At the recent citizen meeting one person commented: "So far, to my knowledge, there's been exactly one bioterrorism incident... in the U.S., some Anthrax attacks... I'm trying to understand the logic here. Now they came from a government funded lab. Okay, so the solution to that is to build more government funded labs?" |
Some researchers and clinicians are wondering whether dedicating so many efforts and such huge financial resources ($5.9 Billion in Homeland Security money for biodefense) to the study and development of therapeutics for a few infections that presently do not affect people, or at best only a few, is a luxury that we cannot afford, in the absence of a reasonably proven risk. Old scourges like malaria, tuberculosis, and parasitic infections are still affecting millions and millions of people all over the world. At least 3000 children still die every day of malaria, according to the World Health Organization, and the western world is doing very little to help.
The NIH has stated that local public acceptance of the labs will be taken into consideration when awarding the grants. The Portland area's current silence on the proposed biodefense labs makes us very good candidates for them. The NIH decision should be made this September, so now is the time to make your voice heard! The University of California, Davis, is one of the institutions that applied for these grants. Because of overwhelming public outcry, Davis Mayor Susie Boyd reversed her original position and will oppose the project.
Though these labs would kill thousands of animals in horrific ways while providing no benefit for humans, these labs are not just an animal rights issue. From enormous white coat welfare used on meaningless projects, to lack of transparency, to illegal weaponization of biological agents like the secretly developed Anthrax that was used in the attacks soon after 9/11, which even Congress didn't know about, there are many reasons to speak out against these labs. OHSU's community relations plan to sell the lab to us states they will "provide full disclosure" and also "An open line of communication is necessary to establish public trust and value of the center... Both achievements and problems will be communicated to the public to ensure continued confidence". Yet OHSU has given us no reason to believe they will be accountable to the public or that they care about the public's concerns. People have had to sue OHSU to get public information about the research we have been paying for. The Marquam Hill community around OHSU's main campus has expressed strong opposition to the building of a proposed tram yet OHSU is going to build it anyway. For years the public has been requesting a public forum to address concerns about the validity of their animal-based research and OHSU continually refuses to participate. At the aforementioned recent meeting, OHSU displayed almost casual indifference for public safety responding to citizen suggestions that it would be better to locate such a lab in the desert far away from heavy population centers by saying the scientists don't want to go there.
Contact the following and tell them that you will not accept this dangerous, wasteful project. There should be well advertised public meetings in every city in the region.
Grants Management - NIH
Rona Hirschberg, Ph.D.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
6610 Rockledge Drive
Room 5007, MSC 6603
Bethesda, MD 20892-7630
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, Oregon 97301-4047
Governors Citizens Representative Message Line
For email go to this link:
Office of Mayor Vera Katz
1221 SW 4th Ave., Suite 340
Portland, Oregon 97204-1995