Adventures in Ethics and Science

I need to share with you a situation that is infuriating.

It’s infuriating to me, and I believe it should be infuriating to anyone who values a civil society worth the name.

Harassment drove UCLA neurobiologist Dario Ringach out of primate research in 2006. This was not just angry phone calls and email messages. We’re talking about people in masks banging on the windows of his house in the night, scaring his kids. Without support on this front from other scientists or from UCLA, Dario abandoned research that he believed to be important so that he could keep his family safe.

Since then, there has been more violence against researchers who work with animals. UCLA started to stand up for its researchers in the face of incendiary devices. Scientists started calling for an end to violent tactics in their journals, and in petitions, and in demonstrations.

As someone with experience being on the receiving end of such tactics, Dario stood up to decry their use against other scientists.


And, Dario participated in the dialogue at UCLA that was aimed at getting people with different views on animal research to engage with each other peacefully and productively. On a panel that included a strong defender of animal rights, Dario explained the role he thinks animal research plays in answering scientific questions that matter to us — to the public as well as scientists.

Not everyone on the panel, or in the audience, agreed with Dario’s point of view (although I daresay this was so for every one of the six panelists). But all seemed to recognize that it was a honest articulation of his view, and that it was his right to hold it and to articulate it.

For just daring to stand up and share his view, Dario was targeted for more home demonstrations. And now, activists threaten to bring the demonstrations to his children’s schools, to “educate fellow students what their classmate’s father does for a living”.

Express the view that scientific research is worth doing, plan on your kids being harassed? Is that what we’ve come to? Is this really the society we want to live in?

If it’s not, we need to stand up and say so, in no uncertain terms.

Having differing opinions is not a crime. Nobody’s kids should be targeted for harassment because you disagree with their parents. We need to call this behavior out, no matter who does it, no matter what cause they hope to further with it.

Each time these tactics are the ones that are used, we die a little as a pluralistic society, no matter which side we support. Any member of the public paying attention to such shenanigans should be outraged, and should say so.

And members of the scientific community especially have reason to oppose these tactics. They reflect, after all, the impression that scientists aren’t really a part of our society, that they’re not really members of our moral community. You can bang on their windows and scare the crap out of their kids, and “normal” people won’t make a peep about it.

Scientists are normal people, despite their specialized skills and interests. They need to see this bullying for what it is and raise their voices to reject it.

Scientists, are you mad? Then stand up and say it.

Comments

  1. #1 Tom Holder
    February 23, 2010

    Good call. Scientists really must stand up and address common misconceptions surrounding animal research. It is only when the public are firmly on board that the local animal rights movements tend to wane.

  2. #2 vera
    February 23, 2010

    Well, I know nothing about the details of the story. But maybe if the scientist is doing something that would horrify his kids or his neighbors, then he should do some hard thinking and re-examining?

    In moral communities, people stand up to those who misbehave. Scientists are not exempt.

    (Disclosure: Just responding to the principles addressed here. No idea what this guy was actually doing, or the details of the action against him.)

  3. #3 Virginia
    February 23, 2010

    I certainly am mad. I am a senior grad student who does animal research and it’s so infuriating to see this kind of thing. These people don’t even know the difference between an MD and a PhD, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t know that the drugs that MDs prescribe are derived from animal research done by PhDs. And what I find most disturbing, frustrating really, is the fact the they seem to believe we enjoy sacrificing animals for the sake of research. I know a lot of people doing animal research (I’m in neuroscience, we really don’t have much choice), and none of them finds the sacrificing part enjoyable, for heaven’s sake. I’m just so, argh, I can’t even find words. I’m with you, Janet, and I know a lot of other people who are too, even if they don’t know about your blog.

  4. #4 sarcozona
    February 23, 2010

    Things like this are so frustrating and stifling in so many ways. I used to work in a botany library tucked away on an upper floor of a science building. Because there were scientists who worked with genetic engineering (of plants!) in the building who had been harassed and threatened, there were discouraging “restricted area” and “do not enter” signs all over which ended up limiting traffic to the very lovely library.

    I don’t mean to say that harassing and threatening people’s families is equivalent to limited access to a library, but that those kinds of actions have effects that limit so many people in so many ways.

  5. #5 JIA
    February 23, 2010

    Hi Janet,
    I agree with you 100%, and I have signed the Pro-TEST petition and written in support of research to my elected officials at other times. When the subject comes up in conversation, I make clear I support the research.

    I don’t have the sense that any of this does anything to stop harassment of researchers.

    How, exactly, do you propose we “call this behaviour out”? Whom, exactly, should we tell about our outrage?

    I agree with you, I’m just asking genuinely: what outlet of expression do you think would have any effect on these people?

  6. #6 Katharine
    February 23, 2010

    Consider making fools out of the animal ‘rights’ activists by telling the public about their tactics and what they actually want, i.e. an unreasonable level of near-personhood for non-human species, many of which they endow with a cognitive capacity that far outstrips the available evidence.

  7. #7 D. C. Sessions
    February 23, 2010

    Express the view that scientific research is worth doing, plan on your kids being harassed? Is that what we’ve come to? Is this really the society we want to live in?

    Why is this surprising? In the USA, kids who express the idea that they like learning or (worse yet) that they have hopes of doing scientific research later in life are harassed mercilessly, and have been since I was a child in the 50s [1]. I clearly recall being told by parents and school administrators that it’s always been this way.

    Ignorance is one of our most treasured national values and we go to great efforts to defend it.

    [1] See, for instance, Mark Chu-Carroll’s description of getting his hands broken.

  8. #8 Scicurious
    February 23, 2010

    This is completely disgusting. I’m glad you’re speaking out. Are we now to have our children threatened for expressing our ideas in a public forum in an invited discussion?

  9. #9 david
    February 23, 2010

    This is hard to believe. How do we know it is true? From
    Dario? And how does he know what is planned? Too much is missing here to pass from observer to advocate.

    “Research he feels is needed” is not enough to endorse his actions. Why should we trust him?

    How much and where is the money involved?

    If true, involving his children is heinous. But I wonder if Dario is not stretching things here.

    We have seen how Dario speaks, we have seen how he writes. We have not seen how he conducts experiments.

    To someone observing only, so far, such as myself, Dario is doing his case no good.

  10. #10 Janet D. Stemwedel
    February 23, 2010

    david,

    You might want to actually follow the links and read them, so as to know what you’re talking about.

  11. #11 Mr. Gunn
    February 23, 2010

    At the AAAS meeting this past weekend, there were protestors outside for a variety of topics. One group was worried about “chemtrails” and atmospheric modification, another group was anti-GMO.

    I think we as scientists have to realize that we’re going to attract attention with the things we do nowadays. We can’t expect to be left alone, and we can’t complain “If they just knew enough about the science, they would understand!”

    Where does that leave us? Well, I think a more open and democratic process will help to restore public faith in science by dissolving the artificial distinction between the public and scientists. This does not mean agreeing that if the consensus says 1 + 1 = 3, then that’s the truth. It does mean knowing how what you do is important to the public, why research needs to be publicly funded, and knowing how to explain your research to the public. Maybe even visiting a high school on career day or writing an article for a local newspaper or magazine.

    Real life is resembling the internet – there will always be trolls out there – but since you can’t make them go away you have to target the source and in the meantime just do your best to ignore them and practice harm reduction.

  12. #12 Namnezia
    February 23, 2010

    David: The webpage of the anti-research nuts is claiming that they will picket the grade school, it’s not Dario Ringach claiming this. Also, it would help if you educated yourself about how animal research is conducted. You can’t just decide that you are going to to ahead and perform whatever experiment you feel like. All experiments have to be justified and approved by institutional animal care committees through a lengthy approval process to ensure that experiments are necessary, ethical and do not cause undue suffering. Then there are also the funding agencies who provide the money for the research who also decide whether the experiments are worth doing and likely to advance scientific understanding of a given problem or medical condition. Animal research is not done in a vacuum, where a researcher simply decides to “vivisect” some animals for the fun of it. The information in these animal rights websites is so twisted around and full of flat out misrepresentations and lies that it makes these right-wing tea party nuts seem tame in comparison. You (or someone above) said that if the experiments performed make the neighbors cringe, then maybe these experiments should be reconsidered. But I’m sure that the neighbors also don’t routinely see suffering caused by severe neurological disease, or the extreme delusions brought on y schizophrenia, or the devastation caused by unchecked infectious diseases, which I’m sure would make them cringe even more, and cause them to say “why is nobody helping these people? It’s so immoral”.

  13. #13 mikeisnaked
    February 23, 2010

    For once I’m glad I live in Texas.

  14. #14 Onkel Bob
    February 23, 2010

    Seeing as the blog is hosted by WordPress, which has the spinal integrity of a nematode, perhaps the best approach to to petition them to shut down these extremists.
    INAL, and free speech is all well and good, but advocacy that a leads a reasonable person to predict violence and or harm is grounds for shutting them down

  15. #16 Onkel Bob
    February 23, 2010

    Ooops they just use WordPress for publishing, they are hosted by GoDaddy. I sent an email to abuse@godaddy.com to complain. Not sure if FTC would go after them, perhaps DOJ or California or Arizona law enforcement might do something to get GoDaddy to pull the site down.

  16. #17 david
    February 23, 2010

    Janet D. Stemwedel,

    Ha! Point taken. I had no idea you were relying on links.

    Namnezia,

    True, I hadn’t thought anyone would rely on links to make their case without saying, look at this link where…

    And from what you tell me, it seems that the “moral community” is the “institutional animal care committees.” I did know that, but I don’t know details of how the committees operate, who is on them, nor why they should be trusted, nor know what experiments are approved. Links? Nor do I know what the payroll is and who writes the checks nor what the institution gets out of it in funding. Specific links? If I did know those things I might have something different to observe.

    Links to those specific details would be helpful.

    If those activists are nuttier than tea baggers that says a lot.

    However, I for one did watch the 2.5 hour video, except for a speaker I could not understand, which appears to be Dario. And no one on the panel appeared to be nuttier than a teabagger. So if the activists are nuttier, then the panel was not representative.

    Thank you both for your kind directions.

  17. #18 Daniel J. Andrews
    February 23, 2010

    Bullies and cowards. Can’t stand bullies and cowards.

    It is happening in other areas of science as well. Where people don’t like the conclusions and when they can’t attack the science–either because they don’t understand the science, or the science is too solid–they attack the scientists. It is so much easier to make things up rather than put in the effort to learn what it is you’re protesting against.

    In climate change, for example, there’s a chorus of voices growing that scientists should start doing more than just getting police investigation of death threats and harassment. They need to start suing people like Beck, Limbaugh and news organizations that slander, libel, smear and lie about them.

    If the scientists are called before Senate hearings to testify about their work and defend it, then it is time to call folks from the Heartland Institute before the Senate and have them try and defend their schoolboy errors and lies, and justify why they would tell such transparent falsehoods (and explain exactly where their funding comes from, as they so often ask scientists to explain these things. Let’s subpoena their emails too while we’re at it).

    As Energy Secretary Dr. Chu said

    If you look at the climate sceptics, I would have to say honestly, what standard are they being held to? It’s very asymmetric. They get to say anything they want.

    .
    And they do say anything they want, and they’re not held accountable for it. The science can’t be attacked so they now attack the scientists and their reputation.

    As you said, we need to call this behaviour out, and hold them as accountable as they hold the scientists–considering that they think minor errors or typos are grounds for public firings, then one can only imagine applying that standard to someone who deliberately lies over and over and over again on the air and in print, or tells people climate scientists should be tortured and killed.

    Enough already. You don’t like the science, then do better science yourself. If you can’t, then help find a solution to the problem that we can all live with, or get out of the way and stop obstructing those who are highlighting and trying to solve the problem.

  18. #19 David Jentsch
    February 23, 2010

    Thank you, Janet, for raising this issue for dialogue. No matter what your personal feelings on animal research are, you should be angry about this continuing pattern of threats directed at Dario and other scientists who have the gall to publicly speak their mind. Apparently, some who oppose animal use are not satisfied with merely using threats and intimidation to stop research – they intend also to shut down our right to have our own opinions and state our opinions openly in a public forum.

    No matter who or what you reason to be a member of our moral community, there is little doubt that waxing poetic about regrets that I did not burn to death in my car or about turning up the heat on Dario’s children at school is a patently inhuman thing to do. It’s reprehensible and pathetic.

    We should all be furious. We should all rise up and tell these people to back off (in whatever way we can). This is particularly true if your inclination is to be critical of the ethical and scientific basis of animal research. These people – through their deranged behaviors – malign the entire animal rights movement. But more importantly, they damage society’s ability and right to engage in responsible, civilized, reasonable and balanced dialogue with those with whom we disagree.

  19. #20 Ian Musgrave
    February 23, 2010

    Janet wrote:

    Scientists, are you mad? Then stand up and say it.

    Where, how, who too? Not a rhetorical question. As another pro-test signer (and not in north America), what can I and my fellow scientists do? We need some form of significant activity that goes beyond writing blog posts (as important as they are for raising conciousness and creating dialog).

