Jane Goodall, Plagiarist

From the WaPo article:

Jane Goodall, the primatologist celebrated for her meticulous studies of chimps in the wild, is releasing a book next month on the plant world that contains at least a dozen passages borrowed without attribution, or footnotes, from a variety of Web sites.

Looks pretty bad.

This bit from one Michael Moynihan at The Daily Beast raises the more interesting issues:

No one wants to criticize Jane Goodall—Dame Goodall—the soft-spoken, white-haired doyenne of primatology. She cares deeply about animals and the health of the planet. How could one object to that?

Because it leads her to oppose animal research using misrepresentation and lies? That's one reason why one might object.

You see, everyone is willing to forgive Jane Goodall. When it was revealed last week in The Washington Post that Goodall’s latest book, Seeds of Hope, a fluffy treatise on plant life, contained passages that were “borrowed” from other authors, the reaction was surprisingly muted.

It always starts out that way for a beloved writer. We'll just have to see how things progress. Going by recent events it will take more guns a'smokin' in her prior works to start up a real hue and cry. At the moment, her thin mea culpa will very likely be sufficient.

A Jane Goodall Institute spokesman told The Guardian that the whole episode was being “blown out of proportion” and that Goodall was “heavily involved” in the book bearing her name and does “a vast amount of her own writing.” In a statement, Goodall said that the copying was “unintentional,” despite the large amount of “borrowing” she engaged in.

Moynihan continues on to catalog additional suspicious passages. I think some of them probably need a skeptical eye. For example I am quite willing to believe a source might give the exact same pithy line about a particular issue to a number of interviewers. But this caught my eye:

Describing a study of genetically modified corn, Goodall writes: “A Cornell University study showed adverse effects of transgenic pollen (from Bt corn) on monarch butterflies: their caterpillars reared on milkweed leaves dusted with Bt corn pollen ate less, grew more slowly, and suffered higher mortality.”

A report from Navdaya.org puts it this way: “A 1999 Nature study showed adverse effects of transgenic pollen (from Bt corn) on monarch butterflies: butterflies reared on milkweed leaves dusted with bt corn pollen ate less, grew more slowly, and suffered higher mortality.” (Nor does Goodall mention a large number of follow-up studies, which the Pew Charitable Trust describes as showing the risk of GM corn to butterflies as “fairly small, primarily because the larvae are exposed only to low levels of the corn’s pollen in the real-world conditions of the field.”

And here is the real problem. When someone who has a public reputation built on what people think of as science weighs in on other matters of science, they enjoy a lot of trust. Goodall certainly has this. So when such a person misuses this by misrepresenting the science to further their own agenda...it's a larger hurdle for the forces of science and rational analysis to overcome. Moynihan is all over this part as well:

One of the more troubling aspects of Seeds of Hope is Goodall’s embrace of dubious science on genetically modified organisms (GMO). On the website of the Jane Goodall Foundation, readers are told—correctly—that “there is scientific consensus” that climate change is being driven by human activity. But Goodall has little time for scientific consensus on the issue of GMO crops, dedicating the book to those who “dare speak out” against scientific consensus. Indeed, her chapter on the subject is riddled with unsupportable claims backed by dubious studies.

So in some senses the plagiarism is just emblematic of un-serious thinking on the part of Jane Goodall. The lack of attribution is going to be sloughed off with an apology and a re-edit of the book, undoubtedly. We should not let the poor scientific thinking go unchallenged though, just to raise a mob against plagiarism. The abuse of scientific consensus is a far worse transgression.

33 responses so far

  • Nooooooo!

    But Santa's still real, right?

  • Beaker says:

    Aping...literally.

  • I'm guessing her co-author will take the fall. Besides, whenever I see a famous person co-author a book, I assume the famous person did very little writing.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    Must all our icons have feet of clay?

  • If anyone had been paying attention, Jane Goodall has been deep into the woo for years.

