back to article Bubbly billygoat-bursting boffinry brouhaha at MoD

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has finally been challenged by animal-rights groups over a long-running programme of experimentation in which goats - among other animals - have been deliberately given the bends in decompression chambers. Rather than a malevolent hatred of cloven-hoofed creatures, the tests in question were …

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Effervescent goat stew..

One for Heston Blumenthal, I think.

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Volunteers?

It always amuses me that these bleeding heart hippy liberals don't want animal testing but as soon as one gets diabetes or needs a barychamber then I don't see them volunteering to die painfully. It's a goat. Maybe it feels good inside to be saving human kind. Perhaps we should only experiment on animal rights knob-ends.

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Re: Chris Collins

Chill out.

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Interesting

No, not the gist of the article. (I have no opinion on animal-based testing.)

What interested me was this: ""The French navy has already abandoned its own live-test programme in favour of more humane methods." Pray elaborate, El Reg. What have those ingenious French navy types come up with that is "more humane".

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Paris Hilton

Spot the yank...

"bleeding heart hippy liberals" ? I mean, really, LOL.

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@ John A Blackley

Who asks quite reasonably 'What have those ingenious French navy types come up with that is "more humane".'

Carbonated fois gras

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Pirate

The french humane method....

...experiment by sinking Greenpeace ships, as advocated in message 1.

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Dead Vulture

Squeamish alert

Very well put, as always, by Mr Page.

In a pre-emptive strike I would like to urge the squeamish to answer the succinct: "How many goats would you torture to save one human?" (and substitute goats for rats, monkeys, etc. as required in the future) before posting.

We haven’t even gotten close to eradicating human suffering yet (not that it is possible, but for the sake of argument); hence I consider it somewhat hypocritical expending so much effort and so many resources for the welfare of animals (I am talking about the "common lab rat" here, not the endagered Giant Panda or the like).

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that pointless cruelty to animals should be frowned upon, but we must keep the balance. Let’s let scientists do their job, and worry a little bit more about Bolivian street children and a lot less about the welfare of tetrapods in the hands of scientists.

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Happy

Fizzy Curry Goat?

Yum!

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Jobs Horns

Perfect solution

If the animal rights activists have such a problem with animal testing, why don't they volunteer to take the animals place. That way, everyone is happy.

If animal testing saves 1 human life, then I'm all for it.

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Jobs Horns

Perfect solution

If the animal rights activists have such a problem with animal testing, why don't they volunteer to take the animals place. That way, everyone is happy.

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Alert

brave "pro-testing on live subject adovcates

If the only qualification required is to be a dumb animal with a near human physiology, why don't these brave "pro-testing on live subject adovcates" volunteer themselves as subjects?

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Thumb Up

Submerged perspective

i scuba (certified, trained, classwork, etc.), so perhaps some hands-on perspective is useful.

as a hobby, scuba is among the least casual and spontaneous, more expensive, time-consuming, demanding and potentially fatal interests a human can have. the content of the forms one has to sign before a dive shop will provide service, makes it explicitly clear that, if the diver is in less-than-optimal health, there is a substantial risk of damage or death, and the facility is not liable for any of it.

having said that, a knowledgeable, experienced, rational diver who follows recommendations given in training, dives with a local guide and a companion, and doesn't show off, is far less likely to get into trouble than, say, someone driving a car. scuba is an interesting, enjoyable, relaxing, and exceedingly odd experience, entirely unlike anything else i've ever done.

one of the things they make clear in training is that, if i ever have to surface immediately from over 20 feet of depth, i am unlikely to do so without permanent damage, and possibly death, hyperbaric chamber or no. this is just how it is, and one accepts the risk. my certification instructor was a survivor of decompression sickness, or "the bends" as it is commonly known, and a very conservative diver.

for professionals, the risk is part of the job, so a bit of a different bag. i hope they find a way to continue this research in some useful form.

i also hope they don't use experimental animals to do it, but it is not my ethical decision to make. ask Mary Kay about the rabbits (credit: Bloom County).

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Silver badge

Deep goat!

I had a couple of goats once, but not both at the same time and only with consent. One of them used to go down but never came up fizzy to my knowledge.

Also do these goats wear rubber suits? I would like to be told!

