Quails, Cocaine and Sex

Our tax dollars are hard at work, aren't they? Don't we have faith and confidence in the government to use our money wisely? To use our money in a productive fashion? To use our money to study how cocaine enhances the sex drive of the Japanese quail? Wait. What now?

Correct. According to something called
CNS NEWS, "The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $181,406 this year to a researcher at the University of Kentucky to study how cocaine enhances the sex drive of Japanese quail." Um, how...how much? One hundred and eighty one grand? To give coke to birds? Are you dry shaving me? Whose idea was this? Were they on the aforementioned cocaine at the time that this idea cropped up? WTH?

According to the article, there have been previous studies done on just this sort of thing. So if you're upset about your tax money being used to give cocaine to Asian aviary creatures, it's not the first time that it has happened, so just calm down. It's not like it's new or anything. Now, the other studies did end up showing that "...prior repeated exposure to cocaine enhances sexual motivation and behavior.” Why, yes. Yes it does. Do these researchers never go to the movies? People on cocaine like to fornicate like crazed bunnies.

It also says that "The goal of the proposed experiments is to utilize an animal model whose sexual behavior system has been well-studied, Japanese quail.” Uh, couldn't you just study the sexual behavior system of a frat boy or something? A lonely businessman? Porn stars? I find it difficult to believe that the Japanese quail is a good representation of humans. Have you seen a quail lately? Unless you're an FLDS woman, there does not seem to be a lot of similarities.

When asked how something like this could be justified, a one Don Rabolvsky who is a NIH spokeshole explained that "...the research has value because many cases of HIV/AIDS are spread through drug-related sexual behavior." Uh-huh. Sooooo...where do the birds come in? That's hard to say. He continued with "Human behavior accounts for almost 40 percent of the risk associated with preventable premature deaths in the United States,” Rabolvsky said in an e-mail. “Health-injuring behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug abuse, as well as inactivity and poor diet are known to contribute to many common diseases and adverse health conditions.” That doesn't really seem to address the cocaine or the bird sex very much, though.

I looked on the webpage of the researcher, a one Dr. Chana Atkins. Here is just a portion of what was listed under "Research" and "Goals": " ...in humans, there appears to be some relationship between drug taking behavior and risky sexual behavior". Appears to be? Appears to be?! Look, this person is a doctor, so I'm assuming that they went to college. But how could one go to college and not KNOW that drug taking behavior is DIRECTLY linked to risky sexual behavior?! APPEARS?! Good Lord, man. Of course there's a relationship between the two. When was the last time you got laid, anyway?

And here's my favorite part of this inexplicable study. "Japanese quail are “ideal” animals to use....because the “birds readily engage in reproductive behavior in the laboratory.” You know, birds aren't the only creature that will readily engage in reproductive behavior. And it certainly doesn't have to be in just a laboratory! I'll readily engage in reproductive behavior right now! You don't need no stinkin' quails!

I am left with more questions than I am answers with this one. But I did find out why they're using the Japanese quail. One word: Variety. That's right. They were just trying to shake things up a little bit in the ol' lab there, as the website reads: "...quail provide a convenient and interesting alternative to standard laboratory rats and pigeons.” I can think of a heck of a lot more animals that would have been more interesting than freaking quail. Elephants, perhaps. Maybe the narwhal. What about a bald eagle? (There have to be ways around all of that protected species stuff, right?) Ever consider kangaroos? Walk around the zoo sometime and see how many people are clamoring to see the quail exhibit and then tell me that this was a good choice.