  20. #21 David Jentsch
    February 23, 2010

    For those that support research or researchers, I offer a number of possibilities that will allow you to become involved in this struggle:

    1) Participate however you can in supporting science and scientists. This may include forceful statements about the values of academic freedom and calls for your University administration to make categorical statements about threats to controversial research. Get ahead of the curve and condemn it on principle, not just because someone in your University is being threatened.

    2) Write letters to the editor of your local papers about your position on research. Promote science education and an understanding of biomedical research through presentations about science at your children’s school.

    3) Speak to your friends and family members who hold views critical of research. Open a dialogue with them. Compare notes about what you feel the ethical basis for conducting animal research is and why you think it is justifiable. Try to achieve an agreement that they should condemn those in their movement that support “direct action” (which is a barely concealed attempt at rebranding criminal behavior).

    4) Write to your Congressperson and Senators and demand that they strengthen and support legislation that increases civil and criminal penalties against activists who go beyond Constitutionally-protected speech and begin resorting to criminal harassment and stalking. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism act is under judicial review. The House and Senate need to consider revisions and extensions now.

    5) If anti-research activists show up on campus or in your community with their dated pictures and slogans, show up as well and present your own perspective forcefully but articulately.

    6) Foster your own campus dialogues with animal rights activists, but refuse to respond to, engage with or involve persons unwilling to PUBLICLY condemn people that support or apologize for direct action campaigns.

  21. #22 Pascale
    February 23, 2010

    First, as a long-term IACUC member, I would like to speak for these committees. Each must include an attending veterinarian, at least 1 scientist who performs or has performed animal research, and a community representative not associated with the institution involved. Most committees have several researchers on the committee for reviewing protocols with some expectation of expertise. Reviewing these protocols takes a lot of work, and is subject to oversight from the federal government and other regulatory bodies. No vertebrate animal, even a lizard, dies without a whole bunch of people deciding it is necessary and informative.
    Second, david keeps wanting to know about the money. NIH and other federal sources pay for most of the research. Some is funded by NSF and private groups like AHA, and smaller studies may be supported by departmental revenue. When the overall research endeavor in universities is examined, the biggest intitutions break even; most lose money on the research endeavor. Research is important, but no one really gets rich off of it.
    Third, I am horrified that an investigator who has been bullied into giving up animal research is still being targeted for speaking up about its importance. It is not Dario’s experiments that have the protesters riled up; it is his opinion and his speech which should be protected.
    I just don’t know what else to do.

  22. #23 Namnezia
    February 23, 2010

    David:

    I did know that, but I don’t know details of how the committees operate, who is on them, nor why they should be trusted, nor know what experiments are approved. Links? Nor do I know what the payroll is and who writes the checks nor what the institution gets out of it in funding. Specific links? If I did know those things I might have something different to observe.

    You can find all the information about animal care committees and the oversight process here: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/olaw.htm

    However, I’m not sure you will bother reading through this material. I’m not sure what you are insinuating in your comments with your bogus position as a passive “observer”, nor what your motives are, but I do not believe you are inclined here to engage in any sort of honest dialogue. Based on your remarks above it seems like you are basically implying that animal research is a way for universities and researchers to make huge amounts money. Links?

    Also, yes the panel discussion did seem remarkably civil, unlike those folks writing those websites linked above which are nuttier than tea baggers. You don’t think that threatening the author of this blog for even discussing animal research is not the least bit reprehensible? Or maybe you have some helpful links that say it is not.

    Finally, if you mention some specific comments you didn’t understand from the panel discussion I’m sure people here would be happy to explain.

  23. #24 Anna
    February 23, 2010

    So many issues raised, some with simple answers, some with complex answers.

    First-these people that are harassing Dr. Ringach’s children obviously are “nuttier than the tea-baggers”. Who else would harass, intimidate and scare children because their parents speak out in public about their opinions. Who attacks the children, the most vulnerable members of a family and society?

    Second -David commented: “And from what you tell me, it seems that the “moral community” is the “institutional animal care committees.” I did know that, but I don’t know details of how the committees operate, who is on them, nor why they should be trusted, nor know what experiments are approved.”

    Non-scientists from the community as well as scientists are on these committees. That is usually a requirement (I don’t know every institutes’ policy but this is the general format). I can appreciate that you don’t know these details – why would you unless you are somehow involved in this area? But at that same time, just because you don’t know doesn’t mean that it is shady, has dirty deals or immoral people on these committees. You can find out what experiments have been approved by reading what experiments are published in slew of scientific journals, many of which are available for free. What you may not get from those papers is an understanding of why the work was done as the papers are very focused pieces of work with word limits and thus scientists give an introduction to a scientific audience. Justification comes elsewhere.

    And the “moral community” is more that the Animal Rights Committees. It is every citizen and is reflected in every law that governs animal rights. Furthermore, beyond the laws that apply to all animals, there are much more strict guidelines on use of animals in experiments. If you want money to do the experiments, you have to adhere to these guidelines. Catching a mouse in your home using a mouse trap would generally not be approved by any Animal Rights Committee as this would be considered inhumane treatment.

    How do we stand up? Posting here is a small step. One woman said she has written to her local politicians. Speaking out when in a group of people, someone says that all animal research is wrong. Speaking out when someone says that they don’t like the idea of animal research, animals should not be used. And by speaking out, I don’t mean attack or make the person feel badly. Educate. Educate about what animal research has done for people and for animals alike. Educate about the quality of care animals are given in research. Educate about how experiments are highly regulated by oversight committees. These are the small steps we can all take in our daily lives. And when someone puts themselves or their family at risk by speaking out in public, support that person and let them know they are not alone!

  24. #25 Tybo
    February 23, 2010

    It seems odd that one of those pages seems to be basing an entire argument around “OMG, none of the pro-test people are MDs, but one our side is!”, as if there has never existed an MD (or MD/PhD) who has done animal research in the past. Note to the anti-science folks: don’t throw out arguments that seem shaky when faced with numerous counterexamples to your exemplar.

  25. #26 RMD
    February 23, 2010

    LAist just linked to this post and quotes from it extensively and sympathetically.
    http://laist.com/2010/02/23/animal_rights_activists_plan_to_lea.php
    Looks like your visit to the Southland paid off. Can I be the president of your SoCal fan club?

  26. #27 Al
    February 23, 2010

    I am well aware of animal research that harms and kills animals and i oppose it deeply. I also support direct action. I have no problem with people who rescue animals from torture and harass the institutions that commit these disgusting acts. Which in Dario’s case is especially disturbing.

    I do not, however, support harassing children, or harassing a person in their home. All action and activism should take place only at the facility responsible for the captivity, torture, and eventual slaughter of these animals.

    Al

  27. #28 Jeremy Beckham
    February 23, 2010

    David Jentsch claims that anti-cruelty activists use dated pictures. Most anti-vivisection demonstrations I’ve been to use pictures that accurately represent what the inside of vivisection labs looks like – mutilated, suffering animals strapped to stereotaxic devices (restraint devices) and then harmed so scientists explore their curiosities. I’ve never seen a sign that I didn’t feel was truly representative of inside vivisection labs.

    If Mr. Jentsch feels otherwise, perhaps he would like to give us more recent and up-to-date photos from his own experiments and then I’m sure we’d be happy to turn those into signs.

  28. #29 ginger
    February 24, 2010

    Stereotactic devices aren’t for restraint. They’re three-dimensional frames used for precise targeting. They’re used in human eye and brain surgeries all the time to ensure the surgeon hits the right spot. They’re critical in radiotherapy for the same reason. If you can’t get something as basic as that right, I certainly don’t trust your allegations concerning “vivisection labs”, whatever those are.

  29. #30 Allyson Bennett
    February 24, 2010

    Janet, Thank you for your post and for calling out actions by the extremist minority that are intended to diminish civil society. Thank you also for participating in the UCLA panel discussion. It is clear that many saw the panel as a step forward in dialogue about an important and complicated issue.

    It is also clear that much remains to be done and I’d add to David Jentsch’s message to write to your legislators, speak in schools, and encourage honest and balanced dialogue with your local communities.

    #27 – Jeremy, you want to say something about the tactic of targeting children and schools?

  30. #31 Christopher Sachs
    February 24, 2010

    I’m a vegan. And I support ethical animal research. It’s satisfying for me to live my life without eating animals. And if you do it right the food is delicious–not to mention nutritious.

    It amazes me how animal rights activists like these, who claim to be so compassionate, are in fact sociopathic. But I suppose that’s what happens when you take contradictory beliefs to be axiomatic.

    Their idea is that under no circumstances can any animals be sacrificed for anything, but it’s okay to sacrifice humans who might have otherwise been saved? You can’t defend that argument based on moral absolutes. And science has done way more to reduce human suffering than animal activism has done to reduce animal suffering.

    I hate that these activists take what I think is a really positive lifestyle and act so reprehensibly in the name of it.

  31. #32 michael
    February 24, 2010

    So–Dario does what he does to primates–and those who feel–incorrectly, in your view–that primates deserve better–have banged on his windows. Hmmm. Whom would you choose to be be–Dario or the primate? And why?

    A pretty good rule of thumb: don’t subject creatures to any pain you aren’t willing to subject yourself to. The history of the human race of that of those in power forever tormenting the powerless–often enough with the best of intentions, often enough with noble goals in mind–and always able to justify what they in the name of some grand end, and always with the claim that “we try not to make them suffer anymore than we have to,” or “they aren’t human,” or “they aren’t fully human,” or whatever. Sorry, but the ends do not justify your means. Because its’ always The Other–the primate, the imbecile, the person of color–who bears the brunt of your ever-so-noble research.

    I did have to laugh at the idea of “showing his children’s classmates ” what dad does for a living. That’s actually not a very threatening thing for most of us. Why one earth would be that cause for alarm for a Dario?

    I doubt research scientists take any joy whatsoever in the pain they cause, even if most of us would shirk from it–a good thing; I would not care to live in world where most people were capable of that “scientific objectivity” that renders an animal researcher capable of rendering him or herself so devoid of empathy for the creature upon whom s/he inflicts the pain they do. Nor do I think you’re in it for fame or money; but it pays, so to speak, to recall, who supplies the grant money, which is why it’s funny to see yourselves playing the victims here–your small band of opponents, many of whom have already been deemed the nation’s #1 most fearsome “terrorists” by law enforcement, have nothing. You have law enforcement, state and federal legislatures, and the grant monies that pour from some of the country’s wealthiest corporations/govt agencies–along with–how much was it exactly?–the monies that flow anually from the NIH into Dario’s hands.

    So: we have a small bunch of inept hippies, masses of dismembered primates, and (relatively) well-paid researchers who enjoy the full support of their communities and the powers that be–and you’re the poor victims here? C’mon.

    Meanwhile, I read this: “Apparently, some who oppose animal use are not satisfied with merely using threats and intimidation to stop research – they intend also to shut down our right to have our own opinions and state our opinions openly in a public forum.” I’m not sure what “right” is to which she refers, but it’s amusing to see it coupes with calls to have WordPress/GoDaddy shut down the activist’s site–with a murmur of dissent.

    As for this nonsense: “Consider making fools out of the animal ‘rights’ activists by telling the public about their tactics and what they actually want, i.e. an unreasonable level of near-personhood for non-human species, many of which they endow with a cognitive capacity that far outstrips the available evidence.”

    Umm, no, Karen. It’s not about cognition. It’s about pain. There are humans with less cognitive ability than other primates. I assume–I’m less certain after wading through all this emotional outbursting–that you would not subject them to these experiments. Drop the red-herring “cognition” ploy and let’s talk about this, since the “activists” apparently have it all wrong: describe, for we poor, benighted lay readers, to the best of your ability, what you figure is the level and duration of various forms of pain experiences by the subjects of these experiments–and spare us nothing. And yes, I would ask you to describe some of the more extreme cases. You might want to compare it the kinds of pains we experience–is on the level of simple scrape, a bad headache, passing a stone, dismbowellmenet?

    Any takers?

  32. #33 Cameron
    February 24, 2010

    I dont understand why humans being of higher intelligence are naturally endowed the right to enslave, test, and murder, beings of lesser intelligence.
    If, hypothetically of course, space aliens of much higher intelligence were to come to earth and state: “We, being of much higher intelligence, have decided to take some of you and perform tests on you. You all understand this and do it yourselves so please form a line and board our ship.” The vivisection supporters should, in theory, do just that, form a line and board the ship. After all you support this thought process enough to fight for your right to do it.

  33. #34 someonenameddave
    February 24, 2010

    michael posted:
    “Apparently, some who oppose animal use are not satisfied with merely using threats and intimidation to stop research – they intend also to shut down our right to have our own opinions and state our opinions openly in a public forum.” I’m not sure what “right” is to which she refers, but it’s amusing to see it coupes with calls to have WordPress/GoDaddy shut down the activist’s site–with a murmur of dissent.

