Telephone conversation with Dr. Maurice Visscher - 7/22/66:
Dr. Visscher: Hello Clarence.
Dr. Dennis: Maurice, what did you find out?
Dr. Visscher: I had a talk with Congressman Al Quie yesterday evening after the Joint Conference Committee had met for about
three hours, They did not take any final action. However, he said the actions that they did take are not good from your
viewpoint, He said they refused to eliminate the other animals and I asked him why. Well he said, it wasn't because
they were worried about the dealers. He said they wanted to leave the other animals in in order to have the standards, inspection
and enforcement within research facilities, This was their reason.
Dr. Dennis : Who's they?
Dr. Visscher: Well, they said the conferees and he said actually the House conferees didn't stand up. Now, of course,
the fact of the matter is that there isn't any evidence of poor treatment of rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and monkeys
in laboratories so far as I know. This is a lot of baloney. But - the other question is what harm does it do us?
Dr. Dennis: Well it's just so that it's in the storage areas and not in the laboratory.
Dr. Visscher: That's all still clear.
Dr. Dennis: That is.
Dr. Visscher: Yes.
Dr. Dennis: Well, I don't care. That wouldn't bother me particularly.
Dr. Visscher: It wouldn't change our operation one iota. I have a hunch that the only place where the Department of Agriculture
may give us some trouble at the University of Minnesota is that we don't have runways for chronic dogs.
Dr. Dennis: Who does?
Dr. Visscher: Well, that's the point. They're going to have a hell of a time getting anywhere with an advisory committee
that's made up of scientists in putting runways as a requirement for chronic animals, but this is a possibility. Well
then on the score of that Section 15, they hadn't come to that, in a definitive way. He asked me, what do you want me
to do? Incidentally the information that Kingman and Fred Hoke have got this morning from staff members of the Committee is
that Quie was the only one of the conferees who really stood up 100% for our position.
Dr. Dennis : Really ?
Dr. Visscher: Yes. The rest of them were just about sitting there. Catherine May helped, but the others are really not well
enough informed to know what they ought to do and apparently Christine Stevens had reached Congressman Cooley just before
the meeting of the Joint Conference Committee and had shown him a big book of photographs from all over the country that she
has assembled showing what she makes out to be improper conditions, particularly as far as this argument was concerned, in
connection with other animals. I don't know where she got pictures. We don't know too much about what those pictures
Dr. Dennis: She was showing those to whom?
Dr. Visscher: To Congressman Cooley, the Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture.
Dr. Dennis: Somebody ought to drown her.
Dr. Visscher: I've looked a little bit at this supposed compromise bill, and I got a copy of it from your Executive Secretary,
Mrs. Earle, and I'm quite unhappy about the role that Lowell Greenbaum has played in this matter.
Dr. Dennis : So am I.
Dr. Visscher: Do you know whether the text of that Javits Bill was really approved of by anything more than the small executive
group around him before they got Javits to introduce it?
Dr. Dennis: I don't think it was. I am not certain, but I don't think it was. It's just that small group of
five or six men.
Dr. Visscher: Yes. Now you know they've got an important principle in there which is that they write in certain specifications
in the bill itself with regard to the way animals can be treated which I just don't think is a good idea. Some of this
is all absolutely in line with our policies. For example, this sort of statement: Commensurate with the experimental needs
and with the physiological functions of the study all research training and testing likely to cause pain and discomfort shall
be performed under adequate anesthesia. Well, now, we do this anyway, but to write that in the bill - do you think that's
a good idea?
Dr. Dennis: Well it might pull some antivivisectionist teeth. That's all I could think of.
Dr. Visscher: Well, but it also provides an opportunity for amendment.
Dr. Dennis: Yes, that's true.
Dr. Visscher: There's nothing that they say, though, that I don't approve of as a practice, although some of it is
pretty vague. Records relating to the use and disposition of all animals shall be maintained in such form and such manner
as to make possible evaluation of compliance with the requirements of this Act. Well, now who is going to determine what
makes it possible?
Dr. Dennis: Yes, you could get somebody very difficult in charge and have an awful time.