  • becca says:

    Is the problem that scientists are incapable of recognizing when they don't agree with the scientific consensus? Or is the problem that you hold scientists to a bizarre standard (i.e. scientists are not allowed to have opinions, or are not allowed to simply be wrong on issues where there is data), where they must represent the scientific consensus while never giving their own views about why it might be wrong in a particular case?

  • drugmonkey says:

    Is the problem that scientists are incapable of recognizing when they don't agree with the scientific consensus?

    The problem I mostly see is that when a scientist is hugely successful and recognized for awesomeness they start to believe they are brilliant in everything. They step off into some other area and start pontificating to dismal effect. See Jim Watson, Francis Crick.

    Or is the problem that you hold scientists to a bizarre standard (i.e. scientists are not allowed to have opinions, or are not allowed to simply be wrong on issues where there is data), where they must represent the scientific consensus while never giving their own views about why it might be wrong in a particular case?

    Interesting question. Of course scientists are allowed to have opinions. Of course they can be wrong. And like anyone else they can be criticized for being wrong and provided with the evidence for this. Where it gets pointed is what they do next... do they engage in denialism? irrational adherence to their own opinion in the face of evidence? that I have a problem with. it questions the quality of their work within their professional domain, one. and two, yeah, I hold people who profess to be sciencey to a different standard because of who they profess to be. Like Christians.

    "in a particular case" suggests perhaps a different weighting of criteria on which a decision might be made. As you know, I have no problem with that...just so long as one does not lie about the state of the evidence in making the case. take the recreational dope debate- my problem is not with anyone who recognizes the clear harms and says but we still need to take policy step X for another reason. Problem with Monsanto's rapacious corporate practices? I have no difficulty.....just don't be stupid about GMOs, safety, testing, etc. Same dealio on animals in research, actually. Personal squickiness, fine. Assertions that it has an easy replacement or is valueless...not so much. Ditto pitbulls.

  • NIH Budget Cutter says:

    "So in some senses the plagiarism is just emblematic of un-serious thinking on the part of Jane Goodall. The lack of attribution is going to be sloughed off with an apology and a re-edit of the book, undoubtedly. We should not let the poor scientific thinking go unchallenged though, just to raise a mob against plagiarism." DM.

    What a bunch of BS! No wonder there is so much useless, non-reproducible junk in Pubmed. This lady should be crucified by her peers for the actual offense, PLAGIARISM, and not for her "poor scientific thinking," which I didn't even realize it required some sort of punishment.

    "So when such a person misuses [the public's trust in matters of science] by misrepresenting the science to further their own agenda...it's a larger hurdle for the forces of science and rational analysis to overcome." DM.

    Jane Goodall has not misused anything. In her book (Is it really hers?) she is simply trying to make argue a certain point of view she has. Go a library and read any book on any topic and you'll see that doing that is actually a common occurrence. And a healthy one, too.

    But what really bothers me is this line:

    "The abuse of scientific consensus is a far worse transgression." DM.

    Gosh, with that line of thought, so many scientific discoveries that today we regard as revolutionary would have never happened. And here I am thinking about Einstein's relativity, where he went against the "scientific consensus" to hypothesize and later postulate that the occurrence of events depends on the relative movement of the observers; or Pasteur's discovery of biogenesis, as opposed to the "scientific consensus" of spontaneous generation; or Darwin's Natural Selection, as opposed to the "scientific consensus" of an stable, unchanging biological world; the list goes on and on.

    And who are the gods or high priests that determine what is the appropriate "scientific consensus?" Is that how new scientists are trained? That is, my way--the "scientific consensus"--or the highway. Maybe, as I said before, that is why we have so much useless, non-reproducible junk in Pubmed; because such philosophy pushes scientists into making their data and studies fit such "scientific consensus." After all, . . . abus[ing] of scientific consensus is a far worse transgression [than plagiarism].

