sealPurdue Story Ideas, Events

JOURNALISTS: Here are story ideas and a list of selected Purdue events during the next two weeks.

February 17, 2003


1. Expert says strike against Iraq legal
2. War plans account for military families
3. Freedom of speech, civil rights affected by war
4. Dogs, cats play role in biosecurity



Feb. 20 – Purdue Symphony Orchestra to perform at Hilbert Circle Theatre

Feb. 24-26 – Heartland Wine School to take place in Bloomington


NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Below are several Purdue University experts that can discuss a variety of topics related to a possible war with Iraq.

Expert says strike against Iraq legal

A Purdue political science expert says if America were to act against Iraq it would not violate international law.

"America has the right to use force in Iraq under international law," says Louis Rene Beres, expert in international law and relations. "The right to use force is limited to self-defense, humanitarian intervention and collective security. No state must wait until it has first become a victim before resorting to force."

Beres, who has published extensively on the threat of nuclear terrorism and regional nuclear war, also can talk about how international law handles countries that use civilian populations as part of their military strategy to deter attack.

CONTACT: Beres, (765) 494-4189,

War plans account for military families

A Purdue family expert says planning for war also involves considering the needs of military families.

"In addition to planning the logistics of going to war, there also is discussion in the Pentagon about the quality of life for military families," says Shelley MacDermid, co-director of the Military Family Research Institute and director for the Center for Families at Purdue.

The military has its own quality of life programs and policies to support the psychological well-being of military members and their families, as well as services for child care, fitness centers and health care, MacDermid says. Attention also is focused on transitional support for families whose loved ones are deployed.

"As more reservists are called, they must quickly adjust to the military lifestyle," MacDermid says. "In some cases, the reservist and his or her family may not know how to access military programs, and the adjustment can be a struggle for some."

MacDermid also can speak about how military families cope with the threat of war.

CONTACT: MacDermid, (765) 494-6026 or (765) 423-7766,

Freedom of speech, civil rights affected by war

Just as 9/11 affected Americans' civil liberties, a Purdue political science professor says war in Iraq would impact the freedom of speech and assembly.

"During times of peace, our rights and liberties evolve and flourish," says William McLauchlan, professor of political science. "We build up our freedoms in the court system and fight to preserve them, only to see some of those rights dissipate with war or conflict."

McLauchlan says American history is dotted with times when free speech and civil liberties were jeopardized, such as during World War I and II.

McLauchlan also can talk about what homeland security means for free speech, and how terrorism related legislation impacts civil liberties.

CONTACT: McLauchlan, (765) 494-4171,

Dogs, cats play role in biosecurity

Just as miners used canaries to detect lethal gas, dogs and cats could be the first creatures to alert America to a biosecurity attack.

Larry Glickman, professor of epidemiology and environmental medicine at the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, in collaboration with colleagues at Purdue and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has begun a study using a national pet health database to assess whether dogs and cats are sentinels that could provide early warning for terrorist-related attacks. The first data transfer to test the proposed surveillance system is scheduled for early March.

"We are developing analytical techniques that, when used in a timely way, could signal a terrorist attack," says Glickman. "This approach is intended to complement, not replace, human medical record-based surveillance systems currently under development and give practicing veterinarians a key role in the war on terrorism."

Glickman is working with Banfield Pet Hospitals on the design of this Purdue-based pet surveillance system, called the VMD-SOS, which stands for Veterinary Medical Data-Surveillance of Syndromes.

Banfield Pet Hospital, with approximately 300 veterinary hospitals located in 43 states, electronically records health information for the approximately 60,000 cats and dogs seen each week in their practices.

"Every night that information is processed, and with the right programming we could be alerted to an anthrax or plague outbreak in cats or dogs," Glickman says. "Every night the clinical and laboratory information on these pets is sent electronically to a central data warehouse. With the right computer programming and statistical analysis, this information will allow us to detect terrorist attacks related to the use of chemical or biological agents, such as anthrax or plague. Public health officials could be notified before they might otherwise be by human health surveillance systems, which tend to be more regionalized and less standardized."

Researchers at Purdue have previously used veterinary hospital records of dogs and cats, together with information obtained from owners, to identify environmental causes of cancer in pets.

CONTACT: Glickman, (765) 494-6301,





Purdue Symphony Orchestra to perform at Hilbert Circle Theatre
Thursday, Feb. 20.
8 p.m. The Purdue Symphony Orchestra will perform for the first time at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis. Concert proceeds will be used for orchestra scholarships. The performance will feature Gunnery Sgt. Susan Rider, a trumpeter with "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band. CONTACT: Kathy Matter, Purdue Bands public relations director, (765) 496-6785,

Heartland Wine School to take place in Bloomington
February 24-26.
The Heartland Wine School will be at the Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Ind., and is sponsored by the Heartland Grape and Wine Coalition, Indiana Wine Grape Council and Purdue Department of Food Science. Commercial winemakers will learn about bulk wine management, wine flaws, post-fermentation microbiology, the use of oak in wine, design of the wine package and show-and-tell wine tasting. In the show and tell, participants will share their wine with others and taste unusual varieties. Journalists interested in covering the event should contact Sally Linton, marketing and public relations specialist in the Department of Food Sciences, at (765) 496-3842. CONTACT: Jill Blume, enology assistant, (765) 494-1749,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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