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Coat

I'm not particularly fond of goats

But, I'm pretty sure the yanks could donate some of their "forced disappearals" for the purpose of testing. It's not like they're not already being tortured so they might as well get some scientific mileage from CIA human rights abuses.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Chris Collins

It always amuses me when a certain type of reactionary ( dare I say it ) knob end goes on about 'bleeding heart hippy liberals' doing this or that without realising that the belief under discussion ( in this case that animal testing is wrong ) could just as well be also held by people who would otherwise be more politically aligned with Mr Collins. Famous conservative animal lib types like the late Alan Clark spring to mind. Use your bloody brain, man ...

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Send a human instead

I never understand these animal rights activists... If they want to stop testing on goats, they should volunteer themselves. If they are unwilling to do that, they should shut up and be happy that humans don't have to die in the name of science.

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Re: Submerged perspective

I'm a certified diving instructor and a certified technical diver and, unfortunately, I've also had a bend.

All I can say is that having a neurological injury is one of the most unpleasant things that any human being will experience so no, I wouldn't even suggest that anyone tries to get one.and using past

Its not a case of following training as a bend can affect during any dive. Its also not a case of being able to use past data due to the new advances in diving technology and the understanding of physiology.

So sorry, I'm behind the goats getting it every time. I know its not nice but thats the way of the world.... and the main reason they use goats is that the cats they used to use have a fear of water, claws and as anyone who have tried to move a cat through an opening (cat basket door, domestic doorway, aircraft hanger opening) knows full well their ability to expend to a size where they have a paw on each side of it!

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@baka re: Send a human instead

Very true... seems is the trend is to die due to a lack of science... unless you count the joyous wonders of high fructose corn syrup, polystyrene, and so many shiny glittery carcinogenes.

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Come on guys

Surely there are enough pestilent animals in the world (Cats and frogs come to mind from recent Reg reading) to not have too many animal rights activists going crazy.

I mean really.

Isn't he really just trying to get your goat?

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Joke

@John A Blackley

The French humane solution: they ask us for our results with the goats!

PS Why does everyone want to get me?

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Joe

I vote...

...that the next person to make the predictable and already-made-several-times point that "if activists want to stop testing on goats, they should volunteer themselves" should be sent along with them!

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ALF???

As in those fruit-loop eco-terrorists that assault people and commit acts of vandalism?

Fuck, I'd suggest using those whackos for scientific experiments but regrettably they do not approximate humankind closely enough for the data to be useful.

Pack of mung-bean-eating, dope-smoking freaks who'd happily burn a dozen humans to death inside a lab in order to save one animal. Rabid animals have more intelligence than those bastards.

I am 100% opposed to spritzing all sorts of cosmetic shit into or onto animals in the interests of "beauty" - fuck, safe cosmetics, hair products and beauty products have been known for thousands of years (and they managed to find out that white arsenic was a dangerous foundation and hair treatment without resorting to animal testing) so there's no need.

Animal experimentation to save human lives, however, does have its place - provided it is done intelligently. As pointed out in the article, fucking around with experimental mixes of gas and different pressures in the hope that you might save more people should not be done when you're trying to save the lives of everyone aboard a research sub.

FFS, as a race we eat animals, use their skins for the manufacture of clothes and other goods and fertilise our fields with their dried blood and bone. We have the moral obligation to be as humane in our use of animals as is possible, but when push comes to shove we're trying to survive as a race and we're not talking about killing species on the verge of extinction.

We're talking about animals that can be readily bred in the interests of improving our chances of survival. In the case of goats, animals that we've long domesticated (last few thousand years or so) to sustain our species as food and a source of milk, wool and occasionally leather,

If a few goats, or rats, die now to help ensure that my adventurous son does not die of the bends some stage in the future, or my daughter doesn't die of some dreadful disease, then so be it. There's not a hell of a lot of difference between that and the many cows, chickens, sheep - and probably goats and deer as well - that are going to die in the service of feeding them up to that point.

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Flame

your all stupid and wrong as usual

this research has already been done many times both with many different animals and with humans and there is no reason to continue doing it what you pinheads haven't figured out yet is that paying exorbitant funds to do the same experiments over and fucking over is costly make work for bottom drawer researchers sucking off the public tit and the goats don't matter at all what matters is the money some of you just heard about the bends I assure you they have been around since the brooklyn bridge was built no more studying is at all needed so shut the fuck up and pass me the jerked goat mon.

