Dr. Barry Friedman’s Plea to Congress: Stop Funding UF Labs with My Taxes
Editorial Note: This afternoon, Dr. Barry Friedman mailed the letter that follows to a significant portion of the Congress of the United States. It is our hope that activists across the country will join this Eleventh Hour for Animals event on Facebook and use a modified version of his communication to send a plea to your own representatives and senators. Demand that our government stop funding atrocities inside the University of Florida immediately!
Dear Senator/Congressman ___,
I am writing to you about an atrocity happening inside the University of Florida that can occur only because it is being subsidized by the U. S. government. At any given moment, it is estimated by lab techs inside UF that more than 10,000 innocent animals comprised of every species including monkeys, horses, dogs, cats, rabbits and more as well as fish are held captive and tortured inside their labs. Many of these animals are afforded zero protection under the federal Animal Welfare Act, adopted in 1962, specifically to exclude the most-abused species (i.e., rats, mice, and fish) from being recognized as “animals” under this outdated and deliberately special-interest-serving legislation. Invoking the Freedom of Information Act and Florida’s open-records law, animal-welfare activists have obtained photographs that offer a grim portrayal of the horrors to which the sadistic researchers are subjecting the confused, suffering animals. Some of these heartbreaking photographs appear on the enclosure. [attached as images in this post].
Most of this activity is made possible by funding from the National Institutes of Health.
In addition, I am also concerned about federal grants being awarded to the University of Florida for animals that are not even housed in their facility and research for which they have zero involvement. Activists have discovered and documented that at least $7 million has flowed into UF’s coffers over the past 5 years for research being conducted elsewhere and in which UF researchers are wholly uninvolved. This is clearly an endemic issue that demands some attention and explanation, neither of which the University of Florida appears compelled to address publicly. As a taxpayer, I consider this not only to be an abuse of my hard-earned money, but also, with no accountability whatsoever to the public, to afford to me no way of knowing how many researchers and institutions I am enriching for the brutalization of any given animal.
I am Barry Friedman, a professor of political science at the University of North Georgia (UNG). I discovered, from examining the 113th Congress Mid-Term Legislative Scorecard published by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), of which I am a member, that your voting record reflects a humanitarian concern for the well-being of animals. Therefore, I am writing this letter to you. I wish to emphasize that I am representing neither UNG nor the PCRM as I pour my heart out to you.
I truly cannot comprehend how any human being possessed of a heart and a conscience can allow this vicious mistreatment of animals to continue, no less than to actually inflict it. The protocols of the experiments miserably fail any cost-benefit analysis. Approximately $400 million per year goes to UF from the NIH and other federal agencies. But 20 years of fertility experiments on sheep have produced nothing other than misery and a few deformed lambs. In exchange for the torture of monkeys – blinding them by putting chemicals and electrodes in their eyes, poisoning them with arsenic-laced dirt and heavy metals, subjecting them to iron chelation experiments for the sole purpose of appeasing the estate of one of UF’s biggest benefactors who died from a related disease, hemochromatosis – researchers have produced absolutely nothing of value that we can identify, other than publications that result in tenure, promotions, and wealth for the researchers. As a result of experiments on horses, in which they are subjected to painful injuries, such as chipping their bones and forcing them to run on treadmills to exacerbate the injury, data of no particular value are delivered to the horse-racing industry. Researchers induce intentional pain by mutilating dogs, giving them no pain relief, which is an unconscionable exercise with no medical benefit having been identified or publicized to date. I am convinced that this savagery and this pointless spending spree can persist only because the public is uninformed about and cannot witness the cruel treatment of animals.
It is an adage that animals cannot speak for themselves, and so they need human beings to give them a voice and to express principles of humanity and kindness. They need human beings to advocate for them to legislators and other government officials. They need legislators and other government officials to impose reasonable limits on the harm that human beings in a civilized society may inflict on animals. In the case of the butchery of animals at the University of Florida, I recognize my responsibility to speak on their behalf and to direct this earnest request to you. I implore you to do whatever is possible to shut off the supply of money from the National Institutes of Health for the torture, mutilation, and murder of animals in the macabre laboratories of the University of Florida.
In my home are three precious pet kitty cats: Mary, Queen of Scots; Willow; and Woody. They cannot speak English to communicate with me, but their vocalizations, their expressive eyes, and their gestures of affection are clear as a bell. When they indicate distress to me, their agitation overwhelms me and propels me into action to relieve their discontent. I don’t know of any perceptive human being who has interacted with a pet and has been unable to recognize the animal’s preferences and emotions. All that I have to do to understand the preferences and emotions of the animals held captive at the University of Florida is to look at their puzzled and apprehensive expressions in the photographs. That overwhelms me with sorrow and compels me to advocate for them and to write to you today. It is a colossal challenge to overcome the propaganda, relentlessly emitted by the University of Florida, that ridicules and dismisses the desperate protests of animal-welfare activists, and disingenuously characterizes the laboratory conditions as safe and healthy for the animals that are being brutalized. Please, would you help me to help and rescue these defenseless creatures? Do you have advice about others whom I should contact? My contact information appears on the top of the first page of this letter. This is a dire situation, and the animals cannot wait to be rescued. Every one of them lives on borrowed time, hoping for us human beings to recognize the senselessness and depravity of our ruthless, inhuman ways.
Barry D. Friedman, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science / Coordinator – M.P.A. Program
Dahlonega, Georgia 30597-1001 – USA
Barry Friedman’s statements about animal abuse at the University of Florida express solely his opinions, and are not the positions or viewpoints of the University of North Georgia.