Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Scientific Veracity of US Government Agencies: how far we've come; how far we need to go

This week, the Union of Concerned Scientists published their report: Progress and Problems: Government Scientists Report on Scientific Integrity at Four Agencies (2015). The agencies that comprise the target of this report include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Given that these government offices determine the quality of  all of our lives in the US, this report is essential in relaying how truthful these agencies are.

We can thank President Obama and White House science advisor John Holdren for setting aside an impartial party to determine the level of bias our science policy makers and their recommendations impart. However, we cannot thank other political figures for ignoring science in their creation of those policies, especially where wolves are concerned.

Those politicians managed to remove the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) from the Endangered Species list several years ago and that incident occurred without a single input from the constituents they represent or any scientific data to back this act; subsequently, this move has severely damaged the trust people have had in their government.  Perhaps a simple graph will display best one of the most pertinent results that something of this nature can have on the public:

As you can see, "many scientists felt that too much consideration was given to political interests at their agencies," To continue, "... this was particularly true at the FWS where 73% of respondents reported the level of consideration of political interests was "too high." Further, the political interference was so bad that not only the present policy makers were guilty, but  members from the PREVIOUS administration also butted in and attempted to influence decision makers. No wonder Fish and Game is so ineffective-they are literally bound and gagged by politics.


The report also makes firm recommendations for correcting these constrained policy makers, especially the FWS:  

The FWS should work to improve scientific integrity practices and minimize political interference in scientific decision making throughout the agency.


That's plain language that huge changes need to be implemented, but let's hope that the FWS makes those changes in time to save our wolves. In the meantime, we must be even more vigilent in our fight to save the wolves. Sign and send those petitions. Tweetstorm. And spread the news of our wolves so that their survival is evermost in the minds of everyone.

To read the full report, click this LINK. Keep up the good work. Stay strong and we will win.



Lin
October 3, 2015