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Joke

@ My Coat

"The French humane solution: they ask us for our results with the goats!"

Sounds about right - fair exchange for data given to the Brits and the US from the A-bomb tests the French were conducting in the Pacific while the US and the Brits had signed treaties saying they wouldn't test A-bombs...

Good bit of mutual back-scratching "we will geeve you ze notes from La Bombe, you tell us all about ze tortured goats..."

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Bronze badge

Not Just Divers - Tunnelling

I worked with a bunch of guys once doing tunneling under pressure (as also used on parts of the London Underground). They did a 10-12 hour shift at 60ft, and regularly complained of pain - minor bends. But the money was too good not to do it. They also had the perfect cure for a hangover - get yourself blown down to 60ft for an hour - works every time.

I wouldn't want to have their insides/bones now though - the damage will have been done.

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Pfft

Animal testing has an important role to play.

I would go into a farm and kill every single dog, sheep, cow, rabbit, cat, goat, chicken, duck, goose or whatever if I thought for one second, *just one second*, that it might be ... a bit of a laugh.

(c) Rob Newman

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Anonymous Coward

Anonymous

As you point out there is a lot of experimental work still to do, so testing is still necessary. The goats are used to test out new procedures because of the risk of injury or death to humans. The goats are not “tortured” and certainly not tested to destruction. In fact they are well cared for (well, at least as any other goat) but they are used in tests before humans are used. I think this is reasonable. When vehicles are tested dummies are used not real people. There is no dummy or computer programme that can be used for physiological testing at the limit of current knowledge. The last time I was at Alverstoke so were the goats.

Before anyone goes banging on about modelling of nuclear explosions (sorry that was not a pun), a bomb is intended to go bang and as long as the explosion is so big, plus or minus 5% say, it is ok. Human survival in certain conditions might be down to a 1% accuracy in test results. We use a Cray supercomputer to model bombs, we use goats to model humans. ‘Nuf said.

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Flame

No weighing-off required

As a former diver, having been obliged to stop because suffering from decompression-induced osteonecrosis, I can ascertain

1) that decompression can indeed cause severely painful afflictions

2) that no diver, or doctor treating divers, in their right minds could possibly advocate abolition of animal tests if said tests just *may* yield results that can be helpful in treating such afflictions

3) that, although I am of left-ish political pedigree, I donot have any problems with animals suffering this sort of treatments

I mean, I can live with osteonecrosis, yes... But ( physical ) life without it would be *more than a little bit* less annoying.

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Go

Submariner angle...

Being a proud wearer of the Dolphins, I think I'll throw my two pence in...

One of the few things about serving in Boats that really unnerved me was the prospect of having to make a deep water escape. If it ever came to that, I'd have done it, but the prospect of emerging on the surface alive, but horribly crippled, was sobering and rather queasy-making.

I spent some time on the Submarine Tender USS Dixon, and we had one of the few readily-available decompression chambers in the San Diego area, and possibly the largest one - large enough to easily get a physician and equipment into the chamber with the victim. I saw more than a few 'red divers' rushed into our chamber, and let me tell you, I don't *ever* want to be in their shoes (flippers).

Additionally, I associated with a lot of divers during my time in the Service - special purpose, salvage, combat swimmers, and rescue swimmers, and the like - And every one of them was old before their time. Diving, done professionally, takes it out of you, and there ain't no putting it back.

If doing-in a few, or a few dozen, or a few hundred, goats can make those poor bastards' recovery better, more certain, less debilitating, well... have at it, I say.

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Anonymous Coward

Lewis...

Lewis, I wanna have your babies.

Best El Reg's headline ever.

It made me eject the coffee I was drinking from my nostrils at around 0.026 times the

velocity of a sheep in vacuum (worried about 5 welshmen who've been lost in the woods for 3 years)

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Boffin

They do experiment on willing humans!

As a cave diver, trained medic and Cave Rescue Voulenteer, I also know quite a bit about decompression. Some of my mates were also the first civilians to use Trimix and its esoteric cousins. But we all had to learn by our mistakes, the military boffins hadn't done enough testing to tell us anything for sure, so they wouldn't tell us anything! So we were the Guinea Pigs. And boy did they want to know about our results! Multi-dive profiles, to significant depths, with dozens of staged cylinders and 'pure' oxygen decompressions. We sometimes reccon that it would be easier to go to the moon!

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