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'Animals Are Victims of Slavery'

May 02, 1987

It's ironic that on the same day The Times reported that a fire that did more than $2.5 million in damage at UC Davis veterinary laboratory, allegedly the work of the so-called Animal Liberation Front, we were also treated to the myopic, half-baked logic of Spence Carlsen.

After attempting to digest Carlsen's twaddle, I feel much better knowing that a Big Mac or Dodger Dog has never passed his lips. Or that he has never donned a soft pair of leather loafers. Or God forbid, landed a trout.

I'm sure the very idea of qualified, responsible biomedical research involving laboratory animals sends the poor man into paroxysms of dread and revulsion. He is probably unaware that according to National Institutes of Health Director James Wyngaarden, "Virtually every major medical advance in this century has depended upon animal experimentation, as shown by the progress against disorders such as heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, hepatitis, blindness, etc."

Readers, as well as Carlsen, should also be aware that both humans and animals have benefited from medical advances of this century. Virtually all of them required the use of animals in research.

Two issues raised time and again by animal activists are those of so-called "animal rights" and the question of ethics in using animals in responsible research. It's important that one makes a distinction between humans and animals.

Those of us in favor of responsible biomedical research, where one must sometimes choose between serious detriment to humans and some detriment to animals, would choose the human anytime.

RICHARD A. VAILL JR.

Communications Director

American Diabetes Assn.

Southern California Affiliate

Los Angeles

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