Talk:Animal testing/main disputes

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Why so much on vertebrates?[edit]

Almost all of the article deals with vertebrates, despite the large majority of animal experiments being experiments on invertebrates. Why is that? Tim Vickers 02:20, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

That's a good observation. This should probably be addressed. --chodges 02:39, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
There is section on invertebrates that makes it clear that they are the most numerous animals experimented on, and there are also examples of invertebrates in the type of research section. The problem is that there is little verifiable data available on the numbers of experiments or animals used, and there are few sources that use invertebrates in discussing animal research. What more would you like? Rockpocket 05:56, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I'd recommend discussing at a minimum the approaches and results obtained from Drosophila genetics on development (Nobel prize 1995). A single sentence on that huge subject isn't really very balanced. Equally, Nematodes are crucial to the study of cell fate, differentiation and death (This was where apoptosis was discovered - Nobel prize 2002) If the article ignores the vast contribution that invertebrates have made to biology and molecular biology, it fails to give a clear idea of the role of animals in modern science. Tim Vickers 13:55, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Fair point, but the brevity is a result of the tension between giving the range of experiments and animals used sufficient coverage and keeping this page from becoming overlong. If you feel able to contribute more, then please do so at the invertebrate subsection of Animal_testing#Species. Even better, if you are able to provide a comprehensive overview of research using invertebrates, then we can spin it out into its own sub-article. Rockpocket 18:34, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
If brevity is the concern, it would make sense to concentrate on the more common and more important examples. At present this article could almost be renamed "Experimentation on vertebrates"! I'll draft out an expanded section on the species used in research, but this page is already over 100 kb, so adding without removal would seem a poor idea. I'd recommend reducing the sub-section in "Species" on non-human primates, which comprise less than 4% of the total procedures link but are given approximately 50% of the coverage in this section. What about shrinking the NHPs by about half and expanding the flies and nematodes to fill the space? Tim Vickers 18:42, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Tim, this discussion has been had before (somewhere in the archives). The problem is that "importance" is subjective. I have argued "the number of animal used" angle myself, but the facts are that there is an inverse corrolation between the number of animals used by type, and how "important" society in general consider them. Both in terms of the law, and in terms of the opinion of the general public. There is huge debate and controversy on NHP testing, and so the sources discussing it largely outnumber those discussing research using invertebrates. The wider problem is that this article covers both the practicalities of animal testing, and wider societal implications of it. There has been discussions about breaking it up in the past, but we could never reach consensus on how to do it.
You are correct that this article is largely "Experimentation on vertebrates" (and it was even more to before I got to work on it last year), but that is largely what the public consider animal experimentation to be. Of course, if we have a comprehensive article on the much more common "Experimentation on invertebrates", we could split the article to reflect that and title them accordingly. Rockpocket 19:04, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I suppose articles on controversial subjects will always show this lack of balance, with people interested in discussing the controversy, rather than giving due weight to all the important areas of the subject. I'll try making a new draft here with condensing the NHP section but retaining much of its content, balanced by expanding invertebrates The aim of this section seen to be to give an account for each species of:
  1. Numbers used
  2. Main uses and particular advantages/disadvantages
  3. Any specific regulatory requirements
Any other things I should cover? Tim Vickers 19:14, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
This article is huge already, but I'm not sure reducing the vetebrate section is the way to reduce it. Expanding invertebrates is welcome. Just as "endangered animals" garner more public attention and desire for information, same too with the vertebrates and particulary non-human primates, as they are the focus of the Controvery section too, and many of the images.
It might make more sense for something like the Cosmetics Testing to spin off to it's own page. Does it make much sense to have the "Alternatives to animal testing" page requoted on this page? Couldn't that get dumped and replaced by a link in See Also? Maybe "the arguments in brief" could be relocated to another page? - by the time you get that far in animal testing you're way past brief:)Bob98133 19:20, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
We can't engage in original research by picking and choosing from primary sources. As far as possible, we should stick to what secondary sources focus on when they discuss animal testing. They don't, as a rule, discuss the ethics and efficacy of testing on fruit flies. Perhaps they ought to, but they don't. They tend to look at research on mammals, and in particular animals we identify with, such as dogs and non-human primates. They discuss cosmetics testing, inquiries, protests, legislation, the search for alternatives. If people want to create a separate article about testing on invertebrates, please go ahead, but this article shouldn't be expanded on that subject (or any other, given its length).
Several editors have always been confused on this point. This page doesn't exist to repeat the opinions of Wikipedians or of animal researchers. It exists to tell people what secondary sources are saying about animal testing — not about individual studies that used animals, but about the subject "animal testing." SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 20:39, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I've expanded the section on the use of invertebrate animals in experimentation, using high-quality secondary sources. As an example Can flies help humans treat neurodegenerative diseases? and Worms and Flies as Genetically Tractable Animal Models To Study Host-Pathogen Interactions, reviews on the efficacy of testing drugs and conducting experiments in flies and worms. Hopefully, if there are any sources people find unreliable, I should be able to find others. The use of invertebrates in medical and biological research is a particularly well-reviewed area. Tim Vickers 21:02, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Although C. elegans is used in some studies encompassing apoptosis, it doesn't seem accurate to say that work with C. elegans is responsible for the discovery of the process. Calling it a major success of the use of this organism seems a bit much. Maybe I'm missing something.Apoptosis says, "Apoptosis (Greek: apo - from, ptosis - falling) was distinguished from traumatic cell death in 1965 by John Foxton Ross Kerr while he was studying tissues with electron microscopes (Kerr JF. A histochemical study of hypertrophy and ischaemic injury of rat liver with special reference to changes in lysosomes. J Path Bact 1965; 90: 419-435.)" And does Schulenburg really say that these animals can't be used in vaccine research? I have access only to the abstract, but it says, "Using C. elegans to address these different facets of host-pathogen interactions provides a fresh perspective on our understanding of the structure and complexity of innate immune systems in animals and plants."Rbogle 21:48, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Good point, it was the work on C. elegans that showed that apoptosis was an active process under genetic control link, the phenomenon had been observed previously, but it wasn't known what it really was. I've reworded that a bit to cover your point. However, if an organism only has an innate immune system, you can't use it for vaccine research, which depends on the adaptive immune system. Tim Vickers 22:09, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
FYI: "C. elegans is used to analyse the functional roles of key parasite-derived molecules, with potential as vaccine candidates or drug targets." http://www.gla.ac.uk/vet/research/iandi/ I mention this to point out that innate limitations of organisms' biology that would seem to preclude their use in research, as Tim Vickers points out above in relation to C. elegans and vaccine research, are not barriers to their actual use. It might as well be said that every "model" organism is used for every area of research (can someone think of a species that isn't used in a general area of research?) Rbogle 15:14, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Nice work, Tim. SV, I reverted your footnoting of the invertebrate caveat because this is not an article about vertebrates only, so its important that we note that the numbers quoted in the lead sentence are a fraction of all animals tested on. Rockpocket 21:28, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I object to that expansion. It's absurd (and somewhat disruptive) that just as I'm making efforts to remove material to subpages, a new editor arrives and massively expands the section on fruit flies. Please provide some secondary sources showing discussion of fruit flies as a central issue in the debate about animal testing. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:40, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Please, SV. Well sourced material is always welcome. It can always be moved to a subpage later if need be, but calling good faith contributions "disruptive" is over the top. While I don't disagree there should be plenty of coverage of "cosmetics testing, inquiries, protests, legislation, the search for alternatives", there should also be a comprehensive description of what animal testing consists of. If there is not space for both, the former should be moved to a sub-article on Animal testing controversy or Animal testing debate and the main article should describe what the title of the article states. Tim's contributions describe, very nicely and well sourced, the types of experiments that involve well over half of all animals tested on. That is is not a "central issue in the debate about animal testing" is not relevent in a section that is not about the debate about animal testing. We should not let the agenda of those driving the debate influence our description of the subject.. Rockpocket 22:01, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
The subject of this article is not "the debate about animal testing", this article is about animal testing. Tim Vickers 22:02, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree with TimVickers. The subject of the article is about animal testing not "what people say about animal testing." I think that is a worthy topic to be contained within the article, but that is not the sole topic of the article here. The article should not be limited only to controversial animal studies. --chodges 22:25, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
The title, Animal Testing suggests to me that the article is concerned primarily with research using animals that is claimed to be of more or less direct consequence to human health. The apoptosis bit doesn't really seem to fit. Maybe there has been some direct result of determining which genes in C elegans determine which cells die, and if there has, please send a link. The article isn't titled Research Using Animals, and if it was, we'd have to include field studies, agriculture, etc. The entries also shouldn't be a list of on-going speculation about the potential for Drosophila or other organisms to turn into productive models. You can't go from a research abstract saying, "Here we focus on the use of Drosophila to identify potential treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's and we discuss how well these therapies translate into mammalian systems" to the assertion that fruit flies are vital to the study of neuroscience.Rbogle 22:53, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Then you need to rewrite the lead. At present it says "Animal testing or animal research refers to the use of animals in experiments." If you think this article should be on a more restrictive topic, such as Use of animals in medical research, we could discuss moving it to a new title. I've provided a free full-text link above, (link) for the C elegans results, these invertebrate studies have been and continue to be crucial to research on a wide variety of biological questions. They are vital to neuroscience. If you have a gene you think might be involved in the development of the brain, you can't delete it in people! Tim Vickers 23:10, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Which genes are we deleting in humans? Rbogle 15:14, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
None, you can't delete genes in humans, that was my point. However, you can delete a homologue of a human gene in C elegans in just a few weeks - just a few days if you use RNA interference. This is why these animal models are so valuable. Tim Vickers 15:54, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
C. elegans may be crucial for "a wide variety of biological questions," but this does not lead to them being vital to neuroscience. Words like vital and crucial should be reserved for things that are vital and crucial. Vital and crucial imply that we couldn't do without them. Not every investigative line can be crucial no matter what the industry might say. Rbogle 21:45, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, here is another issue that has been discussed at length previously. "Animal testing" was initially - for reasons I'm not aware of - chosen as a cover all term that equates with animal experimentation. I have argued that "animal testing" be used for an article describing testing of products on animals and "animal experimentaion" be used to describe research using animals. For various reasons consensus could not be reached on that. So as it is, this article should cover all research using animals, and there is a nod towards studies in zoos etc. We may wish to rename some of the subarticles to reflect this though, especially since invertebrates are typically used in pure research and there is very little "testing" going on. Rockpocket 23:17, 21 August 2007 (UTC)


I was going to rewrite the section on mice to give an idea of their role in current research, but I see all my contributions have been removed. That's rather dispiriting. Tim Vickers 22:17, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
They haven't been removed, just moved to subarticles. Please do continue to rewrite it there. Rockpocket 22:27, 21 August 2007 (UTC)


Reference problem[edit]

The sentence:

The term "procedure" refers to an experiment, which might last several months or even years. The figures show that most animals are used in only one procedure: animals either die because of the experiment or are killed and dissected afterwards.[1]

Is referenced to a document that does not appear to discuss this topic, what page of this document did the citation refer to? Tim Vickers 03:51, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Dunno, though I would add (in my experience) that is true and could be calculated from the numbers published animal returns (though that might be OR). Rockpocket 05:14, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
The figures were in the refs being questioned; I've added yet another one. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 06:56, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
I can't find anything in these references that discusses postmortem procedures. Saying that animals are killed and then "dissected afterwards" seems unsupported, dissection would surely be relatively rare, especially in large-scale toxicology testing. I've removed this part until we can find a source that states that this is true. Tim Vickers 13:47, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Please don't keep undoing my work. You've been warned about following me around before. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:17, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
If postmortem procedures are in fact cited in the sources you added, what are the page numbers that are they discussed on? Tim Vickers 21:16, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Numbers[edit]

I think we have too many figures in the article, which makes it almost unreadable and also hard to use as a resource. It doesn't really matter that 1.59 million of X were used in 2003, 1.53 million in 2004, and 1.56 million in 2005. I'll be going through removing some of these over the next few days hopefully. I'll try to pick one figure for each thing that looks representative, and leave it at that. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 06:56, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

I fixed the error in ref 44 that corrupted most of the subsequent citations, are refs 44,45 and 46 as you intended now? I had to guess which parts you wanted to include. Tim Vickers 16:06, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Arguments in brief[edit]

Any ideas about what to do with this section? [1] As written, it's a bit of an embarrassment e.g. "Humans that use medicine derived from animal research are healthier." Healthier than what? Than humans who don't use prescribed drugs even when they need to? Than humans who don't use drugs because they don't need to? Than humans who rely on alternative treatments? Than humans who use prescribed drugs that aren't tested on animals (but all are)? It's senseless.

A lot of the rest of it suffers from the same problem. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:16, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, that claim was a bit strange, perhaps an "English-not-first-language" problem? Rewritten to make sense, based on source given. Tim Vickers 19:28, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
I've always thought that entire section was a bit stupid. There could be enough information for a subarticle on this Views of animal testing or something, but it would be much better if it was written rather than listed as bullet points. Rockpocket 19:33, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
I'd like to see it rewritten with claims attributed in the text. I don't think it's good enough to say "Some opponents claim X," then when you hunt down the source, you find it's a claim on mywebsite.com. We need to write it in the form of "One of the strongest arguments in favor of X, according to the Reseach Defence Society, is ..." and we should stick to the strongest arguments for and against, and not include arguments that make either side sound foolish. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 20:58, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Animal's Used[edit]

Tim Vickers wrote: "removed text based on unreliable self-published website." And, he did this in about two seconds after the reference was added; which makes it pretty clear that he took about zero seconds to consider the documents included there. In point of fact, the organization's claims regarding USDA misreporting have been covered by major media outlets. http://www.all-creatures.org/saen/media-20070608.html
I'm not too sure what "self-published websites" means in this case. Vickers, are you claiming to be an expert on this organization? It seems to be a secondary source that the media covers with some regularity. I'm putting the reference back, before removing it again, please discuss doing so here first and seek some consensus. Rbogle 19:48, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

If the claims made by this organisation have indeed been covered by major media outlets, cite these news stories produced by reliable sources rather than "all-creatures.org" which is not a reliable source by any stretch of the policy. You need to cite the news reports themselves, rather than an unverifiable copy of what might be a news story on a highly-biased animal-rights website. Tim Vickers 20:52, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

I found it for you, not so hard. (link). Now all you need to show is that the opinions of this single minor group are notable and should be given equal weight to the USDA. Tim Vickers 21:04, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

I also can't see why that was removed. It's a story by UPI. The courtesy link doesn't matter. Also, all the sources we use in this article are biased. We don't exclude sources because they support animal rights, just as we don't exclude them because they don't. If it's self-published, then it can only be used as a courtesy link, but that's aside from the animal-rights issue. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:06, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Use the news organisation website, rather than a private website with an obvious and strong bias hosting what might be an accurate copy of a news story, but might not. Do you really see "all-creatures.org" and "http://www.upi.com/" as equally-reliable sources? Tim Vickers 21:12, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Courtesy links are fine. If you feel a website is so unreliable that it might have altered a news report, then change the link to the original news report. But please don't remove sources and material, and then start long discussions about it on talk. It's faster for everyone and less disruptive just to insert another link. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:21, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, "all-creatures.org" and "http://www.upi.com/" can be equally reliable sources. If we begin to question bias, every paper in a journal with an editoral opinion that animal research is crucial' and vital should be dismissed out of hand, and we should cite only "mainstream" news outlets.Rbogle 21:54, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
SlimVirgin says: "please don't remove sources and material, and then start long discussions about it on talk." For the record, I'd just like to note that this rule of yours seems only to apply to statements and article material you agree with; see the whole polio vaccine discussion above for one example where you defend someone doing just this. You supported removing material from the article while we "discussed" it here (although your edit was really more a way to pigeonhole the discussion). I've spent my time here and tried to contribute to make this a better article, but I can't stomach your oversight, SlimVirgin, because your approach is rather inconsistent and unscholarly. --chodges 04:20, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Since we have sorted out the sourcing problem, no we just need to decide if the opinions of this single minor group are notable enough to be included, or if that would be giving them undue weight. Compared to the USDA, how notable do you think this group is? Tim Vickers 21:50, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

USDA/APHIS has proven to have many problems. Given the fact that at least two APHIS inspectors have quit because of what they see as a disinterest in the agency concerning animal welfare why would anyone consider their statements regarding the numbers of animals used to be reliable? Rbogle 21:59, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

If you think this group is indeed notable enough for this article (700 Google hits on its name, 64 Google News hits if you go back to 1997) why is it not even listed in any of the other articles on more specific subjects? It isn't in animal rights, animal liberation movement, list of animal welfare groups or even list of animal rights groups. Not exactly high-profile. Perhaps it would be better to use the comments of one of the major animal rights groups on this report, rather than giving undue weight to a minor fringe group. Tim Vickers 22:55, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Just so we're on the same page, which group specifically are you talking about? The group criticizing the USDA reporting in the linked press release is SAEN, or Stop Animal Exploitation Now! The group's director is a long-time observer and critic of USDA's reporting and oversight. He must have close to two decades of experience. If he was working for, say HSUS, and published a report under their banner would you still be raising this concern? I think what is important is the substance rather than the letterhead on which a report is printed.

What constitutes a "fringe group"? I don't think that "notability" is a reasonable criteria for determinging the appropriateness of a reference. If it is, then we need to go back and look carefully at any reference to any published research and find some way of deciding whether the author is notable.Rbogle 12:24, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Not a sourced comment, but a personal one. The USDA's oversight process is substantially variable from office to office, and what is considered acceptable and humane by the USDA similarly varies from office to office. The East-West regional office differences are very real, and I am quite sure that if an APHIS official went from one office to the other, it would result in exactly the sort of controversy represented by the article included on the animal testing page. The statements that the USDA animal census counts are not accurately representing the AWA-covered species is true lunacy though, just pure propaganda put forth by Budkie in the hopes that someone might actually believe him. The comments on the study of IACUC are, while sourced, a little misrepresented because of the experiments chosen in the study. There are well-published guidelines for analgesia, anesthesia, euthanasia, food and fluid restriction, and it is normal course of duty for EVERY IACUC to ensure that the experiments fall within these guidelines. There are also substantial gray areas, and as noted one of those is what types of experiments are classified as "unrelieved pain and suffering", "pain and suffering relieved by appropriate anesthesia and analgesia", and "not more than momentary pain and distress". As an example, intentionally inducing diabetes is something that arguably should be "unrelieved pain and suffering". It is usually classified as "relieved pain and suffering" in the US system, and different IACUCs will have little agreement on that classification. However, you will not find such disagreement on what constitutes appropriate euthanasia, because everything is referred to the AVMA reports. Again, nothing sourced in this comment, but I don't have a problem with the IACUC criticism being appropriate for this page (and I sit on an IACUC). It does tend to take up a lot of bytes with the blockquoting, it would be nice if its points could be made succinctly without the blockquotes (although I understand how that comes about too). --Animalresearcher 12:42, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
"... true lunacy though, just pure propaganda..." Based on what? The denial of Plous seems very common among those who have a stake in the status quo. Rbogle 13:47, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
The statement on animal numbers from Budkie is unrelated to the Plous study.--Animalresearcher 13:51, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but since you included comment on both in your single paragraph comment, I responded to each in the same way. Sorry if this confused you. Rbogle 14:30, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
I have not denied or refuted anything produced by Plous. I did refer to his original paper. --Animalresearcher 14:40, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
It is not the substance, but the notability of information that relates to the WP:UNDUE policy. For instance, if a animal rights group with five members releases a press statement contradicting the World Heath Organisation, giving equal weight to the two opposing viewpoints would be a violation of our policies. So we need to know how notable and prominent "Stop Animal Exploitation Now" are compared to the USDA. Going from raw Google hits, SAEN is 40,000 times less notable than the USDA, so to follow the policy we need to give their views many thousands of times less prominence than the views of the USDA. Tim Vickers 23:21, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't fully agree with your interpretation. Verifiability seems to be a key ingredient. The USDA says prominently that "Animal care and use in the United States is a controversial topic with varying points of view from the public, animal rights groups, breeders, research laboratories, and others." [2] USDA seems to be acknowledging that animal rights groups are significant participants in this controversy. But it is a current matter of fact that they hold a minority position. If we try to balance the controversy by the number of "raw hits" an organization gets, and then weigh that against the number of "raw hits" an active agency of the US federal government gets, and use those numbers in an attempt to "balance" the discussion, I don't see how that would be a fair reflection of the topic. (Especially given the introduction to the article, which echos the USDA report.) With this in mind, given Budkie's long work with national animal rights organizations (and now his own,) I don't see how weighing SAEN against USDA would be a fair discriminating method.
If you hold the opinion that those who question the efficacy of animal models as reasonable predictors of human disease and drug response are no different than Flat Earthers (to cite the Wikipedia example at WP:UNDUE, then of course, you might see all outside criticism of "animal testing" as too light weight for serious consideration.
But, more to the point of your example: "For instance, if a animal rights group with five members releases a press statement contradicting the World Heath Organisation, giving equal weight to the two opposing viewpoints would be a violation of our policies." If the small group had somehow managed to get ahold of internal documents from WHO exposing some hideousness -- maybe human trials with a predictable and not insignificant liklihood of mortality, and they made those documents public, would it be fair to spend 99.99% of an article's space on WHO's spin? It isn't so clear to me, that with contentious topics, that a simple recitation of the "majority" opinion serves any purpose other than to snuff out the minority's concerns. Rbogle 01:33, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
No. If a tiny group made any such credible claim they would be reported and discussed widely and other more notable groups would comment. The issue would therefore become a valid topic. If this is indeed a credible claim made by this group, have any of the main animal rights groups commented on their claims? Having some reaction from a group like PETA the US Humane Society would go a long way towards convincing me that we aren't giving undue weight to a fringe group with no constituency. Tim Vickers 00:18, 30 August 2007 (UTC)




Opponents of animal testing[edit]

Let's clarify the meaning of this and its siter section. Is a reference need to support an observation that a particualr argument has been made, or support for that particular argument.

If each of the statements in this section require a reference, then why don't the ones in the pro- section? Throwing in the "reference needed" thingys all of a sudden on a page this actively edited seems more like trouble-making than helpful editing. to me.Rbogle 23:28, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Refs are needed to support the statement made in the sentence. For example if you say "X says that Y is true and Q is false." you need a ref to either them saying this or a reliable source stating that they say this. As a general comment in referencing in this article, there are too many broken and ill-formatted references - for example <ref name=USEUnumbers/> seems to have been lost in the recent reorganisations. Other refs end at broken links or general pages with no specific info. This needs sorting out. Tim Vickers 00:08, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
But in this special case, the sections begin: "Testing advocates argue that:" and "Opponents argue that:" So, apparently, to reference the sentence [Opponents argue that:] "Some drugs have dangerous side-effects that were not predicted by animal models. Thalidomide is often used as an example of this. [citation needed]" all that is needed is a reference to a source that demonstrates an opponent of animal testing stating that thalidomide is an example of a dangerous side effect that wasn't predicted by animal testing.

Likewise, if we are seeking balance, the statement [Testing advocates argue that:] "There is no substitute for studies of the infection of a host. For example, infection with hepatitis" [unreferenced, and oddly so since someone went through the opponent section and deleted many references and added the "reference needed" tags, Chodges?] needs only a reference to some advocate of animal testing making this claim, not proof of the claim's veracity.Rbogle 00:34, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Whoops. The "There is no substitute..." claim is referenced, but, for instance, "There is no substitute for psychiatric studies (e.g., antidepressant clinical trials) that require behavioral data." isn't.Rbogle 00:42, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Exactly, if you say somebody has an opinion, you need a reference to support that they hold this opinion. This isn't a special case, this is just standard practice. It would be best to trim these lists to a few major arguments and source them from a few notable and highly reliable sources. If you want to do this for the "critics" section, I'll do it for the "advocates" section. Tim Vickers 00:46, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Unless someone else gets to it first, I may be able to work on this tomorrow. Rbogle 01:28, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
We all know that unsourced facts should be tagged or removed. I noticed a few statements were either synthesis or uncited. Synthesis got removed and unreferenced facts got tags (this is pretty much SOP for Wikipedia). I could not easily find references that supported the claims being made, so I tagged them. I agree with you that uncited statements in the "pro" section should also be tagged, removed or cited, but apparently I missed the one. In previous versions of the Vivisection article, I did the same for the "pro-animal use" section; I'm not pushing POV, just verifiability and NOR. I agree with Vickers that the list of arguments should be limited to prominent ones by reputable groups (on both sides of the debate). --chodges 19:48, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Berto is the cause of all this he sucks ass —Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.200.10.130 (talk) 20:56, 24 September 2007 (UTC)


"Bunching"[edit]

This seems very far-fetched. Animal testing uses animals bred for the purpose, with a single genetic background and often in disease-free conditions. Domestic animals are completely unsuited for experiments. If this section isn't backed by some good references over the next few days I will remove it. Tim Vickers (talk) 19:07, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

There is a bill in Congress right now that will prohibit random source animals from being used in testing. http://www.idausa.org/campaigns/theft/pettheft.html There is speculation that animals are sold from shelters to USDA class B dealers, or the Class B dealers themselves, may be obtaining animals illegally. However, research societies counter that it is already illegal to handle stolen animals, and that anyone dealing in animals that end up in researcher hands must be licensed by the USDA. If the bill passes, then older domesticated animals (ie: dogs and cats) will become a lot more rare in research, which will make studying some types of disease that are more prevalent in older animals a lot harder. As an aside, in all but 13 states, animals from shelters may be sold to Class B dealers instead of being euthanized. These can very well be discarded pets, but are not "bunched". The citation I provide above can be used to say "Opponents of animal testing claim:" because clearly opponents do make such a claim. The second section though "Testing labs prefer tame domestic animals over wild strays from the city pound, because they are easier to handle." I cannot find a reference for, nor does it make sense to me as something opponents of testing would claim. HTH --Animalresearcher (talk) 20:01, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Ex-domestic animals will also have an unknown medical history and may or many not have been vaccinated/undergone surgery etc, why would people chose to use such animals in research? This suggestion fails to make sense on so many levels. Tim Vickers (talk) 20:11, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
It used to be quite common. Not all research depends so critically on vaccination etc. For example, some people may be interested in how the inferior colliculus of the cat responds to sound, and any old cat would suffice for research needs. The animals are picked up from the pound, anesthetized, studied, and euthanized. However, for this to work today, a Class B dealer must be involved, and if the animal was a pet, it would be illegal in 13 states. In any case, my point is that different levels of requirements occur in different sorts of testing, and domestic animals are fine for much of it. But I would remove the second sentence of the "bunching" claim if a cite doesn't show up soon. --Animalresearcher (talk) 01:06, 20 November 2007 (UTC)


POV[edit]

The topic is controversial. Opponents argue that animal testing is cruel and unnecessary, poor scientific practice, never reliably predictive of human metabolic and physiological specificities, poorly regulated, that the costs outweigh the alleged benefits, or that animals have an intrinsic right not to be used for experimentation.

