RESEARCHERS AS MARTYRS?
As a researcher of gorilla and other primate cultures, I agree that what is happening in labs to animals other than humans is an outrage ["Welcome to the Monkey House," Nov. 27].
Many primates fulfill the philosophical criteria for personhood—concepts of past, present, and future; self-awareness; the ability to know right from wrong and thus become moral agents, to name a few—but the first and most important criteria for personhood is that those already in power decide what is and isn't a person.
Clearly the researchers in question believe that monkeys are similar enough to humans psychologically to shed light on human development. This begs the question: If they are so like us, how can we justify the imposed sacrifice of the animals we enslave and harm?
For any researcher who inflicts such trauma to see him or herself as the martyr in such a situation is too bitterly ironic for words.
Dr. Dawn Prince-Hughes
TIME FOR THOUGHT
Thanks for forcing me to think about a subject I'd preferred in the past to avoid. ["Welcome to the Monkey House," Nov. 27]
The intent of the article by Philip Dawdy ["Welcome to the Monkey House," Nov. 27] is to incite emotion, but it misses several critical points.
By federal law, no research takes place at the primate center without critical review of animal welfare issues by the University of Washington Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), a committee of Ph.D.s, veterinarians, and representatives from the public. As a public member and representative of the IACUC, I have seen firsthand the conditions of the animals and the excellent care they receive.
Nonhuman primates are not "used" for research frivolously. They are employed solely to meet the needs, required by law prior to testing, for treatments, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and surgical procedures on humans.
The point that the article—and the Northwest Animal Rights Network—doesn't mention is that veterinary medicine is greatly benefited by animal research.
Don't be fooled by sensationalism. The infant and adult nonhuman primates at [the primate center] are well cared for. Ideally, the University of Washington research staff will conquer all or many of the diseases studied. In the meantime, realize that animal-based research will assist you or your pet next time you see your physician or veterinarian.
ANIMAL RESEARCH A BUST
The major medical discoveries over the last 150 years or so were made despite, and not because of, animal experimentation ["Welcome to the Monkey House," Nov. 27]. As Dr. Brandon Reines, DVM, specialist in the history of medical science and author of History of Scientific Discovery points out, animal experiments were carried out in the course of these major medical discoveries, as was human clinical observation and later clinical trials, but the animal experiments were not a part of the scientific process which led to the discovery.
How can mutilating, diseasing, and killing animals be justified?
WASTING MONEY ON WHAT IFS
One issue that was not addressed ["Welcome to the Monkey House," Nov. 27] is the uselessness of animal experimentation as far as helping human beings except, of course, those human beings who yearly receive billions of taxpayer dollars for torturing animals.
We close trauma centers and yet have billions to spend on "what if" experiments.
NOTHING TO FEAR
Thank you for shining a light on the activities of the University of Washington's primate center ["Welcome to the Monkey House," Nov. 27].
One thing in particular that bothered me was that Dr. Sackett and his colleagues kept using fear as an excuse for not talking to [Philip Dawdy] or showing him where they worked. On what does Dr. Sackett base his paranoia?
I, and many of my fellow animal rights activists, value all life, and although we may despise what Dr. Sackett and his colleagues do to animals, we are not about to stoop to their level.
I am incensed that each year, the UW spends [millions] of our money—taxpayer money—to abuse and torture innocent creatures ["Welcome to the Monkey House," Nov. 27]. And for what? We don't have a cure for AIDS, cancer, or any of the other diseases these "scientists" claim they are trying to end.
There are many ways to research human health issues. Animal testing doesn't have to be one of them.
TRY SOMEPLACE DIFFERENT
I could hardly believe Jill Lightner's raving restaurant review ["Il Fornaio Gets It Right," Nov. 27]. My stomach certainly believed otherwise the one and only time my friend and I dared try the cheaper version at the Risotteria.
That is, when we actually got served. Never have I endured such painstakingly apathetic, incompetent, unprofessional, lackadaisical service. After waiting almost an hour for our lukewarm, flavorless, undercooked, overpriced alleged Italian food, we wished we'd had the good sense to go to a real mall for everyday people, like, say, Westlake, and tried Sbarro's instead.
You know the restaurant scene sucks when it feels like d骠 vu every time you pick up an alternative weekly, reading the same damn rah-rah over the same top five go-to joints.
Carol Banks Weber
You're right [Mossback, "Schizo Seattle," Nov. 27]. This is a city of paradoxes, but each citizen's individual frustration/ nostalgia depends upon, I think, his or her arrival. Pre-"Interurban"? The '80s? Post-Kingdome? Post-WTO?
I believe our three votes for extending our 40-year-old monorail have been for us Not-Yet-Old-Timers an opportunity to take our turn contributing to "Seattle's classic character."
Robert L. Hollowell
FREE(WAY) THE MONORAIL!
I appreciated Knute Berger's insights into the new monorail and the conflicting tendencies in metropolitan Seattle [Mossback, "Schizo Seattle," Nov. 27].
I am part of a group called Freeway/ Monorail (www.freewaymonorail.org) that has long advocated locating a regional monorail along I-5 using the existing unused space along the freeways to avoid impacts to neighborhoods and the costs of property acquisition. It seems almost too sensible to be accepted.
AUTOS ARE WEAPONS
I am sure that if the perpetrator had used a gun while babbling into a cell phone, the charges would be felonies ["Judging Aimless Killing," Nov. 20]. It is time that we regard the automobile and its kin as weapons and charge those who severely injure or kill by the use of motor vehicles appropriately.
The pen is a weapon. Write to Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104; fax to 206-467-4377; or e-mail to email@example.com. By submission of a letter, you agree that we may edit the letter and publish and/or license the publication of it in print, electronically, and for archival purposes. Please include name, location, and phone number.