    That’s because there’s a difference between an opinion and a threat. Dario and the other panelists shared opinions. They didn’t give out names of activists and instruct other scientists to stalk them at work and home.

    As for your claim that all Dario suffered was “people knocking on his window,” he obviously felt threatened enough to give up a project that he loved enough to spend a lifetime studying. Hate mail combined with stalking probably gave him a legitimate fear that they would burn his house down, assault him, or kill him. But that’s probably the intent of people who rely on death threats to force people to comply with them.

    You also laugh at the idea that the protesters are going to “show his children’s classmates what their dad does for a living.” Considering the nature of the protester’s rhetoric, this is likely going to be more twisted words designed to paint Dario as a monster who kills cuddly animals and lead other kids to ostracize and bully his children. No child or father should be put through that.

  34. #35 MadScientist
    February 24, 2010

    They are not “activists”, they are terrorists with an ideology. They need to be locked up where they can do no one in society any harm. Today they terrorize people who use their best ethical practices when dealing with animals in experiments, tomorrow they will be threatening anyone who eats animals.

  35. #36 someonenameddave
    February 24, 2010

    michael posted:
    So: we have a small bunch of inept hippies, masses of dismembered primates, and (relatively) well-paid researchers who enjoy the full support of their communities and the powers that be–and you’re the poor victims here? C’mon.

    At the end of the day, the scientists being targeted are normal human beings who want to feel safe in their own homes, to know their loved ones are happy and healthy, and not be shunned and hated by their neighbors. All the grant money in the world doesn’t outweigh these basic human needs, and the protesters seem to know this. This is why they target them.

    And grant money doesn’t go into researcher’s pockets to buy themselves private jets. Researchers spend it to do their jobs.

    I do, however, agree with you on one point: I would like to hear a description of what exactly happens to animals in these experiments in terms of how much pain is caused. I’m not a professional scientist and all I really know is that sedatives are usually used to alleviate pain whenever possible.

  36. #37 Christophe Thill
    February 24, 2010

    Well, those “activists” are domestic terrorists, aren’t they ? And there are quite a few laws supposed to deal with them ?

  37. #38 John C. Welch
    February 24, 2010

    Really Michael…so don’t do anything you wouldn’t do to yourself?

    Okay, let’s try something. Post your full name, address, phone number, work address, employer’s name, and all other similar information on a public web site, that we can all see. So that way, you can possibly experience the joy of what these scientists have been put through by you and your side.

    Just think, you too can experience the evidently harmless joy of having masked strangers banging on your windows, setting off molotov cocktails on your porch, (or your neighbors, bet they’ll be *thrilled*) and all the other plethora of terroristic activity that you seem to think is “so minor”.

    Of course, you know you’ll be in little danger of such actions, your side seems to have a lock on the whole ‘domestic terrorism’ thing. But the picture of what you’d be reduced to after a few months or years of that kind of activity is quite mentally satisfying.

    (actually, i’d settle for you posting your pertinent internet info, and letting the lads on 4chan have fun with you. That would be highly amusing.)

  38. #39 Katharine
    February 24, 2010

    I see Al, no matter how much he at least manages to stay a step above the child-harassers, still doesn’t understand animal research much.

  39. #40 Eugenie
    February 24, 2010

    Wow, I skimmed through their classy site + flipped through their slide show. Good to know a whopping 5 people participated in the protest. Sadly though, they remind me of the hipster-wannabes in high school who failed out of school.

    Its hard to take “activists” seriously when their hair is elegantly disheveled.

    It makes you wonder how the heck they came to their ignorant stance on animal testing. I guess its easier to be militant when you refuse to acknowledge the truth.

  40. #41 Namnezia
    February 24, 2010

    Michael (#31) said:

    I did have to laugh at the idea of “showing his children’s classmates ” what dad does for a living. That’s actually not a very threatening thing for most of us. Why one earth would be that cause for alarm for a Dario?

    You very well know why this is threatening. I don’t know about your politics, but say that I found out you voted for President Obama and contributed to his campaign. Would you be upset if I showed up at your kids school to distribute leaflets to tell your kids friends that you are a communist and that communists torture people and put them in concentration camps, and then stand there with signs with pictures of Stalin and gulag prisoners. Then I go on to say that their friend’s daddy is not only a communist, but that he is trying to kill their grandmother by instituting death panels that will kill her if she gets sick. And then I will tell them that you are trying to take their parents money away to defend islamic terrorists who have said they want to destroy America, and that you also want to destroy America.

    I’m sure that you would be somewhat perturbed by this gross misrepresentation of your political views (assuming of course these are not your actual political views).

  41. #42 vera
    February 24, 2010

    “You (or someone above) said that if the experiments performed make the neighbors cringe, then maybe these experiments should be reconsidered. But I’m sure that the neighbors also don’t routinely see suffering caused by severe neurological disease, or the extreme delusions brought on y schizophrenia”

    Since this is a forum on ethics, it would be nice to see people to move past “hey, it’s good for us humans, so it must be ok!” That is a pathetic moral argument to make.

    What if a race of aliens were snatching humans to torture and kill for research in order to benefit their species? What if outraged humans tried to tell the alien kids (attending earthly schools) what their parents were doing? Would it sound so unreasonable then?

  42. #43 David Jentsch
    February 24, 2010

    Let’s reflect for a moment on the “informational leafleting” campaigns used by many animal rights activists. It goes something like this: 1) dress in all black, including ninja or ski mask [the more threatening, the better], 2) search the web for pictures from the 60s or – better – pictures that have nothing to do with biomedical research; retouch liberally (photoshop is an AR protester’s best friend) and make posters, 3) make “leaflets” that make little comment on the science of research (or much less on opposition to animal killing for food for fear of broader public realizing that the AR mission has them in their sights) – focus mostly on what a terrible piece-of-crap human being the scientist is, 4) practice the best possible chants, include “burn in hell” and other obscenities as liberally as possible, 5) take pictures of the target’s house and car plates for use in future direct action campaigns, if at all possible, and – of course – 6) torment them and their neighbors as much as possible; target the neighbors particularly – tell them how much better their lives will be when the target is forced to move from his/her house by pressure.

    This is a blow-by-blow of the 1-3 hr long “leafleting” campaigns we experience on a now semi-weekly basis. Anybody with any common sense knows that these things are all about threats and nothing about information. This is the same strategy that they now propose to use at schools.

    Schools are opportunities for children to develop and learn in a zone free from the political struggles of adults. Frightening children – again, make no mistake that this ironically named “Band of Mercy” intends to do exactly that – is beneath contempt.

    ——

    Since there was a call for photographic insights into the laboratory, let me refer the readers to a recent article in UCLA Magazine: http://www.magazine.ucla.edu/features/target_of_violence/

  43. #44 David Jentsch
    February 24, 2010

    A brief response to comments regarding laws. Yes, there are laws, but none of the laws are enforceable against Constitutionally-protected rights of free speech.

    In that sense, these activists’ protests outside our homes and at schools are often not preventable (though, it remains to be seen whether their lies will eventually rise to the level of sanctionable defamation). Their right to scream obscenities on the street and publish my address, along with wishes that someone would do me in, are often legal.

    But, and this is obvious, not everything that is legal is right. We can say lots of things in our society that are heinous and awful – but legal.

  44. #45 kt
    February 24, 2010

    Well, I’m reading through this and trying to imagine how I would respond if I was at a dinner party and someone said, “I really can’t support animal research — it’s so cruel and those poor things have feelings!” What do I say?

    * Can’t get needlessly angry; it’s not useful at a dinner party with someone who hasn’t really thought about it. It’s got to be a teaching moment.

    * I would want to have some examples of the way animal research has directly affected this person’s health and safety. Here’s the question, then: I have some vague ideas, but not many clear and concrete examples. So I google “how animal research helps people” and while I get Pro-TEST UK, PETA, HSUS, and ALF are surprisingly high up the list too. Some of the other top hits involve homework help for those high school term papers on controversial topics. Can we find or create more resources that explain this in terms that both laypeople and scientists who are far from animal research (math or physics, say) can understand?

    * I know more about IRBs than most non-academics (certainly more than anyone else in my family) so I can explain a bit about the safeguards in place.

    * If I have the information about how animal research had resulted in *** that helped treat Grandma’s ***, I can throw that in for an emotional appeal at the end.

    So that’s my dinner-party conversation: a calm response with examples of the good animal research has done for health and science in general, a nod to the safeguards in place, and maybe a specific close-to-home example. In reality, I’m missing the examples part. Could any of you all help?

    Until the results to my Google search “how animal research helps people” returns information that actually answers that question, we’re losing the war.

  45. #46 kt
    February 24, 2010

    Following some links, I found *one* great site that gives really specific examples of what animal research has done. The video on Parkinson’s disease is a great, viscerally engaging demonstration. Wow.

    Understanding Animal Research (UK)< \a>

    These examples will be used at my dinner party!

  46. #47 Vicki
    February 24, 2010

    Vera–So your principles are that if any of your neighbors–defined to include anyone who can travel to your home–disapprove of your work or anything else you do, it is legitimate for them to harass you and your children? Even if it’s something you haven’t done in three years, because of their previous threats?

    May we have your full name, contact information, what you do for a living, and a list of your hobbies? Just in case any of your neighbors are interested.

    I wouldn’t use the information myself: I believe in a pluralistic society, where it’s none of my business whether my neighbors eat meat, or worship an invisible sky god, or engage in sports that mean they keep dangerous weapons in their homes (such as golf club, baseball bats, and target pistols).

  47. #48 vera
    February 24, 2010

    Kt, maybe you need to go beyond “how can we bribe people emotionally into agreeing by seeing benefits to themselves”? That is not an ethical argument. If it was me at the dinner party, I would challenge you to go back to rethink.

    The part about the safeguards… people are leery of it all, with seeing how everybody in power lies to us seemingly all the time, and seeing how in the past, the safeguards were clearly self-serving and inadequate. Bureaucratic controls by the same sort of people who are invested in keeping doing what they are doing… I would say to you that better safeguards are good, but they are still far short of useful transparency to the public that cares.

    But it would be the moral argument that would be the crux. Can anyone here mount one?

  48. #49 Al
    February 24, 2010

    Katharine said:

    “I see Al, no matter how much he at least manages to stay a step above the child-harassers, still doesn’t understand animal research much.”

    Why do you assume that someone who opposes such research does not understand the research? Would that not be like me telling you that you don’t understand morals and ethics?

    Surely if you want to convince someone of your position it would help to actually form a convincing argument rather than just rely on an arrogant accusations of ignorance.

    Al

  49. #50 Al
    February 24, 2010

    Here is an idea that Derrik Jensen proposed. If the research is done in an ethical manner that minimizes suffering (as we are told) and that it is of the utmost importance to do this research for the benefit of humans and the advancement of science then I propose that the scientists themselves and all those who support them volunteer to be the test subjects of vivisection and other research methods?? Surely it is a sacrifice worth making!

    Al

  50. #51 Adam_Y
    February 24, 2010

    Since this is a forum on ethics, it would be nice to see people to move past “hey, it’s good for us humans, so it must be ok!” That is a pathetic moral argument to make.

    What if a race of aliens were snatching humans to torture and kill for research in order to benefit their species? What if outraged humans tried to tell the alien kids (attending earthly schools) what their parents were doing? Would it sound so unreasonable then?

    Thats also a pathetic moral argument because you are claiming that these doctors torture and kill animals.

  51. #52 lynne
    February 24, 2010

    kt, thanks for sharing that link! There is a great “Timeline” on that website with some of the major medical advances that were possible through animal research. Here are a few good examples:
    1970s: medicines to treat ulcers (rats, dogs), chemotherapy for leukemia (mice), migraine medication (cats, dogs)
    1980s: life support systems for premature babies (monkeys), corticosteroids improving survival of premature babies (sheep, rabbits, cattle)
    1990s: statins to lower cholesterol (rabbits), new medications for depression (rats), breast and prostate cancer (mice, rats, dogs), type 2 diabetes (mice)
    2000s: deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s (monkeys), monoclonal antibodies for adult leukemia, lymphoma (mice)

    If you got breast cancer, would you refuse the best treatment because it had been developed through animal testing?
    If your baby was born premature, would you let it die rather than benefit from animal testing?
    Have you ever gotten a vaccine?
    Do you take statins? Diabetes medication? Use an asthma inhaler? Would you if you needed them?
    Unless you answered “no” to all of these questions, I don’t see how you can be against animal research.
    I don’t think this is an “emotional bribe,” as someone else said. Animal research has saved real human lives, and improved the quality of life for many people. Maybe even someone you know.

  52. #53 JustaTech
    February 24, 2010

    Hey Al (@26): So these animal activists, they have the resources to properly feed, house and care for 3,000 mice until they die a natural death of old age? Or by “rescue” do you mean “condemn to a death by predation, exposure or starvation”? These animals, especially mice and other rodents, are better cared for than they would ever be in the wild.

    You don’t like that animal-model based research? Fine. I’d like all your vaccinations, medications, and any surgical intervention back. Now. And you can explain to all the people exposed to, say, HIV, why we can’t have a vaccine.