  • Ola says:

    @NBC
    Breaking rule 14 for a second, I believe DM was referring to the consensus of what constitutes the scientific method, not a specific consensus regarding hypotheses in a given field. Goodall appears to have not applied the method appropriately in this case.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Almost. It's denial/willfull ignorance of the state of evidence. People who make lasting advances outside the box do so by, in part, explaining what is wrong with existing observations and theories. Not by pretending they don't exist.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    NBC- I grasp that humanities people and journalists and the like create arguments by cherry picking the parts that make their case and ignoring all other data. Malcolm Gladwell, Jonah Lehrer put together fine reads by doing so. But this is not the way science constructs arguments.

  • qaz says:

    This is so depressing.

    When I was in college, one of the professors was a famous novelist. He complained that once he became famous, he couldn't get anyone to read his novels with a critical eye. (Critics would after it was published, but his friends wouldn't.) If they didn't understand something or didn't like something, they assumed it was their problem in reading it, not his in writing it. He hated that because its very hard to get perspective on your own work, especially in the humanities which don't have a quantitative number you can test yourself against.

    Jane Goodall has historically had a very reasonable and insightful (and complex) view into the animal rights fight. (She is a scientist and a world expert on primate behavior and abilities after all. She used to talk about how her husbands' cancer was cured from medical procedures that had been tested on animals. When PETA tried to get her to come out and attack all medical research, she refused. But, on the other hand, when NIH gave her a private tour of their facilities in the 1974 Taub incident, and tried to get her to say that their primate facilities were OK, she went on the tour, but refused to defend them, because the facilities weren't OK.)

    The question of animal rights is a difficult and complex issue, and is not at all a simple question of "opposing animal research" (which she doesn't, or didn't), nor is it a simple question of "allowing animal research" (which neuroscientists don't - see all the discussion of importance of IACUC).

    PS. Did you actually read that letter? Where are the misrepresentations and lies? That is an extremely well-reasoned list of questions. This is a dialogue, one that we should have, and one that neuroscientists only hurt themselves by avoiding.

    The worst of this is that people (like DM above) are going to attack her complex insights on animal issues because she screwed up on this plagiarism issue. (I'm not going to defend her on plagiarism, but to say that she has muddled thinking about animal rights is to not be looking carefully.)

  • DrugMonkey says:

    She's just asking the questions, right qaz?

  • qaz says:

    If they are not like us, then why does NIH pay us to study them?
    If they are like us, then we need to think carefully about these issues.
    Anything less is foolish.

    Asking questions is what scientists do. Jane Goodall changed our entire view of ourselves because she asked questions. The questions she is asking about animal research are the right ones that we had damn well better be thinking about. Because if you're not asking those questions, then you're contaminating your data.

    If you do chimpanzee research and do not take into account the issues of chimpanzee personality and behavior than what you are studying is psychopathology. We know that stress changes immune responses. We know that keeping social beings in small isolated cages is problematic for both their mental well-being and their physiology. These are not simple issues, but they change the experiments and the results. And one could make a reasonable argument that Jane Goodall understands chimpanzee behavior better than anyone else in the world. Any chimpanzee researcher who ignores Goodall's results should not be allowed to do chimpanzee research.

    IACUCs have been and are moving forward with these kinds of changes. These are good things. (Rats are also social creatures. At my university, if you want to house rats individually now, you need to justify it in your protocol. Mice like cages with bedding to dig in. If you want a wire-floor cage, you need to justify it.)

    PS. If you look at what Jane Goodall actually says in these pages (and not what words others put into her mouth) then you find a much more nuanced story. In the JGI-CA page, she says "much of medical testing is unnecessary" not "all". She says "If we're going to do research on chimpanzeess" then we need to treat them right. That if statement implies we are. In the Pharmalive page, you find that what she advocated was not a full prevention, but effectively a complication of IACUCs.

