Medical ResearchWhy is it that every critical outcry by...


July 04, 1994

Medical Research

Why is it that every critical outcry by animal rights groups against biomedical researchers draws immediate media, public and political attention, while the life-saving work being conducted by those dedicated individuals is relegated to a passing paragraph or two? ("Military seeking to lessen its use of animals in labs," May 28.)

Military physicians and scientists provide invaluable approaches to saving lives not only on the battlefield but in the civilian world as well. The great advances in emergency trauma and burn care throughout our communities are prime examples. Yet, unfounded allegations by animal rights groups distract those engaged in this important work and cast a pall of political intimidation to the point that research administrators, in this case members of the military, are forced to scramble to appease their animal rights critics.

The involvement of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in the discussion of military biomedical research should be clear warning to everyone involved. PCRM is dedicated to ending all animal-related biomedical research regardless of its life-saving implications. PCRM is a public and media relations front organization established and financed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Aniamls (PETA). PCRM's purpose is to create the illusion that the animal rights movements has credible support within the mainstream biomedical community. It doesn't.

Rather than lend credibility to such extremist thought by allowing its advocates a central role in formulating public policy, let's leave the entire animal rights movements where it belongs: in the museum of cult oddities.

Susan Paris

Arlington, Va.

The writer is president of the Americans for Medical Progress Educational Foundation.

Children's Interest

I feel that it is important to respond to Elaine Fromm's June 2 letter, "Bill Veto Hurts Children's Interests."

Ms. Fromm said that House Bill 937, which was vetoed by the governor, would have "enabled the Child Support Enforcement Administration to charge three fees which are allowed under federal law; the initial application, the tax refund intercept program and the tax refund offset program fees." All of these allowances are already in state law. The prohibition against deducting fees from child support payments is also in current law.

What House Bill 937 would have changed is to include a restriction that would limit the initial application fee to $25 (the current fee is $20). It would also have precluded any other fees for services, except for the interception of federal and state tax refund money that is owed for child support.

The Child Support Enforcement Administration was created to assist in the protection of the best interests of a child. It is my belief that Maryland's children will benefit from a strong child support program. I would not support any action that would lessen the quality of life of the children we serve. It is, however, realistic to expect that because the economic climate is not static and the demand for child support services is growing, resources may not always be available to maintain a solid program. Increasing the fee based on one's ability to pay would be a remedial option.

Child support services have expanded over the years. One very successful initiative is the wage withholding program. This service is available regardless of income. As our services continue to expand, many of which are federally-mandated, the costs to run the child support program increase as well.

House Bill 937 would have severely limited the options available to the Child Support Enforcement Administration.

Kenneth H. Rumsey


The writer is acting executive director, Child Support Enforcement Administration.

Aloof A.G.

This is an election year and Attorney General Joseph Currahas issued several press reports praising the work of the A.G.'s Consumer Protection Division. There have been reports on the attorney general taking a stand against children over-dosing on sugar-coated iron supplement tablets that look like candy and mouthwash bottles that don't have child-proof caps.

But when I, an ordinary taxpayer, called the Consumer Protection Division to seek help and complain about being double-billed by an air conditioning company for work at my business that was not done correctly, they told me that they couldn't help me because I ran a commercial establishment.

In addition they told me to call my congressman! Call my congressman? I'm told that there are over 300 lawyers in the attorney general's office, and they tell me to call my congressman?

I am a businesswoman, a sole proprietor, who works 10 hours or more a day running a small bar/restaurant in downtown Baltimore. Is this the kind of service I deserve for my taxes?

Jeannine Golpira


Holiday Thoughts

On July 4 we will observe the 218th anniversary of the birth oour nation. It began as a noble experiment, the result of which is still in doubt.

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