That singular, unified, and socialist entity, “the media,” is commonly criticized for losing perspective on important public issues. I am beginning to wonder whether a similar criticism can be leveled at citizen reporters out in the blogosphere in their dealings with last weeks WSJ article which reported significant animal welfare violations in UW labs.
While The Sconz rightfully praised a post over at Sifting and Winnowing for posing a number of necessary and important questions relating to what events potentially led to the surprise investigation, I worry that the post overlooked the kind of serious violations which made the article important in the first place.
The most abhorrent of such violations was this:
One major finding is that in five studies, UW-Madison researchers did not show that they tried to find an alternative to painful experiments on animals.
That is simply intolerable. There were also dogs seriously suffering from experiments which were receiving no attention from veterinarians. Maybe Eric Sandgren, UW’s head of animal research oversight, was right that these violations followed merely from mistakes in filling out paperwork, but it does seem as though he may have an ulterior motive to say so, and I am skeptical we can simply take him at his word.
In any event, this aspect of the story shouldn’t be largely ignored. It wasn’t by that “liberal media,” it shouldn’t be by us citizen reporters either.