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Are We Any Wiser Today?

Story ID:6201
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various USA
Year:1991
Person:various
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I wrote this letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer on February 5th, 1991:

It is ironic that I should read an interesting stat on the "greying" of America in view of the PD's "Bush will seek $23 billion Medicare cut" (2/3/91). Nearly 40 million Americans are over 60 and by the year 2010 there will be more than 12 million people 80 years or older.

One would think how wonderful that people live longer these days, but as the article goes on--there is a darker shade of grey that is not so apparent to most of us. Millions of these elderly Americans are not enjoying their longer life because many of them are poor and almost one third of them are living in absolute poverty. Some of them can't even afford basic health costs.

The United Action for Animals (UAA) thinks they know where a lot of money could be saved and used for our elderly directly. I hope you will read with exasperation and disbelief as I did re the huge amounts of taxpayer's money being wasted on research grants whose results often times border on the ridiculous and which sadly often cause much suffering to the research animals.

The following are the results of animal experimentation in AGING RESEARCH:

*Old cats do not sleep well in very hot or very cold rooms.
Stanford School of Medicine, 1988 Cost: $150,000

*Labrador Retriever pups, whose ankles were surgically destroyed, suffer weakness and loss of bone mass in the mutilated limb.
Case Western Reserve, 1985 Cost: $365,000

*Adult cats with screws driven into their brains, aluminum plates glued to their skulls, and the sound center of their brains removed still produce brain waves in response to loud noises.
UCLA Medical, l986 Cost: $2, 018,000

*Old resus monkeys do not learn or remember as quickly as young monkeys.
Boston U. and Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center,
1988 Cost: $1,225,000

These are only 5 of twenty examples given by UAA totaling $12,082,939. And similar grants have been awarded by the National Institutes of Health to the present day which in the opinion of many of us are neither worth their salt or merit so much needless animal suffering. (End of my 1991 letter.)

I remember in the 90's 60 Minutes showcased Dr. Michael Carey's Wound Study which caused 600 cats to be shot in the head. We had so many head wound experiences from the Wars - did we learn nothing from them? Despite others on the program decrying the faulty and uncessary protocul, I got the impression that Mike Wallace agreed with Dr. Carey in this regard. I no longer had much respect for his opinions thereafter.

Did the wound study produce any new results? Not per the Physicians for Responsible Medicine. And to add injury to insult the National Institute of Health awarded him another lucrative grant - this time to shoot rats. Somehow this did not make me feel much better.

Do these research studies improve our health? I guess it's a matter of opinion. I won't say that we learned nothing from so many millions and millions of dollars granted to often repititive protoculs on millions and millions of animals but for myself, I would not even want one animal to suffer for my health needs.

Are these animal research studies still being conducted? Yes, per Michael Budkie of SAEN - Stop Animal Experimentation Now. He largely works to expose the many cruel protoculs used in the Primate Centers though NIH funds other research entities or groups as well.

Do I use any of the drugs approved by the FDA? No, so far so good and I hope I never have to either. If we would spend those discretionary health funds in search of safe alternative cures, I believe we would be far ahead of the game by now. Finally, have you noticed? A good diet heavy on veggies, grains, and fruits is being mentioned more and more for healthier living and cures for such serious conditions as diabetes, cancer, and heart problems.

Well, I'm one of those mentioned hitting 80 in 2010. Thank God even though I'm not even considered middle class per my tax returns, I am not hurting for the basic necessities of life like some mentioned in the UAA post. So hopefully those needing health care - the Health Care Reforms enacted this year will be the needed safety net for them.