This is unacceptably POV. Especially as it is in the header, it should cover both sides if it is discussing controversy.Not even Mr. Lister's Koromon survived intact. 19:34, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

very very biased.[edit]

I intend to delete the Ingrid Newkirk quote regarding animal testing. It's unnecessary at best and not worthy of prominent display in an encyclopedia at worst. I'm "securing consensus" before I do this. Budjoint (talk) 22:48, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree. I would have deleted it myself if I had noticed it slip in there. Newkirk is certainly not an "expert" on animal testing and her emotive language is particularly ill suited to an encyclopaedia article. If we are inserting colour quotes, then there are plenty more notable, people both pro- and anti-, that actually have some credentials. Rockpocket 23:21, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Not commenting on the POV issue, because I've not looked at the quote. But I would say Newkirk is an expert on animal testing, arguably more so than a lot of the people we cite, who are experts on the area of science they're using animals to study, but not experts on animal testing itself. Newkirk, on the other hand, has spent her entire life working to combat it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:25, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I've looked now. Granted, it's inappropriate.
In general, though, I wish the article had a few more quotes of that nature -- i.e. material examining the arguments. This article as written is basically unreadable -- it's all "And in the first quarter of 1972, 1.73 percent fewer of species X were used compared to the same period during the previous five years." Not only deadly dull, but really not telling us anything either. I may go in over the next few weeks and start to remove some of this detail, in case anyone notices large chunks disappearing. If I go too far, feel free to revert me. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:30, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Just to clarify, the above wasn't a dig at people who've worked on this. I've added a lot of the details myself. It's been a problem of everyone adding bits here and there, and the cumulative effect being an unintended mass of detail. Then we worry about removing any of it, in case we inadvertently POV the article, so there it sits. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:37, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
As you note, what Newkirk is, is an expert at combating animal testing, that is very different from being an expert on animal testing (which is different again from being an expert in promoting animal testing). I think its really important, SV, that we don't forget that this article is primarily about testing/experimentation and not only about the debate about it. That is certainly an important aspect, but irrespective of its philosophical/moral rights and wrongs, it is a subject that can be described completely neutrally by what it is and how it is used. Those people who do it are the people that can tell us what it is (technically speaking), how many animals are used, what animals are used and what they are used for. In doing that we are not advocating animal testing, we are simply describing it. Newkirk (for example) wouldn't know her embryonic stem cell from her induced pluripotent stem cell, yet these currently define, perhaps, the most medically pertinent use of animals in experiments. I welcome your attempts to improve the article, it certainly can be improved in a lot of areas, but urge you to bear in mind that everything need not be written entirely in terms of pro- and anti-. Animal experimentation is a scientific tool, a number of techniques, as much as it is a social issue. To that end, we should use scientific consensus as our benchmark for reliability and notability. A significant part of this article should describe how it is, not how it should or should not be. Rockpocket 00:38, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
RP, in fairness, we can't leave the details to people who make money from animal testing. We have to tell all sides, and that includes Newkirk's. People who use animals aren't necessarily experts in animal testing as a subject, particularly not in the way a researcher from one of the anti-vivisection societies is likely to be. The fact is that we have strong views in its support (which includes highlighting certain facts and not others, presenting facts in a particular way, using a certain vocabulary), and we have strong views against (which involves the same presentation issues), and we have to steer a steady course between them, while retaining a readable narrative. We've not managed to do that, understandably because it's not easy, not to mention time-consuming. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:47, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
I deleted the Newkirk quote. It sat in the "Regulation" section next to the debate about IACUC reliability. The quote said "I don’t think dominion means exploitation. It may come with a responsibility to look after and protect, the way the Queen had dominion over Canada. That didn’t allow for her to put electrodes in its citizens’ heads and test floor polish on Canadians. It was a protectorate, and isn’t that what we are supposed to be? Protectors and not big bullies." I didn't find it particularly relevant to animal testing - particularly because it doesn't even mention animals directly.
Slimvirgin, animal rights groups are much much much more directly tied to income derived from opposing animal testing, than scientists, governments, and medical/veterinary groups are. The animal rights groups, as you know and repeat here often, start their arguments by saying you cannot assume good faith from anyone legally involved in the process. I receive grant funding to perform animal testing, and other grant income for human testing, and I try to steer my course so my research maximally benefits biomedical research. Sometimes that uses animals, other times not. --Animalresearcher (talk) 17:00, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
AR, we've had an unwritten rule on WP for the last year or so that people shouldn't try to claim personal credentials unless they're willing to have them verified. So please either give us your name so we can check the credentials, or please stop arguing on the basis of personal knowledge.
The fact remains this article must reflect the various POVs on animal testing and not the POV of the group of researchers that uses animals and that benefits personally and professionally from their use. We wouldn't rely entirely on the nuclear weapons industry for our articles about nuclear weapons, or entirely on ALF sources for our article on the ALF, or entirely on the White House for articles about George Bush. It's just that simple principle that I'm emphasizing here. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:10, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Slimvirgin, there is no way, for very obvious reasons, I am giving my credentials to you. There are enormous potential repercussions, and I don't have 100% confidence you are trustworthy with my identity. If Rockpocket wants to "verify" me, he can post an anonymously redirected email address here, and I will email my CV to that email from my work address. It will show that I run an animal testing lab, that I have engaged in animal testing as my primary profession for almost two decades, that I sit on an IACUC, and that I have been employed at some of the most controversial sites conducting animal testing in the USA. However, I must ask that my place of work, as well as my identity, and all past places of work, not ever be posted to Wikipedia or any public forum as the result of my sending my CV for verification. As to the debate below, I am staying out of it, I come here to work on issues relating to encyclopedia entries, and not to debate animal testing with people who are inflexibly opposed to it. --Animalresearcher (talk) 18:17, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
That is unnecessary, additions to articles depend only on the sources cited, your real-life identity is irrelevant. Although I edit under my real name, I know many other editors who guard their anonymity very carefully. Tim Vickers (talk) 18:28, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Real-life ID is directly relevant if people keep trying to use their personal credentials to control content. Animalresearcher, I don't want your ID; what I am requesting is that you stop trying to use personal knowledge -- then your ID won't matter. Though I should add if your privacy matters to you, you might want to stop editing while logged out. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:26, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
First of all, I have not edited while logged out for many months, and never did it intentionally to begin with. Slimvirgin's continued accusations to the contrary border on obsessive and slander. I have no issue with doing all my editing with my current WIKI ID. Secondly, there are often things that may be cited, but are obvious outright lies to people who actually work in animal testing. For example, Slimvirgin included a citation that claimed (without further reference) that chimpanzees in research facilities came in part from circuses, animal trainers, and zoos (animal testing in non-human primates page). The truth is that no new chimps have come into research labs in the USA since the breeding ban in 1996, and the VAST majority of the chimps in research labs in the USA were purpose bred, and anyone could find this out in five minutes on the internet (and it would be obvious to anyone familiar with the animal testing situation in the USA), However, that did not keep Slimvirgin from reverting that change multiple times, assuming that the New England anti-vivisection society was a "BETTER" reference than the multiple references I suppled. --Animalresearcher (talk) 22:19, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Sources/POV[edit]

Animal experimentation is a technique like any other in the laboratory. Nobody would say that scientists benefit personally from gel electrophoresis or enzyme assays, and that their contributions to these articles is suspect due to an imagined POV. We are paid to provide useful knowledge, not on the basis of what techniques we employ. Your argument is based on a misunderstanding. Tim Vickers (talk) 17:19, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
The animal-testing industry is worth an enormous amount of money, and that's not even to factor in research grants. The people who defend it are almost invariably people who are involved in it, and people who are earning money as a result of it, whether it's by receiving salaries, grants, or money from customers who buy equipment. Their POV and their vocabulary cannot be allowed to overwhelm this article. No POV can be allowed to overwhelm it. That is my only argument. The difference between the animal-testing and other POVs is that the former is seen by some people who have edited this page as the default position -- to the point where they don't even see it as a POV -- whereas the anti-testing POV always clearly stands out as such. The only solution to that is mindfulness on everyone's part.
But my main point, as I said above, is not the POV issue, but that the article is unreadable, because it's too heavy on unnecessary detail, and lacks a narrative. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:26, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the article is too long. One way to approach this would be to summarise the general outline of the regulatory process that is common to the countries we discuss, and move the details of the regulations to a sub-article. Tim Vickers (talk) 17:49, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
I think Tim's point is important to remember. That an expert neurologist decides that a legal, regulated experiment using an animal is best to answer a scientific question does not make him unreliable in describing that experiment. He is the expert neurologist, he should know the details of the experiment and the goal is the answer the biological question, not experiment on an animal for the sake of it. If that was the case then we could not use any scientific literature to describe any scientific technique. It would be the equivalent of suggesting that we should consider George Bush as much as expert as on somatic cell nuclear transfer as Rudy Jaenisch, because he has spent time opposing it. George Bush is notable for opposing it, but he is not an expert on it. Likewise, Newkirk is an expert at opposing animal testing but she is not an expert on it. That is not to say everyone who could be considered an expert supports it, consider Gill Langley for example. My argument is simply that its important to distinguish animal testing as a technique from animal testing as a cause/social issue. Both need to be covered here, but those that are experts in one are not necessarily an expert in the other, and vice versa. Rockpocket 18:56, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Okay, this isn't the place to debate these issues, but I'll just give one very simple example.
You're engaging in research into neuroplasticity. You design some experiments whereby certain things are done to animals, and you kill them afterwards and look at their brains to see whether the behavior caused any physical change. In the meantime — let's say unknown to you, the professor — the animals are being kicked, kept locked in tiny cages, forced to listen to blaring radios and shouting technicians, are terrified, traumatized, or perhaps just extremely bored. You can paint your own scenario.
The anti-testing argument is that the animals' environment has introduced so many variables of such an extreme nature that you can no longer trust the animal to act as a model for anything. (Rat Park is an example: give rats a horrible life and they take drugs; give them a nicer one, and they don't. So what useful thing can you possibly deduce from the drug use of rats kept in tiny cages, bored out of their minds?) So you kill the neuroplasticity animal, look at the brain, and the question remains, like a giant pink elephant in the room: how do you know that the behavior you forced the animal to engage in caused the changes in the brain that you found, and that the other factors didn't — or that some unknown combination of your experiment and the other factors wasn't responsible? It is largely for reasons such as this that critics argue animal testing is inherently unscientific.
The scientists who engage in and support animal testing often seem to have to suspend their own critical faculty to justify it. We end up with arguments about how experiment A led to the development of drug B, when in fact all we know is that experiment A was one of the things that preceded the development of drug B. The exact causal relationship is often entirely unknown, with no evidence whatsoever that drug B necessitated experiment A. (This faulty logic is noticeable in our lead, and should really be changed.)
Because this is the backdrop to most of the criticism, you can't say -- we have the science on the one hand, which should be our main focus and we should trust the scientists as sources for it, and the criticism on the other. The two are inextricably linked. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:44, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
The other thing I've found pretty disturbing is that scientists who dismiss animal testing are immediately regarded as unreliable sources! You can be doing your animal research on Monday after 30 years in the industry, and Wikipedia will welcome you with open arms as a reliable source. But publish an anti-testing paper on Tuesday, and it's "Hey, this guy's a bit of jerk / an animal-rights supporter / nearing retirement / his paper wasn't published in a peer-reviewed journal!" Anything to ensure that all-things-scientific = support for animal testing. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:54, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
In reply to your question "how do you know that the behavior you forced the animal to engage in caused the changes in the brain that you found, and that the other factors didn't — or that some unknown combination of your experiment and the other factors wasn't responsible?" - parallel experimental controls. In experiments you change one variable and control for the rest. Tim Vickers (talk) 21:56, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Right, and that's never done. You don't conduct an experiment (a) with the animal being kicked by technicians, and then repeat it (b) without the animal being kicked by technicians. And on and on throughout the long list of variables. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:14, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, anyone who didn't provide suitable controls would get their research rejected at the peer review process and thus we wouldn't use it as a source. Which kind of reinforces the point that those who are not familiar with scientific method often use those arguments. Its interesting that, among the anti lobby, those who are experts tell a somewhat different story. Gill Langley told The Guardian, "I would never claim that all animal experiments are without scientific value," though she still opposes it on principle. Blanket opposition to animal experimentation on the grounds of scientific value is simply not an informed argument, which is why uninformed people like Newkirk make it, but people like Langley do not. Likewise, most scientists would never claim that all animal experiments are with scientific value. There are lots of animal experiments that deserve criticism on that basis and plenty of scientists who do experiment on animals make those criticisms. That is what the peer review process is about. A person that accepts animal testing is acceptable in principle is no less scientifically critical of animal testing than one, like Langley, who does not. This is why is important we use informed scientists as sources for those sort of arguments and not just advocates.
Scientists that, in general, "dismiss" animal testing are no more or no less reliable as those that "promote" it. Both are forms of advocacy and should be treated as such. But its inherently flawed logic to assume that scientist describing an experiment using an animal is "promoting" animal testing. They are not. Rockpocket 23:11, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
That is very much the argument the expert antis use, RP. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:27, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
No, SlimVirgin, parallel controls are always done. No experiment is ever done without controls, it just wouldn't be meaningful. You compare the animals in the experimental group to the control group, and both groups are housed together under the same conditions. Any biological effects from how the animals are housed or fed will apply equally to the control and experimental groups, and are therefore accounted for in the experiment. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:24, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Tim, have you read serious material written in criticism of animal testing? The way the animals are treated is not something you could have a control group for. As in -- this is the group not being kicked and therefore less stressed? It doesn't even make any sense. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:27, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Like Tim, I've never met any scientist that would use that argument, irrespective of philosophical opinion on animal experimentation. But if you can find one published in a reliable source then lets use them as a source of scientific criticism, rather than non-experts like Newkirk. Rockpocket 23:30, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't know how to answer this because it's one the key arguments. Pietro Croce, for example (former vivisector for many years in Italy, U.S. and Spain), talks about how Nazi experiments on Jews were useless scientifically (leaving the morality aside) because people torn from their families, transported in cattle trucks, kept starving in close confinement and in terror, aren't going to respond in the way people not so treated would respond. He raises the comparison to highlight the nonsense of experimenting on animals kept in environments that terrify them, or expose them to extreme boredom or other stress. As he says, "One does not have to be an expert to realize that a sick organism is not the same as a healthy one. Even the simplest illness changes many (if not all) biochemical parameters, in ways that can be quantified and even in ways beyond our ability to quantify." Any pointers such experiments might offer are "too vague to be valid in scientific terms ..." (Vivisection or Science, 1999, pp. 98-104). SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:00, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
I realise you might not have much experience of scientific research, so take a simple example. You inject bacteria into a set of ten mice. Then you inject either an antibiotic into five of this set of mice, or just water into the other five. The mice are all kept together in the same cage. You compare the course of the disease in the mice without antibiotics (untreated controls), with the course of the disease in the mice that received the drug (experimental group). Any difference between the controls and the experimental group is due to the effect of the drug. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:53, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
But if you increase the complexity even slightly, you'll see that the same model won't hold. How would you deal with the neuroplasticity example I gave above, where individual primates are being handled quite differently -- some roughly, some not, with different individuals reacted differently to the various stressors? How could a researcher, trying to be rigorously scientific, handle the enormous number of variables? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:00, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, some experiments are easy to control, others are more difficult. However, since most toxicology, drug development and disease research are just as simple as I described, you can see that the large majority of animal experimentation is very rigorous and the results reliable. I wasn't disagreeing with the idea that some research will be skewed by studying captive animals (behavioral research being an obvious example), but to go from a minority of complex cases to casting a blanket judgement on the majority of simple experiments is unsound. I'm sure some people do make such erroneous judgments, and their point of view should be included, but this is not an informed opinion. Tim Vickers (talk) 02:14, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
But this gets us right back to the point I raised above. Anyone who disagrees is regarded as "not informed." Professor Croce is a professor emeritus of pathology at the University of Milan, a member of the American College of Pathologists, was in charge of the research labs at the L. Sacco Hospital in Milan for 30 years, and has worked in research labs in various hospitals in the U.S. and Spain. But because he disagrees, he is suddenly not informed. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:24, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Even highly intelligent people sometimes say things that are obviously untrue. As the simple example I explained above shows, much animal testing in vertebrates is perfectly rigorous, which is before you even consider testing in invertebrates - animals that will suffer no stress in captivity. However, if Professor Croce's opinion is notable, it should be included, but even a simple appreciation of the facts disproves his idea. Tim Vickers (talk) 03:48, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Grrrrr. I had just composed an elegant but devastatingly convincing reply that would have completely turned SV into a flag-waving, meat-eating, bunny-slicing vivisector. Sadly, it edit conflicted with Tim's archiving. Now it will never be read and she will remain a thorn in the research establishment's side for a while longer... ;) Rockpocket 19:08, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
We use that archive approach to cut off interesting but off-topic discussions quite a lot on the Evolution talk page! Tim Vickers (talk) 19:36, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Intro to section on regulation[edit]

We need to introduce the section, so that this is not just a list of factoids. Is your objection on the sourcing, the positioning or the content? Tim Vickers (talk) 21:57, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

This is not an article showcasing the animal-testing industry[edit]

The POVing of this page really does have to stop. Tim's latest addition is something you might find on the website of the Research Defence Society:

Animal testing is regulated by law. Generally, regulations set standards on who can perform experiments, and how these experiments are carried out. Although the details of regulations differ between countries, most laws follow the same principles. These internationally-accepted guidelines are called the 3Rs and aim to encourage - replacement of animal experiments where possible, refinement of experiments to minimize suffering, pain or distress, and reductions in the numbers of animals used in experiments.[2]

Tim, you need to make in-text attributions, and please don't write as though what you're saying is widely accepted, when in fact it is widely disputed. Posting pro-POV, then adding anti-POV, has made this article completely unreadable. What is needed is a group of editors who are each willing to write entirely neutrally, as though they're Martians who've landed, with access to a huge library about animal testing, but with no vested interests one way or the other, and who will write in skeptical, disinterested tones.

Who here is willing to try to do that? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:59, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

This is an accurate and neutral description of the 3Rs, which are the internationally-recognised principles behind the regulations. Is your concern that most national laws do not "aim to encourage" the application of the 3Rs? How about:

Animal testing is regulated by law. Generally, regulations set standards on who can perform experiments, and how these experiments are carried out. Although the details of regulations differ between countries, most national regulations follow the same general principles, which are called the 3Rs. These guidelines aim to encourage - replacement of animal experiments where possible, refinement of experiments to minimize suffering, pain or distress, and reductions in the numbers of animals used in experiments.[3]

Tim Vickers (talk) 22:17, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
It isn't neutral. It reads like a piece of advertising, and doesn't actually say anything. Consider:
"SlimVirgin sets standards for her editing behavior. Although those standards may vary from day to day, in general her aim is to encourage excellent editing, discourage incivility, and minimize the pain and distress experienced by editors who encounter her."
So what does that tell you exactly? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:23, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

OK, the first two sentences are unarguable and general. I have added specific citations to support the second two sentences. You can't have a section on the regulation of animal experimentation without explaining the 3Rs, that would be a major omission, and since these are the general principles that introduce the detailed regulations we list later, they should go first. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:30, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Animal testing is regulated by law. Generally, regulations set standards on who can perform experiments, and how these experiments are carried out. Although the details of regulations differ between countries, most national regulations require the application of the same general principles, which are called the 3Rs.[4] The 3Rs aim to encourage - replacement of animal experiments where possible, refinement of experiments to minimize suffering, pain or distress, and reductions in the numbers of animals used in experiments.[5]

The problem is that it doesn't say anything of substance and sounds as though it was written by the industry. How would you feel if I were to introduce the section with (all of which I could find good sources for):

Animal testing is supposedly regulated by law, but in fact the legislation allows as many loopholes as it closes, there are never enough inspectors, their supposedly random visits are often announced in advance, and as a result researchers are legally permitted to poison, drown, burn, and otherwise inflict pain on animals at will, so long as they fill in the right forms.

The page is already very long. We can't keep adding either pro- or anti-waffle. We need to add points of real substance and attribute them in the text. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:48, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

You are right that it could be condensed a little without losing much content - but explaining the 3Rs is vital to understanding what the regulations are trying to achieve. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:07, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Generally, animal testing regulations set standards on who can perform experiments, and how these experiments are carried out. Most national regulations require the application of the same general principles, which are called the 3Rs.[6] The 3Rs encourage - replacement of animal experiments where possible, refinement of experiments to minimize suffering, pain or distress, and reductions in the numbers of animals used in experiments.[7] Although such principles have been welcomed as a step forwards by some animal welfare groups,[8] they have also been criticized as both outdated by current research,[9] and of little practical effect in improving animal welfare.[10]

Comments? Tim Vickers (talk) 00:40, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

No further comments? Tim Vickers (talk) 05:42, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Rewritten and better sources added. Any objections to this new version being added back to the article? Tim Vickers (talk) 18:38, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Added to section on alternatives. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:25, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Removal of paragraph portion on US regulation[edit]

Slimvirgin deleted the following text. "The Health Research Extension Act 1985, which is enforced by the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), requires each scientist or institution that receives federal funds for vertebrate research to have an IACUC. The IACUC is required to ensure research adheres to the standards of the book, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Legally, every vertebrate animal used at an institution that receives federal funds, has its animal welfare regulated to standards that meet or exceed those in the Animal Welfare Act."

I added these sentences because the current text misleads the reader into thinking that purpose-bred birds, rats, and mice, and non-mammal vertebrates, are not covered by law in the USA. However, at any institution receiving federal funds (which is nearly all of them), these species are covered, and are covered to the same set of rules and regulations that govern other mammals specifically mentioned in the Animal Welfare Act. FWIW it would be fine (by me) to have a sentence claiming that animal rights groups have challenged the competence of IACUCs, since that is additionally covered in the sub-page. --Animalresearcher (talk) 22:29, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Writing[edit]

What has happened with this page is that, in truth, no one editing it is an expert in either direction. So what we have all done is cherry-pick our sources, and then slap them onto the page without paying any attention to overall POV, readability, whether there is a narrative that a reader could follow. As a result, we have a very poor and uninformative Wikipedia article.

I just removed a section that was typical. Someone has found some quotes that suited his POV, so in they went, one after another, in a way that made no sense, and which was clearly POV. It would be like me adding quotes from different animal protection groups, saying "Animal testing is very bad," followed by "No, it's very, VERY bad," followed by "We don't like it either!!"

