- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 22, 2004

Science and animal experiments

Your article about the Center for Consumer Freedom’s ads criticizing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (“Anti-PETA ads are abused on Metro,” Business, Wednesday) did not reveal the real goal of CCF, a paid mouthpiece for the alcohol, tobacco and meat industries. CCF cannot defend these industries on their own merits, so it tries to shoot down those who bear bad tidings about them, including PETA and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. This tactic is intended to divert people from the issue at hand — in this case, the plight of animals in laboratories.

Animal experiments aren’t just cruel, they are archaic science. Not surprisingly, they have yielded questionable and even deadly results. After decades of experiments on animals, we have no cure for cancer, no cure for AIDS, no cure for Alzheimer’s and little but vague noises of progress to hang our hopes on. Using animals for drug development and testing has been downrightdangerous.E-Ferol, Oraflex, Zomax, Suprol, Selacryn and many other drugs had to be taken off the market for killing or harming thousands of people.

AIDS is a prime example of the pointlessness of animal experiments. All of the turning points in AIDS research — the discovery of the virus and how it was transmitted — were the result of clinical and epidemiological studies. No animal develops human AIDS, and thus no vaccine tested on an animal can be predicted to be reliable or safe without human volunteer testing. We’ve wasted millions of precious research dollars on the search for cures using animals, while millions of people have died.

PETA joins thousands of scientists, physicians, ethicists and everyday people who believe we need to extend compassion to all beings capable of suffering. We have tremendous faith in the ingenuity of today’s most forward-thinking researchers, who believe that we can — and must — cure and prevent disease in humans without harming animals.

JEFFREY S. KERR

General counsel and director of corporate affairs

The PETA Foundation

Norfolk

It’s to be expected that PETA refuses to defend its morally indefensible position on the use of laboratory animals to cure dreaded diseases. Instead, the group is bashing its critics with claims that its leader was misquoted.

If anyone really doubts that PETAPresidentIngrid Newkirk objects to all medical research using animals — even if it cured AIDS — consider what she said just one year ago on ABC’s “20/20”: “I would no more experiment on my neighbor’s child than experiment on an animal.”

Those are pious-sounding words, but there’s an ugly idea behind them. Elevating lab rats to the status of human beings may sound vaguely noble, but what that really means is that people, including children with terminal diseases, are lowered to the level of rodents. How “ethical” is that?

JOEL HERNANDEZ

Arlington

Conservatives must turn out at the polls

I am a conservative, born and raised in the South, and I’m fed up and fighting mad — not with the honorable President George W. Bush — but with threats from conservative “leaders” that the conservative base will stay home on Nov. 2 (“Evangelicals frustrated by Bush,” Page 1, Friday).

Conservatives made similar threats against Mr. Bush’s father in 1992, and the result was eight miserable years under Bill Clinton. All that the “leaders” of the conservatives did for eight years was whine and complain about the social peril this country was in under Mr. Clinton. Millions of conservatives also stayed home on Nov. 7, 2000, because then-candidate George W. Bush was “not conservative enough” — or they voted for Pat Buchanan, whom I consider a right-wing extremist.

I am 35 years old — a wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter and sister — and I, like every other conservative, have a stake in this next presidential election. Mr. Bush has been faced with problems that no other president in the history of this country ever faced. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor — a military installation. Al Qaeda attacked citizens in airplanes and office buildings. He has presided over two successful wars as commander in chief and been victorious. He is fighting the war of terror with all the might and vigor he possesses. And it has taken money to do it.

Under Mr. Bush, we have not seen another terrorist attack on American soil since that horrible day of September 11. He signed the partial-birth abortion ban bill that landed on his desk the day he received it. He promises to cut the deficit by half over the next five years.

And, if you are so worried about the deficit that you’re willing to let Sen. John F. Kerry be the next president, then do us all a favor and don’t take any deductions on your 2003 tax return and pay every cent you should have paid before Mr. Bush pushed through his tax cuts. Tax cuts have made the difference between us living from paycheck to paycheck and actually having some money to go into my husband’s 401(k).

I have only been able to give $100 to the president’s re-election campaign, and I don’t know if we will be able to give more. But I will knock on every door in my city of Jacksonville, Fla., spend hours in the local Bush-Cheney campaign headquarters making telephone calls and stand at intersections waving Bush-Cheney 2004 signs (one of which is already proudly displayed in our front yard) for days and weeks on end.

I will do my part to keep this man in office — to help him get elected, so that judges will be put on the bench who do not threaten to take “under God” out of our Pledge of Allegiance, reverse the partial-birth abortion ban or endure another president who is beholden to the teachers unions who have destroyed the public education system in this country.

And, you know, what really disturbs me is that you all have probably had the honor and the privilege to meet Mr. Bush and shake his hand — an honor I will never get, but that would be, next to the birth of my child, the greatest moment of my life, if it ever happened.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves. I used to have respect for all of you, but now I have none. You are simply ungrateful contrarians. You should remember the lessons from eight years of Mr. Clinton and four years of Jimmy Carter. Stop your threats to stay home in November and do everything you can to get every single conservative voter to the ballot box to vote Bush-Cheney. And if you don’t and you stay home, then the next four or eight years of a John Kerry or Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency will be a direct result of your actions and stupidity.

PATRICIA D. DILL

Jacksonville, Fla.

Truths, misperceptions and basketball

Barker Davis’ analysis of the Georgetown basketball program appeared more vindictive than constructive (“Hurting Hoyas,” Sports, Thursday). It is interesting to note that Maryland’s 4-7 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference is exactly the same as Georgetown’s in the Big East Conference, yet there has been no equivalent article attacking its coach or program.

Although he is quick to point out losses, Mr. Davis does not mention successes, including Coach Craig Esherick taking Georgetown to a Sweet 16 spot in the NCAA Tournament and leading them to a number of significant upset wins (including at North Carolina) to reach last year’s NIT finals.

While Mr. Davis made a few valid points, the article contained enough factual errors to undermine his attacks. For example, he said Tony Bethel and Drew Hall were last year’s starting backcourt. Hall did not start — and also transferred to Charleston, not Gonzaga. Mr. Davis seems to criticize the coach for allowing touted recruit Darian Townes to follow former assistant coach Ronny Thompson to Arkansas, yet Townes was not eligible to play this year and would likely not have gone had he qualified academically after high school.

Mr. Davis mentions only in passing that the main problem with this year’s team is the lack of size and, again, blames Esherick. In preparing for this year, the coach surely hoped that Mike Sweetney would return for his senior year, Townes would have been academically eligible and a 7-foot junior-college player who signed would have been on the team.

Esherick deserves credit for convincing Cortland Freeman to play another year after he had graduated. But he was recruited to play forward and is not big enough to provide the type of inside strength normally associated with Georgetown’s program.Significantly,three recruits for next year range in size from 6-foot-8 to 7-foot-2.

Mr. Davis’ harshest criticism seems to be the lack of local recruits, yet three of next year’s highly touted freshmen are from this area. Certainly no one who cares about this program is happy about recent losses; however, the future for Georgetown basketball is bright and should revive next year.

RALPH NURNBERGER

Arlington

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