Science - September 16, 2011

Wakker Dier accuses university of bias

The animal rights organization Wakker Dier has reported Wageningen University to the Advertising Code Commission. The organization wants to prove that scientific research sponsored by the business world is a covert form of advertising.

Joris Three-pints was the face of the Dutch dairy industry in the 1970s and 80s.
What triggered the case was a press release in November 2010 with the claim that drinking up to three glasses of milk a day could protect you from cardiovascular disease.
Research at universities is sponsored increasingly often by companies. Wakker Dier's own research shows that this sponsored researched lead to positive results with significant frequency, said spokesman Sjoerd van der Wouw yesterday on the television show Een Vandaag. In the same show nutritionist Martijn Katan of the University of Amsterdam disputed the conclusions in the press release.
Wageningen University did not respond to the Een Vandaag programme. Spokesman Simon Vink told the Gelderlander that the press release may have been rather simplified, but that 'the research satisfied all the criteria and was published in a reputable scientific journal.'
The controversial press release was in fact based on an article in Resource.   The story was taken over by a publicity officer at Wageningen UR and used as a press release.

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