It's in no-one interests to edit like this. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:56, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Look, some of us on this page have been involved in writing featured articles. Can we from now on pretend, with every edit we make, that we're getting the article ready for FAC -- even if we're not? I think if we all start to look at it that way, the problems will come bouncing off the page, and we'll be able to set POV aside and agree about the need to raise the quality. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:01, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
I think, in all honesty, it is very difficult to write about this aspect of animal experimentally both neutrally and attractively. Inevitably the people doing the writing have such fundamentally differing POVs that meeting in the middle tends to come second to he said/she said point and counterpoint. I'm not saying it can't be done, but just that it is very difficult. Rockpocket 23:06, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree it's very difficult, and I don't think this article will ever meet FA standards as a result. But we can do better than this. Constructing entire sections with one block quote after another, all expressing the same POV, and none of the quotes actually saying anything, is unacceptable, as is writing as though the pro-testing position is the default. It should be possible for each of us to step back just a little and adopt a more disinterested style of writing.
One thing we could try -- as soon as any of the (broadly speaking) pro-testing editors on this page find themselves writing something that the pro-testing industry would approve of, please stop and try to change the tone, some of the content, and some of the sources. The editors who are broadly anti-testing should try to do the same. I know this is very hard, and none of us will succeed entirely, but I'm suggesting we give it a shot. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:25, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
I do not see why the article cannot be written with the dominant viewpoint of people who perform animal testing (without blocking other POVs). If you take this analogy to another topic, like, say, baseball, can you imagine having an encyclopedia entry on baseball equally devoted to people who are players and fans on one side, and those who think steroids are corrupting America's youth on the other? The article MUST include a whole lot of very straightforward info on types of experiments, animal numbers, trends over time, legal regulation, scientific findings, etc, and those are by and large nearly objective endeavors. The controversy pertains to a number of key points - is it good science? Should animals have rights? If science does gain, are the gains in science worth the pain and suffering of the animals (no one I know would deny there is pain and suffering in lab animals - but whether that pain/suffering justifies the scientific gains is very debatable). And I am sorry to say I view a lot of the anti-testing matter, such as the debate over IACUC consistency, to be not worth the text used to list it on the pages. That particular Plous article "controversy" has never had an impact on the conduct of, or attitudes towards, testing from the veterinary and government fields. I view it as nothing more than a public relations point that is repeated by animal rights groups often in the hopes that someone will believe it (1991, Ann Rev Neurosci, David Hubel). However, instead of removing it, the only POV accepted change is adding the rebuttal published in science a few issues later. After all, it is listed on at least a half dozen animal rights websites, so it must be highly relevant to animal testing (sarcasm). --Animalresearcher (talk) 23:38, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
The article cannot be written with the dominant viewpoint that of the testers. We do not write about anything controversial from the viewpoint of the people at the center of the controversy, though of course their viewpoint must be included, as must all other significant viewpoints. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:30, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

History section is one sided[edit]

The current History section does not mention any historical objections to animal testing, whereas the linked main article does. So clearly there is a problem. Crum375 (talk) 23:55, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

The section doesn't mention any historical arguments for animal testing either. What it does is summarize how animal testing has been used historically (whether that is a good or necessary thing, whether it is ultimately useful or misleading, whether it is cruel or immoral, is not mentioned either way). It comes down to the same question: are we talking about the history of animal testing as a scientific technique (which is what I originally wrote last year and what that section summarizes) or are we talking about the history of the debate over animal testing? Describing historical experiments neutrally is not the same as advocating them. Rockpocket 00:17, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I think an anti-AT person would probably say that the current History section sounds like a pro-testing advertisement. But in any case, whatever the target — strict description of what AT is, vs. including pro and con arguments — my point was that the linked history section seems to have the wider coverage, while I think they should both have matching scopes. Crum375 (talk) 00:30, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I'll also weigh in slightly on the scope issue. It seems to me that if the scope is strictly what AT is, then we should only mention the techniques used and the types of tests. Once we start mentioning results, or achievements, that gets into the ethical debate of cost vs. benefit. Crum375 (talk) 00:34, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
But therein lies the crux, an experiment with animals is not an end in itself, the results is the whole point of the experiment. It would be utterly uninformative to remove the why from the what:
In the 1880s, Louis Pasteur gave anthrax to sheep. In the 1890s, Ivan Pavlov famously used dogs.... On November 3, 1957 a Russian dog, Laika, was experimented on. In the 1970s, armadillos were used. In 1996 Dolly the sheep was born.
The very nature of science is that successful experiments are reported and unsuccessful ones are not. Thus the notable experiments are the successful ones. There simply are not landmark unsuccessful experiments with animals, because they would not be a landmark if they are unsuccessful. That could mislead readers into thinking that every use of an animal historically was for some important experiment, but that is the very nature of reporting bias. Consider DNA Sequencing#Early methods. We only discuss the reported successful early attempts at sequencing, we do not mention all the failed attempt as sequencing (even though there were many). No-one would ever suggest that, as a consequence, the article reads like a pro-sequencing advertisement. Why is animal testing different? Its important to distinguish the neutral and historical reporting of facts about the practicalities and history of animal testing (sourced reliably) from value judgments, both pro- and anti-, on their value. I think there is a need for both, though whether there is space for both in a single article is open for debate. Rockpocket 01:13, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it makes sense that usually only the successful experiments become notable. But clearly this article is about an emotionally charged issue, because some people consider AT as a cruel and immoral act, while others see it as a necessary step to use one species to promote the health and welfare of another. So we need to start out by explaining what AT is, the various types of tests, and how they are performed, both today and in the past. Then examples can be given about famous experiments. But there has to be a balance between the pro and anti AT views, so once successful results or accomplishments are mentioned, the downside in terms of the animals killed and/or hurt in the process has to be also mentioned. I can see an analogy here — say you talk about a war, you believe that fighting it was justified and the resulting victory was vindication. But you also mention the casualties in terms of soldiers and civilians wounded and killed, as part of the price. You don't just talk about cities and territories taken, and governments capitulating. So I think the same needs to be done here: mention the benefits alongside the costs. To some the costs are expendable cannon fodder, to others they are not. Crum375 (talk) 02:04, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I see your point, but I thought it was kind of implicit that all the experiments mentioned didn't work out too well for the animals ;). I'm not sure its going to be possible to get any reliable perspective on historical "casualties" beyond that those we do have info about were inevitably killed. Classical scientists weren't too bothered about reporting that aspect of their work. However, if there is some way of making that clearer then I'm all for that.
Regarding your analogy, I generally agree. However there is a problem. The human cost of war can be reliably documented, both quantitatively and qualitatively, by humans. They animals cost of animal experimentation can only be quantitatively documented. How much Pavlov's dogs suffered can never be anything other than a matter of opinion. When we document historical experiments the facts are without doubt: leprosy multi-drug antibiotic treatments were developed first in armadillos. The benefit is self explanatory. The quantitative cost? Well, we might be able to source how many armadillos were used in the experiments (though I doubt it). But then what? Anything qualitative is pure speculation and opinion, and if we are going to offer the opinion from some AR advocate that X suggests "the poor armadillos suffered terribly" we could also add the opinion from some AT advocate that Y suggests "they didn't feel pain". Those sorts of arguments offer very little, in terms of reliable information, in comparison to describing the human cost of war. Rockpocket 02:46, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I think I generally agree. So the issue is to try to describe the outcome of the test alongside the cost in terms of animals killed or hurt. Since we can't describe the animals' suffering from first hand accounts, we need to describe the actual procedures performed, to allow the reader to infer that information, unless we have very neutral (or generally pro AT) sources. As to the number of animals used per experiment, if we don't have specific numbers, we can fall back on the global ones, e.g. X number of vertebrates killed per year in the UK. The bottom line is to always present the result or benefit alongside the cost in terms of animals used, even if approximate. Crum375 (talk) 23:35, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Question[edit]

Tim, why did you remove that animals other than mice are used from the genetic modification section? You removed: "Smaller numbers of other animals are also used, including rats, sheep, and pigs." [3] Is it wrong? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:28, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

There are large, well-funded, efforts to make genetically modified rattus and macaca fascicularis models in multiple places. Many who work in genetic modification think this is an important research direction because of limitations in generalizing from rodents to primates. I could probably dig up some citations. The numbers, however, are VERY small compared to the mouse (I'd guess over 1000-fold difference).--Animalresearcher (talk) 08:43, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
How is that an answer to the question? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 09:33, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I just wanted to point out that I saw no reason to remove such a section, because based on what I've seen, there is more than that even. --Animalresearcher (talk) 20:02, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

I removed it since it seemed redundant, if you say mice are the main organism, then it must logically follow that smaller numbers of other organisms are used. The list didn't seen to add much and was backed by a citation to a BBC news article on glow-in-the-dark pigs. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:11, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Toxicology section[edit]

I've created a toxicology section, as I just noticed the one we had got removed at some point. I've used a single Nature article as the main source for now, and they had nothing good to say about it. If anyone can find a source that is less negative, that would be good, though both sides should preferably be woven together, rather than having pro and anti jockeying for position. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:58, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

I found a better review on embryology testing, it's free full-text so anybody can access this. I'll have a look at the ones I can't access at home from work tomorrow. Tim Vickers (talk) 03:04, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Nature writes that, as of 2005, the LD50 test nevertheless accounted for one-third of all animal tests worldwide.
This is problematic. Nature is using the term "animal test" to specifically mean "testing a compound on an animal", rather than as a blanket term for animal experimentation (as we currently do). There is simply no way that LD50 accounts for 1/3 of all animals used in research, which is what we imply by our use of the term. A brief look at the numbers show that does not add up. This highlights a wider concern. Often when the AR lobby quote a scientist regarding criticizing "animal testing" the scientists are referring to the "testing of compounds on animals", rather than animal experimentation in general. As you can see from the Nature article, the scientific establishment is growing more critical of the animal testing paradigms. It might simply be a misunderstanding, but it is a problem that leads to misinterpretation of what scientists actually mean (I strongly suspect that is the basis of Croce's quotes you provided earlier, SV. The full reference is Croce, Pietro, Vivisection or Science? An Investigation into Testing Drugs and Safeguarding Health. London: Zed Books, 1999, so his criticisms appear to be against the testing of drugs in animals, rather than a critique on all animal experimentation. This explains why an apparently well respected scientist would appear to make such uninformed comments.) For this reason I have always been a proponent of having an article on animal testing, describing such things as cosmetic testing, toxicity testing, LD50 etc specifically, and another article on animal experimentation covering those only briefly, plus all other aspects. This has always been vetoed in the past. If we are going to stick with a single article for both its really important that we recognize that the science community do not use the terms interchangeably as we do. Rockpocket 03:20, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
So we need to change that to toxicology testing rather than "animal tests," is that right? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:54, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I just checked Croce and he is talking about animal experimentation/testing in general. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 05:38, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
It must also be applying this term specifically to vertebrates, I'll change this to make it clear and have a look at the text tomorrow. Tim Vickers (talk) 03:28, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Please don't keep changing animals to vertebrates. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs)
This addition is illustrative of the problems. Someone wanted to add something less negative to the toxicology section, which is fine. But this is not a good choice:
"However, as a recent medical review stated "There is no question that animal studies can provide valuable information pertaining to human and animal vulnerability to environmental toxicants at different stages of development",[11] but the assessment of the results of these tests must be balanced by the fact that a negative result in animals does not guarantee safety in humans."
Which medical review? What does it actually say? This gives us no information at all, except that some testing is sometimes valuable in some undetermined way, according to some unnamed review. We need specifics, and we need in-text attribution for any opinion so readers can judge whether they want to believe it without having to go to a library. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:52, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
As I said above, this is a free full-text reference, just click on the blue link in the citation. Tim Vickers (talk) 04:02, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
It isn't fair to ask other people to tidy all your edits. You must say who conducted the review. Also, you're splitting up what source A and source B said in a way that's amounting to OR.
What is the purpose of this sentence (which you appeared by the way you positioned it to attribute Nature): "For example, about half of the chemicals tested on rodents cause cancer, but only 10% of these positive results are from chemicals that can cause cancer in humans. This over-sensitivity is probably due partly to the rapidly-growing animals being more susceptible to cancer, and partly to the high doses used in these tests.[12] SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 04:06, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, it was Nature, it gives the false positve/true positive rate on p145 of the article. Tim Vickers (talk) 04:10, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Xeno[edit]

How about we trash the xenotransplantation section? I really don't see why we should highlight a single field like this. Its poorly sourced and, is of relatively minor significance in terms of numbers. If we are going to focus on a type of experiment, why not transgenesis? At the very least it should be merged into the applied research section. Rockpocket 03:00, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

I've added it to that subsection and found a better source. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 04:07, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Regulations[edit]

I've moved the regulations sections to Animal testing regulations, so the sections can be expanded if necessary. I restored some of the controversy section, because someone had removed almost all of it, and I created two new sub-sections under "Controversy" -- "Alleged abuse" and "Threats to researchers." We should probably only include the most notable incidents, or we'll quickly have a length problem. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:03, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

I did not remove the controversy section. It was noted that nearly every subsection in controversy had its own page. I moved the more full paragraphs to the species-specific pages, and pointers to them included in the animal testing page. This was done over time and with some discussion on the Talk page, as you can plainly see. In fact, it was even argued that when you created the species specific pages, the sections describing details relating to the species were removed from the testing page, whereas the controversy sections were always duplicated (ie: arguably POV editing - why is species specific controversy worth duplicating, but species specific testing info not worth duplicating). I will revert this edit unless I hear a good reason otherwise (here), the controversy section redundantly adds a lot of text to a page already two times longer than recommended. As it is, we still need to find ways to reduce the page length and clean up the page. --Animalresearcher (talk) 08:39, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
AR, you really have to stop removing material that is critical of AT. This section is written in summary style. Summary style does not require one sentence per topic. I would also appreciate it very much if you would stop arguing on talk pages on the basis of your own opinion, and stick more closely to what sources are saying. If you really are in charge of a primate lab (or whatever it was you said about yourself), you arguably stand in a conflict of interest, and so strong sourcing is even more important. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 09:32, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I think it was abundantly clear. When you split off the "animal testing on non-human primates" page, you duplicated each controversy section en todo, although your stated effort was to reduce the page size of the "Animal testing" page to make it more manageable. In addition, almost all of the controversy subsections already had their own WIKI pages. I took the ones that were not already listed on the non-human primate page, and duplicated them with the full length listing that had been on the animal testing page. Then, I removed most of the controversy section, but left a pointer to the controversy section on the non-human primate page, and every pointer to every subsection that had its own page, and a sentence or two summary for each. To be clear, no information was removed from Wikipedia, and nothing was moved more than one click from the animal testing page.
In contrast, when you moved the other non-human primate sections to the "Animal testing on non-human primates" page, you briefly summarized them on the animal testing page, and listed them en todo on the non-human primate page. Obviously you were editing with a double standard towards the controversy sections, and the other animal testing sections, with respect to non-human primates. And that completely defines POV editing when neutral POV material such as animal numbers and types of experiments is reduced and moved to another page, but highly POV material like the controversy section was duplicated en todo.
To replicate that, I similarly moved the controversy sections to the "animal testing on non-human primates" page. I did this after several days of discussion and with the full consent of rockpocket (see the discussions if you don't believe me). I honestly do not think there is a valid argument that my correction of your editing was POV given the history of events, nor was I acting hastily or without broad consensus. --Animalresearcher (talk) 19:03, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Editing[edit]

Tim, would you mind adding your own material instead of editing mine? Then once it's all there we can rewrite for flow. The current chopping things around is leading to poor flow and, I think, some OR too. Also, the normal thing with reporters is simply to name the publication, unless the reporter is well-known, or it's a controversial opinion piece. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 05:37, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Which parts of the article are yours? Tim Vickers (talk) 05:39, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Not parts of the article. What I'm asking is if I write something and you want to add to it, I'd appreciate it if you would simply add to it, and not change my writing and interweave it with your own. It's leading to disjointed writing and looks slightly OR-ish. Once we have both added material and the section is fairly stable, then we can copy edit for flow. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 05:54, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
"If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly, do not submit it.". However, if you want to work on this text privately for a while, shall I move it to User:SlimVirgin/Toxicology for you? Tim Vickers (talk) 17:16, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
This is a wiki, so I can only request that you add material, rather than changing other people's, and I can also only request that material that's added be informative, and not simply bland advertising material trotted out by either side.
The point of the page is to educate people who don't know anything about the subject. That means it has to be readable — because we want them to read it. It also means it has to be educative — so they know more after reading it than before.
That won't happen if the article consists of blockquote after blockquote of statements from groups saying "we love it," or "we hate it." It also won't happen if the writing is too technical or consists of long lists of "In January, 1,230,873 and a half" mice were used, but in February the figure increased by 0.231%." It won't happen if the writing is poor and disjointed, with no flow and no narrative.
I know it's hard to write an article like this well, and I'm not saying I'm in a position to do it myself (or I'd have done it by now). But we can try, which means we have to change our approach, because the current approach hasn't worked.
One thing we are missing is a section on the sourcing of animals. I'm going to try to write something when I have time, but I'll do it summary style here and open up another subpage to keep the length down. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:59, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm glad that you'll allow me to edit what you regard as your text, thank you. However, working on any article in a Wiki will be difficult for you if you object to people changing what you have added. That just isn't how it works, as I'm sure you are aware. Tim Vickers (talk) 17:16, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I have stayed away from this article for a long time, largely because it seemed to me that you had followed me to it (this and others) after our last disagreement. Perhaps you didn't and that was cooincidence. Regardless, it seems to me that it has deteriorated, and it was never very good to begin with (something I'm responsible for as much as anyone else). So all I am seeking here is improvement and a commitment to a high standard of writing and source use. I can only hope that everyone can work on this harmoniously. These tetchy posts don't help toward that end and are incredibly time-consuming. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:47, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Since we both edit widely in this encyclopaedia, we are bound to overlap on some subjects, and this is one where I can make a useful contribution. However, I'm sure you can understand why having your work reverted and being told to "add your material without changing other people's" might get you a little tetchy. I'm sorry if I let any irritation show. I too hope to use high-quality sources and produce good prose. However, I won't be able to do anything constructive if you object to people editing what you have written - that's just going to lead to a waste of everybody's time and effort.
We can work constructively on this. Your writing is approachable and explains the anti position very clearly, but is based on the popular literature, so misses some of the technicalities and modern techniques involved. I write well on the science, but am sometimes blind to my POV and may assume too much background from a general reader. If we both add to this, and both edit each other's text, we should be able to combine the best of both worlds. However this requires collaboration, not confrontation, and in particular more rewriting and fewer simple reverts. Are you willing to collaborate on improving this article? Tim Vickers (talk) 18:20, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Reply

Yes, I'd like to collaborate on it with you. But first I'd like to make sure we're on the same page when it comes to sources, and deciding who our audience is. My apologies for the length of this. Long talk-page comments are very annoying, but I just feel I have to spell this out.

Sources

You wrote above something about my using "popular" sources, even though the sources I used were quite varied (from Nature to USDA, to newspapers, to the HSUS). So what I assume you mean is that I'm using secondary sources, and not primary ones. (But if you meant something else, please say.)

We have to rely on secondary sources in an article like this because it's so contentious. There is absolutely nothing about animal testing that is not seriously disputed by reliable sources. In fact, this is probably one of the most contentious articles on Wikipedia. The only reason there's not more fighting on it is you have to do quite a bit of detailed reading to keep up, and most people don't want to do that.

I could very easily go to a university library now and come back with enough primary-source material to fill this page with horror upon horror. Obviously, that would be OR and unacceptable.

Therefore, I think it makes sense to discuss what kinds of sources we're aiming to focus on. Almost all sources will be regarded as propagandists by the other "side." And it's worth noting that there are more than two sides here -- there's (1) pro-testing (and different degrees of support for it); (2) anti-testing based on the argument that it's unscientific, but with little concern for the animals; (3) anti-testing because of animal welfare, which means it's okay to use them but you have to treat them better; and (4) anti-testing because it's regarded as inherently and always immoral. And a thousand variations on those themes.

Given that all sides may be seen as propagandists by someone, the way I approach this is I'm willing to use any reliable source who has something informative to say; and I try not to use any source, no matter how authoritative, if all they're going to do is waffle.

Audience

Wondering who the informative sources are leads into asking who our audience is. Who do we want to inform? Answering that will determine what kind of information we offer them.

This page is going to be read largely by people who know little or nothing about animal testing. They may be reading for private interest, or may be writing an essay on it -- for college, school homework or whatever. This page is unlikely to be used by anyone engaged in serious research, and if it is, it will be only for the purpose of finding other sources.

None of these groups wants to see very detailed information here. No one cares if the UK used 1,346,908 mice in 2003, but slightly increased that in 2004. The generalist doesn't want that level of detail. The specialist won't trust our figures and will look them up for himself. So by writing in that very detailed way, we make the page hard to read, and we alienate ourselves from our natural readership.

What does the audience want to know?

They want to know what animal testing consists of, who does it, why they do it, where they do it, and what they do it with. We have to try to find the most interesting ways of expressing this -- not necessarily the stuff industry sources produce for the general public, which would put you to sleep in a minute because it often boils down to "$X million spent last year fighting breast cancer to save your Auntie Jane!" This is the stuff I very much want to avoid.

I would like us to collaborate on finding way to make the issues come alive for the reader, by identifying the key points to cover, and then using the most informative and least defensive sources on all sides to shed light on those points. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:12, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Excellent. I'm highly encouraged by that. I meant by "popular" sources - articles in the popular press and non-academic sources. (Nothing about primary/secondary, which is quite an uninformative way of approaching sources anyway) There is a great deal published information on what is done, how it is done and what results have been achieved in the academic literature, this is factually highly-reliable but has its own POV. We need to use this to source much of the factual material on the science, since this is most authoritative on that aspect. These publications are however no more or less reliable on morality/ethics than any other.
As an example, if we want to discuss anesthesia in toxicology testing. An academic source would be preferable to support an statement that "anesthesia changes how the body detoxifies chemicals." eg PMID 2760837, but would be no better than anything else on if experiments without anesthesia are morally justifiable. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:29, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I find the primary/secondary distinction very useful. It's a useful tool for checking how likely we are to be doing OR and inadvertently POV pushing -- and by that I mean putting sources together in a way that's painting our own picture, rather than reproducing the picture others are painting for us. It's the latter we need to be doing. We're here as glorified stenographers, and not as researchers or journalists.
Yes, I agree if we want to discuss an issue that is purely a matter of science, then it's best to use academic sources. But there are very few, if any, such issues that will arise on this page, in part because we don't want to get technical and detailed, and in part because just about everything is disputed -- either the facts themselves, or the way the facts are used. So I think we need to be constantly checking with secondary sources that our use of primary sources is legitimate, if we use them at all. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:48, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I prefer to cite reviews where I can, this acts as a "crap filter" and ensures you get a balanced view of a field. Those are tertiary sources right? Data = primary, Journal articles interpreting data = secondary, reviews interpreting articles = tertiary. Everybody seems to have their own definitions! Tim Vickers (talk) 01:51, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
The definitions do shift, because it's a question of proximity to the event. The closer a writer is to the event, the more of a primary source that person is about that event (I'm calling writers "sources" here -- some Wikipedians insist that only documents are sources, but that needn't bother us here). So the researchers who perform an experiment are primary sources regarding that experiment (or their papers are primary sources, depending on which way you want to look at it). Secondary sources are people, articles, books discussing those experiments.
Tertiary sources are encyclopedias and similar that give a broad overview of all the other material. They are good to use to judge notability and relevance -- if something is so mainstream as to hit the Encyclopaedia Britannica, there's no excuse to ignore it. But they're not much use for anything else, because almost everything they publish needs to be checked independently of them -- unless you're using them only to show that something is very established. For example, I used the EB as a source for my definition of "vivisection," because I didn't want anyone arguing that it was source-dependent and that others sources would disagree. So I chose an authoritative tertiary source to nail it down, and made sure I found an informed secondary source who agreed, so the tertiary source wasn't standing alone. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:04, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Fact-value[edit]

