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UW-Madison Statement in Response to Bill Maher Robocalls

October 8, 2013

It is no surprise that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) continues its opposition to biomedical science through their sustained efforts to draw attention to research to which they object. PETA has tried mightily to stop important work on hearing at UW–Madison by making repeated, unsubstantiated and false claims about the work and its conduct.

In the latest effort to bring attention to their cause — the ultimate goal being to halt all research everywhere involving animal models — robocalls from comedian Bill Maher, an active supporter and frequent spokesperson for PETA, continue to distort the facts as established by no fewer than three federal investigations.

Given that there is no factual basis for their claims, the only way to keep attention on an issue is to engage celebrities to promote their message or engage in stunts that add no substance to their claims and do little to inform honest debate.

The robocalls made this week by Bill Maher continue that campaign of misinformation and in no way reflect the facts as they have been independently established. While Mr. Maher and PETA are entitled to their points of view, the facts tell us that the research in question is important, was conducted appropriately [NIH findings regarding the condition and care of the animals can be found at the bottom of page 9] and humanely, and will lead to a better understanding of hearing and technologies to address hearing loss.

For more information about the use of animal models in research and hearing research at UW–Madison, visit the Animals in Research and Teaching website