Olympians, they live a regimented life and that means willingly making sacrifices for the sake of success and national glory. But that doesn’t mean ” they know nothing “ about or do not desire but a life with more free time. Lab animals are far from being the pride of our nation. If any, they are a source of shame, not for what they are, but for the manner in which we treat them. That’s why animal experimentation is performed in secured labs and away from the public’s view or access. I have yet to see animal experimentation that is open for public view and scrutiny. If that ever happens, you’d know that the general public would unilaterally reject your work and call for the closure of your facilities.

Smoking is not an act of cruelty at all, most especially if such concepts will be used to justify the imprisonment and pain that lab animals must endure. I find this line of reasoning to be incredibly absurd. Heck, smokers even get to choose the brands that give them the most pleasure. When one violates the integrity of healthy bodies by forcing nicotine into their systems, that’s cruelty. The last time I checked, animals do not smoke nor do they ingest other forms of nicotine.

Anon, you’re not Marina Picciotto, are you?

Altogether, we are diametrically opposed in principle and in our personal convictions. Your mindset is frightening to me. To think that there are animals who are helplessly under your purview ( and you are either an animal experimenter or one who is associated with them, or both ) makes we wish to God that, when your judgment day arrives, he grants you the same level of mercy that you have given the animals.

Kimberly Kaminski said...

there will always be scientific investigation... i hope

also, it would be impossible to be where we are at today without the use of animals in research

this is my opinion

i cannot realistically imagine a way around it

it is a responsibility to be used wisely, and respectfully

Chessbuff said...


Thank you for commenting.

And how are we suppose to use animals in experimentation wisely and respectfully when overdosing an animal with nicotine is part of the scientific inquiry? Scientific inquiry in animal experimentation is cruelty. How can it be wise and respectful when you take a healthy animal and intentional make it sick or invade the integrity of its body to satisfy your curiosity? Don't play on both sides of the street. Don't talk like you care to somehow appease what little conscience you have. Either you admit that animal experimentation is utterly cruel but you are willing to be part of it, or you reject it completely because the suffering of innocent beings through experimentation is inhumane and wrong.

Lisa said...

re: Anon's post..What do humans who make conscious decisions to be cruel to their own bodies have to say about scientists being "cruel" to animals to help others?

...Humans have a choice, animals in the lab don't!

Could you even imagine a world where we 'bred' humans for experimentation. NO, to the balanced, healthy, normal person, the answer is NO. But in all honesty, this would be the only way to produce findings that actually relate directly to the human body.
How the hell can you say that by doing something to an animal, not even our own species, can be trusted or taken on board as relevant. The only thing this type of study proves is that there are still human beings walking this earth without souls, and 2, nicotine is addictive! Groundbreaking really !
What kind of sicko could seriously be happy and content with their life, knowing they abuse and inflict cruelty onto animals, for a living?

Anonymous said...

The purpose of eating meat is most frequently pleasure, in addition to being unhealthy and inefficient on an economic level (more calories must be fed to the animals we eat than we can extract from them). The purpose of subjecting animals to experimentation is to cure human disease (in this specific instance i. to cure addiction and ii. to understand brain remodeling in response to stimuli which is relevant for a wide array of diseases).

It seems reasonable that for an end to animal experimentation to be considered, we should first end our consumption of animals as food given the justification is less substantial. Why, then, do we frequently see people suggesting that animal experimentation should be outlawed? The animals are not subjected to worse treatment in laboratories: researchers by and large do their best to minimize suffering in their animals, and factory farms regularly flay animals alive.