If I may interject one just point. I think there may be something here that is a bone of contention between those with different POVs, and it may be an opportunity for us to resolve it. I think the problem us thus: in Wikipedia when we are discussing topics related to science and biomedicine, the primary and secondary sources (as moderated, reviewed and accepted by the scientific consensus) are encouraged as reliable sources. Scientists are experts at science, and thus we are happy to source their publications as references for our information. Conflicting minority scientific (and occasionally pseudo- or non-scientific) views are reported as such per WP:UNDUE. Since the scientific necessity for regulated animal testing is the overwhelming scientific consensus opinion, its tempting to argue that that the same should happen on this subject. Its clear to that this would not be neutral when discussing the issue of animal testing. However, neither can we simply treat the scientific consensus as entirely unreliable because a minority says so. My request, then, is that we meet somewhere in the middle. We should not be giving equal weight to activists and expert scientists when discussing the technicalities and practicalities of science. We should not be countering a published descriptions of a scientific techniques or findings with someone with no qualifications other than that they love animals for the sake of balance (I'm thinking this is mostly relevent to the "types of test" section). But by the same token, neither should we confuse technical expertise with expertise on the issues. Ingrid Newkirk is as much of an expert on the issues associated with animal experimentation as any scientist publishing in Nature (as SV is fond of pointing out).
I appreciate that is is not always easy to distinguish the practicalities from the issues (sometimes the practicalities are the issues!), and there will always be areas of conflict, but if we can at least come to some sort of understanding about this on principle, then I feel that much of the conflict between the POV could be resolved. Rockpocket 02:16, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
In my opinion, sections such as "Types of tests" and "Alternatives to animal testing" are purely scientific questions. What is done and what can be done is a factual matter on which there is data. This is the area science covers. "Controversy" deals with the actions of the groups opposed to testing (which should give more weight to mainstream organisations such as RSPCA), and "The arguments in brief" addresses moral issues and is where the facts are put into context and discussed from a philosophical viewpoint. Tim Vickers (talk) 02:26, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
The RSPCA is not an anti-testing organization per se; in fact, I don't even know what their position on testing is nowadays, because it changes depending on who's in control. The specialists are e.g. the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection.
I think the difficulty I'm having is in seeing an example of an issue that would be purely a scientific one -- because either the issue itself will not be a matter of science alone, or the context in which it is used won't be, or the language in which it is expressed won't be. Rockpocket, can you give an example of the kind of issue you had in mind -- a real one from the page (this or a previous version of it)? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:38, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
My comments were more aimed at finding common ground to move forward, rather than a criticism of things are they are. I don't think there is a huge problem in the article as is, it was more of a general comment about whether primary/secondary scientific references are appropriate as sources for facts, rather than as POV. For example, the entire "Types of tests" section currently cites scientific studies almost exclusively because its purpose is to document what scientists do and why they do it. I think its perfectly acceptable that these are used and not discounted as biased, or needing to be "balanced" by a AR version of why scientists kill animals. While I don't think that is what you are suggesting, SV, that might be inferred from the idea that scientist publications need to be treated as a pro-POV opinion and balanced by anti-POV opinion. All the other sections absolutely require anti-perspective (even the 3RR section, since that is widely criticizes as no more than lip-service). Rockpocket 03:14, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
RP, I think I would indeed argue that, in this context, scientific publications needs to be treated as pro-POV. That's because almost any way they could be used is going to throw up a bias. For example, our lead states "Many major developments that led to Nobel Prizes involved research on vertebrates, including the development of penicillin (mice), organ transplant (dogs), and work on poliomyelitis that led to a vaccine (mice, monkeys)." We don't cite the original papers, but supposing we had for the sake of this argument. That sentence, while true, is POV, fallacious (post hoc ergo propter hoc), and misses the entire point of the opponents' argument, which is that the animal experiments may have been either unnecessary or slowed the work down. Yet when I tried to point that out at the time this was written, I was buried under a sea of "but they're just facts." My argument was then, and is now, that there are no such thing as "just facts" when it comes to this subject. As I wrote earlier, I could go to a university library now and come back with a ton of horrible "just facts" to insert into this article, and POV it entirely against animal research by using only the scientists' own words. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 05:36, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps we are not as close to agreeing as I thought. The sentence you cite is, as you say, "true". Its a rock solid, undeniable, verifiable fact. While the original papers would not be much use as a source for winning the Nobel prize, it would be entirely acceptable as a source for the development of penicillin using mice. Yet despite acknowledging its accuracy, you then state its POV? Why, because it "misses the entire point of the opponents' argument". Don't you think the opponents arguments should fit the facts, rather than adjust the facts to suit an argument? Stating that animal testing resulted in X, Y and Z (a fact) is simply not the same as stating X, Y and Z could not have happened without animal testing (an argument). If your point is that the fact is true, but it is being used in a misleading way, then perhaps you have a point. Its not a valid argument for the use of animals in research (as you note, using it as justification is an example of post hoc ergo propter hoc) but where do we say it is an argument for necessity? I don't see that argument being made in the article. I see a statement indicating the ubiquity of animal tests, their role in the history of biomedicine and the respect they are given by the scientific community, all important points to summarize. If you wish to state the opinion they "may have been either unnecessary or slowed the work down" (an argument), we could do that no problem. But then we should state the opposing argument: that it was necessary and it sped the work up. That - not the statement of fact you cite - is the pro-testing POV. Rockpocket 06:13, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
What I'm arguing is that the fact-value distinction is being ignored when people put certain facts forward in support of animal testing.
That mice were used to develop penicillin is a fact. But why is it being mentioned? Animals were used to develop almost everything, including all the good and all the bad and all the useless. The penicillin example is being singled out in order to say: "We all need penicillin, and animal testing was used to get it. Therefore, animal testing provided it for us [this is the fallacious step]. Support animal testing! [this is the value]"
In other words, dead mice = live human beings = hurrah! But that is nowhere shown in this example, because maybe the mice part was unnecessary.
Where is the evidence that the use of animals was necessary or sped the work up? And if there is evidence in this particular case, is there sufficient evidence in all the other cases that are frequently cited by the industry? How could there be evidence? No one has run a controlled study whereby two groups unknown to each other were racing to find penicillin -- one group using animals, the other not.
My point is that just about any fact you use, no matter how solid, is being used to support or to oppose. Would you support this sentence in the lead (assuming for the sake of argument that it is factual): "Over 50 million vertebrate animals were blinded, burned, poisoned, drowned, and dissected in U.S. laboratories last year." No, because you would want to say there's another side to it. Well, that's all I'm arguing here -- there is another side to the sentence "Mice were used in the development of penicillin," but we were not allowed to add that other side to that paragraph. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 06:41, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree. With this kind of contentious issue, I think every section, and ideally even every paragraph, have to reflect the opposing POVs. So if there is a statement about benefits of AT, it has to be balanced by costs, in terms of animals killed or injured. This is especially important in the lead, that summarizes the entire article. Crum375 (talk) 06:53, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
All I wanted in that paragraph was literally a few words along the lines of "but opponents of animal testing argue that the use of animals in such studies may be unnecessary and may even slow the research down," with a link to a good source who argues this. But it wasn't allowed, and the result is (as I see it) a POV lead, and one embodying a fallacy. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 07:02, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, it's a wiki. ;^) Crum375 (talk) 07:04, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I recall that several of us tried for quite some time, but we were reverted a lot, so we gave up. My "ownership" of the article obviously isn't as tight as it could be. Tongue.png SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 07:10, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
It is owned by the Foundation, and the Foundation wants NPOV, which means every paragraph, if at all possible, needs to be balanced, especially with a contentious subject. Crum375 (talk) 07:15, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I was always more concerned about the fallacy than the POV. It would be (almost) like starting an article on Feminism with "all male Nobel prize winners have been married" (implication: you couldn't have done it without the women!) I'm exaggerating a little here, because I can't think of a close analogy, but it's along those lines. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 07:21, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I think that NPOV, V and NOR, when applied properly, will tend to expose obvious fallacies. Crum375 (talk) 07:25, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
And what I am saying is that there are two sides, advocacy and criticism, one either side of that neutral fact. You appear to be seeing all content in this article as being expressed "in support of" or "in opposition". That is an inherently issue-based perspective of animal testing. Look at other articles about scientific techniques. Their articles describe the technique, describe its use and describe its history. Then there may be a section on criticism and controversy, but every single factual sentence is not considered to be promotion that needs to be countered by an argument. We don't describe "all the good and all the bad and all the useless" uses of other techniques, we describe ones that had an impact in the field of science and the ones that the other sources describe as notable. In those articles the facts are not being used to support or oppose, they are being used to describe. That is what I have been trying to bring to this article - a description of what animal testing is.
It is not neutral to consider this article only from the viewpoint that it is an issue. It clearly is an important issue, and there obviously should be much greater coverage of that than in comparable articles on scientific techniques, but for better or worse it is also an integral aspect of experimental science that can be described neutrally. A good encyclopaedia article has to cover all aspects of animal testing, not just the debate. Rockpocket 07:39, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree that we need to describe what AT is, and how it's done. When we get to results or benefits, that has to be balanced with costs in terms of animals killed or hurt. I think that's NPOV. Crum375 (talk) 07:44, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
RP, the issue of Nobel prizes was added to the lead for a reason, and not because it is purely factual. It was added to say animal testing is a good thing. That is why people (not you) fought so hard to keep out the other POV.
The scientific or the pro-testing position(s) are not the default. There is no default position. Everything about the subject is controversial and polarizing, and this article should reflect that. Not "Here's X's list of arguments, and here's Y's" because that leads to articles that can be hard to read, but by weaving the different positions as intelligently as we can throughout the text. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 08:00, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not saying the pro-testing position is default, I'm saying the consensus description of a fact is default and should not be treated like an argument per se. Your argument is like saying the scientific consensus on evolution experiments is not default and needs to be countered by the intelligent design position lest it sounds like we are promoting evolution. Neither am I suggesting we completely separate the science from the debate, we can weave them together in a appealing and informative way. What I am saying is that every statements of fact describing animal testing is not necessarily an argument for it, and should not always be interpreted as such if it doesn't explicitly say so.
But how would you feel if I were to add a bunch of facts to the lead that would animal testing look bad, but that really were just straightforward facts e.g. as I said above, "last year 50 million animals were burned, drowned, poisoned, suffocated, and dissected in the U.S." Assuming that is true and we had a source, you still wouldn't allow it. All I'm trying to argue is that facts that seem innocuous, straightforward, default, may not look that way if you don't hold a pro-testing POV. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 09:23, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Regarding that statement specifically. I'm not a big fan of citing Nobel Prize winning experiments as a badge of honour and I can see how it gives that impression (I have met a number of Nobel Prize winners and they range from genius to otherwise unremarkable, but lucky). What I consider to be important in that sentence is two aspects: That the scientific consensus accepts scientific merit of animal testing, and that it is so widely used that it is involved in almost aspect of science. That sentence (and the one prior) is one way of making those points, if we could make them in a way that you consider to be less promotional, then I would be happy to see that.
Yes, these are important points and informative. Who won a Nobel prize doesn't really have anything to do with animal testing. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 09:23, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with offering commentary about this in the lead either, but if we are going to offer criticism, I also think we should offer an advocate's opinion. That is, if we are going to suggest that some consider it unnecessary and restricting advances (and it could indeed), then we should also note that some consider it to be essential to driving advances (again, it could indeed). Both of those are unknowns, because the status quo does not permit us to test them and both summarize the different interpretations of what the facts of animal testing mean for further biomedical research. Rockpocket 08:40, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I agree, and we could include those arguments without reference to Nobel prizes. What if we found out that 200 scientists who had once tested on animals were charged with wife battery last year? I'm using an extreme example to illustrate the point that there are all kinds of facts about the science and the scientists that would put animal testing in a very poor light. But those are not in the lead, and rightly so. Look at the wars we had over whether to say in the lead that most animals are killed after the experiments. Every fact that sheds a good light is allowed in. Every fact that sheds a negative light we have had to fight tooth and nail for. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 09:23, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Just to clarify -- none of the above is a criticism of you personally. You've always been good to work with on this page, as on others. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 09:25, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
It might help separate the heat from the light to substitute a different experimental technique and see how a sentence sounds. "Enzyme assays are a central part of in modern biochemistry, and the data they provide has been essential in discoveries as diverse as identifying how the body uses food in cellular respiration, to how hormones act as signals." I can source all those statements to reliable sources, but is this a NPOV sentence? How would you re-write it to make it NOPV if you disagree? Tim Vickers (talk) 17:02, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not clear about the point of the example. The argument here is that, in a subject as controversial as animal testing, almost all facts will signal a value — either in themselves, or by the way they're expressed, or by the context in which they are used. How does your example support or refute that argument? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:46, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
If we can decide on how to present a scientific technique about which none of us have any strong feelings, this will inform our decision on issues where people's judgement is less dispassionate. A good test for NPOV is to substitute in a subject that arouses no strong feelings and see if the sentence still sounds sensible. Tim Vickers (talk) 19:52, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Enzyme assays are absolutely central to modern biochemistry, and, contrary to the ill-informed speculation of critics, the data they provide has been essential in discoveries as important as identifying how the body uses food in cellular respiration, to how hormones act as signals.
  • Enzyme assays are a controversial part of biochemistry, the data they provide does not always reflect what occurs in the body and their use has been strongly resisted by protein rights activists.
Tim, I see what you're trying to do, but the strong feelings are the whole point of the argument, so if you remove them, the point is missed. What am I saying is that animal testing is so controversial that it is almost impossible to use a fact that doesn't incorporate a value at the same time -- by its placement, by the words used, or in and of itself.
Any analogy that isn't a controversial issue misses that fundamental point.
A better analogy would be found if we were to look at another controversial issue. Imagine Wikipedians writing about the slave trade while it was still ongoing. Use the word "negro" and maybe you're supporting it. Use the word "African American," and you're making a clear political point. Use the word "African," and maybe you're saying these people don't below in America. Use the word "black" and -- well, I don't know, but you take the point. When things become controversial, everything becomes tinged by opinion -- words and facts become infected -- and the key to writing about these issues well is to get it all out in the open, even in our own minds. We have to make ourselves completely conscious of our own biases, and the way our language reflects them and serves to hide them, even from ourselves. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 20:24, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
That seems completely the wrong way to approach it. As you said earlier "What is needed is a group of editors who are each willing to write entirely neutrally, as though they're Martians who've landed, with access to a huge library about animal testing, but with no vested interests one way or the other, and who will write in skeptical, disinterested tones." Any strong feelings are irrelevant to the article and should be excluded entirely from our judgments. I know that what you are saying is that it will be hard to do this, and this is a very difficult issue for some people, but we must try to ignore the controversy. Tim Vickers (talk) 20:35, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree, but we have to always bear in mind that our own language and what we see as a relevant facts will interfere with that neutrality. That's really my only point. For example, if it were up to me, I would call animals "non-human animals" throughout, or at least on first reference, whereas you want to say "vertebrates." My subtext is: "We're animals too!" Yours is: "Most experimental animals are fruit flies!" SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 20:49, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I would agree with both uses in the appropriate place, not because of sub-text but because it is accurate. Mixing technical and non-technical uses of words leads to misinterpretation and can be misleading. You allege we wish to say "vertebrate" because the sub-text is "most experimental animals are fruit flies". Absolutely. Most experimental animals are fruit flies, so to say mice are the most tested on animal is simply misleading. By the same rationale, I would agree with the use of "non-human animal". Again, because humans are animals (technically speaking). It comes down the the same problem: information needs to be described accurately. There is no excuse for providing misleading information simply because a reader might infer something is unwritten. Rockpocket 21:12, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
In general the language should be as precise as possible. You don't say "animal welfare groups oppose" when the RSPCA does not oppose, instead you say "anti-vivisection groups oppose" nor say "research in animals has raised serious ethical concerns" when experiments on nematodes raise no such concerns, instead you say "research in vertebrates has raised serious ethical concerns". Precision is key and also assists in maintaining NPOV be preventing inaccurate generalisations. Tim Vickers (talk) 21:04, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Non-human vertebrates would be more precise than vertebrates, but you'd call it POV. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:06, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
No, I'm quite open to that formulation. I tend to agree with Singer that species boundaries are entirely arbitrary when discussing morality. Tim Vickers (talk) 21:08, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
For the longest time, I wasn't even able to write "non-human primate" on Wikipedia without someone deleting it as POV. I had to keep providing sources showing that the animal-testing industry uses the expression itself. We have the same issue with "euthanize." The simplest word is "kill," but pro-testing editors want to use "euthanize" to blur that. But on PETA, when they killed a bunch of cats (apparently) unnecessarily, anti-AR editors were insisting that the word "kill" be used, even though PETA was saying "euthanize." :-) SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:24, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Either is better than the absurd formulation "sacrifice", which always raises images of the Indiana Jones films for me. I welcome the use of "non-human primate", since humans are certainly primates. Precision, precision, precision. Tim Vickers (talk) 21:32, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Name of researcher[edit]

In the Threats to researchers section, is there a reason we don't name the researcher? His name was in all the press articles about this, as I recall. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:59, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

If he or she was named in the reliable sources, then I see no reason why not. Though I do have an issue with a link to a site that published a private individual's phone number and address for the obvious purpose of encouraging harassment. Rockpocket 19:16, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Bingo!--Animalresearcher (talk) 19:58, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I think it was Animalresearcher who added the link and the name of the group, as he's the one who wrote that section, so far as I know. But yes, the name was published by reliable sources, which we link to, yet don't name him ourselves. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:17, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Would naming the victim add anything useful to the article? Tim Vickers (talk) 00:23, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, information. :-) It just looks a bit odd without it. We give quite a bit of detail, so it's very noticeable that we don't name the researcher -- which would be fine if no other RS had, but given his name was in most of the newspapers that reported this, it seems strange that we omit it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:43, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Let's do what the best of our sources do. Which was the most authoritative of these sources? People rarely criticise you for following the editorial example of papers like the NYT. (well except on conservapedia). Tim Vickers (talk) 00:51, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I suppose it may look odd. And I perhaps was inappropriate in not including his name (Dario Ringach). To me, he looks like someone that could be me in another six months. Someone with no history of violation of animal welfare law, someone in good standing with the scientific community, and well respected by his peers, who has his career completely dismantled by animal rights activists over his concerns for the well-being of his wife and young children who are being hounded by animal rights activists. --Animalresearcher (talk) 14:45, 14 December 2007 (UTC)


Consensus on subpages[edit]

Can we establish, as a consensus, that material covered in detail on the various subpages of Animal Testing only be briefly summarized on the Animal Testing page, following style guidelines of WP:LEAD? ie: If there is a subpage on the History of Animal Testing, then detailed edits would occur on the History of Animal Testing page, and the referral section on the Animal Testing page would act as a summary of the History page, roughly devoting coverage to the detailed coverage on the History page? --Animalresearcher (talk) 15:14, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

That's more or less what has happened, but for you "briefly summarized" would mean one or two sentences, and would leave this page as nothing but a list of internal links. The page has to be readable, so that people could read this without being forced to go to other pages too. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:35, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Vivisection edit[edit]

I really don't see the point in continuing to try to insert vivisection as an appropriately neutral term to refer to physiological experiments on animals. It is almost never used by those who practice animal experiments, and almost always used by those who oppose experiments. This careful choice of terms occurs because definitionally vivisection means cutting on live animals, and does not imply purpose in that cutting. Animal experimentation, testing, in vivo experimentation, etc, all imply purpose. In any case, I don't see the point in re-defining the common use of the term here - it is a PR stunt. However, I will happily recant if you can find some evidence of the use of the term by physiologists to describe their own work. I have never heard it used in such a context (by a physiologist to describe his own work) except in an extremely facetious tone on our way to the OR. --Animalresearcher (talk) 15:26, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

AR, once again you're using personal knowledge/opinion. One of the sources is the Encyclopaedia Britannica. We've been through this before, and others on this page (e.g. Rockpocket) were fine with it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:30, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I am happy with it as long as it is noted that animal testers "almost never" use the term. As a comparison, you "almost never" hear a white person in the USA use the word "nigger", and it is just as clearly pejorative. And if you do not see the appropriateness of that analogy it is because that word has not been applied to you in that context ie: you need to see both sides of this particular issue. --Animalresearcher (talk) 20:48, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Writing[edit]

Crum, it was me who removed "On the other side of the debate, those in favor of animal testing held that experiments on living animals were necessary to advance medical and biological knowledge," because it's an example of a sentence that doesn't say anything. It would be like adding "Those who opposed animal testing did so because they thought it was bad and unnecessary."

We need informed opinion attributed to authoritative sources, as was done with Bernard arguing that an effect on an animal can be presumed to lead to a similar effect on a human being. That's a substantive point, attributed to a key player. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:39, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Definition[edit]

Tim, the term vivisection is more often used by animal protection groups, not just animal rights. Did you have a reason for changing it? Here for example the Guardian refers to the RSPCA as an anti-vivisection group, and the RSPCA is definitely not animal rights. [4] SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:41, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I just linked to the page in Wikipedia, perhaps you're right, "anti-vivisection" is a better term. I'll pipe the link. Tim Vickers (talk) 17:46, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
But why are you linking to animal rights? AR is a very specific subset of anti-vivisection which in turn is a subset of animal welfare/protection. It's important not to get them mixed up. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:49, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
True, but "animal protection groups" was wrong as well, since as you say organisations like the RSPCA are certainly animal protection groups, but are not opposed to animal experimentation. "Anti-vivisection" is most precise, but what is the best page to link this to? Should it be linked at all? Tim Vickers (talk) 19:46, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Personally I wouldn't link it, but if you want to, "animal welfare" might be more accurate than "animal rights." SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 20:00, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
The link was removed, that seems a good call. Tim Vickers (talk) 21:10, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Bernard[edit]

Why don't we want to say that Bernard's wife founded the first French anti-vivisection society? It's been removed twice, but it's a fascinating detail, and shows what a polarizing issue this is. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 18:14, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Primary/secondary sources[edit]

Someone here was asking elsewhere for definitions of primary and secondary, so I'm posting this from an early version of WP:ATT, which I think is clearer than the defs on the current NOR page:

Primary sources are documents or people very close to the situation you are writing about. An eyewitness account of a traffic accident is a primary source. The Bible is a primary source. The White House's summary of a George Bush speech is a primary source. Primary sources that have been published by a reliable source may be used for the purposes of attribution in Wikipedia, but only with care, because it's easy to misuse primary sources; for example, anyone could try to use the Bible as evidence that God said homosexuality was a sin. For that reason, edits that rely on primary sources should not interpret the source material, but should simply describe it. Any interpretation of primary source material requires a secondary source.

Secondary sources are documents or people that summarize other material, usually primary source material. A journalist's account of a traffic accident is a secondary source. A theologian's account of what the Bible says is a secondary source. A New York Times account of a George Bush speech is a secondary source. Wikipedia articles should rely on reliable, published secondary sources wherever possible. This means that we publish the opinions of reliable authors, and not the opinions of Wikipedians who have read the primary source material for themselves. As a rule, we want to know what Professor Smith, the theologian, says about the Bible and homosexuality, and not what User:Smith says about it, even though both are relying on the same source material.

Wikipedia articles should rely on secondary sources, though of course primary sources can be included -- they just have to be used very carefully. The more controversial the subject, the more care is required with their use. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 18:18, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Example of the kind of material we need[edit]

Animalresearcher, you added elsewhere an example of the kind of material we need here. Talking about the development of the polio vaccine with Rhesus monkeys, you wrote:

Albert Sabin made a superior "live" vaccine by passing the polio virus through animal hosts, including monkeys. The vaccine was produced for mass consumption in 1963 and is still in use today.It had virtually eradicated polio in the USA by 1965.[27] It has been estimated that 100,000 Rhesus monkeys were killed in the course of developing the polio vaccines, and 65 doses of vaccine were produced for each monkey.

The sentence about how 100,000 monkeys were killed producing vaccine for 65 x 100,000 is exactly the kind of material we need in this article. If we could isolate a couple of very stark cases like this, where the benefits of the research were clear and direct, and then also find good sources discussing the cost, we could make a really neutral presentation that I think readers would find very educative. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 18:43, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

If only all the references were as concise and to the point on the animals used and benefits provided...--Animalresearcher (talk) 20:43, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Human self-experimentation[edit]

I agree with the inclusion of this material. However, if we are including voluntary experiments on humans in this article we need to modify the sentence in the lead that states "Opponents argue that animal testing is cruel and unnecessary,..." into "Opponents argue that some forms of animal testing are cruel and unnecessary,". I would be very skeptical of any claim that people regard human experiments with the full consent of the participants as cruel.

Comments? Tim Vickers (talk) 22:32, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

This is about non-human animal testing. If people want to create a separate page on human volunteers, that would be good. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:20, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I've restored to the lead that the article's about non-human animal testing. We used to say that, but someone removed it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:24, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, why do you favor restricting this page to non-human animals? Tim Vickers (talk) 01:40, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Because that's what the terms animal testing, animal research, and animal experimentation refer to when used by all the reliable sources. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:44, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
True, illogical but common. :) Tim Vickers (talk) 01:46, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

While it is true that the phrase "animal testing" is a misnomer because it excludes humans; I feel that a section contrasting aspects of human testing and nonhuman animal testing would illuminate those aspects and the choices available to society in seeking experimental data. WAS 4.250 (talk) 21:07, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

I think such a contrast gets the the ironic heart of the issue in that animals are treated like mere animals because they are not special like us humans and are tested in the first place because we humans are non-special animals so very like them that the experiments tell us also about humans. There is a schizophrenic disconnect in the arguments of hardliners on both sides. Which experiments are done on humans and which are done on non-humans and why illuminates. Moral guidelines used for humans versus non-humans brings into sharp relief options and possibilities. Naturally, to avoid original research, we want sources that themselves do this contrasting. WAS 4.250 (talk) 21:28, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Use of precision in the first sentence to clearly identify the subject of the article[edit]

Current: Animal testing or animal research refers to the use of animals in experiments.

Proposed: Animal testing or animal research refers to scientific medical or biological experimentation on living animals.

Reason:

  1. We are addressing science related behaviors and not other possible uses of animals in experiments.
  2. We are addressing medical or biological related behaviors and not other possible uses of animals in experiments. (There is significant but not total overlap in these terms.)
  3. "the bodies of living animals" rather than just "animal" to rule out experiments on dead animals and on living tissue seperated from the body (e.g. blood).

Things ruled out:

  1. Children experimenting with insects. (unscientific)
  2. Parrots experimented on to judge their IQ. (psychological, not medical/biological)
  3. Experiments with blood or other tissue removed from an animal.
  4. Experiments on dead bodies. (If we want to cover that we should explicitly say so.)