  • Su-woo barbara says:

    "Jane Goodall has historically had a very reasonable and insightful (and complex) view into the animal rights fight. (She is a scientist and a world expert on primate behavior and abilities after all. She used to talk about how her husbands' cancer was cured from medical procedures that had been tested on animals. When PETA tried to get her to come out and attack all medical research, she refused. But, on the other hand, when NIH gave her a private tour of their facilities in the 1974 Taub incident, and tried to get her to say that their primate facilities were OK, she went on the tour, but refused to defend them, because the facilities weren't OK.)" qaz

    Some of the foregoing is mistaken. I've followed Jane Goodall and her animal rights views for 30 years. The so-called "Silver Spring monkey" case occurred in the early 8Os. To my knowledge, there's is no record of Jane Goodall being asked by NIH to visit that facility, nor evidence she did. (Qaz has another primate lab in mind.) Have never heard she discussed her husband's cancer, nor that he was successfully treated thanks to animal research. Reference please? However, I have heard her tiptoe around the question of animal research in an effort to avoid confrontation with scientific audiences. While she may not "attack" it wholesale, she is no fan as DM documents.

    My questions are: Where did Ms. Goodall receive her scientific training and is she published in peer-reviewed journals?

  • drugmonkey says:

    qaz-

    she's not a full bore AR wackaloon in public that is clear. And yes, I agree that on the subject of Chimps she has particular expertise that almost no one else does (yet somehow she still manages to assert a primary reason for stopping chimp research being lack of any scientific advance and the availability of alternatives, most certainly not her expertise and quite wrong).

    but it takes a very interesting reading of her public comments to conclude that she is anything but anti-animal research across the board. even venturing beyond the species of her greatest expertise and vanishingly tiny representation in animal research.

    Improving the treatment of animal research subjects goes on apace, motivated mostly by those inside the system and very little by those from the outside launching ill informed broadsides. Goodall is repeatedly quoted in a way that is consistent with the standard AR nutter line that there is surely something wrong, that animals are being tortured willy-nilly and that there is no effective oversight. These are pernicious lies, even if made only by indirect assertion.

    from the huffpo interview: "but then he goes and puts on his white coat and does unspeakable things to dogs in the name of science."

    really qaz? how do you put a nuanced face on this flagrant lie?

    or from the EU statement ""We need to recognize at the outset that what we do to animals from their perspective certainly, and probably from ours, is morally wrong and unacceptable," "

    "unacceptable" lacks the kind of nuance you seem to be finding in her words.

  • qaz says:

    Su-woo barbara is correct, I don't have all my dates right.

    Doing some internet checking... the Silver Spring Monkeys was Taub in 1981 [source wiki, PETA]. (I don't know where I got 1974 from.) The Jane Goodall lab visit description wasn't the Taub incident. It was SEMA, Inc. in 1986. In response to the Taub incident, they asked her to come to the meeting, but she refused. Apparently, she wrote a letter saying treat animals well. Reference is from Deborah Blum's excellent book The Monkey Wars, which is by far the most nuanced book on the animal rights fight that I have seen. (By the way, her Love at Goon Park about the complex life of Harry Harlow is also excellent from an animal rights perspective.)

    And in the 1980s and 1990s she talked about her husband's cancer at talks and interviews. I don't know if any of them are on the internet. But I heard her talk several times and animal rights often came up in the Q&A session (I was following primate ethology pretty closely at the time) and heard her explicitly say that she was very conflicted because it was much harder to find a bright line between animals' abilities and human abilities than we thought and yet medical research was critical and necessary.

    I also note that I can find a number of her books and quotes in which she says she "won't fight for animal rights". What she wants is for people to recognize that animals have personalities and feelings.
    http://www.theecologist.org/Interviews/461445/dr_jane_goodall_im_not_going_to_fight_for_animal_rights.html

    Again, her position is consistent and nuanced. I don't think she's tiptoeing around the question of animal research, I think she thinks that the answer is complicated. It would be better if we didn't do animal research, but some of the research we do is really important. If we are going to do research, we need to make sure that we minimize the number of animals we use, and that we minimize the suffering of those animals. Replace. Reduce. Refine. Something every IACUC demands.

