Voracious Science & Vulnerable Animals: A Primate Scientist's Ethical Journey By John P. Gluck
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Author: John P. Gluck
Reviewed by: Marc Bekoff, Animal Emotions

 

voracious science
Voracious Science & Vulnerable Animals: A Primate Scientist's Ethical Journey
By John P. Gluck
Available from Amazon

Review:

A new book by Dr. John Gluck called Voracious Science and Vulnerable Animals: A Primate Scientist's Ethical Journey is a gem and a most timely work. Dr. Gluck is professor emeritus of psychology and a senior advisor to the president on animal research ethics and welfare at the University of New Mexico and also research professor at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. Voracious Science is a deeply personal journey of discovery that tracks Dr. Gluck's research career—one might say his life—from conducting highly invasive research on maternal deprivation in rhesus monkeys in Dr. Harry Harlow's laboratory to deciding to move out of research that harms other animals and become a spokesman on their behalf.

Dr. Harlow's research is well known for causing major and permanent psychological damage to rhesus monkeys and has been called into question over the years by numerous animal advocates and some scientists. An excellent book about many different aspects of Dr. Harlow's research and the man himself is Deborah Blum's Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection.

The apt description for Voracious Science reads as follows:

The National Institutes of Health recently announced its plan to retire the fifty remaining chimpanzees held in national research facilities and place them in sanctuaries. This significant decision comes after a lengthy process of examination and debate about the ethics of animal research. For decades, proponents of such research have argued that the discoveries and benefits for humans far outweigh the costs of the traumatic effects on the animals; but today, even the researchers themselves have come to question the practice. John P. Gluck has been one of the scientists at the forefront of the movement to end research on primates, and in Voracious Science and Vulnerable Animals he tells a vivid, heart-rending, personal story of how he became a vocal activist for animal protection.

Gluck begins by taking us inside the laboratory of Harry F. Harlow at the University of Wisconsin, where Gluck worked as a graduate student in the 1960s. Harlow’s primate lab became famous for his behavioral experiments in maternal deprivation and social isolation of rhesus macaques. Though trained as a behavioral scientist, Gluck finds himself unable to overlook the intense psychological and physical damage these experiments wrought on the macaques. Gluck’s sobering and moving account reveals how in this and other labs, including his own, he came to grapple with the uncomfortable justifications that many researchers were offering for their work. As his sense of conflict grows, we’re right alongside him, developing a deep empathy for the often smart and always vulnerable animals used for these experiments.

About the Author:

John P. Gluck is professor emeritus of psychology and a senior advisor to the president on animal research ethics and welfare at the University of New Mexico. He is also research professor of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University and coauthor of The Human Use of Animals.


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