Letters, Thursday, March 19, 2015

Have your say

Major changes needed at club

I BELIEVE SAFC owner Ellis Short left it too late to sack manager Gus Poyet, his record this season has been appalling.

The writing on the wall was clear to see when we got buried 8-0 at Southampton last October.

We have drawn far too many games, and his only four wins out of 29 games this season is nothing short of disgraceful.

I thank Gus for that great achievement of getting Sunderland to Wembley in the Capital One Cup last season, and managing to pull off the “great escape”, but I am afraid that it was only papering over the cracks.

We had a poor squad last season, and little was done in the close season to improve a squad that lacked the class that the Premiership demands.

There has been a culmination of people who have played their part in Sunderland’s decline.

I think the appointments of the last two manangers, Di Canio and Poyet, were not clearly thought about. What did these two actually win in football management?

You need managers who have a proven class record, managers who have actually won major honours in football.

The game is now flooded with multi-millions of pounds of TV money.

The scouting system needs a major overhaul; the talent they have brought in is sub-standard – keep signing lower class players on the cheap, and you will eventually end up in the lower class league.

Next we come to the players, who have let the fans down so many times, it beggar’s belief.

Last Saturday’s excuse for a performance was an insult to every supporter of this great club.

Players care only about their ‘obscene’ wages, flash cars, and sunshine holidays.

If we do manage to beat the drop again, there needs to be major investment in the club

Clive Lee,


Socialists only plan to spend

HOUSEHOLDS across the city are now receiving their council tax bills for the coming year.

 Thanks to the Coalition the main element has been frozen for the fifth successive year, however the police and fire authorities, both controlled by Labour politicians, have increased their precepts by two per cent, four times the rate of inflation.

 These precepts now account for 12 per cent of the whole bill.

 These figures expose one myth being touted by the Labour Party that it was their campaign that saved the Sunderland Central Fire Station. In fact, it was the deep pockets of the council tax payer who saved the fire station.

 Socialists don’t understand economics. If they did they wouldn’t be socialists. Their only plan is to spend more and more of other people’s hard earned cash.

Dennis McDonald,


Begging has got out of hand

DON’T get me wrong, I am all in favour of donating money to worthy charities, but I will not give anything to these beggars in the town.

There are some who just sit on the ground with their hand out for people to put money in, and people do – money for beer, no doubt.

The other day in in Vine Place, a beggar was playing a loud noise and some daft fool put money in his hat.

I, myself, have donated money to worthy charities, such as Unicef. I was willing to donate the odd £5 here and there, but then I got letters asking me to donate more – and that really annoyed me.

Once this happened I stopped donating to Unicef.

I still donate to other worthy charities and I am pleased to do so, but I’m sick of seeing these beggars when I visit the city centre.

Edwin Robinson

Unhappy with animal research story

I am writing in response to an article published in your website last 25th February regarding an animal research license denied in Germany to a Newcastle researcher that reports incomplete information (http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/north-east/unethical-monkey-research-battle-1-7125547).

I would like to publish this letter in your website as a public response to this article to extend the information there provided.

This case in Germany dates back to 2002, which the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) is now using to argue for judicial review of animal research licenses.

A Newcastle University researcher was offered a Professorship at The Charité, a university hospital in Berlin.

Before accepting the position, he applied for an animal research project licence at the regional government office to ensure he could continue his research there.

The regional agency responsible to grant this license -in Germany regional agencies are responsible to grant animal research licences unlike in the UK where only the Home Office has this authority - asked the researcher a long list of questions to assess whether they will grant it.

Despite appropriately responding to the queries of the authorities, the licence request to perform neuroscience experiments in macaques was denied.

The researcher could have appealed the decision to refuse his licence in court, but since this is a lengthy process and he already had his own research group established in the UK, he decided not to pursue an appeal and declined the Professorship.

In their argument that the Newcastle professor’s research methodology is not allowed in Germany, the BUAV conveniently neglected to mention a much more relevant, and court-tested case in Germany.

In 2007, a Bremen neuroscientist performing research with the same methodology, Professor Kreiter, applied for a renewal of his licence for experiments in monkeys.

In the run up to regional elections at that time, animal welfare groups gained considerable political support and Kreiter’s licence application was denied, on the basis that the experiments caused severe suffering and were cruel to the animals. However, in this case Kreiter did appeal and in 2012 he was awarded the licence to continue his research.

The German Administrative High Court ruled that the research is legal and the experiments cause maximally moderate suffering to the animal.

This was a licence for a broad set of research procedures that included those requested in the Berlin licence application back in 2002.

There are currently several German cities performing this kind of research – electrophysiological studies where the activity of small groups of neurons is recorded – that is fundamental to improving our understanding of the cognitive processes involved in vision.

Similar research is also being carried out in the US, Japan and France.

Emma Martinez Sanchez,

Press and Communications Officer

The European Animal Research Association (EARA). esanchez@eara.eu