Dr Greek responds to Dario L. Ringach and J. David Jentsch and the Journal of Neurophysiology
Dario L. Ringach of the Departments of Neurobiology and Psychology, Jules Stein Eye Institute and J. David Jentsch of the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles published in the Journal of Neurophysiology September 2009 a letter titled “Enough Is Enough.” The letter is available free of charge at http://jn.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/102/3/2007.
Below are some of the more salient points:
If we were to stop such work [invasive neuroscience research using animals], both the ability to advance our field and the ultimate, desired development of alternative, noninvasive methods, would largely come to a halt . . .
We believe that time has also come to discuss, debate, and express our opinions on the importance and ethics of animal research. Perhaps, most important, the time has also come to defend our research collectively and not to let only those under attack confront their plight alone . . .
Reach out to your students and local communities to explain the value of research; no one has a greater responsibility for explaining and defending your research than you do. If you teach medical students, make sure they understand the contribution of animal research to the material they are learning. Come up with your own ideas about how to make a difference and share them with us.
Together we can have a profound impact on what is growing into an important public debate. If we stand together as a community, we will be heard.
Dr Greek wrote a letter to editor in response to that of Ringach and Jentsch which is reproduced below.
TO THE EDITOR:
I found the letter from Dario L. Ringach and J. David Jentsch (Ringach and Jentsch 2009) that appeared in the September 2009 issue very disingenuous. During April of 2009, I gave Dr Jentsch the opportunity to “discuss, debate, and express our opinions on the importance . . . of animal research (Ibid).” He declined my offer to debate the subject at UCLA complete with UCLA security at the event.
Further, my request for a debate was not centered on the emotive subject of vivisection or rights for animals, but rather the value of using animals in research touted as predictive for humans. That is a very scientific and unemotional topic. Not one likely to incite riots! There is no better way to “Reach out to your students and local communities to explain the value of research (Ibid)” than to participate in a public debate at your own university with your own security in attendance on a topic that is science oriented not philosophy or ethics oriented.
Americans For Medical Advancement (www.curedisease.com) does not oppose research using animals per se. We do deny animals can be used as predictive models for human disease and drug response and think that animals as predictive models is how animal-based research, on the whole, is sold to society in general (Shanks et al. 2009). Our board is composed of vegans and meat-eaters in equal proportion. If Dr Jentsch is unwilling to discuss and debate with us, I am not sure he really wants to discuss and debate but suspect rather, that he prefers a forum where positions other than his are not represented.
- I am willing to discuss and debate the importance of animal-based research in a public forum.
- I propose the debate be held on a university campus complete with their security to allay safety concerns.
- The subject will be the scientific merits of using animals as predictive models in drug and disease research.
- If that topic is debated, I then propose a second debate on the value of using animals in basic research.
If the animal-based research community really wants to explain to the general public what they do and what the value is, then I look forward to the hundreds of emails I shall be receiving, taking me up on my offer.
If “no one has a greater responsibility for explaining and defending your research than you do (Ringach and Jentsch 2009),” I would have expected Dr Jentsch to welcome the opportunity I presented. Alas, such was not the case. I now challenge the readers of the Journal of Neurophysiology to the same.
Ray Greek, MD
Americans For Medical Advancement
2251 Refugio Rd
Goleta, CA 93117
Ringach DL, and Jentsch JD. Enough Is Enough. J Neurophysiol 102: 2007-, 2009.
Shanks N, Greek R, and Greek J. Are animal models predictive for humans? Philos Ethics Humanit Med 4: 2, 2009.
Needless to say, Dr Greek’s letter was not published. The rejection is reproduced below.
JN-00824-2009 Response to letter by Ringach and Jentsch
September 10, 2009 11:21:13 AM PDT
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Dr. Greek,
Thank your for your Letter to the Editor submission JN-00824-2009 "Response to letter by Ringach and Jentsch." I have read it carefully and conferred with the Chair of the APS Publications Committee, Dr. Kim Barrett. We agree that your letter is not appropriate for publication in Journal of Neurophysiology as it does not address an scientific or ethical issue in neurophysiology (the remit of our journal) but rather concerns the details of a personal dispute between yourself and Dr. Jentsch. I will however, pass your letter on to Drs. Ringach and Jentsch, and of course, there is nothing that prevents you from issuing debate challenges on your website or in some other forum.
David Linden, Ph.D.
Chief Editor, Journal of Neurophysiology
cc: K. Barrett. R. Scheman
Interestingly, according to Linden, the letter from Ringach and Jentsch was an example of “an scientific or ethical issue in neurophysiology” but the Greek letter was not. As the two letters discussed the same topic, we will leave it to the reader to decide the real reason why Dr Greek’s letter was turned down.