Philosophy of AR > Animal Testing - Index
Double Blind Groundhog Day Experimental Trial
First, a moment of remembrance for the furry abused groundhogs (woodchucks) which are tortured in research laboratories because scientists believe that they make wonderful models to apply to human physiology. The most often performed groundhog studies involves injecting these gentle creatures with AIDS, HIV, or Hepatitis.

In one week, Americans will celebrate Punxsutawney Phil, our adorable Pennsylvania groundhog. As many of us watch Bill Murray's Groundhog Day, Ohio researchers at Case Western Reserve University will be inducing liver cancers in their caged laboratory groundhogs, and then killing them to autopsy their manmade diseased organs and tissues.

While Punxsutawney Phil casts his shadow next Wednesday morning (February 2, 2011), the only shadow Case Western Reserve University experimental groundhogs will experience is the one made by the dumpster holding their autopsied tumor-induced body organs outside of Dr. Yu Kuang's lab. Kuang's contact info:

His lab is located in Case Western Reserve's Bishop Building, Room S731. The mailing address is 11100 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, OH 44106.

Dr. Kuang's phone is: 216-983-3004

Dr. Kuang's FAX is: 216-844-3106

Dr. Kuang's email addresses:

Should you contact Yu Kuang, please do so in a dignified manner. After all, Kuang comes from China, a nation where neither human nor animal rights are given high priority. Please give him the respect he is due.

The September 7, 2010 issue of the Journal of Hepatitis Research and Treatment reviews the clinical research now taking place at the Institute for Virology, in Essen, Germany. The German experimentalists write:

"The woodchuck (Marmota monax) is a useful preclinical model for developing the new therapeutic approaches in chronic hepadnaviral infections. Several innovative approaches combining antiviral treatments with nucleos(t)ide analogues, DNA vaccines, and protein vaccines were tested in the woodchuck model. In this paper we summarize the available data concerning therapeutic immunization and gene therapy using recombinant viral vectors approaches in woodchucks, which show encouraging results. In addition, we present potential innovations in immunomodulatory strategies to be evaluated in this animal model."

Immunoimodulatory strategies? I would like to place one Ohio and one German scientist in a dark alley with some of Punxsutawney's groundhog lovers, and see whether they emerge seeing their shadows...Perhaps Phil fans might poke out their eyes as a message to all animal abusers. That would be done in the spirit of a double blind experimental trial.

Every year since this column has been written, the Groundhog has seen his shadow. There has always been enough light to see a shadow, and the groundhog's handler's have assured that their little rodent would see some sort of shadow due to his large fattened bulk. The fix is in. They've been feeding him ice cream in the "off season." Next Wednesday morning there will be a celebration. Ice cream for everyone.

We've all read the dairy industry argument that consuming dairy products helps people to lose weight, which makes absolutely no sense, but makes for great press by those whose job it is to deceive America into consuming milk.

On average, groundhogs weigh a little over five pounds when they emerge from hibernation in the spring. After a summer of eating, September weights can soar to ten pounds. The largest wild (free and uncaged) groundhog weighed in at fourteen pounds!

The bigger news has nothing to do with the weather. It's why Punxsutawney Phil has become the Holstein cow of groundhogs. He's the pig of little furry hibernators. What has Phil been munching on all winter while observing his dairy-based weight loss program? Ice cream! The root of our groundhog's obesity is not roots. It's dairy!

Bill Deeley, the local funeral home director who emcees Punxsutawney's much-publicized Groundhog Day Festival and sees to Phil's needs 365 days out of the year, had this to say about Phil's diet:

"He's naturally a vegetarian. But he loves ice cream and strawberry sundaes."

Phil, the groundcow, weighs in at 15 pounds and measures 22 inches in length.

Could an overweight Phil be due to the powerful growth factors in milk and dairy products? Groundhogs should not be eating a diet of bovine growth hormones and high calorie-containing saturated animal fat. Neither should humans, for that matter.

So...eyewitnesses will see Phil spring from his burrow and report that he saw his shadow again, and we will experience six more weeks of miserable weather. Easy on the ice cream, or Phil's family might soon be used for obesity epidemic studies.

Robert Cohen

Fair Use Notice and Disclaimer
Send questions or comments about this web site to Ann Berlin,