Dr. Visscher: Yes. And then you pointed out the criminal implications involved in the penalties imposed, which are out of
order. This makes it sound as though they were dealing with common criminals.
D. Yes, it sounds like high treason to me.
V. But this again is what those antivivisectionists want. This is a sop to them.
Now this is off the record for the moment. Harry Kingman pointed out that he has seen a copy of the June issue of the Bulletin
of your N.Y. SMR with a report by Lowell Greenbaum on the Javits bill and his conversations with the Board of NSMR in Chicago
concerning it. Did you see that?
D. I think I did, yes.
V. Well now, in that statement of Lowell's he says that his presentation that suggests that there be a sort of amalgamation
of the Hill and Javits bills in a single act met with positive responses from the board.
D. He's been saying that right along.
V. Well, actually, our board had lots of criticisms about it and deferred any action on the thing. Well, now, this is just
not quite cricket.
D. No, that isn't right.
V. We didn't say that it's unthinkable, you see, but we had objections. The official action was to lay over any action
until a future meeting. You see what I mean?
D. There's a good deal of basis then for Bob Moore's criticism, then, isn't there?
V. Yes. see, now, I wish that the NSTSSMR would not endorse this amalgamation bill.
D. I think I sold that yesterday. 1 talked to Nangeroni on the phone and we talked some time, and I think when we got through
he was convinced that this Javits'-Hill combination should be dropped and that we should go along backing you lock, stock,
and barrel. Nangeroni is quite a different person.
V. Well, I'm glad to hear that.
D. Yes, he's quite a different person. He's been in this for many years and he's a very thoughtful, sensible sort
V. Now, Clarence, Fred Holt talked with Javits' administrative assistant. do you know who he is?
D. I don't know.
V. Well. I haven't got his name in mind either. He said that Javits was not going to introduce this amalgamation bill
unless he had a request from the N.Y.S.S.M.R. Now, if you could cool him off through the NYSSMR so he will not introduce the
bill, this would be advantageous.
D. That I will set up to do.
V. Okay that's my real reason for calling you, but I thought I ought to give you this background information about how
Lowell Greenbaum hasn't really stated the thing with regard to the NSMR position quite accurately. You see?
V. He ignored the criticism completely, and just because we didn't say it was no good at all he said there was a positive
response. well, so much for that. Harry Kingman is going to send you personally a copy of our minutes of this last meeting.
D. I would love to see. What do you figure is going to happen now?
D. What do you think is going to happen now?
V. You mean with this?
D. With this Senate-House . . .
V. I think it is going to depend on what we ask Albert Quie to do. Albert Quie, if he does not fight, will accept in essence,
they're changing a few words, the Senate version, and not the House version. Now, you see, we are in a very compromised
position in view of the fact that Jim Shannon has told those people flatly that the Senate version will not embarrass med.
research, We are in a bad way to try to counter that assertion. Do you see what I mean?
D. Did you talk to Barney Zimmerman again?
V. No, I didn't. I think I'll call him next morning. I've been pretty busy with quite a few more immediate things,
but I think I'll call him this morning and see what reaction he got from Staggers. And I will call you again today, and
tell you what other people think we should do. I don't want to call Quie back until I have sampled quite a bit of opinion.
D. I think we ought to ask him to do exactly what you wanted him to do in the first place.
V. That's my opinion, but one of those items, I think, is out. Harry Kingman is going to see Cooley to change his mind
about the "other animals", I think it is out. I mean I think we can't do anything. I think the big point there
is to try to see Cooley.
D. Even that is all right if it's just storage areas.
V. It is just storage. That's what it is. It isn't going to kill us. You see this is where we are in trouble in trying
to counter Jim Shannon's assertion. We are not honestly able to say it's going to be a terrible embarrassment it it's
limited to the storage and stock facilities. Because it isn't. It's going to be a waste of money. That's what
I've told them from the beginning, that it's going to be a waste of money.
D. Whose money?
V. Well, the people's money.
D. Yes, but there's no provision in there for providing the money.
V. No. On the other hand, there is a great likelihood that Hill will be able to get construction money. However, it's
going to increase the cost of every experiment to put this rigmarole in. There's no question about that. Our grant are
going to be worth less to us.