WAS 4.250 (talk) 01:03, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

I changed it to "living animals", which is a bit simpler. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:14, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Sources[edit]

Tim, why are you removing sources, and trying to minimize this practice? Most dogs in the United States are supplied by Class B dealers, so this isn't a minor issue. Read the Newsweek piece. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:19, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

I removed an unpublished conference abstract. This fails WP:V. I'm surprised you added such a poor source when there is a reliable publication on the topic. Tim Vickers (talk) 02:31, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
It's a paper given by academics to an academic conference. It is not a poor source.
Could whoever added the Brooman/Legge book, Law Relating to Animals, say which page number they found the material on? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:56, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Conference papers are not peer reviewed. You pay your registration fee and you get your abstract "published". Note the source is listed as an "Unpublished Manuscript", which makes it about as reliable as anything you or I choose to say about the subject. WP:RS is clear that scholarly "means published in peer-reviewed sources, and reviewed and judged acceptable scholarship by the academic journals." Rockpocket 03:38, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
If it were a sole source, it would be a problem, but it's just a courtesy source and is fine for that. I've e-mailed them to ask if it's been published anywhere, then we can link to it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:48, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Also, at least in the areas I am familiar with, you can't get your paper accepted for presentation and your abstract published in the proceedings unless your submission undergoes some scrutiny by the organizers. It may not be a full fledged peer-review process, but it's also not "anything goes". Crum375 (talk) 03:54, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Unpublished abstracts are by no stretch of the imagination reliable sources. I man astounded that anybody could even try to argue that this meets WP:V. I have submitted abstracts myself, I know from personal experience how little review they undergo. Tim Vickers (talk) 07:18, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
To be accurate here, this is unpublished but accepted and presented at a scientific conference. The conference organizers, as a rule, do some vetting of each presented paper. Yes, sometimes some poor ones may sneak through, but that affects the perception of the conference by others, and may affect the pocketbook of the organizers. In any case, I agree it is not a full peer review, but it's also not just 'submitted'. Crum375 (talk) 08:35, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand the objection here. The paper was written by two academics and presented to an academic conference. It is not supporting anything; we supply it for interested readers only. It is not saying anything contentious, because many other sources are saying the same. And since when has source material had to be peer-reviewed? This seems a tremendous fuss over one link -- is Wikipedia running out of space? :-) SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 09:42, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
At the very most conference organisers review an abstract, which is clearly not a peer review of the data. Large conferences can have tens of thousands of published abstracts, they review committee do little more than read the titles to ensure suitablility, there is no critical review. I note, also, that it doesn't appear to have been published in a journal subsequently. If you are claiming the souce is valid because it is scholarly, then it should adhere to WP:RS, which it doesn't. I don't have an issue using it supporting other data, as further reading, but it is not appropriate as a sole source for information. Rockpocket 19:16, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. But it was never used as a sole source, which is why I'm puzzled by this discussion. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:19, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
My part of the discussion was to note - pedantically - that it is not a reliable source, I can't speak for anyone else ;p Rockpocket 19:23, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Ah, pedantry, fair enough. :-) We did have a discussion on V about whether unpublished conference papers were reliable sources if they had actually been delivered as a talk to an audience, but I don't remember the outcome and don't have the strength to go hunting through V archives. I recall that it led to a PhD length discussion about the meaning of "published." :-) SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:31, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm just remembering the first conference abstract I submitted, I spelled Trypanosomatids wrong and nobody noticed. Usually these things go straight from the application form to the abstract book, so have no fact-checking or editorial input at all. Tim Vickers (talk) 19:38, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
This was replaced again? Why? It isn't needed and it isn't reliable. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:59, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Because it's interesting and part of a footnote -- not being used as a source. Why are you so focused on it? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:02, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Again, the point is that is was not just a submitted abstract, but a presented paper. All we are saying is that these two academics presented this paper at that conference. The information in it seems to conform to what all the other sources are saying, so it's not controversial. Crum375 (talk) 00:06, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Tim, you asked earlier if I wanted to collaborate with you on this article, and I said yes. But that can't include going back and forth several times discussing and edit warring over links in footnotes that are provided as a courtesy to the reader. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:03, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Sources that don't meet WP:V can't be included in the article. Furthermore this link to an unpublished abstract does not add anything that isn't covered by the reliable full-text sources we already have for this statement. Since we already have two much more informative sources for this statement, why add a third, unreliable source? Tim Vickers (talk) 00:27, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Why not add it, Tim? Why does a link have to be removed from a footnote (what, four or five times you've removed it so far?) just because you personally dislike it? If you don't like it, just don't look at it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:46, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I think I dislike it so much because I have been submitting and presenting abstracts and talks to academic meetings for many years now, and I know exactly how little review the published abstracts undergo. They don't get peer-reviewed, they don't get edited and, in some cases, it is obvious that they didn't even get proofread before submission. As I said above, my first one had a glaring error that was obvious to anybody in the field. These things just aren't reliable in any way. I realise these things might look impressive to people outside the field, but they really mean very little. However, if you insist on adding this unreliable source, for whatever reason you have, I won't keep removing, but all it does is add kb without contributing any verifiable information. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:28, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

"Vast majority are purpose bred"[edit]

I have placed that statement in the lead inside an edit comment, because I see several problems with it. First, it hasn't been established in the article's body. Second, in the UK, I see a 60-40 split for bred vs. supplied, which isn't "vast". Also, I think there is a problem with numbers in general. If 99.99% of fruit flies are purpose bred, it could overwhelm the other species. So I think sourcing needs more discussion prior to a simplified summary in the lead. Crum375 (talk) 03:29, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Who is saying vast majority purpose bred? It depends which country, which species etc. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:38, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't think "supplied" and "custom bred" are mutually exclusive. Suppliers still custom breed animals for experimentation. I thin the issues is more one of captured vs bred. Rockpocket 03:40, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Some suppliers breed them, some don't. Most dogs in the U.S., for example, come from Class B dealers, apparently. I don't know why the lead ever said the "vast majority," but I've tweaked it to make clear it varies. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:46, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I made this a bit more specific, since we can be certain that some spp are always bred for the purpose - catching nematodes in the wild would be an unrewarding task! Indeed, since invertebrates and rodents are always bred in captivity, and these organisms make the overwhelming majority of animals used in experiments, it it true that most organisms used in experiments are purpose bred. I'll look up some content for the Sources section to discuss inverts/rodents - we'll need to mention where the most common animals come from. Tim Vickers (talk) 19:34, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Material added on invertebrates and mutant mice, two of the largest sources of animals for research. Also merged all the US material into one paragraph and removed some, but not all, of the material on bunching. This is already covered in great detail in the daughter article and is giving undue weight to a problem with one of the sub-sets of dealers of a comparatively rare group of research animals in a single country. Having some material on this is fine, but devoting most of a paragraph to this when rodents (the most common research animals) were not mentioned at all was unbalanced. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:32, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Do not keep removing material that other people have worked on, and don't remove sources. How many times do you need to be asked this? It is in a footnote. There is no justification at all for removing links that people add to footnotes.
I can't collaborate with you if you're going to repeatedly remove or completely change just about everything I write, even when doing so confers no benefit at all on the article. You are trying to turn this into a battle for its own sake. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:44, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I notice you have removed quite a lot of the material I have added to the article, such as most of the discussion of invertebrate research, now in the daughter article Animal testing on invertebrates. I have never complained about this, since editing other people's material is an expected part of working for Wikipedia. However, it appears to me that you apply one standard to the material you add, and a different one to the contributions of others. This most recent comment of yours, added to your previous complaints about me editing "your material" makes me suspect that you are having problems with article ownership. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:53, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Tim, you did this to me before, causing chaos, wikistalking me (to the point where another admin had to ask you to stop), starting forest fires of abuse about me on talk and project pages -- hundreds of posts in a matter of days. Indeed, that's how you ended up on this talk page, and it's why I stopped editing the article for awhile. But it's not going to work.
Material I have moved has gone to other articles for reasons of length and structure, and I've moved as much of my own material as I have of other people's -- more, in fact. You are edit warring over one link in a footnote that is not being used as a source, but is interesting because it's an example of academic criminologists addressing that particular issue -- any interested reader could e-mail them for their paper, as I have done. That you would cause this level of fuss over a link in a footnote -- when footnotes are very precisely for that kind of material -- suggests that you simply want to cause trouble. Rather than assist you by letting you bait me, I'm not going to respond to your posts from now on. I'm sorry about this. I had hoped we could actively collaborate but I see now it's unlikely to work. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:26, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
As I noted above, if you are determined to add an unreliable source, I won't continue to remove it, since it is not being used to support either a statement or a quotation. I'm a bit disheartened that you think I am trying to bait you, I was just trying to tell you what I feel about how the discussions on this article are conducted. One possible course of action might be to open an article RfC, to get feedback from the rest of the community, but that could be a bit disruptive. I would much prefer if you were to stop arguing that material you add to the article is in any way different from other people's contributions and stop protesting on the talk page when I edit or change text you have written. PS my cat Loki says "trfglllllll" - this took a while to write, since he is walking on the keyboard and clawing at the screen. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:49, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Arguments[edit]

I've moved the arguments to Talk:Animal testing/arguments, because the section was very disjointed. I'm going to start working on an ethics section, which I'll do on an article or user talk subpage until there's a first draft. My thinking is that we should have a separate article on that issue, and include a summary-style section here. Hope that works for everyone. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:26, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

That sounds good. The ethics are very badly covered here, considering how much has been written about the subject. We could try to put the arguments in the wider philosophical context of ethical thought, particularly the arguments about utilitarianism, the concept of rights and the various definitions of personhood. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:12, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Suffering[edit]

Regarding this:

"Suffering is harder to define, but has been described as when an animal is aware of their internal state during the experience of pain or fear," attributed to Duncan I.J. et al "The implications of cognitive processes for animal welfare," J. Anim. Sci., 1991, vol 69, issue 12, pp. 5017–22.

Could someone check that reference, please? As written it doesn't really make sense. Suffering isn't an awareness of an internal state (an internal state about an internal state), but is simply the subjective experience itself. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:12, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

If you click on the blue link in the reference you should be taken to the full text of the article. To read the text you will need Adobe Acrobat reader since it is in Pdf format. Tim Vickers (talk) 21:17, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Suffering on WP offers a far more complex view of it than that one source cited. However, I am not sure if it makes sense to delve into deep philosophical discussions about these issues in the main article. Crum375 (talk) 21:20, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Good point, perhaps it would be better to note that the word suffering as several meanings and that one definition is awareness of pain or fear. Other sources defining this would be good, the Stanford Dictionary of philosophy linked from the suffering page might be useful. I think it is important to at least give a basic definition here, since the question about if animals suffer, and if so which ones, is one of the central questions in the section on ethics SV is writing. Tim Vickers (talk) 21:27, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

We can't make controversial claims like that without explaining the context and naming the authors. The authors of that paper are trying to put forward the argument that, unless there is a second-order mental state, there is no suffering. In other words, if you're not able to contemplate your state of fear, there is no state of fear; or rather, that state of fear isn't making you suffer. This is a dubious philosophical position, and the authors aren't philosophers. I've therefore removed it in favor of Marian Stamp Dawkins's simpler definition of an extremely unpleasant mental state. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:43, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
That makes sense. We need a reasonable, brief, working definition by a recognized expert on animal suffering, that doesn't imply that animals are incapable of suffering. Crum375 (talk) 21:59, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
We don't need anything from the definitions we quote - selecting one on the basis that it implies that animals are capable of suffering would be just as incorrect as selecting one that implies they do not. I agree that adding a second definition that explores the wider definition would be the best idea, but removing one side of the argument is unbalanced. We need to just report what the sources say on the topic, as I noted this is a hard concept to define. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:31, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Tim added:
"The importance of cognition in suffering is controversial, with some defining suffering as when an animal is aware of their internal state during the experience of pain or fear.[13]"
This is not a commonplace definition so we'd need more than just that one paper, and we'd also need to see that definition from an expert source -- which if you're talking about definitions of self-consciousness, would be a philosopher or perhaps a psychologist. As is stands, it looks either silly, or else the reader won't notice how it differs from Stamp Dawkins. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:53, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Tim, you said earlier that precision is important, and you often argue in favor of expert sources. But here you are being very imprecise, and the sources you're using are not experts on the definition of consciousness or mental states. If you want to make a point about animals not suffering unless they can contemplate their subjective mental states (as opposed to just experiencing them), you would need to find a specialist source who makes that argument -- a philosopher for example, or a psychologist. I await it with bated breath, because I suspect no such source exists, but I'd be interested to be proven wrong. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:58, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Reading the paper again, I suspect what has happened is that the authors have simply made a mistake. For suffering to occur, there must be a corresponding mental state or subjective experience of something unpleasant. Something that might cause pain isn't enough, because the person might be in a deep coma, for example, and not experiencing anything. There has to be an awareness of the injury for pain or suffering to occur.
The authors have, I think, made the mistake of defining awareness as "awareness of awareness." This has probably happened because they're not experts in the field.
All that is required for pain and suffering is the ability to have a subjective experience. It is the experience of the injury that causes pain, not the experience of the experience. No second-order states are required. Indeed, if they were, we could not talk about the suffering of a new-born baby, for example. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:05, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
The mental capabilities of animals is as much a biological question as a philosophical one - all emotions are the properties of nervous systems. This is a reliable source, and reviews the literature, so it is even a "secondary source" under your definition, thus even more reliable. For you to discount their statements because you think you personally disagree with them is a classic form of OR. It would be similar to me stating that we shouldn't cite a paper on a new gene because I "think the authors have made a mistake". I realise it must be frustrating to cite a study that you do not agree with, possibly for very good reasons, but we can't do our own research on Wikipedia. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:36, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
They are not specialists in that field by any stretch of the imagination, and I'm not excluding them because I disagree, but because what they say is simply wrong. Please find another reliable (preferably specialist) source who makes the same argument. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:41, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Second source added that discusses this point, I could also add PMID 11190233, but that isn't full-text so you couldn't easily read it. Please note that the text no longer makes "an argument" about this point, only notes that people have discussed if it is important. Also remember that Wikipedia deals with verifiability, not truth. Excluding reliable sources because you think they are wrong is not something we can do. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:44, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
That source does not discuss that point. It says only that subjective experience is necessary i.e. awareness. Not second-order mental states. Please quote which parts you're relying on. [5] SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:47, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm relying here on the provision in V that exceptional claims require exceptional evidence. [6] The claim that beings (whether newborn babies or animals) don't suffer unless they have a second-order mental state about it (i.e. the subjective experience itself is not enough) is an absurd and extraordinary claim, so I'm requesting multiple, specialist sources who argue that specifically and clearly. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:50, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
As I said before, the text notes that people discuss it. Is noting that a debate exists an exceptional claim? I would say that the section on "Animal cognition" on p5002 of the Curtis review is a clear discussion of the importance of animal cognition to suffering. How would you summarise these sources? Tim Vickers (talk) 23:55, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Where is the evidence that there's a debate about this? You've quoted one paper in which the authors have almost certainly just made a mistake. This is common when people try to discuss mental states without being entirely familiar with the subject. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:59, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
A debate about animal cognition is not a debate about how higher-order mental states are required. Tim, I have concerns about the way you read and report this material. You seem to be misreading it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:00, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
As SV explained, the issue is second order cognition, whether you need to know that you are suffering, or contemplate it, to suffer. Everyone agrees that conscious animals sense pain, and according to Stamp Dawkins's simple definition, that is enough to cause suffering. If experts argue that you need to be able to know that you are suffering pain to really suffer, then that would need to be properly sourced. Crum375 (talk) 00:03, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, I can add as many sources as you wish to this statement. The latest one is from the journal Animal welfare so is a direct discussion of the topic in a journal devoted to the topic. It states "Deciding which animals might have the capacity for consciousness, and thus for suffering, and of what they might be conscious, are fundamental issues which set boundaries to the ranges of species to be given basic or special forms of welfare protection." Is this an acceptable source for showing that the topic is discussed? Tim Vickers (talk) 00:07, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Tim has violated 3RR; is using a source that does not say what he's claiming of it; and has added this very poor (indeed, nonsensical) writing:
"The importance of cognition in suffering is controversial, with other discussions of suffering considering the importance of whether an animals are conscious in assessing animal suffering."
I don't know how to deal with this kind of editing. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:09, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Poor grammar corrected. My apologies. Please report me for 3RR if you feel adding sources to challenged material and re-writing it to deal with concerns discussed on the talk page is unacceptable. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:13, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
You've violated 3RR and you do it frequently, thinking you can revert as you please, so yes, I'll be reporting you for it if I see it again. Please review the policy in the meantime, so you know what it says.
If people would just choose good sources and stick closely to what they say (and make sure you understand them yourself), this waste of time could be avoided. With controversial edits, we need in-text attribution. Not "some say," when it's just one; not "there is a debate," when it consists of two people. Also, who has said that only human beings can suffer? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:28, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Nobody that I know of, that is a version by Crum375. I thought the previous version was more accurate Crum, since that simply notes that reliable sources have discussed the topic. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:36, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

What is your concern, Crum375, do you disagree that this topic has been discussed, or do you disagree with the quality of the sources that were used to show that it has been discussed? Tim Vickers (talk) 00:44, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

I have read through the sources, and I can't really see that statement as accurate. So I restored the previous version for now, which makes no reference to the cognition issue. I think that if it is to be included, it should be carefully crafted, neutrally phrased, and accurately based on the sources. Crum375 (talk) 00:47, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Do you think the specialist review in Animal welfare that stated "Deciding which animals might have the capacity for consciousness, and thus for suffering, and of what they might be conscious, are fundamental issues which set boundaries to the ranges of species to be given basic or special forms of welfare protection." was unclear on the question of whether people have discussed the importance of animal consciousness and awareness in assessing if they can suffer? Tim Vickers (talk) 00:50, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Ah, we have a good version now. I'm quite happy with that wording. Thank you for editing and improving my addition SlimVirgin. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:55, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
(ec) Tim, with respect, I think the issue here is that you're not familiar with this subject, so you're not picking up on small, but vital, distinctions the sources are making, and you also don't know who the main scholarly sources on it are. The issue of mental states is exceptionally complex and goes beyond the issue of animal testing, so very few academics working in the area of animal testing know how to handle it. If you want to get into it in detail, Patrick Bateson of King's, Cambridge chaired a working party in the UK a few years ago, which was very thorough. I don't have a link but it should be easy to find. But you are using junior academics who have never specialized in that area, then in addition you're not sticking closely to what they say. All the reverting and numerous talk page comments simply increases the confusion. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:01, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
The respect is mutual. Thank you for your help with integrating the material, I agree completely that simple reversions of people's good-faith attempts to improve the article are unhelpful. However, on the positive side, from this to this is certainly a large improvement. Thanks to everybody who helped with this. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:24, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Concern[edit]

I have a concern about the way sources are being used. This edit about pain:

"Pain is an undesired side-effect of some experiments on animals, but in most experiments it is unnecessary. Attributed to Karas AZ. "Barriers to assessment and treatment of pain in laboratory animals," Lab Anim (NY), 2006, volume 35, issue, pp. 38–45.

The abstract says nothing about it being a "side-effect," which would be a bizarre claim. It calls it a "consequence." While the abstract does say it's unnecessary in most cases, this is part of an argument that there is evidence that pain is not being alleviated sufficiently. But that part was not included in the edit.

It's extremely important (especially with a controversial subject) that sources be used accurately, and that we don't change what they say, or lift what they say out of context.

The abstract says:

"Pain is an undesirable potential consequence of many of the procedures conducted on animals in the course of scientific research, and in most cases it is unnecessary. The US Congress, the public, and laboratory animal medical professionals have indicated that pain should be prevented or minimized in laboratory animals, yet there is ample evidence to suggest that unalleviated pain is still a problem for some laboratory animals. This evidence is circumstantial to some extent but has its basis in problematic issues of pain control in both veterinary and human medicine. The author attempts to identify specific barriers to reduction of pain in laboratory animals. She then seeks to determine the relative importance of each obstacle and to develop approaches to overcoming each obstacle."

SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:52, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

http://oslovet.veths.no/compendia/LAS/KAP10.pdf is relevant. WAS 4.250 (talk) 21:56, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't understand this objection. The words "undesirable potential consequence" and "side-effect" are synonymous. A side effect is defined as "A peripheral or secondary effect, especially an undesirable secondary effect". The next sentence deals with how often suffering/pain is not relieved, but we need this to make it clear that suffering is neither desired nor, in most cases, necessary. This puts the statistics quoted into context. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:24, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
If I were to pour pesticide into your eyes, you probably wouldn't regard the pain as a "side effect." The point is that the author would have used the term "side-effect" if she had wanted to. As she seems to have chosen her words carefully, we shouldn't change them.
In summarizing what she wrote, you basically turned upside down what she was saying. She was arguing that, although pain is unnecessary in many experiments, it's still not being alleviated properly i.e. there is pain, but there needn't be. You summarized that with "in most experiments [pain] is unnecessary," which distorted her point. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:35, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
That's a fair point. I think you are right about distorting the meaning a bit. The section is much improved now, and has good sources for the statements it makes. I'm glad we can work together so productively. However, the point about cognition and suffering still needs to be replaced, it is an authoritative source that directly addresses the topic, so this viewpoint should be included. I'll see if I can find a way of including it that does not give it undue weight. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:41, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't think the quote misrepresents the author's beliefs, though it does omit the wider point: that while pain is largely uncecessary, it is often present (unnecessarily so). The information might be better represented if it includes that caveat. Rockpocket 22:43, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Bad shape[edit]

This article is in really bad shape.

  1. The overwhelming tone of this article is anti-animal testing.
  2. The article has an overwhelming number of pictures sourced from animal rights sites like PETA, or medical pictures chosen for shock value.
  3. Captions of the pictures advertise the animal rights groups, oftentimes before a description of what the photograph depicts. When the animal rights group simply provides the picture they should not be credited on the caption but on the image page.
  4. Pictures that didn't provide shock value, but illustrated typical lab conditions have been removed. (by looking at the history 500 edits ago)
  5. The writing is disjointed. Very few paragraphs can be read as singular items. They read like individual sentences slammed together. Each sentence is a paraphrase of a reference with no relation to the sentences around it. Is it possible this article is oversourced?
  6. The writing has become so parsed that there are now non-sentences floating freely, such as "Allows scientists to determine the effect of the drug and the dose-response curve."
  7. Odd placement of see also tags scattered all over the article. For instance: What does "international trade in primates" have to do with xenotransplantation?
  8. The Further Reading section is a list of animal rights books. It is too long and un-necessary for an article so heavily referenced.
  9. The External Links section is again, a collection of animal rights links. Some of these links are just newspaper articles. Why are they there at all? Use them as a reference or get rid of them.
  10. The Organizations section is once again, a collection of animal rights links. There are a smaller number of links to medical organizations but most of them have no contextual text after the link. Why is this link farm list here at all?
  11. Every section seems to have a statistic of how many animals are used in whatever experiments. This adds little to the article and adds major amounts of text. Maybe you need a statistics article.
  12. The controversy section is a jumble of specific incidents, not an overview.
  13. Information that is opposed to animal testing is included in the article after any sentence that could ever be seen as promoting it. For instance, the toxicology section; every paragraph ends with a rebuttal statement.
  14. References are a mish-mash between external links inside the article text, and other links used as references in the "Notes" section. That means the footnotes have a dual-numbering system. Many inline external links are used repeatedly.
  15. The article is protected from editing by non-adminstrators but is not labeled as protected or any deadline when it will not be protected. Sporadic contributors cannot make any improvements while administrators seem to be the ones causing this laundry list of bad writing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 64.184.143.23 (talk) 06:34, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

The answer to your question is a resounding, "YES!" Anyone with any background in science, specifically drug development, sees this article for what it is, a forum for people who are against animal testing of any kind. I won't even call the Animal Rights Activists; this is a term they developed to make them sound like heroes. It's purely self-aggrandizement.

Why don't we link this page to pages of cancer survivors, or maybe we can show pictures of kids devastated by Polio. We can show children who have not been ravaged by measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, you name it. But they'll return to the old stand-by, thalidomide, which was never tested on pregnant animals before being used on humans and is a great example of why animal testing is so pervasively used for drug development. We could show any number of pictures, statistics, results. But, the people will never see the benefit. They are ignorant, and blissfully so, of the benefits of this testing. They don't want to see any good results, because that undermines their self-importance.

Of course, animal testing doesn't correlate 100% to humans, otherwise we would not need to put valiant humans at risk in clinical studies. The first phase of which is testing in healthy adults to determine adverse side effects. But, we wouldn't have any of the medical advances we enjoy (including vaccinations) without animal testing. "My kids were never vaccinated, because it's dangerous and they used animals to develop the vaccines" you say? Then they didn't get sick because everyone else did vaccinate their children. You should get down on your knees and thank all your neighbors for their sacrifice for your children's health.