    And the next person who uses the term “vivisection” is going to be shoved into a time machine and dumped into Victorian London. “Vivisection” means to dissect while alive, and NO ONE DOES THAT! It’s unethical, unproductive, and against every IACUC ever written. You are willfully ignorant, as are a large portion of the AR supporters.

    Yes, I am furious. You are advocating violence against me, and it makes me mad. You are also advocating violence against children and the same animals you claim to want to “protect”. Go away.

  53. #54 Warren
    February 24, 2010

    Domestic terrorism is domestic terrorism.

    These “demonstrators” have gone past the point of peacable assembly, and ought to be tried as criminals.

    The organizations that back and fund them should be disbanded.

    We’d do the same thing with a Taliban cell here in the US. There is no difference in behavior, only in the justification for that behavior.

  54. #55 kt
    February 24, 2010

    Vera, the “good for humans” part is what we’ve got for most things. We always balance our own comfort with that of the rest of the world. You’re writing this on a computer, that involved the rape of environments in third-world countries to obtain rare metals and other raw materials. The manufacture of this computer gave rise to the discharge of toxic chemicals into streams and rivers and the air, not to mention the probable use of humans in industrializing countries who do not have the highest safety standards or labor protections. You transport yourself in a car (need I say more?), or on a bike made of metal stripped from the earth, or on shoes made of more raw materials. You take medicines born from animal research, thereby lengthening your and your children’s lifespans. You had to kill to get where you are: if you eat animals, argument done; if you eat soy, read Lierre Kieth’s “The Vegetarian Myth” and tell me you’re still ok with your industrial agriculture and you’re not emotionally bribing yourself into thinking you’re virtuous.

    We make moral trade-offs every day for survival. You are ok with that, because you are not living off the grid and you are taking an active part in this society. Don’t be a hypocrite.

    The question is where you draw the line. If you truly believe animal research is wrong, walk the walk: don’t use antibiotics, don’t get treatment for cancer or Parkinson’s, don’t use your inhaler in an asthma attack, don’t support an industry built on the death of small animals!

    I’m going to continue my moral tradeoffs: biking to work on my piece of metal, using my computer, wearing shoes in the winter, getting medical care when necessary, and eating a lot of venison. I’ll thank the deer when I eat and the guinea pigs when I use my inhaler.

  55. #56 Anon
    February 24, 2010

    “actually, i’d settle for you posting your pertinent internet info, and letting the lads on 4chan have fun with you. That would be highly amusing.”

    …”Lads?” ANONYMOUS HAS NO GENDER ಠ__ಠ

  56. #57 Raging Bee
    February 24, 2010

    vera blithered thusly:

    I would say to you that better safeguards are good, but they are still far short of useful transparency to the public that cares.

    Are you alleging that specific relevant information is being withheld from an enquiring public? If so, please provide specifics. And supporting evidence.

    Al: since you benefit from such animal research along with everyone else, why are you exempting yourself from your call to sacrifice? Or have you chosen to forego ALL products and services involving animal experimentation?

    Oh, and if you REALLY want to impress us with your conviction and bravery, why don’t you go confront some bikers for wearing leather and eating meat? Funny how those brave animal-rights activists never touch those guys. Much easier to bully an unarmed scientist’s kids instead, eh?

  57. #58 Al
    February 24, 2010

    Justatech wrote:

    “Hey Al (@26): So these animal activists, they have the resources to properly feed, house and care for 3,000 mice until they die a natural death of old age? Or by “rescue” do you mean “condemn to a death by predation, exposure or starvation”? These animals, especially mice and other rodents, are better cared for than they would ever be in the wild.”

    This sounds absurd. There are mice in the wild all over the place, even in my back yard, and they are as fine as mice will ever be, and have been for millions of years.

    Or in you efforts to justify your actions do you just envision yourself as the savior of all poor animals who must otherwise eke out an existence in the wild (or never exist at all if you did not breed them for your experiments) – they are much better off in the confines of a lab??

    And if they are so wonderfully cared for in your labs than why don’t humans volunteer to take the place of mice, surely you would learn way more and the sacrifice would be worth it, no?

    “You don’t like that animal-model based research? Fine. I’d like all your vaccinations, medications, and any surgical intervention back. Now. And you can explain to all the people exposed to, say, HIV, why we can’t have a vaccine.”

    There are other ways to go about improving human health that do not involve the unethical treatment of animals. And at some point maybe we just ened to accept that we too are immortal animals and we should just accept that sometimes we get sick and torturing other creatures in an effort to fight our mortality is not an ethical justification. And i will repeat, if all these things are so important to you why don’t you volunteer yourself for the tests? What are you afraid of?

    “And the next person who uses the term “vivisection” is going to be shoved into a time machine and dumped into Victorian London. “Vivisection” means to dissect while alive, and NO ONE DOES THAT! It’s unethical, unproductive, and against every IACUC ever written. You are willfully ignorant, as are a large portion of the AR supporters.”

    Fine, if we go by the traditional definition i would agree that it is against the law, but i am very skeptical that it never happens (especially since in this particular case the details are hidden). More importantly are you arguing that no animals are ever cut into, injected, or harmed in any way whatsoever during research? No animals are killed after being tested on? Even more reason to volunteer yourself as a subject for this research then.

    “Yes, I am furious. You are advocating violence against me, and it makes me mad. You are also advocating violence against children and the same animals you claim to want to “protect”. Go away.”

    Where did i advocate violence against you, children, or animals? Maybe you should check your emotional outbursts and come back with a more honest rebuttal.

    Some of the responses from advocates of animal torture on this comments section seem to be emotionally damaged from prolonged participation in and exposure to the torture of animals, IMO.

    Al

  58. #59 vera
    February 24, 2010

    Kt, “the ‘good for humans’ part is what we’ve got for most things” … yes, maybe that’s why the planet is not doing so well, could it be? Maybe it’s time to actually ask, what’s good for the bees? What’s good for the gorillas? A little more balance that way could not hurt, hm?

    If the only argument is “we all make trade-offs and do morally bad stuff hoping some good comes of it” then I agree. We all do.

    By that token, you seem to be implying that brutal primate research falls into that area. Not savory. I would agree; I don’t see how fellow primates can be just turned into a means to serve human ends without regard for who they are.

    Which means that y’all don’t have a leg to stand on morally; the best you can hope that even though such research is morally unsavory, fellow humans will excuse it provided it is only done in very rare circumstances, after extended public discussion, for situations where an *extremely* good case can be made, with animals rights activists invited and listened to and included.

    Fact is… scientists have long had a free field, protected by their status and the powers that be. That is fading. A sense of special entitlement does not go far when the public gets upset enough to leave their couches and bang on people’s windows at night.

    Someone asked how I would feel if they did it to me. Since I am not due any special protection, I would listen damn hard to my neighbors if they were horribly upset over something I was doing. And I would try to find a way to coexist. Duh! Do you think you are above having to get along with other people?!

    And btw, trotting out the “well then we’ll take all the medicines away from you” — come on. Haven’t you noticed? Many of us are not exactly happy with the world modernity and science has given us. We may like some of it, but more and more, the trade-offs are starting to look fishy. You can just yell at us and call us names and throw specious arguments at us, but wouldn’t it be smarter to listen…? Even angry people have a point somewhere if you listen with a generosity of spirit.

  59. #60 al
    February 24, 2010

    Raging Bee wrote:

    “Al: since you benefit from such animal research along with everyone else, why are you exempting yourself from your call to sacrifice? Or have you chosen to forego ALL products and services involving animal experimentation?”

    So it is you contention that if i stopped “benefiting” from animal experimentation all torture of animals would immediately cease?

    Or is it your contention that there are absolutely no alternatives to animal torture. That human existence was pure suffering prior to modern medicine and that immediately after the cessation of animal torture humans would once again return to a state of pure suffering?

    Why don’t you volunteer for these experiments yourself? Lobby the government to make it legal for humans to be tested on? surely you would want to be a part of such an important human endeavor?

    Raging Bee also wrote: “Oh, and if you REALLY want to impress us with your conviction and bravery, why don’t you go confront some bikers for wearing leather and eating meat? Funny how those brave animal-rights activists never touch those guys. Much easier to bully an unarmed scientist’s kids instead, eh?”

    Funny how some of you have trouble reading. Where did i condone the bullying of children? I simply approve of the direct action taken against research labs that engage in the torture of animals.

    BTW, i fully support the right of people to hunt their own food and make clothes from it. That is a far more honorable way to subsist then to buy meat at a supermarket and buy clothes from a sweat factory in china.

    Al

  60. #61 JohnV
    February 24, 2010

    Al if I understand correctly, you’re refusing to opt out of the benefits of animal experimentation while condemning it and those who participate it? To the point that you encourage “direct action” as long as it happens at the place of employment and not the home?

    Our contention would be that your claims bear no significance while you continue to benefit from what you strive to take away from everyone else.

  61. #62 Raging Bee
    February 24, 2010

    I’m neither a gun-enthusiast nor a Second-Amendment absolutist; but in this case, targeted scientists really ought to buy themselves some guns, get proficient at using them, and, when the Luddites invade their property and threaten their kids, shoot to kill. These “animal rights” asshats are bullies, plain and simple; and one trait common to nearly all bullies is cowardice. Once they realize they might get hurt themselves, they’ll back off and go back to more civilized means of protest. As I said before, they don’t harass bikers who wear the skins of tortured and murdered cows; and they’ll lay off armed academics for the same reason.

    Or is it your contention that there are absolutely no alternatives to animal torture.

    In many important cases, yes. And the information I’ve seen, from a variety of sources over many years, backs me up on this. (Oh, and calling it “torture,” with no mention of any specific actions, is a bit dishonest.)

    That human existence was pure suffering prior to modern medicine and that immediately after the cessation of animal torture humans would once again return to a state of pure suffering?

    A LOT of human suffering (innocent humans, mind you, not just people who torture animals for any reason) has indeed been relieved by means that involved killing, displacing, exploiting or experimenting with animals. This is an obvious and well-documented fact; and your apparent refusal to admit it speaks volumes about your credibility.

  62. #63 Adam_Y
    February 24, 2010

    Even angry people have a point somewhere if you listen with a generosity of spirit.

    No in some cases like Jenny McCarthy they are completely crazy.

  63. #64 Courtney
    February 24, 2010

    Thank you so much for bringing this to the community’s attention. I am disgusted by the behavior of activists who seem to value animal rights far above human rights especially when children are involved.

  64. #65 nsib
    February 24, 2010

    Vera,

    I see that you put a lot of emphasis on the importance of making ethically sound decisions when it comes to animal experimentation. I agree completely. However, I’m surprised that you would put so much focus on something that you seemingly know very little about. Ethics is a fascinating field, though it can be surprisingly difficult to keep one’s reason and “instinct” separate. Anyways, for starters, I highly recommend spending some time thinking about the trolley problem.

    Ah, almost forgot. What normative ethic do you follow? We might just have to agree to disagree on this issue after all.

  65. #66 Raging bee
    February 24, 2010

    (Disclosure: Just responding to the principles addressed here. No idea what this guy was actually doing, or the details of the action against him.)

    Translation: vera is here to spout her self-righteous opinions without even caring enough to read the news and bone up on the facts of the case in advance. And it shows: most of what she’s said here since the above quote is simply too stupid and incoherent to merit a coherent response.

    She’s taking the side of ignoramuses threatening and harassing professionals — and their innocent children — and then she lectures US about “listening with a generosity of spirit?” Seriously? If she sounded a little more intelligent, I’d call her a hypocrite.

  66. #67 josh
    February 24, 2010

    This conversation that’s been going on is totally missing the point. The scientists and pro animal research people talk about this issue as if living sentient beings aren’t being maltreated, driven to psychosis and deprived of all reasonable expectations of comfort. I would expect this sort of “well everyone is entitled to their opinion” if the point of contention were say, whether or not the Yankees should change their logo or whether or not jeans are cool. Do you realize that it is ridiculous to nonchalantly shrug off the suffering of hundreds of millions of animals as you demand “civility” and “proper discourse”? Seriously, does the lack of respect or civility towards the researchers at all stack up to the amazing low of enslaving a thoughtful animal, performing painful tests on them, having them live in a cage, … all for what? Do they monkeys get a drug to help them in their cancer battle? Do they get a life’s supply of shampoo or alzheimer’s preventative medicine? They don’t get anything from the experience. I’m shocked that the activists are being shone in this freakish light. Would you have done the same thing if they were protesting slave owners in the 1800′s? Would you have worked to stop slavery in the 1800′s? Would it be so ridiculous to post the address and contacts for people abusing slaves. This is essentially what’s being said here.

  67. #68 Raging Bee
    February 24, 2010

    Do you realize that it is ridiculous to nonchalantly shrug off the suffering of hundreds of millions of animals as you demand “civility” and “proper discourse”?

    Not nearly as ridiculous as ignoring the substance of what is actually being said here and then expecting us to pay attention to you.

