Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Humane Animal Research

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 17, 2017

American Psychological Researcher Dr. Harry F. Harlow, PhD (1905-1981) observed newborn primate behavior when they were removed from their mother’s presence and placed with a “wire mother” and a “cloth mother.” He sought to prove to the psychology community that primate research could contribute to the understanding of important clinical issues without having to be molecular in nature. His theory hinged on the universal need for contact.

I do not oppose using animals in laboratory research to save human life, or to ameliorate human suffering. However, I do oppose torturous maltreatment of animals.

In part, one reason I support humane research – the word “HUMANE” is VERY important – using animals is because in animals there is NO placebo effect. A medication either works, or it does not. There is no in between. In humans, that is not so.

Our mind is powerful – and it is not clearly understood why this is so – but it has been noted that there are cases in Clinical Trials in which human subjects’ condition improved – including placebo research – even ~after~ they were told that the substance they were taking had no possible effect upon them, one way or another.

The “Gold Standard” of pharmaceutical clinical trials is a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled study. It’s called Double-Blind, because neither the researchers nor the participants know who is receiving medication or the placebo; and it’s called Placebo-Controlled, because some participants receive a placebo (a clinically useless, and inert substance).

I shudder to think what our society or world would be like if groups like PETA claimed abuse to prevent ground-breaking psychological researchers like Harry F. Harlow from using a “wire mother” to increase understanding about the role of affection and “contact comfort” in the young.

Again, the word “humane” is of paramount importance in research, and by no means should we deliberately mistreat animals. We should strive for balance in our understanding of the proper role of animals in our lives, emotionally and in research.

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