Conflict of interest results in suppressed study ?
Note: a more robust story than initially has been linked to below
Marie Bulgin is Coordinator of the University of Idaho’s Caine Veterinary Teaching and Research Center, a prominent research facility that has investigated potential links between domestic sheep disease and bighorn die-offs. At the same time serving as head of the research facility, Dr. Bulgin raised domestic sheep herself, and has served as the President of the Idaho Woolgrower’s Association. Marie Bulgin has long held that there has been no evidence of direct transmission of disease linked to the die-off of bighorn from domestic sheep in the range :
We do know that they do have die-offs periodically and the more recent ones that I’m familiar with have been pneumonia and the pneumonia is a pasteurella caused pneumonia, bacterial, and domestic sheep die of pasteurella pneumonias, but so far in the research we’ve done here, and we’ve done quite a bit of it, we haven’t been able to connect the pasteurella in domestic sheep with that that causes the die-offs in bighorn sheep.
She has testified to this under oath in federal court and to the Idaho legislature and her testimony has been widely used by sheepman, local politicians, and local media (as recently as 2 days ago) to deny the direct link between domestic sheep transmission and muddy the waters concerning bighorn management – and she’s gotten away with it.
Now, a study has emerged, conducted by her own University of Idaho Caine Veterinary Center, by researchers more recently under Dr. Bulgin’s charge. The study demonstrates compelling evidence that transmission of disease between domestic sheep to bighorn sheep does in fact take place in the wild. The research paper was completed in 1994, but for some reason, the study has not shown up until very recently.
U Idaho knew bighorn disease link after ’94 – Associated Press
Why was this important study held ‘under the radar’ for so long ?