  68. #69 ER Doc
    February 24, 2010

    Much easier to bully an unarmed scientist’s kids instead, eh?

    Well, maybe most scientists are unarmed, but that is not universally true. People scratching at my window during the night are there at their own risk.

  69. #70 Rogue Epidemiologist
    February 24, 2010

    vera wrote:

    And btw, trotting out the “well then we’ll take all the medicines away from you” — come on. Haven’t you noticed? Many of us are not exactly happy with the world modernity and science has given us. We may like some of it, but more and more, the trade-offs are starting to look fishy.

    Orac calls this “Crank Magnetism.” Not surprisingly, AR folks are more susceptible to the woo. Hope you never need insulin or antibiotics.

    //

    And as a Friend of Fungi, I have to wonder about the depth of AR activists’ speciesism. While I value biodiversity of a lot of species, including not-so-attractive-nor-cuddly fungi and slime molds, one of the hindrances we face in garnering support for our conservation efforts are so-called “charismatic species,” the cute things that get all the attention.

    So if the AR activists are so invested in ending primate research because of the belief that animals have unalienable rights equal to those granted to humans, then do they also support the same rights as applied to say…a Drosophila lab?

  70. If someone came to my home and harassed my children like that, they would become test subjects themselves. They would be happy to escape with their lives. None would ever be the same again, that’s for certain. It’s what’s called a “life-changing experience”.

    If you have a problem with me, have the moral and physical courage to confront me directly, I respect that. Come after my family, and you are playing a very dangerous game.

  71. #72 Cleveland
    February 24, 2010

    so josh, you are saying that black people, previously enslaved, are just like monkeys? Is that what you are saying?

  72. #73 Al
    February 24, 2010

    JohnV wrote:

    “Al if I understand correctly, you’re refusing to opt out of the benefits of animal experimentation while condemning it and those who participate it? To the point that you encourage “direct action” as long as it happens at the place of employment and not the home?

    Our contention would be that your claims bear no significance while you continue to benefit from what you strive to take away from everyone else.”

    Can you point to exactly where i have received any benefit from animal testing where the same results could not have been achieved by non-insane methods?

    Al

  73. #74 Al
    February 24, 2010

    Raging bee wrote:

    “In many important cases, yes. And the information I’ve seen, from a variety of sources over many years, backs me up on this. (Oh, and calling it “torture,” with no mention of any specific actions, is a bit dishonest.)”

    I need specifics for your cases where i have received benefits and no other alternatives (including allowing nature to take its course) were available?

    raging bee also wrote:

    “A LOT of human suffering (innocent humans, mind you, not just people who torture animals for any reason) has indeed been relieved by means that involved killing, displacing, exploiting or experimenting with animals. This is an obvious and well-documented fact; and your apparent refusal to admit it speaks volumes about your credibility.”

    So please enlighten me with the facts? also, don’t forget to balance your views with the amount of suffering that is currently caused by the pharmaceutical industry and their insatiable drive to profit over all else. I personally know people who have been harmed by the needless prescription of some drugs.

    If you need specifics on torture beyond just captivity ending in death then i suggest you look up the specific tests of viagra on NHPs. (do you think viagra is absolutely necessary and it justifies this torture?)

    Al

  74. #75 Anon
    February 24, 2010

    “…deprived of all reasonable expectations of comfort…”? Josh, have you read an IRB application? You know, ever?

    Honestly, you can describe most of what I do in very heinous terms. For instance: Next week my colleagues will strap a perfectly healthy human being to a table, slap on any number of electrodes (including a grounding pad for cauterization tools), the anesthetist will shove a tube into his windpipe and for almost 5 hours I will root around in his abdomen and hopefully not cause massive bleeding. He will be confined to the hospital for at least a week afterward and he will certainly be in pain. Why will we be doing this? To harvest part of his liver to give to another person he doesn’t even know. It is the most noble and selfless thing I have ever seen.

    And if you think that I won’t take care of my mice (who essentially do the same thing for us everyday) just as well as I take care of such a courageous human being, you’re sorely mistaken.

  75. #76 Chanda
    February 24, 2010

    I’ve been trying to patiently read through the comments, and I’ve been getting a bit frustrated. Let’s back up for a second. I’m not sure what Dario’s research is or how I feel about it. And I think my feelings/opinions about Dario, how articulate he is or his research is COMPLETELY BESIDE THE POINT.

    The point is that harassing children is a disgusting manoeuvre, and we should all be against this kind of bullying behavior. And yes it is bullying. It’s bullying to Dario yes, and I’m not thrilled about that. But what’s worse is that it’s an invitation to other children to single out his children and bully them simply because they’ve been marked as different. These people are planning emotional terrorism against his children, who are complete innocents in this situation. Whatever his faults, this will not fix them. Who the hell says they are for animal rights and supports this kind of behavior towards children?

    I’m just . . . fuming.

  76. #77 MadScientist
    February 24, 2010

    @Al: It is obvious to everyone that you’re an idiot because you keep using the word “vivisection” and the majority of animal experimentation has nothing to do with vivisection.

  77. #78 vera
    February 24, 2010

    Nsib, if you are so well versed in ethical problem solving, why don’t you favor us with your well-worked out argument? I asked people, but none were forthcoming.

    Your trolley problem has no moral solution. Both options suck. Now can you tell me how it is ethical to torture and kill fellow primates? And why is it that we don’t ask more often about what is good for them, rather than for us?

    Btw, since you ask: I don’t follow a system. I think for myself. I highly recommend it.

  78. #79 anotherscientist
    February 24, 2010

    First- Josh, you don’t think animals get anything out of research? Have you ever given your pet medicine? I know I am glad I have tested safe medicine available to give to my pets when they are in pain.

    Second- In general, this whole thing is almost comical, because with this threat, the animal rights terrorists have really managed to fulfill every stereotype of themselves as being interested more in pretending to have a cause in order to justify their antics than actually being interested in any kind of meaningful change.

    Dario Ringach is the worst possible person to pick for this type of targeted action if they want to make any kind of impact. They wanted him to stop doing animal research, AND HE DID. They wanted to the scientific community to take them seriously and engage with them in a legitimate discussion, AND HE DID. And yet they continue to target him, and even more despicably, to target his children. Why would anyone listen to them in the future? What is the point of doing any of the things they are demanding if they never leave you alone once you do? They seem to be missing something critical.

    Given that, its hard to see what their goal is now, other than meaningless violence. I am a scientist and support animal research, but have really tried to understand the opposing point of view, and have wrestled with many of the issues in this debate. But seeing this kind of behavior, I realize that while I may continue to consider these issues myself and their role in my own life because they are important to me, it is impossible to take the views of these people seriously, other than as the rantings of the unstable, violent, cruel, individuals that they are.

  79. #80 vera
    February 24, 2010

    MadScientist: once you stoop to an ad hominem, you’ve already lost the argument.

    anotherscient: “They wanted him to stop doing animal research, AND HE DID. They wanted to the scientific community to take them seriously and engage with them in a legitimate discussion, AND HE DID. And yet they continue to target him, and even more despicably, to target his children. Why would anyone listen to them in the future? What is the point of doing any of the things they are demanding if they never leave you alone once you do? They seem to be missing something critical.”

    If the story is as you portray it, then I agree with you. It makes no sense.

  80. #81 Azkyroth
    February 24, 2010

    Vera:

    It seems to me that since you’re arguing (disingenuously, mind, but still arguing) that an activity should be prohibited – that the freedom of people should be infringed – it falls to you to offer a compelling case for that prohibition. So far, all you’ve done is attempt to shift the burden of proof and waved around a lot of needlessly inflammatory language. To tell the truth, you would hardly be lowering yourself by reverting to “I know you are but what am I?”

    Additionally, your smug little comment about thinking for yourself belies your pig-ignorance of ethical issues. Any chain of reasoning requires one or more foundational axioms; moral reasoning generally requires a minimum of one more than empirical reasoning (the axioms on which the related empirical reasoning is founded, plus the additional axiom that recasts the debate in “should” terms rather than “is” terms). You have been asked, more or less, to provide an overview of the process by which you prefer to derive “should” statements from “is” statements. Your response suggests that you don’t have a process other than following whatever impulses happen to pop into your mind at the proper time (otherwise you would be able to describe it). In fact, pattern recognition suggests to me that if intellectual honesty and thinking things through were not wholly alien to your nature, you would find, and try mightily but fail not to admit, that this is exactly how you’ve arrived at your position on the matter. This does not bode well for your argument.

  81. #82 nsib
    February 24, 2010

    Vera,

    Your trolley problem has no moral solution. Both options suck. Now can you tell me how it is ethical to torture and kill fellow primates? And why is it that we don’t ask more often about what is good for them, rather than for us?

    I would love to explain but, without knowing what you value morally and how you make ethical decisions, it’s an impossible task. For example, if you valued other primates’ lives over human lives, then there would be no way for me to make an argument in favor of the use of primates in experiments; at least, not one that would be acceptable to you. As another example, suppose you settled moral decisions arbitrarily, without a system. In that case we’d likely end up sounding like a couple of grade students arguing “That’s not fair!” “Is too!”, since we’d be working from two incompatible viewpoints.

    Bottom line: If you don’t have a definition for “moral”, then there’s no way for me to convince you that any action is moral or not.

  82. #83 JohnV
    February 24, 2010

    Al if you have ever taken medicine or undergone a surgical procedure, you’re benefiting from animal research.

    I don’t understand your “non-insane method” question. Again, if you’ve taken medicine or undergone a surgical procedure then you’ve benefited from “sane” research.

    Since you don’t have a time machine, and maybe until today were completely ignorant of that fact, we can let you off the ethical hook. But would you agree, going forward, to eschew all medical treatments in order to not profit from animal research? If you’re not willing to make that stand for your beliefs, why should your opinion mean anything?

  83. #84 Raging Bee
    February 24, 2010

    So please enlighten me with the facts?

    Funy how the AR mouth-breathers pretend to be so much more enlightened than the rest of us animal-torturers, while simultaneously demanding that we provide them with all the facts they need to understand what they’re talking about. Sure, I’ll sum up all of the scientific and medical articles I’ve read over the last thirty-odd years…just as soon as I’m done proving the Earth is round to another bunch of idiots who won’t get out of their basements. Gimme a few weeks, okay?

    …also, don’t forget to balance your views with the amount of suffering that is currently caused by the pharmaceutical industry and their insatiable drive to profit over all else.

    Ah…so you’re anti-pharma as well. You’re trashing Big Pharma for animal testing; but I’ll bet that if they gave up such testing, you’d trash them for selling untested products.

    I personally know people who have been harmed by the needless prescription of some drugs.

    And I know people who have benefitted from appropriate prescriptions. You’re gonna need more than anecdotes to prove your muddled case.

    I don’t follow a system. I think for myself.

    in other words, as another commenter pointed out, vera takes the easy out by “thinking” with her emotions and ignoring facts and reason.

  84. #85 cdawg
    February 24, 2010

    animal testing in any respect is an act of violence. just because it’s interspecies does not justify it. violence is always reciprocated, and in this case it is by those humans who acknowledge our membership to the same ecosystem as the animals being harmed. you should admire those who refuse to accept torture and killing. do you believe that for the benefit of our species, animals should suffer? why, then, is it so irrational to contend that we should suffer for the benefit of animals? it is simply an inverse scenario. your defense of animal testing serves only to protect your image of the career-driven patriarchal family structure that you were likely raised in. you should endeavor to expand your notions of our communal existence before judging others so harshly.
    i see no great benefit to keeping children ignorant to the markedly unsavory nature of this man’s work. creating a culture where children are taught to accept this as normal is bigoted indoctrination.
    i lament that young adults waste their student loans on your company. you completely abuse your education and your position within the educational industry.
    “i need to share with you a situation that is infuriating. It’s infuriating to me, and I believe it should be infuriating to anyone who values a civil society worth the name.”
    “time to get mad. time to speak up.”

    unfortunately, those activists who are mad and have spoken rest on much more solid ground than yours. this drivel is aimed only at inspiring anger against the actively inspired. how difficult is it for you to conceive of the true breadth of animal rights? cannot your vast education cause you to realize that even though it might mean sacrificing medical breakthroughs for thousands of redundant humans, it is a starkly just position to oppose animal testing with the same passion we would any other form of violence? you are doing nothing short of lying to yourself. it isn’t hard to grasp the larger situation our world is in, and animal testing merits no justification. you are obligated to consider that which is available to your intellect, yet you feign ignorance. in an attempt to allay your guilt, you try to rile a band of online supporters.
    i apologize for my harsh words, i make no claim that this response has not been emotional.
    i dearly hope that you reconsider your position on this topic and embrace the difficult but enlightened position of true compassion that your intellect undoubtedly allows.