    I don't see why neuroscientists are so upset at the idea that we should treat animals well or that we should say that we think hard about whether our experiments are important. That's something we all do everyday. If we don't talk animal issues with reasonable people like Jane Goodall, we're going to find ourselves arguing them with ALF.

  • qaz says:

    DM - I agree that "improving the treatment of animal research subjects goes on apace, motivated ... by those inside the system", but I think you underestimate the influence of outsiders. Outsiders have had a lot of influence driving insiders to do better. (Such as changes in IACUC that come from trying to CYA in response to outsider threats.) [Nicely described in Blum's Monkey Wars]

    And then, re Goodall: Are not the questions she asks in the post you cite at the top as "misrepresentations and lies" not the right questions that we should be asking ourselves? http://www.greenworldcenter.org/lettergood.html

  • drugmonkey says:

    I don't see why neuroscientists are so upset at the idea that we should treat animals well or that we should say that we think hard about whether our experiments are important. That's something we all do everyday. If we don't talk animal issues with reasonable people like Jane Goodall, we're going to find ourselves arguing them with ALF.

    See, right there you engage in AR bullshit. Neuroscientists are not upset at these ideas at all and the DO treat their animals well by individual necessity of good data AND by regulation/oversight. We also think hard about whether our experiments are important. "Reasonable people" stipulate this reality first, rather than questioning it at every opportunity.

    Whether we can do better than we already do is a valid conversation. But starting with denial of the existing regulatory structure, actual conduct of most research, etc is not a place scientists should be.

    Dishonest discourse is a waste of time

  • Spiny Norman says:

    DM, my dabblings in primate research, and conversations with people in two different primate centers, leave me deeply ambivalent and considerably more skeptical about both the ethics and benefits of much of the work.

    That is not to say I have blanket objections to primate work. I do not. But I'm not sanguine about it.

  • anonymous says:

    @Spiny Norman - vague criticisms that rely on dabbling experience and conversations with unnamed folks at unnamed primate centers don't seem like a fair tactic. How can anyone offer a useful response to that in a way that would address your concern. Scientists have a responsibility to contribute to the discussion in the same way they would critique any other aspect of science, not with veiled negatives.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Nobody should be sanguine about any use of animals for research. Did I say differently?

  • qaz says:

    Neuroscientists are not upset at the idea that we should treat animals well. They are, however, upset at the idea that anyone should ask them about treating their animals well. Let me rephrase:

    I don't see why neuroscientists are so upset at defending the idea that we should treat animals well or that we should say that we think hard about whether our experiments are important. That's something we all do everyday. If we don't talk animal issues with reasonable people like Jane Goodall, we're going to find ourselves arguing them with ALF.

    (As you can see I did say "That's something we all do everyday.") This was in response to you citing a list of very good questions as "misrepresentations and lies."

    I agree 100% that most neuroscientists are not upset at these ideas and most neuroscientists do treat their animals well. Most neuroscientists I know do think hard about whether our experiments are important. Many neuroscientists that I know are some of the most concientious animal-care people I know. They understand what animal pain really is and are very strict about making sure that animals are treated well. I'm less sure about reducing the number of animals used, but I won't argue that point.

    However, what I have noticed is that neuroscientists are very defensive about anyone asking questions about their motives or their procedures. I still remember an animal rights discussion panel at SFN in which some panel member complained angrily that one of the animal rights activists stopped her on the street as she passed a protest and asked her "Every time you do an experiment, do you ask yourself if it's important?" I asked her afterwards, "Why didn't you just say 'Yes' and walk away, or better yet, explain to the protester about the process. All you've done is made the world harder for the rest of us." [And yes, I often do go to animal rights protests and engage the protesters in conversation. Often they are smart people, some with more nuanced ideas than given credit for, and some lacking basic knowledge about the importance of animal research or the procedures we follow through.]

