Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date



On November 23, 1981, in a Maryland District Court, Dr. Edward Taub was found guilty under a Maryland state anti-cruelty statute of not providing adequate veterinary care for 6 of the 17 monkeys confiscated from his laboratory 2 months earlier. The case has received extensive press coverage and has also caused widespread alarm in the scientific community. According to Science (274:121, 1981 ), "scientists throughout the country have been shocked by the Taub case, initially perceiving it as a bid by antivivisectionists to procure a court ruling against animal experimentation." Taub himself has fostered this impression and has drawn a false analogy between his predicament ("victimization") and the persecution of scientists by religious authorities in the middle ages.

While the case has received extensive coverage in both scientific and animal welfare publications, there are a number of issues that have been glossed over or that have not been addressed at all. Also, most accounts have only concentrated on the events from May to November, 1981. There are some earlier incidents that should be included in the story for a full understanding of its ramifications.