  85. #86 josh
    February 25, 2010

    @cleveland, yes i’m saying that black people are just like monkeys are just like frogs are just like white people are just like sharks are just like dinosaurs are just like dolphins are just like asian people are just like whales are just like bats when it comes to wanting to be comfortable, live a free life and not have it be commandeered by someone else

  86. #87 josh
    February 25, 2010

    @anotherscientist

    you’re right, there are cases where animals benefit from animal research such as heartworm medication and cancer treatment for the dogs of the rich. in general though, animals definitely benefit in ways vanishingly small compared to the humans the research is really done for. what i really should say is, how is it the monkey’s problem that i’ve developed parkinson’s disease? it’s nice for us that these things can sometimes be studied in other species but what justification is there to take over the monkey’s entire life, determine it will be spent in a cage never getting outside to keep it lab strain and will never have anything close to what is natural? to be sure, i can understand why some people would try to legitimize animal research, if we lived in a world where we lived in ways that tried to prevent disease. however, that is not the case. we routinely seek answers in medicine for problems that are not caused by nature’s whim, but rather, our own stupidity. for example, smoking, consumption of animals, consumption of eggs, consumption of milk, high fructose corn syrup, the list goes on.

    when we’re not taking known causes for terrible diseases out of our diets and lifestyles it is really really pompous to try and say sacrificing the legion of research monkeys was for a noble cause. what is the noble cause? finding clever solutions for problems that we give ourselves?

  87. #88 Militant Agnostic
    February 25, 2010

    Since the animal rights fanatics seem to think that killing 10 monkeys to save a 10,000 humans is not ethical, how about examples of animals benefiting from research done on animals?

    I consider myself an animal welfarist to the extant that I do not eat pigs because they are intelligent animals who are kept in appalling conditions.

    As has been pointed out on some of the other science blogs, you never see the animal rights protesters out at the feedlots and hog barns. Could it have anything to do the fact that these confined animal feeding operations are located too far from town (inconvenient for the protesters and the TV news crews) or is that the the people working there are more likely to have guns. Or, it might just be the smell and the possibility of getting their shoes dirty that keeps them in the city.

  88. #89 ginger
    February 25, 2010

    “also, don’t forget to balance your views with the amount of suffering that is currently caused by the pharmaceutical industry and their insatiable drive to profit over all else. I personally know people who have been harmed by the needless prescription of some drugs.”

    Now you’re conflating biomedical research on animals with pharmaceutical development and with prescribing habits of physicians. Well, head on down to the school yard and torment the little Ringachs about the farming of veal, Johnny Weir’s fur-trimmed costume, and the state of the Middle East while you’re at it. It makes just as much sense.

  89. #90 anotherdave
    February 25, 2010

    cdawg wrote:
    unfortunately, those activists who are mad and have spoken rest on much more solid ground than yours. this drivel is aimed only at inspiring anger against the actively inspired.
    —–
    “actively inspired?” Is that the name for people who spout death threats to get what they want?

    Chanda wrote:
    The point is that harassing children is a disgusting manoeuvre, and we should all be against this kind of bullying behavior. And yes it is bullying. It’s bullying to Dario yes, and I’m not thrilled about that. But what’s worse is that it’s an invitation to other children to single out his children and bully them simply because they’ve been marked as different. These people are planning emotional terrorism against his children, who are complete innocents in this situation. Whatever his faults, this will not fix them. Who the hell says they are for animal rights and supports this kind of behavior towards children?

    Thank you for bringing us back to the real topic here! Despite what cdawg says, the leafleting isn’t going to be about education. It’s going to be about getting Dario’s children ostracized. I do understand where the AR activists are coming from, though.
    If I had the resources and education, I would love to study neurology and how thoughts are processed and given physical form in the brain. I’d research it happily and blissfully ignore any peacefully assembled masses. I’d listen to civil debate, but would still stay true to myself and not quit my research.
    Since civil debate doesn’t get them what they want, the AR-activists resort to violence…only Dario already gave them what they supposedly wanted, he stopped researching on primates.

  90. #91 vera
    February 25, 2010

    MilitantAgnostic: I remember distictly a nasty video released… a year ago? filmed by animal rights people in a feedlot in CA… (released by the Humane Society?) showing lame falling down animals and the brutality with which they were treated. I have read accounts of other people doing rescue operations in feedlots. It’s of course gotten pretty impossible for people to go into such places and observe what really goes on. Do you favor reforms that would make it possible for these places to be transparent to public view? How about reforms that would make these places go away entirely?

    Nsib: I was looking for an argument on your terms, not mine. After all, it would be your argument, no? The only argument I heard so far was from Kt and it said, basically, hey, if it’s good for us humans, it’s good. I was hoping somebody had something else to say. Why are you fixated on convincing me? Why don’t you just present your best argument here for everybody in the forum?

    Azkyroth: in my world, moral reasoning generally requires refraining from ad hominems, first of all. If you decide to switch, I would be happy to respond.

  91. #92 "terrorist"
    February 25, 2010

    You better either learn to empathise with animals, or get used to this “bullying”, because it’s going to get a hell of a lot worse! Activists will only start acting civilised when scientists do! For as long as animals are being exploited and tortured, these “scientists” will be given more and more bitter tastes of their own shoddy medicine. They may feel like it’s an injustice to them, but it’s nothing compared to what they do to their victims.
    Activists will never EVER be made to feel guilty about tormenting vivisectors!

  92. #93 Rick Bogle
    February 25, 2010

    It would be too grueling to comment on every wild and silly claim being made here (I should take everyone to task who claims that animal experimentation is well-regulated or that animal-based research generally or regularly leads to important advances in clinical care, but believers aren’t interested in conflicting facts.)

    Just in case the people who have asked for specifics are still hanging around, to me, one of the projects conducted by a UCLA scientist who used monkeys that is particularly disturbing is explained in the paper Clozapine Normalizes Prefrontal Cortex Dopamine Transmission in Monkeys Subchronically Exposed to Phencyclidine. John D Elsworth, J David Jentsch, Bret A Morrow, D Eugene Redmond Jr and Robert H Roth. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008.

    Elsworth et al write: “Young adult male or female St Kitts green (vervet) monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) at the St Kitts Biomedical Research Foundation (St Kitts, West Indies) were used. As the subjects were feral monkeys, their exact age was not known. These studies were approved by the relevant institutional animal care and use committee. Monkeys, housed individually in squeeze-cages, were injected with PCP twice daily for 14 days, as described before (Jentsch et al, 1997)…”

    Consider these PCP injections and their result.

    First, PCP is almost never injected. It is almost always smoked – sprinkled on tobacco or marijuana, and only very occasionally, snorted like cocaine. But it is almost never injected.

    Second, nearly everyone who uses PCP knows they’re using PCP.

    Third, the commonly reported recreational dose of PCP is 0.01-0.02 mg/kg.

    They injected 15 to 30 times (0.3 mg/kg) the normal recreational dose of PCP into animals, ripped from their families, trapped in cages and manhandled, who then start having unending nightmarish hallucinations for reasons they can’t imagine. And this goes on for two weeks, prior to them being killed.

    This research was “justified” with the claim that the biochemical actions of a drug (clozapine) that has been used since the mid 1970s to treat schizophrenia aren’t well understood.

    I can’t let one recurring claim in the posts above pass without comment: I suspect that most of those who protest against the use of animals in studies like this one are not anti-scince or anti-biomedcal research, and claiming otherwise is falacious and self-serving. They are against hurting animals. Nothing more.

    One more, and I promise to stop: an ignoramus above wrote: “you never see the animal rights protesters out at the feedlots and hog barns.” Google “slaughterhouse protest”.

  93. #94 Raevyn
    February 25, 2010

    If the actions of these “protesters” were being directed at a Federal building, politician, or religious group, they would be considered acts of terrorism. It’s sad that when they do this to ‘civilians’ they are not subjected to the same treatment as terrorists. I guess Homeland Security doesn’t apply to all of those who live in the “Homeland”.

  94. #95 Matt
    February 25, 2010

    Its about time people stand up for a cause, let alone LIFE. Nothing justifies taking, sacrificing, or inserting wires into the head of another creature, intelligent or not. No argument can defer from such crimes. should Mangele have backed up his case for his experiments at auschwitz due to the progression and health of his people? A crime against life doesn’t go unnoticed, nor should it go unpunished.

  95. #96 kt
    February 25, 2010

    So, to those folks who said that my suggestion they avoid modern medicine (product of animal research) was ungenerous or something like that, think again:

    * animal testing of cosmetics was ended by consumer boycott
    * agriculture is changing because people are switching to local, organic, sustainable
    * civil rights were obtained by boycotts among other things
    * labor standards are supported by boycott

    It is not at all hypocritical to suggest that you just refuse to benefit from those things that you consider to be obtained by immoral means. It is, in fact, the only position of integrity.

    You either need to come to terms with animal research or refuse to benefit from it (and thus support it economically).

  96. #97 JohnV
    February 25, 2010

    “I suspect that most of those who protest against the use of animals in studies like this one are not anti-scince or anti-biomedcal research, and claiming otherwise is falacious and self-serving. They are against hurting animals. Nothing more.”

    They’re so against hurting animals that they will threaten scientists or the children of scientists (see comment 91 for a recent example)? In other threads, these terrorists have suggestion blowing up labs, which will hurt their precious animals as well as worthless humans. One referred to their terrorism as “pranks”.

    They can act like they’re not anti-science. They may even make some absurd suggestions like “use a computer” which belies their complete and total ignorance of 1) biology and 2) computers.

    It is just like the anti-vaccine cranks who swear up and down that they’re not anti-vaccine. But at the end of the day, all they’re trying to do is end the practice.

    Another similarity, while anti-vaccine cranks benefit from vaccines while trying to deprive others of the same protection, the anti-research terrorists have benefited their entire lives from animal research and are seeking to prevent anyone else from deriving the same benefits.

    Hell, how many of the anti-researchers who are posting in this thread will even state that they’ll refuse all medical interventions due to a history of animal research?

    If they really felt so strongly (to the point that terrorizing children is acceptable) its hard to believe that they can so happily go along with the benefits of animal research.

  97. #98 David Ballinger
    February 25, 2010

    another scientist,
    “Dario Ringach is the worst possible person to pick for this type of targeted action if they want to make any kind of impact. They wanted him to stop doing animal research, AND HE DID. They wanted to the scientific community to take them seriously and engage with them in a legitimate discussion, AND HE DID. And yet they continue to target him, and even more despicably, to target his children.”

    Perhaps because they are entirely different groups of people? Some threatening violence, some not.

    For all the bantering about animal rights people speaking about a subject they know nothing about it’s only fair if we do research ourselves.

  98. #99 Dave
    February 25, 2010

    “If the actions of these “protesters” were being directed at a Federal building, politician, or religious group, they would be considered acts of terrorism. It’s sad that when they do this to ‘civilians’ they are not subjected to the same treatment as terrorists. I guess Homeland Security doesn’t apply to all of those who live in the “Homeland”.”

    Clearly you have no idea what you’re talking about. It is called the Animal Enterprise Terrorism act. Boy howdy, what’s with the lack of research from all of you?

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h109-4239

  99. #100 Raging Bee
    February 25, 2010

    You better either learn to empathise with animals, or get used to this “bullying”, because it’s going to get a hell of a lot worse! Activists will only start acting civilised when scientists do!

    Excuse me, thug-boy, but in this case, the scientist WAS “acting civilized” — i.e., he had already stopped doing animal experiments — and your fellow bullies STEPPED UP the bullying. This is one vile and dangerous trait these AR asshats share with actual terrorists: they simply don’t have enough self-control, or sense of responsibility, to keep their own promises; giving them what they want emboldens them and causes them to get MORE out of control, not less so.

    Activists will never EVER be made to feel guilty about tormenting vivisectors!

    Well, if guilt, reason, dialogue, legal means of protest and political action, and even capitulation don’t work, that’s all the more reason for scientists to buy guns.

  100. #101 nsib
    February 25, 2010

    Vera,

    Nsib: I was looking for an argument on your terms, not mine. After all, it would be your argument, no? The only argument I heard so far was from Kt and it said, basically, hey, if it’s good for us humans, it’s good. I was hoping somebody had something else to say. Why are you fixated on convincing me? Why don’t you just present your best argument here for everybody in the forum?

    Azkyroth: in my world, moral reasoning generally requires refraining from ad hominems, first of all. If you decide to switch, I would be happy to respond.

    *sigh* As I said before, moral arguments are dependent on how morality is defined. If you don’t have a definition of morality, then any argument would be meaningless. From your reaction to the trolley problem, I can say with confidence that discussing ethics with you would be futile.

    Also, I highly recommend rereading Azkyroth’s post. It was much clearer than mine and, contrary to what you said, didn’t contain a single ad hominem argument.

  101. #102 vera
    February 25, 2010

    Azkyroth said: “your pig-ignorance”
    “if intellectual honesty and thinking things through were not wholly alien to your nature”

    These are not ad hominems in your world, nsib? Amazing. You quite made my afternoon. :-D

  102. #103 J. David Jentsch
    February 25, 2010

    This blog has now been visited by a notorious animal rights extremist, Mr. Rick Bogle. First, a little background. Mr. Bogle is one of “group” of animal rights activists that refuse to condemn anti-research violence. Indeed, he said as much in an unsolicited email he sent to a graduate student at UCLA in May of 2009:

    Bogle: “I guess I am in the “small camp” that would condone violence against people who do things to others like Jentsch does; I personally find what he does so far outside the bounds of moral behavior that any means of ending his work is justified. Cruelty can indeed be so gross as to warrant means that would otherwise be unthinkable.