    I do think that if you look carefully at the actual history, you will find that the changes in IACUC and animal care from history to now (compare Roger Fouts description of his university when he got there and modern animal care facilities or compare Harry Harlow with modern primate research or talk to any of the graybeards who will tell you about rat labs 40 years ago) are due to trying to CYA to prevent activists from being able to claim points.

    BTW, I am a neuroscientist who works on animals (rats) doing neurophysiology. So I think I feel very much where you are coming from here.

    My issue is that Jane Goodall is a reasonable person. She has not said that all animal research should be stopped. She has said that we should treat animals well because they are more like us than we thought. (Which is very true.)

    In any case, I don't think we're far off on our views on neuroscientists, although we may or may not be on the same page about Jane Goodall or the animal rights activists.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    anonymous-
    We're just going to have to live with people's comfort zone when it comes to these discussions and talk in generalities as much as we can.

    I'm willing to credit SN's discomfort. I would like to know, however, how this discomfort is fitted into all of animal research and if there are principles beyond personal squickiness/research value.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    qaz-
    People are frustrated with the othe side being completely disingenuous, dishonest actors. They really don't want to know anything. They are theologically motivated which is why they are impervious to reality. Discussions go nowhere. And then repeat. That's one part. Second, the Overton window. Because the aforementioned theology, there is no recognition of compromises and adjustments already made. There is no detente, just a constant Sisyphean battle. Any wonder people tire of it? Finally, the firebombing. Some people fear that more than others. Can you blame those that worry about various attacks and harrassments? I can't.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Oh and you sound woefully under informed wrt Harlow and where he was in terms of animal treatment versus the norms of the time. He was not only about that one *experimental* model.

    And really. The many-decades ago animal treatment trope? Really? You venture toward another AR smear job.

  • qaz says:

    I agree completely about being frustrated. But I have to say that your description of animal rights activists does not mesh with my personal experiences. In my experiences, most of the animal rights activists (including Goodall) are more interested in finding the right balance between animal care and animal research. (Notice I don't say "rights". Nor does she.) And I do not think that it helps to be disingenuous about Jane Goodall's claims and motives.

    To say that Jane Goodall "doesn't want to know anything" or is "theologically motivated" is absolutely unfair to one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. Jane Goodall aside, many animal rights activists do know a lot about animal care and do know a lot about appropriate treatment of animals. To say "They are impervious to reality" is to reduce a complex group of people to a single entity. It is illogical, undescriptive, and unscientific. Doing so, you stoop to the level you accuse them of.

    It is also important to see how far we've come. I have found it really interesting to look at the history of animal care committees (and in parallel the history of human care committees, which are its own fascinating story). Nowadays, the animal care fight is that the activists tend to be less open than the scientists, but historically that has not always been true.

  • qaz says:

    Harlow's complexity, particularly with respect to his time, is fascinating. There is not room here to discuss all of the complexity of his background, where he fit with his time, or the personal changes he went through as he became vilified. Nor is there room to discuss the importance of his work and how it changed medical practice. I assure you I am very well informed about both Harlow and his relation to the practice of his time. And I am very well informed about how much animal research has changed over the last 30 years. In fact, I'm usually the one who goes to the activists to argue with them. Do not assume that because I defend the debate that I am not on the side of animal research.

    For more details about Harlow and the relation to his time, I recommend Blum's Love at Goon Park. It is excellent and nuanced. As a comparison to the time, I recommend reading Fouts' book on Washoe (Next of Kin), particularly his experiences in (I think it was) Oklahoma.

    I'm not defending the animal rights activism. I'm saying talking is a hell of a lot better than fighting. And I'm saying Jane Goodall is a damn smart lady who knows a lot more about primate behavior than you or I do. And that she has probably thought more about the relationship between animal and human similarities than most people in the world.

