Yale professor Marina Picciotto’s defense of her brutal experiments is as unconvincing as it is revealing (“Animal research saves lives,” Jan. 28). Picciotto seems to think that if she is able to point to any piece of information that currently eludes the scientific community, she has then justified the torment that animals are routinely exposed to in the name of science.

That there are facts about addiction that remain unknown in no way justifies the torture — drilling holes into the heads of animals, subjecting them to electrical shocks, addicting them to drugs and then decapitating them — that Picciotto conducts in her lab. Despite her self-serving exaggerations, it is true that benefits for humans have been derived from the abuse of animals — much in the manner that centuries of similar archaic practices have provided some result to an inordinate cost of suffering. It is time we renounce Picciotto’s methods just as we have renounced those.

We may not know every nuance of addiction but it is well established that animals are individuals leading their own lives. They are not mere pieces of laboratory equipment that can be used as Marina Picciotto sees fit.

Joseph Klett

Jan. 29

The writer is a second-year graduate student in the Department of Sociology.