    Maybe I wouldn’t have had the courage to have killed Mengele, but I wouldn’t have criticized anyone who did, and I can’t imagine very many other people doing so either.”

    These are his words. His message is clear.

    But let’s ask a more crucial question; despite advocating violence, does he have anything of merit to add to the scientific discussion (about my work, or otherwise)? I now provide evidence that suggests that the answer is a resounding “no”.

    To address some of Bogle’s points, I refer the reader to a classic work in the literature: published in the esteemed American Journal of Psychiatry (Allen and Young [1978] “Phencyclidine-induced psychosis”. Am. J. Psychiatry, 135: 1081-1084.) This article – which Bogle has had 30 years to look up – describes a crucial set of clinical observations that supported a good deal of the work that I and my colleagues performed using animal models.

    Bogle: “First, PCP is almost never injected. It is almost always smoked – sprinkled on tobacco or marijuana, and only very occasionally, snorted like cocaine. But it is almost never injected.”

    Umm, wrong. As you will see if you read the document, Allen and Young provide clinical observations from 9 patients that exhibited a profound and prolonged psychotic reaction after intake of phencyclidine. Note sentence one of the paper: “In the fall of 1975, psychiatrists at Fort Hood, TX, saw several cases of acute psychosis precipitated by “snorting” or intravenous injection (emphasis added) of a whitish powder.”

    Bogle: “Second, nearly everyone who uses PCP knows they’re using PCP.”

    Wow, wrong again, and this is again alluded to in Allen and Young’s article: “… the patient developed an acute psychosis after “snorting”, swallowing or injecting a white or yellowish-white powder believed by the patient to be THC and descriptively matching two separate samples that were reported to be high grade phencyclidine” Indeed, as many treatment providers for substance abuse disorders know, phencyclidine is often called THC on the street and many users do not know it to be phencyclidine.

    Bogle: “Third, the commonly reported recreational dose of PCP is 0.01-0.02 mg/kg.”

    The question is not what common patterns of illicit use are. The question is what conditions are usually the ones under which phencyclidine elicits psychosis, and the answer to this is 0.1-0.5 mg/kg, by injection. If you are unclear on this, I draw your attention to crucial work from Luby and colleagues and of Baker and Amini in the mid-1900s when they conducted systematic studies of phencyclidine effects in humans. They elicited psychotic reactions in otherwise normal humans by delivery of ~10 mg of pure phencyclidine – which amounts to about 0.15 mg/kg intra-venous.

    Now, the question arises as to why we performed these studies in monkeys, given what was known about its effects in humans. The answer is simple. The fact that a drug does a particular thing to behavior is different than exploring why it does that. If phencyclidine causes psychotic manifestations in people, it must do so by altering brain chemistry in a way remarkably similar to that of the idiopathic illness. Since we can not directly explore the cerebral neurochemistry in seriously ill people, we used this approach to explore the brain chemistry affected by phencyclidine in an animal model in an attempt to illuminate the plausible biological origins of schizophrenia; indeed, our work was sufficiently important that it was initially published in Science in 1997, and leading text books on biological psychiatry reference our finding.

    So, actually, the result dramatically moved the field forwards. It enhanced our understanding of a serious and disabling mental illness that Mr. Bogle appears to have no empathy for. Fortunately for suffers of severe psychiatric disorders, there are some of us who do care, and we will continue working every day to see that science addresses their real and deserving problems.

    Mr. Bogle has all along said that what he wants is a debate on these issues in public. Now that we are doing so, he is not even willing to condemn the ongoing violence against those that are participating in this dialogue. At the very least, he ought to clarify his position in public.

  103. #104 tbell
    February 25, 2010

    My take on this, echoing much of what has already been written…but trying to pare down to the aspects i found interesting…
    Some animal rights activists seem to claim the following:
    1) It is always wrong to inflict pain or suffering on (non-human) animals.
    2) Since animals cannot advocate for themselves, someone else must do it for them
    3) Any means of preventing the suffering of animals is ok.

    People may agree or disagree about 1), 2), or 3). There are lots of differing opinions about the relative value of humans and animals, meat, and medicine etc. Let’s assume that the discussion is between fundamentalists on either side, who won’t budge an inch on claim number 1). I pose the following questions to the honest fundies, (I assume the dishonest ones won’t bother to answer).

    Question: If you want to advocate or act in defense of animals (or anything you believe), what are the limits of the tactics (if any) that are acceptable to you?

    Possible tactics with my somewhat arbitrary rankings: n.b. not everything within ‘civil society’ is actually legal, not everything outside of it is actually illegal.

    1) Within the framework of civil society: protests, education, laws, public advocacy, speech, nonviolent civil disobedience
    2) Borderline: vandalism (not threats of violence), simple sabotage(not dangerous), slander, causing disruption to life and relationships of persons involved
    3) Anything goes: violence against persons involved including murder, threats of violence, threatening or harming innocents.

    Situations in which people consider a degree of violence acceptable.
    1) defense of self: you may kill to prevent yourself from being harmed
    2) defense of others: parents defending their children from aggressors
    3) to achieve freedom from tyranny, wars of independence, revolution.

    Even if you are a person who concedes that violence is sometimes acceptable, there are always limits and conditions.

    Question: Do the tactics that you have chosen serve your goals?

    Do they persuade others and make it easier for society to move in the direction you would like?
    Do they stop the activity?
    Do they cause a reaction that actually decreases the likelihood of achieving your goals?
    Have you considered the ‘side effects’ of your tactics?
    Which tactics have worked in situations you may consider analogous?

    Question: do you value civil society? i.e. one in which fundamental differences are resolved or accommodated through peaceful means? My assumption is that this involves compromise. In an uncivil society, violence is the means of control. If you advocate violence before trying all other means, even to prevent violence, you should understand what you are risking. He who is most violent gets his way, in this matter and in all matters. It’s not a pretty way to live, and one unlikely to be friendly to animals either.

  104. #105 nsib
    February 25, 2010

    Azkyroth said: “your pig-ignorance”
    “if intellectual honesty and thinking things through were not wholly alien to your nature”

    These are not ad hominems in your world, nsib? Amazing. You quite made my afternoon. :-D

    o.O Azkyroth’s observations about your ignorance of ethics and your lack of intellectual honesty are completely independent from his explanation of how you were wrong. If you’d followed my link, you might’ve learned what an ad hominem is.

    In short, to say that Musashimaru Kōyō is fat is not an ad hominem. To say that he is fat, therefore he must be wrong about the economy is an ad hominem.

  105. #106 vera
    February 25, 2010

    Ad hominem (Merriam-Webster):
    1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
    2 : marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

    Nsib: Here is the gist of it; — I feel sad to have to explain it:
    Do moral people go about insulting opponents in the middle of an argument, in your world? In my world, if they go preaching “moral argumentation” while behaving unethically in the very middle of it, they have cut off the very branch they were sitting on. Or are you above “walking the walk”? Is it all theory to you, and the deed be damned?!

    I have nothing further to say to either of you.

  106. #107 nsib
    February 26, 2010

    vera,

    First off, it’s pretty ironic for you to be complaining of unethical behavior, considering that you’ve avoided thus far stating exactly what you do find ethical. It’s the equivalent of claiming that someone’s idea is “mathematically unsound” without using any actual math.

    Secondly, I’d say that pointing out someone’s ignorance or dishonesty as it relates to the issue is certainly an argument from logos. If you point out that a bridge-builder has no training in engineering, or that they have not written any blueprints for the bridge, is that an attack on their character? No, it is a statement about their knowledge and actions. Would you have us believe that calling a felon a felon, or a dropout a dropout, is unethical? Azkyroth didn’t say you were stupid, or evil; he did not say you were lacking in virtue; he made very specific claims. Would you care to refute them?

    Lastly I note that, despite your harping on “morals” and “ethics”, you have not once stated why any course of action is ethical or not. You declare morality solely by assertion.

  107. #108 Raging Bee
    February 26, 2010

    Do moral people go about insulting opponents in the middle of an argument, in your world?

    When moral people encounter stupid or dishonest arguments, we point out their stupidity and/or dishonesty, and then label it stupid and/or dishonest. This is what we’ve done to your arguments. If you consider this “unethical,” then it’s on you to show us why it is so. The alternative — letting stupidity or dishonesty pass unchallenged — is, in “my world” at least, EXTERMELY unethical because it is observably harmful to innocent people.

    vera, you’re doing exactly what nearly every other demagogue, bigot and con-artist does when he loses an argument: lie until you’re called a liar, spout stupid nonsense until you’re called stupid, then cry about all the “insults” and “incivility” and “ad moninems,” and insistently pretend you’ve seen nothing else, even when it’s obvious you’re lying. And yes, vera, you are indeed lying here: your “arguments,” if they can even be called that, have been dealt with by multiple respondents, and you’ve blatantly ignored all of it, and are dishonestly pretending our responses are nothing but insults. Are you a creationist? You’re acting exactly like one.

  108. #109 vera
    February 26, 2010

    tbell, thank you for being civil. I go with #2 of your list. I would add another point, and that is, I object to treating animals simply as means to human ends, without consideration of their own needs and purposes. As for the tactics, we are heading off into difficult times. #1 when it works, but when the system is stacked against changing, and can instead change the rules when the activists are actually getting somewhere… that is a system that demands other tactics.

    I am not a salmon or old forest activist, but when I hear what they have tried over the years and getting nowhere, it breaks my heart. What is happening to the planet breaks my heart. Some people vow to do “what it takes.” Is that ethical? No. Is it ethical to go with the status quo? No. Is it even sane to pretend that a system that has used brutality to subdue nature since its birth will “yield to reason”? No. Life’s a bitch that way: sometimes you get a bunch of wrong choices to pick from, and none that are right. And still you have to choose.

    I hear what you are saying about “is this the society you want.” That question seems to have gone by the wayside, a luxury of former times. What I see is a predatory, plunderous civilization out of control. I am amongst those who say no to it, regardless of my personal price to pay. Although I must say that the elites are doing *far* more to bury it nowadays than any activists! Just watch the feeding frenzy of the unfolding economic collapse… As far as I can tell, we do not have a civil society. We have a system run by psychopaths and their helpers. It bodes ill for us all.

    Does this make any sense to you at all? Or do you find it incomprehensible that someone may take this view, in the world as you know it?

  109. #110 Jesse
    February 26, 2010

    vera, you’ve made a slightly better explanation of what you find ethical — or rather, you’ve laid out what you find objectinable. OK, good as far as it goes, but not far enough.

    Let’s look at some of the trade-offs we have to make if we want to live in something other than a hunter-gatherer mode.

    Say I don’t want to harm animals. OK, I want to wear shoes made of a natural substance. What are my options? Not many. There is a reason that in cold climates people invented leather shoes. The stuff works. And there really isn’t any good artificial substitute. Heck, there isn’t any good natural substitute. Plant fibers are really, really poor shoes (though they are good insulators for them). But that is why none of the traditional societies I am familiar with that lives in temperate or cod climates uses them for shoes. Heck, not many people in tropical climates do.

    Artificial, non-leather shoes are made with polymers. Those are pretty devastating from an environmental perspective, and harm far more animals at one go. The release of polyphenols into the environment is a gigantic problem. So which do you do? One harms animals, the other harms them more, just indirectly.

    Now, getting to animal research. If research could be done without animals at all, loads of scientists would be thrilled. Animal research is hard. Keeping the animals alive and healthy is hard to do. For example, I own a pet turtle. I have to keep an eye on the water chemistry and lighting. It’s a pain sometimes. But I do it because otherwise he’d die. Now multiply that 100-fold and you get the idea what goes into an animal lab.

    Animal research is expensive. Food costs alone are a big deal. Again, if certain questions could be answered without animals, I know a load of scientists who would do just that.

    I think part of the problem is you think nobody cares about animals. Not true. Why do you think people become vets? Yet many of those same people are in the research field. It isn’t like a scientist says “mwa hahahaha! I get to torture a monkey! Yaaay!” I mean, do you think that is what they do?

    Another part of the problem is you haven’t laid out clearly whether you think any animal research is justified ever or not. And what animals you are concerned about. Again I ask (as someone else did here): what about flies?

    Are you aware that you eat animals every time you sip a glass of water, bottled or not? (They are called copepods. They are crustaceans). For you to live, a living thing must die, be it plant or animal. Sorry, the world is just built that way.

    One mistake I see you making — and it’s pretty common among not only environmental activists but animal rights people too — is to apply some mystical standard to “nature.” Look, the world we live in isn’t mystical, there is no Gaia, there is just us, the laws of physics, biology and chemistry and nothing else. Now, as humans who have the ability to really fuck up the biosphere we live in, if we want to continue as a species we have to be careful of that.