  • Su-woo barbara says:

    "In my experiences, most of the animal rights activists (including Goodall) are more interested in finding the right balance between animal care and animal research. (Notice I don't say "rights". Nor does she.) And I do not think that it helps to be disingenuous about Jane Goodall's claims and motives." qaz

    All I can say, qaz, is your experience with "animal rights activists" must be extremely limited, or we define the term very differently. I would understand your statement if you said "most people" are interested in this balance. Among such people -- Spiny Norman included -- a discussion is possible and desirable. The problem is that the AR organizations and leaders have made up our minds for us -- they are fundamentally opposed to all animal research (and many other things) regardless of the consequences. Perhaps Jane Goodall is not of that opinion, but I don't think she is a sterling example of scientific reason either. Lately she has allowed her name to be associated with a variety of books/fundraising opportunities that call her judgement into question. (Look at her recent publication list, subjects have strayed far from primatology.) I agree with DM that, in the plant book/GMO case, Goodall is denying or willfully ignoring of the state of scientific evidence. Her problem is more than not citing sources properly. I don't find this reasonable.

    BTW, I researched the circumstances of her second husband's death from cancer in 1980. After surgery to remove the primary tumor, further traditional medical treatment either was not advised or pursued. According to several biographies, in efforts to save him, Jane Goodall is said to have turned to African herbs, an Egyptian faith healer and a West German doctor whose clinic offered laetrile.

  • Allyson J. Bennett says:

    @qaz I think that the history of changes in how animals' capacities and needs are viewed, along with continuing changes in their care, consideration of their welfare, and our regulatory system, owes a good deal more to scientists themselves than is appreciated.

    No doubt that public views have contributed and that some of the current regulatory system arose from those pressures. But it is also true that early animal researchers, particularly in psychology (before neuroscience) were responsible for the empirical studies that provided the strong basis for changes. One example - it was D.O. Hebb circa early 1950s and then the UC Berkeley group in the ‘60s that showed how much enriched environments mattered for rodents. People like Thorndike, Tolman, and Harlow (learning to learn) demonstrated that other animals had cognitive and learning capacities beyond what was appreciated at the time. While the majority of Harlow's studies were on learning, his work on attachment and social stimulation changed views in a radical way and actually drove improvements in captive animal care in both laboratories and zoological parks.

    Scientific societies also had active concern and engagement with the ethical questions and animal care well before the Animal Welfare Act. One example- the American Psychological Association established a Committee on Animal Research Ethics in 1925 because they were concerned about animal treatment during surgery.

    And it is still the case that scientists are actively involved in producing solid information that continue to drive improvements in animal care and that inform our ethical and moral consideration of the use of animals in research.

    I think that the history is relevant because it provides some good ideas for productive ways to continue to move forward on this issue. Viewing it as a process that is only defensive, with the majority of changes occurring only as a result of CYA or AR seems less useful.

    On the question of relative expertise and the body of science that contributed to our knowledge about chimpanzees, it is worth remembering that many key parts of that story involve laboratory studies. It was not only the field studies that changed our understanding and appreciation of the complexity of great ape cognition and behavior. Lab research, going back to the Yerkes in the 1930s, and forward through diverse efforts, including for example, Rumbaugh’s learning and language studies, were critically important. There are many long-standing efforts of laboratory researchers who dedicated their lives to better understanding chimpanzees’ cognition, brain, and behavior. A great deal of this work would not have been possible in field settings and most certainly contributed novel insights that, in turn, shaped changes in our views and treatment of the animals in laboratories, zoos, and the wild. There are also scientists and behaviorists who have spent decades working to improve the care of these animals in laboratories and zoos. Much of this gets left out of the conversations surrounding animal research. That can be a problem because it contributes to the idea that scientists play little role (or should play little role) in continued evolution of animal research practices and dialogue about the inherent ethical and moral questions.

  • bob says:

    AJB, sincere thanks for a comment that both taught me something and helped change my perspective.

  • ShuWoo barbara says:

    Ditto, bob. Many thanks to AJB from barbara, who has changed handle spelling after phonetic reflection.

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