Enough said, anti animal testing people will not even try to understand the benefits for the reason stated above, but thanks for the vent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.106.3.58 (talk) 14:33, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

  1. To answer your main question, yes, animal rights activists are very active in editing the page, in particular Slimvirgin, a Wikipedia admin editor. You can see, for example, that all the controversy events are listed on the main page, whereas the history of notable experiments and discoveries is on a sub-page.
  2. I view the numbers as useful and somewhat neutral, although alternative formatting may improve their presentation.
  3. Virtually any animal rights photograph may be replaced by a superior picture taken by a scientist. However, Wikipedia MUST have rights to show these images, and the animal rights images are without IP entanglement. But always, the better picture wins. If you replace any picture with a better one without IP entanglement, it will stay.
  4. There is a constant push-pull between animal rights activists and others, and this results in nearly everything being referenced or deleted (and point/counterpoint). And in many case, outright obvious lies are printed because they are referenced, even when they are obvious (case in point: that chimps in testing can come from circuses and animal trainers which is a referenced factoid despite being an obvious lie, or that 1500-1600 chimps are in testing in the USA (there are only 1133)).
  5. Slimvirgin really likes xenotransplantation, despite it have an inordinately small importance in the grand scheme of either testing or opposition to testing by activists.
  6. If you do anything to minimize the controversy section it will be immediately reverted, and you will be accused of POV editing.
  7. Without protection, too many of the edits are downright stupid (deletion of whole sections replaced by "Animal testing is MEAN!" or other edits irrelevant to testing on any side. The level of vandalism is high, and a look through the history will show that. Signing up for an account is a small price to pay.
  8. I've been editing fairly regularly on the testing page, its sub-pages, and other pages, for roughly two years. And I run a lab that in part conducts animal research, and I sit on an institutional IACUC. I sort of view this as one of Wikipedia's weak areas - that a small group that uses referenced weak logic and referenced truth-stretching to the max can distort an article as much as this one is. However, you should have seen it two years ago... --Animalresearcher (talk) 18:31, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
  • "I've been editing fairly regularly on the testing page, its sub-pages, and other pages, for roughly two years ... However, you should have seen it two years ago..." You say that as though you've improved it. Here is a version shortly before you started editing it. What improvements do you feel you've made? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:26, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Today I found three references that claim the term 'vivisection' is a pejorative synonym for animal research and is mostly used by those who oppose the practice. It seems an animal rights editor thought it was interchangeable with the terms animal testing, animal experimentation, animal research, and in vivo testing, none of which carry a similar pejorative connotation, In fact, this same editor brought to my attention a book that was one of the sources, so I am quite certain that this editor KNEW that vivisection is an intentional pejorative, and was simply inserting it for PR value.
Two of your sources were rubbish. The source I used is the Encyclopaedia Britannica, a well-known bastion of animal rights extremism. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:57, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Earlier I corrected an animal rights edit that claimed primates are often housed alone because of testing requirements for hepatitis and/or SIV. However, they are often CAGED alone, but almost never HOUSED alone, and there is a big difference. Before that I corrected an animal rights edit that said that primates often came from zoos, circuses, and animal trainers, and added a reference that 3/4 of US testing primates come from purpose-bred sources.
But the source you used didn't, so far as I could see, say that three-quarters of primates are purpose bred. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:59, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Prior to that I added the history of chimp usage in the USA to the primates page. Half the "History" page was added by my edits, and ALL the notable experiments on the primates page. I will admit you are adamant in reversing my edits (in fact now that I mention these, I expect each and every one to be reverted for some inane reason that causes you to re-insert lies on the pages - can't wait to see circuses and animal trainers again), but ultimately good references are preferred to bad ones. --Animalresearcher (talk) 00:33, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
There is a reference for the animal trainers thing from a specialist advocacy group. They may be wrong, but all we can do is rely on people who specialize in this area. Your sources have never been explicit about where the non-bred ones actually come from. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:57, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
AR, you don't want me to find diffs showing all the sources you've misused in the 18 months you've been editing. At times it has been breathtaking, and you know it. :-) Even people on your "side" have commented on it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:59, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Don't make things up. My source (American Society of Primatology) says 12000-15000 are wild caught (the rest purpose bred), and over 62000 primates were used in testing last year. 3/4 is a little conservative, but ball-park accurate. I suppose you are next going to claim that is OR. YOUR source says chimpanzees come from circuses, zoos, animal trainers, wild caught, and purpose bred, yet it is documented that every US chimp since 1973 was purpose bred. And you cannot find a single other source to back up the zoo/circus/animal trainer claim, yet you feel this single New England Anti-vivisectionist Society cite is MORE accurate than science magazine. This is EXACTLY the type of misleading editing I am talking about. When I provide THREE edits that claim that the term vivisection is pejorative, you delete two of them and cherry pick the wording for the third. POV editing at its finest. --Animalresearcher (talk) 03:07, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Please don't put words in your sources' mouths. If they say three-quarters, you say it. If not, not. AR, really and truly, you can't talk about anyone else making misleading edits.
The reason this happens is you can't be bothered with Wikipedia's rules. You have The Truth and you want to get it out, fast. I completely understand this. I think when you have expertise in an area, it's beyond infuriating to be expected to stick to rules and stick to sources -- even when you think they're wrong, misleading, incompetent, whatever.
But the point of our rules is that experts who think they know the truth are sometimes wrong. Or if not wrong, idiosyncratically correct. If you're a researcher yourself, you should understand the importance of being true to your sources.
The way you're currently approaching WP, you're wasting any expertise you might have, simply because you're not approaching sources carefully. It would be great if you'd agree to collaborate with us, by giving us the benefit of your knowledge, then we can work out how to get it in the encyclopedia in a way that satisfies the content policies. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:38, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

On vivisection[edit]

With regards to the recent reverting over the meaning of the term:

  • The Ethics of Animal Experimentation by Donna Yarri (ISBN 0195181794), p12: "The term 'vivisection' was used often in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to refer to animals experimentation. It specifically meant the dissection of live animals, but is now broader and includes the use of animals for the induction of disease and for educational purposes. This term has largely been replaced by the term 'animal experimentation', both because the former word has developed a pejorative sense that many do want want to attribute to animal research and because animal research has to do with more than literally dissecting animals."
  • "vivisection" The Oxford Companion to the Body. Oxford University Press, (ISBN 019852403X): "From the Latin vivi, living, and sectio, cutting, vivisection, strictly speaking, means cutting live tissues. As such it could be applied to any surgical procedure, including human operations. In practice the word is often used pejoratively as a synonym for experiments on animals, implying cruelty such as the infliction of operative techniques without the use of an anaesthetic."
  • Paixao, Rita Leal; Schramm, Fermin Roland. Ethics and animal experimentation: what is debated?. Cad. Saúde Pública, Rio de Janeiro, 2007: "Although the uses vary widely, the term 'animal experimentation' has been used generically. According to Paton (1993:24), this approach makes better reference to the wealth and diversity of scientific research... However, animal protection groups prefer the term vivisection and claim that scientists use the term 'experimentation' so as not to reveal what is really going on (Schar-Manzoli, 1996:3)."
  • Pierre A. Fish, Zoophily versus Homophily, Transactions of the American Microscopical Society, Vol. 18, 1897, p142: "The onward march of events, accompanied by new conditions and new methods, has given a much wider significant to the term vivisection than was formerly attached to it. It is quite commonly regarded, by those opposed to the practice, as a method for inflicting ... excruciating pain."
  • Richard Dawkins in Student MBJ: "Many animal research activists use the term vivisection - as in cutting open the animals without anaesthetising them. If that's happening, I'm passionately against it. I hope and believe that that is not happening in research laboratories."


Its pretty clear that there is a tension between the pro- and anti- community in the use of the term vivisection as a synonym for animal experimentation. Both groups have their own reasons for wanting it commonly used or not used (both, presumably, because of the imagery it invokes). I think there is significant enough sources to note this difference in use explicitly, rather than just giving two contrasting and attributed definitions and leaving it to the reader to work out. Rockpocket 04:57, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for collecting these, RP. It's because of the tension between secondary sources that I used the Encyclopaedia Britannica. This is when good-quality tertiary sources come in handy. But if you want to nuance the section a bit more, that's fine by me.SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 05:27, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Double undo[edit]

First on vivisection. As noted immediately above, the references I added fully support the sentence I added. First, Carbone's claims that vivisection is specifically not interchangeable with animal research or experimentation to him. In fact, he says he NEVER uses it to refer to testing. If you go through the references I think you will find that the word vivisection is not used comparably by those who oppose and conduct animal testing, and the references further support the word as having pejorative connotations towards testing because it implies suffering, cruelty, pain, and/or torture.

Second on the primate section. I added a bunch of reference material from an international conference on primate resources to the sub-page. It would be difficult to reference it all in this paragraph that refers to the sub-page, because important facts in it come from many of the different talks given. But if you see the primate page, it is all laid out there, and this is appropriate as per earlier discussion that the paragraphs referring to the sub-pages may act as summaries of the material there. There is nothing wrong with the 12000-15000 number (the actual number in 2001 was a little over 14000 according to the CDC), but whereas the facts are in the sub-page, they add a lot of clutter on the main page. Additionally, they lay out how all imported macaques from China and Mauritius are purpose-bred, which means that nearly all primates in testing in Europe and the USA are purpose bred b/c 74% of the macaques imported to Europe come from China, and Mauritius is the second largest source. For the USA, 70% are bred domestically, and most of the rest come purpose bred from China and Mauritius. But again, this was about making the paragraph in WP:LEAD fasion with respect to the sub-page, and making it flow nicely while minimizing clutter. Please try to be constructive instead of reverting material when the sub-page is edited significantly. --Animalresearcher (talk) 18:42, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

You removed the Encyclopaedia Britannica to focus on a single source that you happen to agree with?
Also, you inserted a contradiction: "In the U.S., Europe, and China, most primates are purpose-bred. In the USA, most are domestically purpose-bred, whereas in Europe 70% are imported, mostly purpose-bred macaques from China." SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:03, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
That is not a contradiction. In the USA, most primates in testing are domestically purpose-bred. In Europe, most are purpose bred and imported. In China, nearly all are purpose-bred domestically. So the statement that most of the primates in testing in the USA, China, and Europe are purpose-bred, is true independently of whether the primates are purpose-bred domestically or imported purpose-bred.
You would need very good sources to show that imported animals are known to have been purpose-bred. I'm curious to know why this issue is so important to you? Of course, it's important to be accurate, but you seem to be personally invested in this, as though perhaps you feel purpose-bred animals don't count somehow. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 20:48, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
I previously provided THREE references on vivisection having pejorative connotations and not being interchangeable with the other terms. One of these references was a book YOU pointed out to me, so you must have been aware of this reference. Rockpocket found an additional FOUR references on this issue with respect to vivisection. When this many references are in agreement, it is safe to say that there is more to the word vivisection than its listing in Encyclopaedia Britannica. I actually did not mean to remove that reference either - just the statement that the terms are interchangeable. Clearly, an animal rights activist would like to claim the use of the word vivisection is interchangeable with the term animal research, but one reference in another encyclopaedia (a "worse" source than the other sources because it, like Wikipedia, prefers to base its entries on primary sources). The references support the idea that vivisection carries pejorative connotations that the other terms do not imply, and this means the terms are not interchangeable.--Animalresearcher (talk) 20:42, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
The EB is a tertiary source. Tertiary sources are always better for definitions and word use. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 20:48, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
During the debate on the definition of "factory farming" you argued I don't know where you get the idea from that a dictionary is a good source for Wikipedia, because it's not in any of the policies or guidelines. On the contrary, these say we prefer secondary sources, not tertiary sources, for obvious reasons.[7] that newspapers as secondary sources are better than encyclopedias. The fact is that peer reviewed summary articles are best; that "primary", "secondary", and "tertiary" are utterly awful concepts for capturing what makes a source better or worse for a claim; and that careful review of all available sources and careful comparison is needed to identify good from bad sources. Sources can include a misprint, mistake later uncovered, or deliberate fraud. No simple mantra can replace intelligent analysis of the contents of the available sources. Quoting policy to replace actual arguments is intellectually dishonest. No source is perfect. That EB is a good source for a definition does not prevent other sources from illuminating connotations. But don't get the wrong idea, Slim; in general, I think you do a good job editing wikipedia. I have even given you barnstars for it. WAS 4.250 (talk) 22:52, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Dictionaries are not good sources for WP, but high-quality encyclopedias are, especially when it comes to word usage. And I have never received a barnstar from you.
What caused you suddenly to become interested in this page, by the way? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:59, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

I remember long time ago seeing you create a bunch of articles about a pack of specific people involved in some Arab related incident and I gave you a barnstar for it. I think you thanked me on my user page for it. So I looked and found this:

Thank you! That is so nice of you, and it came at a time when it was much-needed. It has made my day. :-) SlimVirgin (talk) 21:17, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Then I check my edits for august 2006 and found nothing, so I am guessing that my edit to your user page giving you a barnstar has been lost in all the whatnot going on with your userpage. I know I remember giving you a barnstar; but perhaps it was a compliment in some other form and you mentally categorized it as not-a-barnstar. WAS 4.250 (talk) 23:26, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

I have never received a barnstar from you. Can you answer my question, please? What caused you suddenly to become interested in this page? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:24, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
I am tired of your harrassment of me. Stop asking personal questions and respect my privacy. Oh, and have a Merry Christmas. WAS 4.250 (talk) 18:36, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
My harassment of you? It's not me who's following you to articles you've edited a lot, and I've never touched before. And it has been happening quite regularly. Please keep an eye on it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:30, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
I welcome new editors to this page, since a larger variety of views will help us achieve NPOV. A fresh eye is particularly valable in giving an unbiased assessment of how the article is shaping up and catching errors or unclear text that we have got just got used to. Tim Vickers (talk) 11:27, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Replacement of LD50 test[edit]

  • R&D toxicity test to be eliminated - "In a rare collaboration between animal rights organizations and scientists, the US has joined a growing worldwide movement to eliminate the use of a toxicity test called the lethal dose-50 (LD50) test, and embrace alternative methods that require fewer animals. Animal rights groups estimate that about 5 million animals per year have been used in LD50 tests in the US alone. The LD50 determines the dosage of a chemical that kills half the animals in a test group—the bigger the dose required, the lower the chemical's toxicity. Test groups typically comprise 50-200 animals, often rats. The test is being phased out internationally and will no longer be used by regulatory agencies for classification and labeling of drugs and chemicals. The International Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international trade organization that includes the US, Japan and several member states of the European Union, intends to eliminate the LD50 from its test guidelines by September 2002."
  • Acute systemic toxicity—prospects for tiered testing strategies - "After many years of controversy and debate, the LD50 test was finally deleted by the end of 2002. Three alternative animal tests, the Fixed Dose Procedure, the Acute Toxic Class Method and the Up and Down Procedure have been developed which give rise to significant improvements in animal welfare. They have recently undergone revision to improve their scientific performance but more importantly to increase their regulatory acceptance. They can now be used within a strategy for acute toxicity testing for all types of test substances and for all regulatory and in-house purposes. In vitro cytotoxicity tests could be used as adjuncts to these alternative animal tests within the next year or so to improve dose level selection and thus give further modest improvements in the numbers of animals used. However, the total replacement of animal tests requires a considerable amount of further test development, followed by validation, and is at least 10 years away."

Are these sources adequate to show that the LD50 test is "being replaced" (if not now totally replaced) by alternative methods? I can find more sources on this if you wish. Tim Vickers (talk) 17:32, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Is there a source that specifically says that LD50 is no longer being used, and has been replaced by other methods? I see sources proposing or talking about replacements for LD50, but I don't see any source actually stating that LD50 has been replaced and is no longer being used. Crum375 (talk) 17:49, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I think we can't say that the LD50 test is no longer used anywhere, but we can be more specific and say that it is no longer recommended or required by "international regulations". I don't know if there are a few places that don't follow these regulations, but in the abscence of data on actual prevalence we should just note what is required and recommended. But there's not much point in discussing only the outdated test and ignoring the current ones. Tim Vickers (talk) 17:59, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

If the sources say that some regulations have changed, or that there are proposals for changes relating to LD50, that is relevant. But the core issue is what is currently being done. We have reliable sources telling us that LD50 is widely used, and perhaps they are outdated. But unless we have sources telling us LD50 has actually been replaced, I don't see how we can say it has, or even imply it. Crum375 (talk) 18:12, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Here is a 2002 review that states the LD50 is now historical, I think we agree that we need to show that the LD50 is no longer recommended in the regulations and is being replaced, but know that it has not been completely replaced in all countries since the 2005 Nature news story states that it is used in 1/3 of tests. Even with 1/3 of tests using the older test, it means that this is no longer the most common procedure.
"The authors have developed an improved version of the up-and-down procedure (UDP) as one of the replacements for the traditional acute oral toxicity test formerly used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member nations to characterize industrial chemicals, pesticides, and their mixtures. This method improves the performance of acute testing for applications that use the median lethal dose (classic LD50) test while achieving significant reductions in animal use."
The new version tries to strike this balance between LD50 no longer being the most common test, having been replaced in the regulations and being replaced in practice:
''In the past, the LD50 test (Lethal Dose 50%) was the most common test, which involved determining what dose will kill 50 percent of the test subjects. This test was removed from international regulations in 2002, and is being replaced by methods such as the fixed dose procedure" Tim Vickers (talk) 18:34, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think we need to strike a balance — just report the well sourced facts. We have sources telling us LD50 is widely used. That's what we should focus on. We also have sources telling out about an intent to phase out LD50, and we can mention that. But the focus should be on facts on the ground, not proposals, intentions or plans. If we have sources that tell us that LD50 has actually been phased out, even partially (and if so by what percentage and where), then we could use that, but proposals, plans and intentions alone are of secondary relevance to describing what is actually being done today, per reliable sources. Crum375 (talk) 18:46, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Do you agree that the sources we have state that the LD50 is no longer the most common toxicity test and that it is no longer recommended or required by the regulations? Tim Vickers (talk) 18:57, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Here's a good source from a 2006 report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics:
"In the past, in the UK and elsewhere, acute systemic toxicity was investigated by the use of lethal-dose tests, in which the oral dose causing the death of 50 percent of the treated animals (the LD50 value) was determined.8 Such tests used at least 30 animals per test chemical and required death of the animals as an endpoint, regardless of the suffering caused. In 2001 the OECD agreed that the LD50 test for acute oral toxicity should be abolished and deleted from the OECD manual of internationally accepted test guidelines by the end of 2002 (see paragraphs 9.4 and 12.8).9 Several alternative methods have been developed which use fewer animals and in some cases replace death as the endpoint with signs of significant toxicity instead. Information on similar chemicals is used to guide the selection of initial dose levels and the tests are designed to avoid or minimise lethality or severe toxicity. These methods have replaced the LD50 test for acute oral toxicity, but several acute tests such as those involving inhalation, dermal and eye exposure have yet to be modified."
I think that is a fair summation. The removal of LD50 as a required or recommended procedure is both verifiable and notable, and clearly that has had an effect of its use. However, I don't believe there is good data either way that we can use to confirm the precise frequency of LD50 after the guidelines were changed. Clearly it is still being used in some instances [8], though its hard to know how widespread that is. I think a modification of your suggested phrasing, to note that its not being entirely replaced, would be good. Rockpocket 19:12, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
How about:
"In the past, the LD50 test (Lethal Dose 50%) was the most common test, which involved determining what dose will kill 50 percent of the test subjects. This test was removed from international regulations in 2002, being replaced in acute oral toxicity testing by more humane methods such as the fixed dose procedure. However, since some acute tests have yet to be modified, the LD50 test has not been completely eliminated." Tim Vickers (talk) 19:24, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I think we should add a note that there is a trend in some countries to replace LD50 by other methods, but at this point there is no hard data as to the status of this plan, and whether there is any real phasing out of LD50 on the ground. Since the article and the section primarily describe what is currently out there, not future plans, LD50 should still be the focus, per the sources we do have. We can't say or imply that LD50 has been phased out without a reliable source telling us that. Crum375 (talk) 19:27, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Do you not consider the Nuffield Council on Bioethics a reliable source? Tim Vickers (talk) 19:31, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
In principle, yes. But I find their simplistic statement "These methods have replaced the LD50 test for acute oral toxicity" unclear. First, what country? Second, does "replaced" mean 100%, 50% of applicable procedures, or what? Third, what percentage of the tests are for "acute oral toxicity" compared to others?
Any interpretation of this could be OR unless we can provide a source discussing and interpreting it for us. Crum375 (talk) 20:03, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
The Nature news article gives you some percentages, it said that in 2005 the LD50 test was used in 1/3 of toxicity tests worldwide. We therefore know that 2/3 of tests use the alternatives, and that the LD50 is no longer recommended in the regulations. We could note that it has been banned completely in Britain and Europe, but that might be a bit parochial. Do you have any reliable sources that would contradict the simpler formulation of:
"The first toxicity test to be developed was the LD50 test (Lethal Dose 50%), which involved determining what dose will kill 50 percent of the test subjects. In 2002, this test was removed from international regulations, which now recommend more humane methods such as the fixed dose procedure." Tim Vickers (talk) 20:16, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I think we need to describe the LD50 and its wide use, per our sources. We can also add a note that it has been removed from some regulations for some procedures, but it is unclear whether this has had any impact on actual LD50 use worldwide. Crum375 (talk) 20:36, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
We know very well that the removal of the LD50 test from the list of approved tests in the regulations have had an effect, for example the test is now entirely banned in Europe. Animal Use in the Safety Evaluation of Chemicals: Harmonization and Emerging Needs - "The European Commission and all EU member states have banned the classical LD50 test." In addition you can read about the practical effect of the 2002 OECD ban here Inter-Governmental Organization Eliminates the LD50 Test or here Notorious animal testing gets the flick. What wording would you propose that accurately reflects our sources? Tim Vickers (talk) 21:40, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
It seems to me that the sources are contradictory. One says LD50 was "banned", while another says "OECD member countries are now expected to accept data from the alternative tests, in lieu of the LD50." So my question remains: is the LD50 still the procedure being used on the ground? I see no source that actually says that LD50 is not being used, or is used by only 50% of the labs or relevant procedures, etc.. I do see sources that tell us that European regulators have voted against it, but I see no source that tells us that this is mandatory (note the vague language above: "... are now expected ...").
If there is a source that tells us what is actually happening in the labs, as opposed to regulatory meeting rooms, it would be most useful. As of now, we only have the sources telling us LD50 is widely used. Crum375 (talk) 21:56, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Here is the OECD press release OECD Reaches Agreement to Abolish Unnecessary Animal Testing. This event is notable and verifiable, as you can see from the large amount of press that it generated. I have now provided a wealth of sources on this point, and made several suggestions on wording, now could you read through the sources and provide a constructive suggestion on what you think the text should say. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:14, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I have already noted that we have sufficient sourcing to show there is a plan to eliminate LD50. The source you cite above also confirms it. The point is what is happening in the actual labs, on the ground. As far as actual usage, all we have are the sources telling us LD50 is widely used. At this point, we have no source telling us otherwise. So we can leave the LD50 language as it was, and add a note saying some localities plan to replace it with other techniques, and have passed some new regulations. We should be sure to clarify that the regulations are voluntary, if that's the case. If I am missing an important point, please let me know. Crum375 (talk) 23:27, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
You are missing an important point. The ban is is not something that might happen in the future, it happened five years ago. Moreover it is not simply a voluntary guideline, it has major practical effects. Read the Inter-Governmental Organization Eliminates the LD50 Test article - "The LD50 Test ban officially went into effect on December 17, 2002, after a year-long phrase-in period. In a practical sense, the ban means any company that, for example, wants to secure Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval for a new chemical product could be rejected purely on the basis of using the LD50 Test. Regulatory agencies such as the EPA can reject any data derived from the LD50 Test." Tim Vickers (talk) 00:09, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I understand that point. What I am missing is a source that tells me that labs are actually no longer using LD50. If this is so clear cut, where are the sources? Crum375 (talk) 00:21, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Certainly no longer used in Europe, some use remaining in rest of world. We don't have any sources that break down current use by type of test, so we can't add that to the article. How about:

The first toxicity test to be developed was the LD50 test (Lethal Dose 50%) in 1927, which involves determining what dose will kill 50 percent of the test animals. Subsequently more humane methods such as the fixed dose procedure were validated, although the LD50 test is also still used. However the LD50 test has been banned in Europe and international regulations now recommend the use of alternative tests.