    But unless you want to return to a pastoral, hunter-gatherer mode of living, with the resultant deaths of billions, you have to think about the trade offs you make. Certainly people can live in a lower-energy society. Certainly we can eat organic food and cut way down on factory farming of meat (a good start would be ending subsidies to both producers AND consuming industries). And we can certainly think carefully about the animal research we do.

    But I don’t get the sense you’ve thought these things through very far. I don’t deny the emotional connections you have described and the frustration that kicks in when you see the state of the world. But emotions are a very, very poor way to think. Feeling something strongly has no bearing on how right it is. I could feel strongly that Bob Dylan can leap tall buildings in a single bound. That doesn’t make it so.

    And unlike the movies, when you want to change things, people don’t go through magical epiphanies. Change is hard. It is slow. And sometimes the world isn’t going to give you the answer you want.

    Y’know, in my family, we were a bunch of old lefties. And we would love for the Communists to have been right about how to democratically organize a society of workers. But we were not right. And the communists weren’t right. The results were pretty awful. So we had to change tacks. It happens. Sometimes you are just wrong.

    That doesn’t mean I think capitalism is A-OK and the way the world works is perfect. It means I have to — as a person who takes the ethical position that making life better for people is a good thing — think about how I want to accomplish that without a) alienating people so that they won’t want to help me and b) ending up with a result that is worse than the situation we have.

    I also take as an ethical position that if the choice is between saving the gorilla from drowning and saving you, the gorilla loses. Sorry, gorilla.

    As with the trolley problem, sometimes you have choices that both suck. No scientist I know thinks it is good that they have to use animals in research. The alternative is using humans. Al earlier was saying that people who believe in research should volunteer. Well, i throw out the same challenge to anti-animal experimenting crowd. If you really wanted to end animal testing, you would volunteer, right? But I don’t see anyone advocating for the use of humans. And again I say, if there were a way to do this research with no people or animals at all, someone would be doing it because it’s easier and cheaper to do.

    You haven’t laid out how you make the decision between two shitty choices, which is the real challenge of any ethical system. And from your posts I can’t parse out much of yours. I can kind of get a feeling for it, but I am still unclear on a lot.
    A dissatisfaction with modernity isn’t an ethical position. It’s just dissatisfaction.

  110. #111 vera
    February 27, 2010

    Jesse, you raise a lot of issues. Let me say that I appreciate your tone, and your challenge, and see if I can describe how I think my way through.

    Let me say, first of all, that I wear leather and eat animals. Gasp! I am totally aware that we cannot live and not kill fellow critters (of whichever kingdom). I find the vegan position earnest but absurd. I did not say I wanted to avoid harming animals. It is impossible. I have pointed out to the vegans that when they import their bushels of grains from Canada, animals die to put it one their table… in land cultivation, in transportation, in run-off of fertilizer to the water bodies, and so on. (Did I get anywhere with them? No. ;-)

    I said I objected to always putting human interests first, and using human self-interest for justification. We need to begin working really hard to try to find out what the needs of the other critters are, and find ways to coexist. I am not advocating for going to the forager mode, although it would be good if we figured out how not to destroy those who do live that lifestyle.

    The main problem I have is not killing animals per se. We all serve others in death. The grasshopper serves the chicken, the chicken serves me, and I some day serve the worms. My problem is how we treat animals while they are still alive, and how we kill them when we do. My problem is in seeing how we are destroying their habitats, and displace them with endless increases of human mass.

    Nor do I think that scientists and animal technicians or for that matter farmers don’t care about animals. But I have seen people to get inured to brutalization… it happens in human prisons, it happens in CAFOs, and it happens in animal research. Remember that horrible video that caused a scandal where the scientists were tormenting one of their research apes for fun? Nasty stuff. Animal research got to a place where it was, well, like hey, we are entitled. And we are not. We should be grateful for their help and sacrifice, and extremely careful, and leave off when at all possible, and certainly listen to the people who are upset. I really would like for it to be… much rarer than it is today. As I had said in a previous post, I think there are times, when the research is truly necessary, that a general consensus can be worked out.

    “Look, the world we live in isn’t mystical, there is no Gaia, there is just us, the laws of physics, biology and chemistry and nothing else.” You prefer the mythology of humans actually knowing for certain that this is true. I am an adherent of epistemological humility and reject the possibility of such certainties. Which leads me to assume that there are various mythologies to choose from, and such a drab dessicated reductionist one as you describe would never be my first choice. :-)

    “Now, as humans who have the ability to really fuck up the biosphere we live in, if we want to continue as a species we have to be careful of that.” Absolutely. Ending subsidies… from your mouth to the elites’ ears! Would be nice.

    “But I don’t get the sense you’ve thought these things through very far.” But then, you know very little about me. Can we use that limitation as a given in this discussion rather than jumping to assumptions about each other?

    “But emotions are a very, very poor way to think.” True. But keep in mind that thinking without emotions is another very poor way to think as well. That’s how psychopaths think.

    I can relate to your family story. I grew up under communism. Now that I know capitalism as well, I see both as dead ends.

    Humans are used in research all the time. I did it when I was ill. I take it you mean invasive research of healthy subjects. I am not against using humans for it if they volunteer. For example, people convicted of serious crimes that are not that likely to be repeated. They could be given the option to participate and avoid 20 yrs in prison. Good for society, possibly good for the con, and good for the animals spared. There is a lot of stuff we could do better…

    How do you make a choice between several shitty choices? First of all, I would say, stop pretending that one of them is actually not shitty, that if you argue really hard, it will somehow emerge whitewashed. Which means, next, allowing that even people who work very hard to be ethical choose wrong things. Do ethics professors cover this ground? Eh… not so much. So what then? Do we do a lot of rational tapdancing and pretend that it was really ok, or do we admit that we chose something bad and … gasp … show remorse, and try to make reparations and find a new balance? You tell me.

  111. #112 Douglas Watts
    February 27, 2010

    When I see mainstream “science” commit itself to a program which phases out vivisection by date certain, this post would have credibility. Without such a pledge and plan, you are basically saying that scientists are separate from the rest of society and should not be held to the standards the rest of society must live up to. In doing so, you are making the anti-vivisectionists point for them: scientists are unwilling and unable to clean up their own house.

  112. #113 anotherscientist
    February 27, 2010

    David Ballinger (#97)-
    Well, I assumed that people who are threatening Dario’s children are people who want to stop animal research (whether or not they are the ones who also wanted a discussion). Since he stopped doing animal research, they should stop targeting him, or else there is a complete lack of motivation for anyone else to listen to them. (ignoring the rights and wrongs, just looking at what string of logical events would make them most effective)

    If they are (as you seem to be saying) not either in the group that want people to stop animal research or in the group that want a discussion (given that he has met both those goals and they have not stopped), then that would mean that they are just a bunch of crazy people who want to scare children with no larger goal in mind. I was giving them the benefit of the doubt by assuming that they are clearly crazy, and clearly not very logical, but that they might be crazy illogical people who at least were trying to make a particular point.

  113. #114 Sean O'Doherty
    February 27, 2010

    @Douglas Watts

    Are you going to spam EVERY thread on this subject? You keep making false assumptions and it makes you sound ignorant.

  114. #115 Dale Husband
    February 27, 2010

    Douglas Watts, it seems that, blinded by your fanaticism, you totally missed the point of the blog entry above. Are you one of those animal rights loons that has been threatening animal researchers? If so, you should be locked up, ASAP, before you KILL someone!

  115. #116 Troublesome Frog
    February 27, 2010

    When I see mainstream “science” commit itself to a program which phases out vivisection by date certain, this post would have credibility.

    Translation: When people agree to unconditionally surrender to my position, I’ll start considering the possibility of negotiation.

  116. #117 vishal
    February 28, 2010

    Good to know that Scientists are coming forward

  117. #118 John C. Welch
    February 28, 2010

    to all the…’experts’ who think you can use computers instead of animals..

    Please, do be dears, and point us to the developer of this most wonderous program that completely, and totally, and *accurately* models 100% of human biology, across the entire range of humanity, including, but not limited to reaction to all chemicals, known and unknown, drug interations, known and unknown, that also includes all disease, known and unknown genetic disorder, etc.

    You all seem to think that there’s some magical computer program that does this, so point us to it. Show us the link.

    Otherwise, show us the billions in funding to create it.

    Because if you want computer modeling to 100% replace testing in animals and/or humans, that is just a *vague* overview of what that computer model will have to do. Since you’re *so* sure it exists, show it to us. Bring us that evidence.

  118. #119 browne
    February 28, 2010

    Douglas Watts “When I see mainstream “science” commit itself to a program which phases out vivisection by date certain, this post would have credibility. Without such a pledge and plan, you are basically saying that scientists are separate from the rest of society and should not be held to the standards the rest of society must live up to.”

    You’re wrong at least twice here. Firstly recent polls (Pew etc) show the majority of US society accept the need for animal research and support it, despite the fact that most will have got their idea of what animal research involves from highly misleading PeTA propaganda. This is because they also recognize that animal research makes a very valuable contribution to developing cures for the illnesses they, their family and their friends, often funded by charities they support.

    As to a deadline, well that is a non-starter, there are simply too many unknowns to committ to any date. Even if you take the example of the recent national toxicology program report, which looked at overhauling the screening methods in one fairly limited area of toxicology. They don’t have a deadline and the report was frank about the fact that some animal testing would probably still be required when the changes were implemented (and that was a decade or more away). That is in an area regarded as one of the low hanging fruit of 3Rs!

    Do you really think that if deadline was set and no alternatives could be developed before it was reached animal research would stop…I kinda doubt that the many patient organizations would allow that to happen.

    Animal research won’t decrease or end because of deadlines, but as has happened with the decrease in the 1980′s it will decrease because of technological changes, and ultimately because it will have allowed us to learn enough about living systems that we don’t need it any more. Whether that heppens in 20 or 50 years time is anyone’s guess, if I knew I’d be typing this on a far fancier laptop then I am.

  119. #120 dryad
    February 28, 2010

    There ought to be a charity set up to assist people who are terrorized by animal rights extremists. Extra security for their homes and families, lawyers’ fees, and so on are probably beyond what most of these people can cover.

    Right now it is very easy for these extremists to target individuals at their homes or through threats of harm to their families.

    That needs to change.

  120. #121 Rocky Raccoon
    March 1, 2010

    I wonder what Vegans taste like?

  121. #122 vera
    March 1, 2010

    I am told humans taste like pig. Figures. Orwell looks righter all the time.

  122. #123 htr
    March 12, 2010

    Here is an idea that Derrik Jensen proposed. If the research is done in an ethical manner that minimizes suffering (as we are told) and that it is of the utmost importance to do this research for the benefit of humans and the advancement of science then I propose that the scientists themselves and all those who support them volunteer to be the test subjects of vivisection and other research methods?? Surely it is a sacrifice worth making!

    Al

    Al writes that while eating a big, tender, juicy beef, and stops a second to think if he will have chicken or maybe fish for dinner. Of course there’s the posibility Al is vegan. In that case being extremist (proposer of human being vivisection) will go with his aunt, or his parents and will ask them to volunteer to be served in his neighbor dinner.

    But that’s gross

    My point is:

    How many times people threatening Dario went to EAT a hamburger after “visiting” him with no remorse at all, that’s ironic.

  123. #124 htr
    March 12, 2010

    cdawg @84
    “you should admire those who refuse to accept torture and killing. do you believe that for the benefit of our species, animals should suffer? why, then, is it so irrational to contend that we should suffer for the benefit of animals? it is simply an inverse scenario”

    While cdawg writes that, eats a big, juicy beef and stops to grab some pork, while thinking if tomorrow will cook chicken, fish or lamb.

    He/she also steps with his/her leather shoes. But ¡hey! he/she’s vegan so he doesn’t eat meat. So he goes with his parents, aunts, nices and start yelling: “Stop hurting animals, you don’t have the right to eat them” while grabbing some family handling a knife and starts to yell them “kill your self just as you are killing porks, chickens, lambs”.

    That doesn’t result someone in his/her family (let’s say his/her parents) are still eating meat, so he grabs a bunch of people and goes to yell outside of mamma’s home. Dad comes out and everybody runs.

    Then he flies to argentina stands on the street and starts: “You have one of the biigest meat consumption in the continent, stop doing it, its not acceptable to hurt animals”.

    Wonder how cdwg manage the fact that though a monkey deserves to be treated as well as posible, I’will always put CDWG BABY above any animal he/she wants to defend

  124. #125 Avrum Rosensweig
    April 1, 2010

    I was reviewing your blog and appreciated your sentiments. Please read it at your leisure and comment. I am the founding chairperson of Ve’ahavta: The Canadian Jewish Humanitarian & Relief Committee and spend a lot of time helping people. I do appreciate helping animals but wonder what is the balance.

    Thanks, Avrum Rosensweig (http://avrum.net)

    http://avrum.net/2010/04/01/animals-remind-us-of-the-importance-of-people/