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Taken for a Ride
In the September 26 "A River of Money Runs Through It," Patricia Calhoun is right on the money...our money. I voted for the 1989 bond issue. I bought the argument "Vote for Elitch's--It's Denver." Now it looks like what I really bought was a break for an out-of-state company specializing in amusement parks. My vote was for Elitch's; it wasn't for some minor-league Disneyland. Is it too late to ask for a refund?

Heather Jones
Denver

The Apes of Wrath
Tony Perez-Giese's September 26 article, "Going Ape," questioning the politicking allocations of National Institutes of Health funds, paints the popularly touted issue of animal research in its usual colors.

Mark Laudenslager easily falls prey to the mousetrap of what is conventionally crusaded as the "right thing to do." The article presented a great bird's-eye vision of the issue but failed to question other scientists who could have presented yet another view. Not all scientists treat the animal-rights issue in the same way or practice their research accordingly, and it is disappointing to see this controversial issue glossed over in such simple blacks and whites.

Kristen Imintzea
via the Internet

I commend Westword for Tony Perez-Giese's "Going Ape." It makes it very clear of how barbaric we are as we approach the 21st century.

Renada Cerniglia defines this barbarism perfectly when she describes CU as "running an Auschwitz for animals." This barbarism is about survival. As Cerniglia said, Laudenslager and others at the university are simply "white-coat welfare recipients" who are tormenting animals in order to come up with self-evident results. This barbarism is about job and status survival at the expense of innocent animals and manipulated taxpayers under the guise of AIDS research and the good old boys.

This barbarism being committed by a self-appointed, modern-day mass terrorist parallels mass murderer and madman Adolf Hitler in his quest to create a master race. Although Hitler maimed, slaughtered and murdered millions of people over fifty years ago, the same thing is going on behind closed doors at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in 1996 in the form of horrifying experiments.

When are we going to get it, folks? We were responsible for Adolf Hitler and we're responsible for Mark Laudenslager. Let's cut off his funding before he can perform one more barbaric act on one more animal.

Don Vasicek
Littleton

I congratulate and thank Tony Perez-Giese. I think Mark Laudenslager has been conducting these maternal deprivation experiments on infant monkeys for more than twelve years, and he's been collecting lots of money from the NIH while clinical AIDS trials are cut. Among these are programs in the Bronx and Brooklyn, where AIDS is spreading rapidly.

Orpha Hinkley
Denver

Animal rights is such an emotional issue that it is often hard to see the immediate impact on health of any study that uses non-human subjects. Mr. Perez-Giese's article on my research did a good job of reporting what I said in our telephone interview, but he also quotes (accurately, no doubt) a psychiatrist on the East Coast whose comments are based on a lack of factual information.

Dr. Cohen, a Virginia psychiatrist, apparently has little experience with the NIH, or he would know that the good old boys' network he derides does not exist. Grants are reviewed by a panel of experts who serve on the panel for three years. A grant receives a percentile ranking that compares it to all grants reviewed over the past year by that panel. Funding is based on this percentile rating. It is extremely competitive, and only 10 percent receive funding.

My work focuses on long-term effects of brief separation, particularly as they relate to changes in interactions between the mother and infant after they are reunited. The infant remains with its social group throughout separation. Because of changes in the endocrine and immune systems that accompany separation experiences, the NIH initially funded my work under the AIDS initiative. This was an administrative decision on their part, since all immune/behavior research (so-called psychoneuroimmunology research) came under that rubric for several years. The observation of altered immune regulation suggested that the progression of illness once infected (not the contraction of HIV) was influenced by the early experiences that we studied--clearly a logical reason, among many, for the agency to fund these studies as a part of developing their AIDS knowledge base.

Yes, non-human primates research is expensive. As a concerned scientist, I have a responsibility, which I take very seriously, to every animal I work with to provide for their psychological and physical well-being for the duration of their lives. Anyone who doubts the stringent rules and regulations governing animals in medical research ought to take a look at the "Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals," which is published by the National Academy of Sciences. It is ironic that these regulations are far more explicit than guidelines for nursing homes and daycare facilities. I wish someone would make similar inroads on the behalf of the mentally challenged, senior citizens or orphans in Romania.

It has been my privilege to serve society in seeking information to help us deal with the long-term impact of early experiences.

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