The problem I have with that wording is that it implies that LD50 is some relic, possibly rarely used anymore, while at this point we have not a single source telling us that a single real lab stopped using it. We need to follow the sources. They tell us LD50 is widely used, we need to state that, unless we have a source telling us otherwise. We can also mention that there are plans for moving to other methods, but without knowing if these plans have actually affected real usage, we can't say much. Crum375 (talk) 00:52, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

OK, we can be more specific: The first toxicity test to be developed was the LD50 test (Lethal Dose 50%) in 1927, which involves determining what dose will kill 50 percent of the test animals. Subsequently more humane methods such as the fixed dose procedure were validated, although the LD50 test was still used in about 1/3 of toxicity tests in 2005. However the LD50 test has been banned in Europe and international regulations now recommend the use of alternative tests. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:59, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

It still doesn't give us the real picture, and may distort what's there. We need to know how many of the tests that used to be based on LD50 are now based on other techniques, at least in rough percentage. We have no idea, looking at the sources we have. We also have no idea about the effectiveness of the bans and/or regulations — perhaps they are just decorations. All we have at the moment regarding actual usage are the sources saying LD50 is widely used. Everything else is intentions, plans, and our own conjectures. Actual usage is the key, and we need to stick to that. Everything else is secondary. Crum375 (talk) 01:22, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

The only reliable source we have on usage is cited, it says approx 1/3 of procedures. What other sources are you referring to? Tim Vickers (talk) 03:08, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Tim here. Using data on specific usage prior to the "ban" (if there are some available) is much more misleading than using more generalized numbers collected afterwards. Moreover, saying something is "widely used" is essentially meaningless even if it is well sourced. 1/3 of toxicology procedures is a much better statistic to guide us. Rockpocket 03:31, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I have no problem in relying on the Nature article to say that LD50 is used for 1/3 of all animal testing worldwide. That would be all testing, not just toxicology, unless I am misreading the source. That still gives us no basis to indicate there is any decline in the actual use of LD50, since all the sources talk about regulations, plans and intentions, but not actual results in terms of animals undergoing LD50 tests per year vs. the new alternative procedures, and any trending. If there is such a source, please point me to it. Crum375 (talk) 03:54, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

The meaning of that comment in Nature is unclear, but it must mean by "animal testing" to say "animal toxicology tests", in Britain for example all toxicology tests accounted for just 15% of total procedures in 2004 (link p18) and in Europe in 2005 all toxicology procedures were 8% of the total (link p7) and acute toxicity tests were only about 40% of these toxicology procedures (p13). Therefore one acute toxicology test in particular can't account for over 30% of all procedures - that's just not mathematically possible. Tim Vickers (talk) 04:09, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I understand your rationale, but to me that could indicate that that author is confused and therefore unreliable. Either he incorrectly implies that LD50 is used in 1/3 of all animal testing worldwide, or his numbers are off, or he could in fact mean 1/3 of toxicology tests only, or perhaps only in some region or country and not worldwide. We really don't know, and speculating would be OR. Crum375 (talk) 04:17, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
So if we do discount that, what sources remain on the relevant proportions of types of acute toxicity procedures? What source is the basis for your repeated statements that the LD50 test is still a common procedure? Tim Vickers (talk) 04:44, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
What is going on here is the same misunderstanding we have seen multiple times on this page. The scientific community use the term "animal test" to refer specifically to the toxicology testing of products on animals. They use the term "animal experimentation" to refer, more generally, to any procedure on an animal. The vast majority of animals used in science as not for "tests", they are for experiments.
So when Nature says "the LD50 acute toxicity test, which involves feeding animals with a chemical to determine the lethal dose, still accounts for one-third of all animal tests worldwide." The latter reference to animal tests means, literally, "the testing of products on animals", as it does throughout the entire article. It does not mean "animal testing" in the general way the anti-vivisection lobby uses the term. This is why I have consistently argued that we should no use the term "animal testing" and "animal experimentation" interchangeably, because a significant number of people that write about them do not do so (in fact, it is only the anti-vivisection lobby that does).
Therefore, it is not OR to draw the obvious conclusion, it is simply an educated understanding of the language used. He does mean 1/3 of all animal testing worldwide. Animal testing, not animal experimentation. Rockpocket 08:30, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I have changed the applicable statement in Toxicology testing to a quote, and think the same should be done here. I do think it is OR to put words into a source's mouth. Let's just go with what the source says. If there are other sources with relevant LD50 usage info, let's add them. Crum375 (talk) 15:33, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
That is just misleading, we all agree that such a figure is a mathematical impossibility with the meaning of "animal testing" that we use on this page. Quoting that sentence without the context to make it clear that it must be talking about "animal toxicology testing" will mislead our readers. Some good advice is that it is better to be vague than wrong, so I removed the quote but kept the note that the LD50 is still used - of that we can be certain. Similarly, what data is there to support the statement that the LD50 test is "the most common" toxicity test? We can't be sure on that point. Tim Vickers (talk) 16:17, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
If you read the next section of the Nature article it is quite clear that they are using "animal tests" to mean "animal toxicity tests", rather than the broad meaning used in this Wikipedia article:
"This is despite the acknowledged poor quality of most animal tests, which have never undergone the rigours of validation that in vitro alternatives now face. Most animal tests over or underestimate toxicity, or simply don’t mirror toxicity in humans very well."
This can't be referring to "animal tests" as a synonym for "animal experimentation", since it states that the sole purpose of animal tests is to assess toxicity. We can remove this confusion be converting the Nature quote to text. Tim Vickers (talk) 16:57, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I prefer to have a direct quote when there is any doubt. I think putting words into sources' mouths is OR. Crum375 (talk) 17:01, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Do you agree that the quote is confusing and contradictory? After all, you said above that you thought the conflict might "indicate that that author is confused and therefore unreliable" Changing the direct quote to summary text does not misrepresent the source, it simply removes the direct contradiction. An alternative would be to put a note after the quote that would state that the meaning of the words is unclear and they conflict with the government data. Which would you prefer? Tim Vickers (talk) 17:11, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I think adding a brief note after the quote that "testing" most likely refers to toxicology tests, makes sense. Crum375 (talk) 17:20, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I have put "toxicity" in parentheses to ensure the quote does not mislead our readers. If we are not willing to distinguish between "testing" and "experimentation" ourselves, then we have a duty to ensure that those that do are not misrepresented. Rockpocket 18:19, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Query[edit]

Tim, first, please stop adding citation templates to this article. WP:CITE says they should not be added against consensus. They make the text hard to edit.

Secondly, could you provide a source for "This test is was [sic] removed from international regulations in 2002, replaced by methods such as the fixed dose procedure, which use fewer animals and cause less suffering."

The sources you provide are either not online, or don't clearly say it. Page numbers or quotations would help, so people don't have to go hunting. It's not even clear what the sentence means -- "removed from international regulations".

Sources are:

  • Walum E (1998). "Acute oral toxicity". Environ. Health Perspect. 106 Suppl 2: 497–503. PMID 9599698.  and
  • Botham PA (2004). "Acute systemic toxicity--prospects for tiered testing strategies". Toxicol In Vitro. 18 (2): 227–30. PMID 14757114. 

SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:54, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Since the first source you question includes a direct weblink to the article, I'm puzzled how you could have missed the fact that the source is online (its the first blue link - "Acute oral toxicity"). Those are perfectly reliable sources, but we have a lot to choose from, as you can see above there is a wealth of material on this topic. Perhaps a summary from the Humane Society of North America would be close to your heart? Inter-Governmental Organization Eliminates the LD50 Test Tim Vickers (talk) 18:33, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I didn't say it wasn't online. Please quote and/or give a page number so we don't have to hunt. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 18:40, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
OK, I'll replace the citations with a page number and use the HSNA source. Tim Vickers (talk) 18:54, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Do you have days where you wake up bored, and say to yourself "Hey! It's been a while since I've upset that nice SlimVirgin. I'll think it's time to go drive her up the wall again"?
You've been asked in the past not to add citation templates, so you add some more. You've been asked not to engage in OR, so you add your own pie chart. You've been asked to stop relying on primary sources, so you add more material that relies on them. You've been asked to stop removing sourced material added by others, so you remove some without explanation. You've been asked to make sure it's clear to other editors what your sources are saying, so you add material without quoting them and without providing page numbers. When this is pointed out to you, you add some more citation templates.
It might please you to know that you've been singularly successful in your aims, and she has indeed been driven up the wall yet again. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:26, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Chart[edit]

The types of vertebrates used in animal testing in Europe in 2005.[14]

Where in the talk page archive is this discussed? This is simply a re-graphing of the EU data in different colours. See Fifth Report on the Statistics on the Number of Animals used for Experimental and other Scientific Purposes in the Member States of the European Union figure 1.1 p4. Tim Vickers (talk) 19:23, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Looks like a useful figure to me, what is the concern with it? Rockpocket 19:25, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
If the only change to an existing chart is the colors, I'm fine with it. But the page says he created it. If he did, it's OR. And if he didn't, it's probably a copyvio. Best to ask them to release it, and use the original. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:29, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I think the original chart has more information. To reduce it this way would be OR, IMO. Crum375 (talk) 19:30, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
The chart uses the data from the EU report and merges the four minor categories of "Artio and perissodactyla" 1.1%, "other mammals 0.08%", "other rodents" 0.8% and "Carnivores" 0.3% into one category of "Others" 2.9%, but I think this is a bit more informative - it removes minor details - rather than adding any original research. I can put those data back in, but it would look a bit cluttered. Tim Vickers (talk) 19:36, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Either use the source's chart if they'll release it, or leave it, please. We don't want any OR in this area. It's too easy to make things appear to be this or that by talking in terms of percentages and charts. Suddenly, the 65,000 primates barely exist, because they've been overwhelmed by 40 billion fruit flies. Even your turning the chart around so that the mice are on top is OR-ish. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:39, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree. I think the chart tends to minimize the use of the larger and more complex animals, by using color graphics to overwhelm them. It would be better to simply use numbers, X fruit flies, Y mice, Z primates. Crum375 (talk) 19:47, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Are you are actually arguing that rotating a section of a pie chart is original research? Tim Vickers (talk) 19:41, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

What I am saying (as I've said twice already) that if you want to use that chart, you should contact the source and ask them, but not create your own, whether that involves rotating it (if it made no difference, why did you do it?), or leaving out some of their figures. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:44, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Also, please take seriously that if it's very close to the source's version, it's a copyvio, and if it's not close enough, it's OR, so really the best thing is to e-mail them and ask if they'll release it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:50, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
My problem is with the presentation, which tends to minimize the importance of the larger more complex animals. Using this graphic, the primates disappear. Crum375 (talk) 19:47, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
That is the problem with using percentages. The source contains the figures directly above the chart, but on or page that layout would not be preserved. We've had a kind of agreement on this page for a couple of years (writing from memory) to avoid percentages unless accompanied by numbers. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 19:50, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm glad you are not opposed in principle to graphs, Crumb. The primates are a very minor part of the statistics though, that is the data and we can't change that. I did choose as high a contrast between the primate colour and the adjacent colours to minimise that problem. Tim Vickers (talk) 19:55, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I do have a problem when we use graphics, or percentages, to promote a POV. If we place all species on the same pie, it effectively implies we give them equal importance. That may be one person's POV, not another. Same for raw percentages. I think the safest way is to provide the numbers, which speak for themselves. Crum375 (talk) 20:00, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
How about adding the numbers in the labels around the outside, Crum375? Therefore both "POV" you are concerned about are represented and the chart will be absolutely neutral. Tim Vickers (talk) 20:06, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Version 2.
I think the human eye is easily overwhelmed by color graphics. The numbers alone are not a "POV" — they are the neutral facts (per sources). Trying to color those facts is where we get into trouble. Crum375 (talk) 20:11, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
The percentages are also neutral facts (per sources). One set of facts are not more neutral than the other, it might even be that the raw numbers themselves might be used to support one POV, since the human brain is also easily overwhelmed by numbers with lots of zeros. I think if we can include both, and avoid any concerns in either direction. Tim Vickers (talk) 20:22, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I think numbers are the only neutral form of conveying that information. Yes, if we see lots of zeros that may cause a distraction, but then different units can be used to reduce that effect (e.g. millions vs. thousands). Using percentages, even when properly sourced (reliability is not our main issue here) introduces a POV that all animals, from worms to primates, are equal commodities. Crum375 (talk) 20:30, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
When I made the chart, I used the EU data on vertebrate animals, which is POV from my perspective since invertebrates such as worms are much more common. In fact if anybody should be complaining about POV it is me, since this presentation of the data could be argued to minimise the importance of invertebrates to animal experimentation. Kind of ironic, isn't it? :) Tim Vickers (talk) 20:37, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
We already provide extensive coverage of the number of animals of each species (in thousands and millions) that are used in various constituencies. If, in addition, one would like to collate these into a table then I would not be adverse to that. However, charting the proportion of each species used in the pursuit of science is a different statistic and provides verifiable information to the reader in an accessible format. Whether that chart uses numbers of percentages is irrelevant, as the proportions of the chart remain the same. Its use if certainly not promoting a POV; that chart mentions numbers not values. So while we should not hide that x thousand primates are used, neither should we hide from demonstrating its context. If the use of colour is a problem, then we can plot the same data as grayscale bar chart with a bar for each type of animal (this gets around the similarity to the original chart also). Rockpocket 22:41, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
The problem is that presenting one species as a percentage of others, implies some equality between them. As an extreme example, imagine that some third world country were to test a drug on its prisoners. Would we then count those human test subjects as X percent of the total, which would include mice or worms? Clearly by using a percentage, or a pie chart, or any other graphic or tool that implies equality, we are introducing a POV that all these species are equivalent in some sense. This can then be used by those who want to obscure or minimize the importance of testing the more complex life forms by overwhelming the percentage, or the graphic, with huge numbers of the simpler ones. I think that numbers speak for themselves, and our readers can put them into their own perspective: X worms, Y rats, Z primates. Crum375 (talk) 23:01, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
This article is about animal experimentation. This is factual, useful and verifiable information about the topic. We already note that invertebrates are much the most common form of animals used in these procedures, and that mice are the most common sort of vertebrate used. If your logic was correct, noting these facts would be POV. These facts have been an uncontroversial part of the article for a long time - are you now arguing that we should remove them? Rockpocket, I made a new version with all the original categories replaced, although some are a little on the thin side. Would you recommend labeling with just names, names and percentages , or names, percentages and absolute numbers? Tim Vickers (talk) 23:08, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Noting that many more flies are used as test objects than primates is fine. But to say, or graph, that primates are (say) 0.001% of the test animal population implies that complex and simple life forms are in the same category. I am not for hiding facts from the readers, on the contrary, I'd like all the relevant facts out. But by using graphs or percentages across species boundaries we, as Wikipedians, are telling the readers that we consider all these species, from worm to primate, equivalent. We are also, by sheer numbers of the simpler life forms, obscuring the smaller numbers of the higher ones. Crum375 (talk) 23:19, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I think you are treating mice and rats a bit too lightly, these rodents are not "simple life forms", they are mammals with highly-developed nervous systems. The fact that the graph does not include invertebrates such as worms clearly contradicts the idea that we are aggregating simple life forms with more complex ones such as mammals. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:25, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I think we should not judge the specific complexities of the various life forms. Clearly mice and men are different, despite sharing 99% of their genes. Bacteria and humans share 100% of their DNA material, yet humans seem more complex. The point is that we cannot make judgments equating the various species and lumping them into percentages or producing graphs. That action tends to obscure the numbers of the higher life forms by overwhelming them with the simpler ones. The correct and neutral way is to present the numbers, and let the readers decide for themselves. Crum375 (talk) 23:46, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
The only "equality" the chart demonstrates is that all the vertebrates listed underwent an experiment. Inferring moral value (and hence a POV) from a figure about frequency is a non sequitur. You note the figure can then be used by those who want to obscure or minimize the importance of testing the more complex life forms. Yes it can, just as the raw numbers without context can be used by those who want to overemphasize the testing on more complex life forms. Our job is to do neither of these, it is to provide pertinent, accurate and contextually relevant information and allow readers to use it as they please. If they wish to use the data selectively then that is up to them. Rockpocket 23:40, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe the point of graphs is to present data in an accessible form using graphics, thus I would use names only. I believe a link to the source is sufficient for those that want the exact numbers/percentages. However, there is nothing wrong with providing the numbers/percentages in a footnote either. Putting the numbers/precentages in the figure itself is redundant and defeats the purpose of a graph. Besides, we already have many numbers in the text. Rockpocket 23:40, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
RP, if the data included tests on human prisoners, per my example above, would you include the humans as a slice and percentage of the pie that included rats and mice? Crum375 (talk) 23:46, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Or if one scientist were killed by animal rights protesters, would he be included as the thinnest of slices on a pie chart showing incidents where protesters had confronted researchers? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:02, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Crum, if I was presenting a figure about the frequency in which vertebrate species were used in non-voluntary scientific experimentation, yes I would. I don't see a problem with that at all. Its not a co-incidence that the more "important" or "complex" a species is from our POV, the less there are experimented on (again, non-voluntarily). That general trend is significant and important in understanding the rationale behind animal experimentation as a whole (in many countries scientists are legally obligated to use the "most primitive" species they can to address their scientific goal). Reporting this does nothing to minimize the importance of those animals that are used in lesser numbers, in fact, quite the opposite.
SV, absolutely. That is exactly how one would represent a frequency table of criminal acts of AR-activists. Infact, that is not a bad idea, since we have the Biteback data on types of direct action. Perhaps we could put that into an article somewhere. Rockpocket 00:22, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
What about focusing on the real EU statistics on animal testing, rather than these rather strange hypothetical questions. The version 2 is now above. I renamed the "Artio and Perissodactyla group" - which include horses, donkeys, pigs, goats, sheep and cattle just as "farm animals" since this will be much clearer to the average reader than the original. I must say I still prefer version 1, but since you were concerned about combining those minor groups Crumb, I put them back in. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:07, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't see a practical difference. Using that chart, which equates the various species, will obscure the smaller numbers of the more complex life forms like primates, which tend to be overwhelmed by mice and rats in that format. Crum375 (talk) 00:19, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Which is exactly what the graph is supposed to tell you. The numbers of mice and rats do overwhelm the numbers of primates and other animals, so the it sounds like the graph does it's job well. I actually like the second one, Tim. Rockpocket 00:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, if people insist on having a graph, then why not include all organisms tested, like bacteria, flies, nematodes, etc. Why only vertebrates? Who decides that cutoff? Have you ever petted an octopus? They are as cute and cuddly (and arguably as intelligent) as many pets. Of course, with bacteria, or even flies on the chart, the vertebrates would disappear. So clearly any cutoff is problematic, which means we need to supply numbers, not apples and mice comparisons. Crum375 (talk) 00:31, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you on principle, but we can't include all organisms tested because we do not have reliable data for those (scientists are not required to document the numbers of invertebrates used). Thus we can't supply numbers for the invertebrates either, so that remains a problem either way.
We draw the line where we have reliable data. The cut-off is artificial, but (almost) precisely around the vertebrate/invertebrate distinction. I say almost because, as you point out, octopuses are pretty unusual invertebrates (indeed, I had the privilege of doing some behavioural experiments with octopuses a few years ago and they truly are remarkable creatures). Accordingly, the UK passed an amendment essentially classifying Octopus vulgaris as a vertebrate for the purposes of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. I don't know where that fits into this chart, perhaps they just left it out since the number is probably only a handful and it is unique to the UK. But it is an anomaly. Rockpocket 00:47, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
The problem remains, that to include lower order species (if I can use that term), where the numbers are very large, in the same chart as higher order ones, will obscure the smaller number of the higher order ones. This is a problem because there are many people who feel that higher order animals are more prone to suffer under test conditions, and therefore are more important to focus on. But since, because of sheer numbers they become overwhelmed and obscured in a chart format, it ends up distracting the reader from seeing what many feel are the more important sectors. This is why I feel that using numbers alone is the fair and impartial way to present the information. Crum375 (talk) 00:57, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
You talk about "higher order" species (and I do appreciate what you mean), but that is such a subjective, wooly distinction as to be meaningless. It means what you want it to mean, and that would be different for each individual. For example, does an ape suffer significantly more than an Old World monkey than a New world monkey? Do all three suffer more than a dog, a cat, a mouse? Where do you draw the "higher order" line and why? Each individual would give a different answer, usually at the point the animal stops being "cute" in their opinion. So why should we make an arbitrary distinctions based on a subjective and POV criteria (i.e. what "some people feel")?
The very criticism you make is what, from an objective standpoint, its important to show. Primates, cats and dogs are overwhelmed by mice and rats in terms of numbers. People may not appreciate that from the fact that primates get a disproportionate amount of coverage. Its not the numbers that make primates an important part of the story, and rightly so, its the value we attribute them. Rockpocket 01:46, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) I agree with much of what you say. I was only using "lower order" as a shorthand. I agree that the amount of suffering of the different species is an unknown, and is not necessarily correlated to their size or complexity. But my point remains that these are different species and therefore to lump them in one pile, mice with primates, while excluding the invertebrates, is very misleading and arbitrary. Many people reading this article are concerned about the cost/benefit balance of animal testing (where cost is measured in those elusive units of "suffering"), and many people assume that more complex animals suffer more. Yet, those who presumably suffer more are overwhelmed when presented alongside the less complex creatures. By just arbitrarily adding, say, an estimated number of fruit flies used, the pie chart would totally change, obscuring the mammals. So we are back to what is the most neutral and straightforward way to present the numbers, skirting these contentious issues. Crum375 (talk) 02:15, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Ultimately we can only report the data we have. The chart is clearly marked as the proportion of vertebrates used in experiments, which is what the article overwhelmingly concerns. Its not like we have chosen some arbitrary grouping, the legislative community have essentially decided that invertebrates don't count enough to bother even recording them and therefore vertebrates are the primary issue of concern of an article about animal testing. The chart accurately summarizes the comparative information we have about that subject, if numbers of one vertebrate species appears to overwhelms the others, then that is because one vertebrate species overwhelms the others in animal testing. The numbers don't lie, and this point of this chart is to illustrate the numbers.
If we are going to argue that it misleads by omission of invertebrates, then we may as well give and go home, since the entire article suffers from that, irrespective if whether we use, numbers, percentages or charts. You protests would be more understandable if we were discussing using this instead of numbers, but the entire section documents the numbers in detail. I really don't think an additional illustrative chart that provides the same information in a contextual format obscures anything, since nothing is being removed. Rockpocket 05:09, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

It is obvious that there are too camps here. One is disturbed by primate experiments, and the other is amazed at the staggering waste of rodents. 129.170.84.151 (talk) 02:26, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure we are going to convince one another. I believe the addition of a chart does not distract, obscure or overwhelm the information already there, but does add a different perspective on the information, thereby providing useful context. Therefore I have added version 2 with the text from version 1. I did this per WP:BRD, so if you find this version unacceptable, please do revert and we can use that to move forward, perhaps by seeking further comment. Rockpocket 05:31, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I support that idea, if people still object to us adding this information an article RfC would probably be appropriate, so we could gain more input from the community. Tim Vickers (talk) 05:51, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Congratulatory section break[edit]

Tim, your patience is amazing and is an example to us all. Cla68 (talk) 00:49, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it is a case of extraordinary patience from one individual (not that Tim isn't a paragon of patience, I'm sure), its simply that there are two very different ways of approaching this subject, ideologically and practically, and it can take some discussion to reach a common understanding of both positions. Its to everyone's credit that they can do so while keeping cool heads, maintaining good faith, and being open to an appreciation of alternative POVs. While occasionally things may get a little testy, I am always quite impressed at how controlled the discussions are on this page, considering the controversy around the subject, and how compromise is often generated. I think this talk page, and all its major contributors, are a fine example to the project. Rockpocket 01:46, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Draize test[edit]

I'm concerned that the current description of the Draize test from the National Anti-Vivisection Society website may not be accurate. I found an article called "The Draize Eye Test and in vitro alternatives; a left-handed marriage?" that describes the test in detail. It states:

Exposure conditions in the Draize Test
What is not highlighted in the discussions so far, however, is surprisingly enough the conduct and course of the test itself, although several investigators have discussed the unrealistic exposure conditions of the Draize Eye Test, i.e., instillation in the conjunctival cul-de-sac of the rabbits eye, compared to potential human exposure (Freeberg et al., 1986 and Roggeband et al., 2000).
For most routine acute and repeat toxicity tests, standard exposure times and/or delivery of dosage (orally, intravenously, etc.) are well-defined. In the dermal irritation test, for example, the entire dosage is held by a patch onto the skin for an exact period of time. In the eye irritation test, however, neither of these well-defined conditions exists. For liquids, pastes and solids, it is impossible to estimate how much and for how long the test substance stays in contact with the eye. For aqueous, non-viscous formulations the standard instillation of 0.1 ml in the conjunctival cul-de-sac of the rabbit and the holding of the eye-lids for 1 s, results in a rapid removal of the material within seconds/minutes through blinking with the nictitating membrane (third eye-lid) and grooming by the rabbit.
This contrasts with the situation for sticky pastes for example, which cannot be removed that easily. The most dramatic variation in contact time and dosage occurs with solids. Even if applied as a 0.1 ml equivalent (the content of the cul-de-sac), the actual amount of a powder/solid that stays in contact with the eye is unpredictable. More importantly, the contact time may vary from a couple of minutes to 24 h, because rinsing the eye is not allowed before the 24-h reading (only recently changed to 1 h for solids in the 2002 update of OECD guideline no. 405).

Note that the animal's eye is only held closed for about one second and that blinking is not prevented. This fits the official OECD test guideline Guideline 405. Similarly in the article The Draize eye test. blinking is again specifically noted.

A solution can be instilled into the lower conjunctival sac or dropped directly onto the cornea. To avoid unnecessary discomfort, a topical anesthetic drug is sometimes instilled before the test agent.[123] Depending on the animal's response, the test substance may remain in contact with the eye, be blinked away, or be diluted by tearing.

