UW-Madison psychiatry professor Ned Kalin received approval to conduct the first experiment on campus in more than 30 years that will intentionally deprive newborn monkeys of their mothers, a practice designed to impact a primate’s psychological well-being. The protocol drew unusual debate from oversight committees, and it has raised questions about the degree of suffering acceptable in an experimental design with uncertain outcomes.
“I think everyone who does animal research feels they’re balancing the need for and desire to alleviate human suffering and to minimize animal suffering,” says behavioral neuroscientist Craig Berridge. But others are skeptical that committees overseeing the use of animals can rigorous evaluate the ethics of the work.
The stories are intended to hover at what Center for Limnology director Steve Carpenter calls “the edge of plausibility,” and encourage something people are terrible at: long-term ecological thinking and planning.
Daphnia, tiny crustaceans in Lake Mendota that graze on algae, and their good works are in danger. Each year their population is now crashing in the late summer as they are decimated by a voracious new predator called the spiny waterflea.
Grape farmers in Wisconsin are facing a growing threat, and in many cases it is coming from their own neighbors. Herbicides that are used to kill weeds in crops such as corn and soybeans can be deadly to other plants, including grapes. Food or wine grape vines exposed to the chemicals may shrivel up, turn colors and grow strange, elongated new leaves.
The number of manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin had fallen in recent years, from nearly 600,000 in 1998 to just over 450,000 today. But manufacturing still accounts for about 16 percent of all state jobs. And in the past year, it has begun to rebound.