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Book Reviews

Scroll down for MILK the deadly Poison and Animals: Why they must not be brutalized

Sacred Cows and Golden Geese C. Ray Greek, MD and Jean Swingle Greek, DVM,  Continuum 256pp referenced, indexed, hard cover $24.95

This book is a must for serious students and practitioners of scientific anti-vivisectionism.  The meticulously-researched evidence it presents on the dangers of relying on animal tests to predict human responses is copious and compelling.  It shatters the claims of the medical establishment that humans benefit from animal studies and reveals instead how they have been harmed or deprived of treatment because the effects on animals differed from those on humans.  It emphasizes how even minute differences between species at the cellular and molecular levels can result in big differences in the ultimate effect of an experimental drug or procedure--differences as disparate as life or death.

As explained in the introduction, the book is the outcome of discussions between Jean Swingle Greek, a practicing and teaching veterinarian and her husband Ray Greek, a specialist and professor of anesthesiology, when both were immersed in their medical studies.  Both experimented on animals as their curriculae required, but in comparing findings in their respective fields, they kept discovering more discrepancies that convinced them that what is true for one species is not necessarily true for another.  This simple fact challenges a basic tenet of the biomedical research establishment: that other species, principally mice, can serve as reliable models for human ailments.

The authors give a good historical review of how modern medicine came to rely on animal research and a good analysis of why it continues to do so.   

The book is like a giant snowball, picking up the work of doctors and medical writers like Drs. Herbert and Margo Stiller, Hans Ruesch, and more recent books by , Neal Barnard, MD,  Murry Cohen, MD, Pietro Croce, MD, Moneim Fadali, MD, Robert Mendelsohn, MD, Tony Page, PhD, Pat Rattigan, ND, Brandon Reines, DVM,  Robert Sharpe, PhD, and others. Encompassing and compacting their valuable contributions and branching out in different directions gathering evidence directly from medical journals on every path it pursues until it is no longer a snowball but an avalanche of carefully-documented information too overwhelming for any thinking person to dismiss.  As if that weren't enough, they inform us that they still have enough documented material for a second book. 

The book is very well written in language intelligible to lay persons and will be a revelation to anyone who has not yet learned to question the validity of animal experimentation.

The authors are turning their royalties over to Americans for Medical Advancement, a new organization devoted to improving medical science.  Ray Greek is the organization's president.  -br

MILK The Deadly Poison by Robert Cohen

Argus, 324 pp, indexed, referenced, hard cover $24.95

This is a unique book written by a modern knight on a quest for truth. It challenges both the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Monsanto Agricultural Corporation.  But that is not all.  Robert Cohen is also challenging the cultural concept that cows' milk is healthy for people, the equivalent of denouncing Mom and apple pie. 


His attention was drawn to Monsanto's genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (trade named Posilac) by an article written by medical journalist Jane (Mrs Henry) Heimlich, in Dr Julian Whitaker's newsletter, Health and Healing.


  Cohen, as he explains in introducing himself, is uniquely qualified for the job by education, experience and perhaps most importantly, inclination.  He "enjoys" reading medical journals and revels in discovering scientific minutiae that can have unexpected effects on whole organisms.  As an undergraduate, he conducted research in psychoneuroendocrinology revealing how hormones affect animals' brains, a good preparation for studying milk, which is laden with natural as well as artificial hormones.  In addition to being scientifically qualified to question and interpret data, he seems to have the tenacity of a bulldog and has become perhaps the government's No. 1 gadfly. 


Ever since he pounced on the fact the FDA  hired Monsanto scientists to approve their own product (bovine somatotropin, BST or Posilac), and moreover that the data submitted by Monsanto was for a slightly different engineered hormone, he has been a like terrier tearing at the trouser legs of FDA officials refusing to let go and yield the field to the dominant special interests.  His persistence is demonstrated by his 250-day hunger strike to end the use of BST during which he ingested only liquids.  That kind of persistence  had already gained him opportunities to testify at government hearings, which has become an unpaid occupation.


Much of the controversy revolves around how much more IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) winds up in the milk of cows injected with BST.  Cohen--somewhat gleefully, it seems--picks apart poorly designed studies and points out conflicts of interest such as ex-Monsanto employees making decisions for the FDA about BST.


Cohen rather ingenuously introduces the reader to the scientists and government officials he consulted in the course of his quest and quotes from their letters and phone calls.  It can be argued that he could have presented his material more succinctly but that would have sacrificed its charm and a lot of interesting detail which makes this book appealing as well as informative.  The saga of an innocent citizen  trying to elicit the truth from government health and industry officials is not without humor at times, but the reader should not be misled by the conversational style.  The science is solid and well referenced.


Animals: Why They Must Not Be Brutalized Nuark Publishing

Elmhurst IL 60126-3604 158pp, indexed, hard cover $28.00


In his cohesive approach to the title, which draws from legal, historical, and cultural knowledge, Suconik presents compelling arguments for the rights of nonhuman animals, as opposed to "animal rights". From the outset he accomplishes a difficult task, to create a brief yet convenient historical overview of the principal philosophical and ethical concepts, set within legal analogies, of continuing intolerance toward nonhuman animals.

The book covers a wide variety of specific areas, including shelters, fur farming and usage, vivisection, hunting, and circuses, among many others.

Building his case on a metaphor of the right to property, guaranteed, in theory, to each human under Western democracy, he demonstrates that nonhuman animals have a right to the "property", i.e., the physical bodies, that are their own. "Everything that constitutes the cat is the cat's own property." Thus to deprive a cat of a limb, take his very life, or perhaps, even more importantly, his liberty, through useless and dangerous (to human and nonhuman animals alike) vivisection experiments-or in any other form of abuse-is an infringement of that cat's in alienable right to be a cat. By placing the argument in that legal context, Suconik neatly erases all whispers of the absurd from the debate, and offers a logical and objective formula to guarantee natural rights to all nonhuman animals.


Extending further the legal metaphor to the concept of justice, he draws a parallel between the (once) accepted practice of slavery in the nineteenth century, and the continuing violence and abuse toward nonhuman animals in the modern world. The analogy accurately reflects attitude. "...the realities of a world in which partisan {i.e., prejudiced} justice is pandemic comprise. crime and cruelty to which we are habituated."  Much as the abolitionists campaigned for a change in attitude, maintains the author, so must advocates of the rights of animals work to secure change


He artfully juxtaposes the central moral and ethical issue of cruelty against all the (other) attendant social consequences that accompany the abuse of nonhuman animals. An excellent example is the chapter on fur "farming", in which he shows the practice as a principal contributor to pollution and other ecological problems. He successfully separates the issue from one of self-determination, a ploy often used by fur trappers and "mongers", and their customers, whose selfishness exceeds any understanding of justice or feelings of compassion. "It is not the legal right to wear fur that is at issue. The issue is the wrongfulness based on cruelty, suffering, and death entailed in the wearing of fur."    Suconik, who is clearly optimistic about humankind's ability to learn from history, imagines a future where tyranny against its nonhuman brethren will no longer exist. He reflects the vision shared by all who appreciate and respect the nonhuman animal kingdom.

--Rhona Zaid, Ph.D.

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The Civil Abolitionist

Autumn 2000

The Civil Abolitionist

Autumn 2000