Does anybody have any objection to me correcting this description? Tim Vickers (talk) 20:44, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Could you first say here what you'd like to write, to avoid reversions? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 20:50, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
How about:
Eye irritation is usually measured using the Draize test. The protocol recommended by the OECD involves applying the test substance to the eye of an animal, usually an albino rabbit. The effects are then observed at intervals, and any damage or irritation graded. The OECD protocol states that the test should be halted and the animal killed if it shows continual and severe pain or distress, but less severe effects may be allowed to continue for days. The Draize test has been strongly criticised for being cruel, as well as being subjective, over-sensitive, and failing to reflect human exposures in the real world. Although no accepted in vitro alternatives exist, a modified forms of the Draize test called the low volume eye test may reduce suffering and provide more realistic results, but it has not yet replaced the original test. Tim Vickers (talk) 21:09, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
There a very good review on this topic that has just been published this month - PMID 17701961
May I suggest combining the texts?
"Irritancy is usually measured using the Draize test, where a test substance is applied to an animal's eyes or skin, usually an albino rabbit. For Draize eye testing, the rabbits' heads are held in place, and clips used to hold their eyes open to prevent them from blinking away the test solution.[15] The protocol recommended by the OECD involves observing the effects of the substance at intervals, and grading any damage or irritation. The protocol states that the test should be halted and the animal killed if there is continual and severe pain or distress, but lesser effects may be allowed to continue for days. The National Anti-Vivisection Society writes that the test compounds often leave the animals' eyes ulcerated and bleeding.[15] The test has been criticized for being cruel, as well as subjective, over-sensitive, and failing to reflect human exposures in the real world. Although no accepted in vitro alternatives exist, a modified form of the Draize test called the low volume eye test may reduce suffering and provide more realistic results, but it has not yet replaced the original test."
Plus whatever refs are needed for the new information (but please, no citation templates).
If there is a discrepancy between the sources on the blinking isssue, we'll have to look into it further. There are likely to be neutral(ish) secondary sources around for an issue like that. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:01, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
We can't state that clips hold animals' eyes open if the reliable sources that deal with this specific topic refute this assertion. The National Anti-Vivisection Society website has no named authors and has no clear editorial process - it is a questionable source. The claims made by this source are in clear contradiction of the more reliable secondary sources that have named authors and have been published in peer-reviewed journals with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. We would need to find a reliable source to support such a claim. I have removed the questionable material for now, until we can come to consensus on replacement. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:20, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm still looking around for a source about the clips. So far as I can tell, the sources who mention it all rely on Peter Singer's 1975 version of Animal Liberation, a claim that is not in his updated version, so it may be outdated. However, I'm not done looking yet. In the course of looking around, I've found some better descriptions of the test, which we might want to use, including a photograph showing a dog used alongside the rabbits. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 14:27, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
I had a look at some images of Draize testing and couldn't see anything that looked like clips near the animals' eyes - but that's original research I know! Some of the sources I have read mention that the test was "standardised" in the mid 1980s, so perhaps that did refer to an older version of the test. How about removing that statement and using the Humane Society of the United States as a more notable and reliable source of criticism? Tim Vickers (talk) 17:27, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
"Irritancy is usually measured using the Draize test, where a test substance is applied to an animal's eyes or skin, usually an albino rabbit. For Draize eye testing, the protocol recommended by the OECD involves observing the effects of the substance at intervals and grading any damage or irritation, but that the test should be halted and the animal killed if there is "continual and severe pain or distress". The Humane Society of the United States writes that the procedure can cause redness, ulceration, hemorrhaging, cloudiness, or even blindness.[16] The test has also been criticized by scientists for being cruel and inaccurate, since it is subjective, over-sensitive, and fails to reflect human exposures in the real world. Although no accepted in vitro alternatives exist, a modified form of the Draize test called the low volume eye test may reduce suffering and provide more realistic results, but it has not yet replaced the original test."
That would be fine with me, though I'd like to be able to tweak it around a little with some of the stuff I've found (good sources). But I may not do it, or I may not do it soon, so I'm fine with you inserting what you have. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 18:59, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Great, thank you. Will do. Tim Vickers (talk) 19:01, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Pain section[edit]

I've removed this as it doesn't really seem to say anything:

The 1990 Assessment and Control of the Severity of Scientific Procedures on Laboratory Animals, to "aid communication between all those concerned with the use and welfare of laboratory animals", presents a detailed severity index metric for the operational assessing and controlling of pain and distress in laboratory animal procedures based on numerically assigned evaluations of the following considerations: consciousness, anesthesia, preparation, restraint, duration, tissue sensitivity, organ risk, mortality, pain, distress, deprivation, and frequency. Operational control of severity considerations include: management practices, psychosocial influences, disease, objective measurement and record keeping, training, procedure design practices, basic husbandry considerations, and planning for emergency and humane end-points for each procedure.[17]

SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:20, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

It is a bit jumbled, I don't think it adds much to the article. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:22, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I added that to explain to the reader that "pain" is a complex subject that has numerous aspects and has distinct and seperate componets that are evaluated and weighed in the planning of animal experimentation and during the operational phase. For example the 1990 Assessment and Control of the Severity of Scientific Procedures on Laboratory Animals, was written to "aid communication between all those concerned with the use and welfare of laboratory animals" and it presents a detailed severity index metric for the operational assessing and controlling of pain and distress in laboratory animal procedures based on numerically assigned evaluations of the following considerations:
  1. consciousness,
  2. anesthesia,
  3. preparation,
  4. restraint,
  5. duration,
  6. tissue sensitivity,
  7. organ risk,
  8. mortality,
  9. pain,
  10. distress,
  11. deprivation, and
  12. frequency.

Operational control of severity considerations include:

  1. management practices,
  2. psychosocial influences,
  3. disease,
  4. objective measurement and record keeping,
  5. training,
  6. procedure design practices,
  7. basic husbandry considerations, and
  8. planning for emergency and humane end-points for each procedure.

I suppose the data is densely packed, but nowhere else in the article do we present any actual details about what the "on the ground" criteria are concerning pain management in animal testing. I think it is important not to just wave our hands and talk in complete generalities. The source is there for anyone who wishes to expand on or better understand the listed considerations. WAS 4.250 (talk) 21:34, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Lead[edit]

I combined some refs in the lead and removed some blue to make it look less frantic. I also combined two pargraphs, and put the sentence "the topic is controversial" (which I changed to highly controversial) at the beginning of those paragraphs. Previously it had been at the start of the third paragraph, which suggested that only that paragraph - the anti-paragraph -- contained the controversial points, whereas it's both the pro and the anti positions that are controversial. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:31, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Forgot to say that I also removed the thing about Nobel prizes, because it was really just repeating that these were major advances. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:33, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Tim, I don't see the point of saying in the lead that we're not including fruit flies, except in a footnote. We say vertebrates, and we link to what it means. And the lead is a summary of what the article is about, not what it's not about. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

This article is about animal testing, it is not about animal testing in vertebrates. Our coverage of animal testing in invertebrates needs to be expanded, if anything, due to the importance of this group of animals in current science. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:06, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

This article is about animal testing in vertebrates. When people talk of animals, they don't mean fruit flies. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:10, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

No, animal experimentation or "animal testing" as we dub it in this article is the use of animals in research. Insects are animals and they are used in research - hence they must be discussed in this article. The use of this inexact term "animal testing" as the title of this article is a constant problem, as noted many times above on this talk page, but since that is what we seem to be stuck with, that is what we have to work with. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:15, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Just looking at toxicology testing alone, there are a wealth of sources on the use of invertebrates in animal testing.

  • Lagadic L, Caquet T (1998). "Invertebrates in testing of environmental chemicals: are they alternatives?". Environ. Health Perspect. 106 Suppl 2: 593–611. PMID 9599707. 
  • deFur PL (2004). "Use and role of invertebrate models in endocrine disruptor research and testing". ILAR J. 45 (4): 484–93. PMID 15454687. 
  • Williams PL, Anderson GL, Johnstone JL, Nunn AD, Tweedle MF, Wedeking P (2000). "Caenorhabditis elegans as an alternative animal species". J. Toxicol. Environ. Health Part A. 61 (8): 641–7. PMID 11132694. 
  • Vogel EW, Graf U, Frei HJ, Nivard MM (1999). "The results of assays in Drosophila as indicators of exposure to carcinogens". IARC Sci. Publ. (146): 427–70. PMID 10353398. 

That is before you examine the importance of invertebrates in pure research, where flies and worms are by far the most important species. Is your argument for excluding invertebrates from this article that you think people don't usually consider flies as animals? Tim Vickers (talk) 01:27, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

My argument is that the word "animal" does not include insects; that the sources who discuss animal testing don't dicuss insects; that the government bodies who regulate animal testing don't regulate the use of insects. We go with the sources on these issues. This article isn't about pure research; it is specifically about the issues surrounding animal testing, and there are no issues surrounding the use of insects. Perhaps there ought to be, but there just aren't. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:36, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Tim, regarding your use of primary sources, you need to distinguish between sources that constitute animal research (the studies, the writing up and analysis of the studies), and sources who write about animal testing. It's the latter that are more useful in this article. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:39, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
  1. Animal - animals are a group of organisms that includes insects. People learn this at school, so I don't think our readers will be unaware of this.
  2. The secondary sources I provide above (you will notice they are review articles if you read them) show clearly that sources that discuss "animal testing" and "animal experimentation" do discuss invertebrates.
  3. The law is only a small part of this article which is instead discussed at Animal testing regulations.
  4. Most importantly, this article is not about "the issues surrounding animal testing" it is about animal testing. This is the core of the problem we are having here - you wish to write about the controversy, not the subject. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:46, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Can you show me a source that discusses animal testing and fruit flies -- not particular studies, or particular uses, but a meta-discussion on the role of the fruit fly in animal testing. Just one will do. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:55, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

You might also find these links interesting:

Couple these with almost one million Google Scholar hits for Drosophila and you have a very notable organism. As I said before, this article isn't about the controversy, it is about the subject. Flies and worms are vital to modern animal experimentation, we can't miss them out, and we probably need to talk about them more. Tim Vickers (talk) 02:27, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Okay, thank you. You're right, and I take it back. I would have liked to read the one that looked at the moral implications (the interscience.wiley.com one), but it said I don't have cookies enabled, though I do. I'll try and fiddle with my browser later on to make it work. But otherwise, please do ahead and mention them in the lead if you want to. :-) SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:32, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Great, thank you. I have a friend who works on Drosophila, she got very upset and angry when I once "dissed" her organism. Once you've listened to the impassioned defense of "why flies tell us everything we need to know" for half an hour it tends to stick in the memory! :) Tim Vickers (talk) 02:49, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

You simply need to google the title, SV, though unless you have a subscription you will only be able to read the abstract. See also [9] [10] If you want I can try and get you a reprint of the wiley paper. Rockpocket 03:16, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. I'll see what I can do to get it myself first, then maybe I'll ask you.
BTW, I'm hoping to add some material to the pain section later today or tomorrow, as I found quite a good discussion of some of the issues. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:37, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Quote[edit]

Tim, can you provide a source for "impossible to advance biomedical science without the use of animal subjects ..." The page you linked to doesn't show it. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:33, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

The specific quote is "At present, it is impossible to advance biomedical science without the use of animal subjects for some aspects of research." [11] Rockpocket 22:38, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Can I ask why the quote was changed? No knowledgeable organization would say it is "impossible to advance biomedical science without the use of animal subjects." SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:39, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
And this is a quote from the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research, not the United States National Academy of Sciences? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:42, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
The ILAR "functions as a component of the National Academies to provide independent, objective advice to the federal government, the international biomedical research community, and the public." Basically it is the arm of the National Academy that deals with animal testing. Rockpocket 22:52, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Okay, thanks. We should attribute the quote directly to them, in that case. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:53, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
We don't have an article for them, and one should probably redirect to the academies page. The quote comes from a report from the National Academies. As with most of their reports, are prepared by one of their offices (in this case, the ILAR) [12] Rockpocket 23:01, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
If we say "A National Academies of Sciences report" then we can link to the NAS article. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:09, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

"Some people also claim that it is unnecessary for animals to be used as research subjects and that computer or other nonanimal models could be used instead. In some cases this is true, and scientists strive to use computer models and other nonanimal methods whenever possible; however, many of the interactions that occur between molecules, cells, tissues, organs, organisms, and the environment are too complex for even the most sophisticated of computers to model. At present, it is impossible to advance biomedical science without the use of animal subjects for some aspects of research." - edit conflict, its page 1 and 2. The longer quote might be better, what do people think? Tim Vickers (talk) 22:41, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Can you say why you changed it? -- because you changed its meaning too.
Also, who does this quote actually orginate with? See above. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:43, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Tim, please provide a link showing where you got this -- a direct link to the page it is on. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:44, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Googling "At present, it is impossible to advance biomedical science without the use of animal subjects for some aspects of research." yeilded http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10733&page=1 Half is at the bottom and the other part is I assume on page 2 which Tim provided as his source above. WAS 4.250 (talk) 23:27, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
NAS is one of the most authoritative sources you could possibly find on the subject, so I replaced a less-notable and important group with an opinion from one of the premier scientific organisations in he world. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:57, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Just throwing this out there. If this is problematic, we could always use the Royal Society (they take a slightly different tone):
  • "We have all benefited immensely from scientific research involving animals. From antibiotics and insulin to blood transfusions and treatments for cancer or HIV, virtually every medical achievement in the past century has depended directly or indirectly on research on animals. The same is true for veterinary medicine. Modern biology, with all its contributions to the well-being of society, is heavily dependent on research on animals." [13]
  • "Humans have benefited immensely from scientific research involving animals, with virtually every medical achievement in the past century reliant on the use of animals in some way. Developments in the treatment of diabetes, leukaemia and heart surgery transplants, amongst others, have been made possible through the use of animals in scientific research. The majority of the scientific community consider that the benefits that have been provided by the use of animals in research justify this use." [14]
Rockpocket 23:17, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Hmmm, I'd hate to choose between the two! Both are extremely authoritative, but since most of are readership are probably Americans, I'd be tempted to cater for parochialism. Especially since most people who have heard of the Royal Society will have probably have heard of the US-NAS, but possibly not the other way around? Tim Vickers (talk) 23:21, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Its just the the ILAR doesn't mean much to the average reader, unless you are aware it is an office of the NA. The alternative, I guess, is linking it and redirecting the ILAR page to the NAS. Which seems a bit weaselly. If we are going to do that we may as well just call it a NAS report. Rockpocket 23:25, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
It's from a book published by the ILAR, I thought. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:26, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
"Science, Medicine, and Animals and the Teacher's Guide were written by the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research and published by the National Research Council of the National Academies." since the ILAR is "The Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) is a program unit in The Division on Earth and Life Studies (DELS) of the National Academies." (see NAS organisational chart. So it was written by an organisation that is part of the US-NAS and published by the Academy. I can't see what is wrong with describing the report as "A National Academies of Sciences report" Tim Vickers (talk) 23:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
You know what is wrong with it. First, it's not accurate. It was written by the ILAR, period. That they are part of this, or part of that, is irrelevant. Secondly, you want to name the umbrella organization because it will sound less POV. If it suited your POV, you'd be strongly arguing in favor of naming the original source. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:45, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Since almost all of our readers won't know that the ILAR are part of the National Academies, I took Rockpocket's excellent suggestion and substituted the Royal Society report instead. It is just as authoritiative, and hopefully there won't be any confusion about authorship. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:04, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Question about the quote; please answer[edit]

Tim, can you please answer the question about why you changed the quote? This is the kind of thing that poisons these pages and turns them needlessly into battlefields, so I would really like to pin it down. Do you honestly see no significant distinction between: "it is impossible to advance biomedical science without the use of animal subjects," and "At present, it is impossible to advance biomedical science without the use of animal subjects for some aspects of research"? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:23, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

The two have the same meaning, since it is written in the present tense. It would change the meaning to say ""it has been impossible" or "It will be impossible" but saying "it is impossible" and "At present, it is impossible" means precisely the same thing. For the extension of the quote I thought that if it is "impossible to advance biomedical science without the use of animals" whether this use is wide or narrow doesn't change the statement that it is impossible to do this without using animals. That interpretation is a bit less clear though, so you might be right that shortening that end of the quote was unwise. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:28, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
"At present, it is impossible" does not mean the same as "it is impossible." It is impossible for 2 plus 2 to equal 4, and not only at present. Also, their claim that it is impossible for some aspects of research is clearly relevant, because even they concede that it is not currently impossible for all aspects of research.
Can you please in future stick very closely to what the sources say? There's no need to quote all the time, but they must be represented accurately, so that they would look at what you wrote, and would agree that they had said that thing.
All that's happening at the moment is that, because I know sources are not being represented well, I don't trust your edits, so I feel I have to check everything. This leads to endless back and forth between us, poisons this page, and makes us distrust each other. It would be great if I could know I didn't have to check your edits when I see your name crop up. Even if I disagree with something, I'm still able to recognize it as a quality edit (and welcome it), and similarly I can recognize a bad edit even if I agree with it (and don't welcome it). These disagreements I have with you have nothing to do with POV. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:42, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Quote changed again[edit]

The previous quote was good, because it's the first time we've actually had anything explanatory in the lead. It cited the source as saying: "'[a]t present, it is impossible to advance biomedical science without the use of animal subjects for some aspects of research,' because interactions between molecules, cells, tissues, organs, organisms, and the environment are too complex for even very sophisticated computers to model."

The current quote goes back to say nothing, and seems to have been changed only to make the source sound more respectable, rather than with the aim of giving the reader information. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 00:51, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

That's a good point. Your summary of the US-NAS report was quite informative. We can have both, without gaining any length, which fits quite well. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:48, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Animal welfare groups[edit]

Thinking about the notability of the groups we quote in the lead, I think WP:UNDUE should really apply here. Why are the opinions of the larger Animal welfare groups not cited. The US Humane society and the RSPCA are obvious examples. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:48, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

How would their views be any different? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:04, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Americans For Medical Advancement doesn't seem a very notable group. Tim Vickers (talk) 02:02, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Looking at what the mainstream animal welfare groups say, their statements appear more balanced and less extreme than those of PETA and Americans For Medical Advancement. Describing the mainstream scientific view, while only describing the extremist animal welfare group position - and omitting the mainstream animal welfare groups statements - seems to be giving undue weight to a minority opinion. Tim Vickers (talk) 02:40, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

  • "As do most scientists, The HSUS advocates an end to the use of animals in research and testing that is harmful to the animals. Accordingly, we strive to decrease and eventually eliminate harm to animals used for these purposes." HSUS Statement on Animals in Biomedical Research, Testing, and Education
  • "The RSPCA adopts a constructive and practical approach, judging every issue individually, critically questioning the necessity and justification for animal use and striving to reduce the conflict between animals and science wherever possible." RSPCA Research animals home - Research animals
I'm not sure what you're trying to say, Tim. All opponents of animal research will argue at least one of the following: that it's unnecessary, cruel, poor scientific practice, never reliably predictive of human metabolic and physiological specificities, poorly regulated, that the costs outweigh the alleged benefits, or that animals have an intrinsic right not to be used for experimentation.
Some argue all of these points; others focus on particular issues. That's why it was written this way. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:57, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I tried adding the RSPCA quote to show the range of opinion on this topic amongst the mainstream animal welfare groups. It seemed the less woolly of the two, and as this is certainly one of the most important of such groups, its nuanced position is very important. Tim Vickers (talk) 03:03, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't think it opposes animal testing, so please don't add it among the opposition opinions, unless you can find a clear statement that it does. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:10, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

The article, and the lead, should summarise not only opposition to animal testing, but the positions of each notable group of people involved in the issue. The opinions of the more extreme abolitionist groups such as PETA should certainly be discussed in the article, but they should not be given undue weight. Both the RSPCA and the US-HS have clear positions on the issue, and these are very large and important groups of people. To cite Americans For Medical Advancement, which appears to be a one-man organisation, and ignore the largest animal welfare groups in the world, is inconsistent with our policies. Tim Vickers (talk) 03:16, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Crum375, how good to see you again. You always seem to turn up to help when we are having difficulties. What are your thoughts on this matter? Tim Vickers (talk) 03:18, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, Tim, I hope you are being sincere. It seems to me that given the space constraints in the lead, we need to focus on just the two sides: pros and cons. The other, less clearly positioned groups can be detailed in the article body if needed. Hence the Welfare groups are not appropriate, as they don't add critical information. Crum375 (talk) 03:24, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
That's an interesting perspective, Crum375, but what do you think about my concern that giving prominence to the smaller and more extreme groups doesn't fit our policy on undue weight? That the largest animal welfare groups do not oppose animal testing on principle seems a very important piece of information. Tim Vickers (talk) 03:30, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
It is only the most notable welfare group in the UK; not even clearly the largest. It's not clear that they don't oppose animal testing, Tim. And it's not clear that they do. They don't really have a position because they don't have much to do with the subject, unlike the specialist groups. So it's odd that you would want to place them in the lead. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:33, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
(ec) The issue is controversy, and to describe it in a summary fashion it is best to mention the opposing sides and their views. That there may be huge amounts of people with intermediate views does not shed light on the controversy. Crum375 (talk) 03:36, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that is right, Crum375, the subject of the Animal testing article is not "controversy", that would be the subject of the Animal testing controversy article. Here, we need to summarise for the reader the positions of the notable groups that have taken a position on the issue. Saying some support, some oppose in some cases, and some oppose in all cases, gives a good idea of the actual thoughts of the organisations involved, rather than presenting this incorrectly as a black-and-white issue. Tim Vickers (talk) 03:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
The RSPCA isn't a notable group involved in animal testing. They have almost nothing to do with it, and it's not even clear what their position is. The controversy paragraph needs to summarize the controversy, obviously, which is arguments in favor, arguments against, in brief. By all means remove American thingies -- nothing hangs on their inclusion. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:22, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I removed them, the very definition of fringe! Since both organisations have position papers and large areas of their website devoted to the issue, they obviously have a view on the matter. What would you summarise this as, SV, reading the material I linked to above? We should be able to summarise this in a sentence or two. Tim Vickers (talk) 03:38, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Intro[edit]

The "controversy" section only constitutes about 25% of the article, but references to the controversy currently occupy 50% of the intro. Also, the intro doesn't really summarize the "Reasearch classification" section even though it is a major portion of the article. Cla68 (talk) 02:38, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I think you're right, the lead does a poor job of summarising the article as a whole. Tim Vickers (talk) 02:40, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I would say that an article of this length could probably support a four paragraph intro. The first paragraph could include the standard lead-in and the definition of animal testing, the second history and animals used, the third research classification, and the fourth controversy. Cla68 (talk) 02:49, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Animals used could also go in the first paragraph, I think, leaving the second paragraph completely to history. Cla68 (talk) 02:52, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
And what brings you to this article, Cla68? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:52, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Have you forgotten the 3RR accusation that drew everyone's attention to this article?[15] I've been watching since then, and have been hoping for over a month that the massive External link farm would be pruned per WP:EL, WP:NOT soon; it's one of the worst I've seen. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:59, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
It just has been pruned. I aim to start looking at the remainder to make sure they're relevant and still working. But again, Sandy, what brings you here? Why the sudden interest? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:08, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
As I just said (above), I've been following this article since it was brought to my attention on December 17 via a surprising 3RR warning to Tim (whose talk page I have had watched for a very long time). Since I just saw a partial prune (finally) of a massive external link farm,[16] it seemed a good time to ask that the job be finished. I found several Dmoz categories that could be used in place of the external link farm, but I'm not sure which is best to use, as there are several; you might want to do a DMOZ search, and use the DMOZ cat in place of all the external links, which is a technique used on many medical articles to avoid the WP:NOT a support group issue. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:14, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
For example, see the External links at Asperger syndrome. The article is comprehensive, and since DMOZ contains all the support group links that were always being added, we were able to prune them all by linking to DMOZ instead. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:23, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I did ask on AN/I a while ago that more people put this article on their watchlists, since this is an area where a diverse set of opinions is very valuable in correcting each editors' inherent POV. I'm pleased to see so many people are interested. Tim Vickers (talk) 03:12, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
But what has happened instead is that two people who oppose me over other issues have turned up, one of whom regularly wikistalks me, neither of whom has edited this article before, and neither of whom has any specialist knowledge. I don't really see that as helpful, Tim. In fact, it looks like an attempt simply to get some numbers on your side, which was the kind of attitude I was hoping we could move away from. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:16, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Your question has been answered, please stop the conspiracy theories. No one owns this article, and many people have watched this article since the 3RR accusation. I edit across a *very* broad range of medical articles (this is a medical article); I don't know a thing about Tuberculosis, but that didn't stop me from working with Tim to keep it featured, because I do know how to edit medical articles. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:23, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Don't start up here, Sandy. This is not a medical article. This is about animal research, and requires very specific knowledge. It certainly isn't helped by enemies arriving with insults about conspiracy theories. Or do you feel that this exchange is helping the article?
Tim, I think we need mediation if this is the kind of atmosphere you want to edit in. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:25, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
That seems a bit of an overreaction to my suggestion that DMOZ can be used to help prune the external link farm. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:31, 30 January 2008 (UTC) Also, would you consider please rephrasing your use of the word "enemies" above? I don't consider myself an enemy of anyone; are you saying you consider me an enemy? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:37, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
It's a reaction to you turning up here, an article you've never edited before, after our situation over Zeraeph. It's a reaction to you turning up with Cla68, who has been regularly wikistalking me for what must be about a year, and who has never edited here before either. Yet here you both are within seven minutes of each another. Please forgive me my conspiracy theory. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:37, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
For goodness sakes. I've had to cover my eyes for six weeks, every time I've looked at the worst external link farm I've ever seen, you just started to prune it, so I offered a suggestion. I'll be happy to be quiet now if my presence bothers you so, but please strike the "enemy" comment, unless you consider me an enemy. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:40, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry you feel that way, more input from the community is always helpful in solving problems. For example, Crum375 has just appeared, who is always a useful editor to have around. Tim Vickers (talk) 03:22, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
More input from people who know about the subject is helpful. How does it help us to have input from people who don't? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 03:23, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Please stick to content and avoid personalizing issues; my suggestions to use DMOZ to help trim the external link farm is above. It's been troubling me for six weeks, since I first saw this article on Dec. 17. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:25, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
What's DMOZ? Tim Vickers (talk) 03:27, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
An internet directory (the internet directory). Look at the external links in Asperger syndrome, autism, Tuberculosis, Tourette syndrome probably any medical article I've worked on. It solves a whole lot of WP:NOT WP:EL external link farm issues. Often, there is more than one DMOZ cat that can be used. I was going to do that back in December, but there are several potential cats, so it's best someone else figure out which to use. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:29, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Would it be possible to add several categories? Crum375, what do you think of this idea? It could help make that section more manageable. Tim Vickers (talk) 03:32, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, you can add as many DMOZ categories as you need. For example, on many medical articles, I add the main DMOZ category, as well as the Support group category. That helps get around the WP:NOT a support group problem that always occurs on medical articles, where everyone wants to add their group. Look at Tourette syndrome; I think I have both there. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:35, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

SlimVirgin, I don't think I've ever edited the same content article that you were editing before, so I don't understand your accusation either. I think the use of such a label is unfortunate and counterproductive. If you think I'm "wikistalking" you (whatever that really means), I invite you to bring it up on the appropriate forum and we can exhaustively discuss each other's behavior and ethics. My attention was also drawn to this article because of the 3RR warning you gave Tim on his talk page and I've been watching it for some time. In the past I've also gotten involved in other controversial subjects, including Global Warming, Sea of Japan, and Gary Weiss. Anyway, back to my original thought...the intro as written doesn't presently match the article that follows below it. Cla68 (talk) 04:02, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

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