Respectful Insolence

Remember Dario Ringach?

He’s the scientist who has endured a prolonged campaign of harassment because of his animal research. I first heard of him in 2006, when, after a campaign of threatening phone calls, people frightening his children, and demonstrations in front of his home, gave up doing primate research. Terrorism and intimidation worked, but who could blame Dr. Ringach? He was afraid for his family. That’s because it was more than just threatening e-mails and phone calls, but rather the campaign of intimidation included masked thugs banging on the windows of his house at night, frightening his children, as they have done more recently at UC Santa Cruz. The last straw was when a group of truly idiotic animal rights terrorists tried to attack a colleague of Ringach’s by leaving a Molotov cocktail on her doorstep; only the incompetents got the house wrong and left their firebomb on the doorstep of an elderly neighbor. This was one of the rare cases where extreme incompetence was a good thing, because the firebomb didn’t detonate, and no one was hurt. But the message had been sent. A year and a half later, in 2008, Ringach’s case and other attacks and threats directed against UCLA researchers, such as when animal rights terrorists flooded the home of another researcher named Edythe London, led UCLA to fight back by suing extremists to stop their campaign of terrorism against researchers.

Last week, fellow ScienceBlogger and ethicist Janet Stemwedel of Adventures in Ethics and Science helped to arrange a dialogue between more moderate animal rights activists and scientists (video here). I must admit that I was very skeptical of what value this might have when I heard of it. Indeed, I had planned on a more direct discussion, although my post about debating denialists was indirectly about this conference. Even though Janet saw her conference as “dialogue, not debate,” clearly that wasn’t how a lot of the animal rights cranks saw it. They saw it as a debate. Those issues aside, Janet’s reward for reaching out was that the looniest of the loony posted her picture, phone number, office number, and e-mail address, along with a rant against Dario Ringach:

The other PRO vivisection MONSTER on the panel is Dario Ringach. His claim to fame was putting primates in restrain devices and then gluing metal coils on to the eye balls in order to study their visual cortex and then killing them (he may STILL be doing these types of experiments and YOU, as a member of the public and one who pays taxes that go to directly to UCLA, have the right to ASK HIM that question at the forum!) Ringach has teamed up with the group ‘PRO-TEST’ in order to go around spreading his message of evil, torture and murder of primates to whoever will listen.

ALLCAPS. It’s always ALLCAPS with these people.

As I said, I had actually planned on blogging my concerns, but other things intruded, namely the whole Andrew Wakefield saga. In any case, I had to give Ringach props for daring to appear in such a forum, given the spittle-flecked level of vitriol animal rights continued to direct his way even after he had given up primate research. Props to Janet, too, for at least trying. Ringach presented a strong defense of the humane use of animals in biomedical research, too. And what was his reward for this?

The crazies have targeted his children again. In a post entitled UCLA February 2010 Wrap-Up: Demos Against Primate Abusers, an animal rights thug wrote:

As you can see from the pictures, Dario has a “rent-a-cop” in front of his home twenty-four seven! This must make his family feel like Dario is a mobster for some drug cartel, (although mobsters don’t commit nearly the gruesome, hideous things to innocent beings as Dario does to primates on a regular basis.) But Ringach is definitely a criminal who perpetrates horrific atrocities on primates, so we assume that his family must be getting used to living with a “rent a cop” outside.

More ominously, the thug continues:

As the pictures indicate, neighbors came out from many of the near-by houses, took leaflets and talked to activists about how much they hate their neighbor Dario for doing “hellish primate experimentation.” One, in fact, gave an activist the name of the school one of his offspring attends! Activists plan on legally leafleting the school in order to educate fellow students what their classmate’s father does for a living.

The pictures to which the anonymous “activist” refers can be found here.

If you want any doubt that these extremists are not about rational debate or changing minds. They are about power, intimidation, and bullying. In fact, more than anything else, they remind me of radical anti-abortion protesters, who also target the children of doctors, showing up at their schools to “yell to all the students that John’s daddy is a baby killer or a child killer.” What these animal rights extremists are doing is no different. It’s bullying and thuggery, plain and simple, followed by a disingenuous disclaimer. Much as quacks think that the Quack Miranda warning will shield them from legal consquences, those responsible for this extremist website conclude several of its post with:

The reposting above is not intended to encourage the violation of any laws. Specifically, it is not “intended to cause another person to imminently use the information to commit a crime involving violence or a threat of violence against the academic researcher or his or her immediate family member .” The above is simply a post forwarded to Negotiation is Over.

Yeah. Yeah, that’s the ticket. We aren’t threatening anything…you know…illegal (although we wouldn’t be in the least bit disappointed if something bad happened to Dr. Ringach). No, no, not at all. And even if the post were threatening anything illegal, it wasn’t us who posted it anyway. Yeah, that’s the ticket. It was a post “forwarded” to us, yeah. Pay no attention to our saying about another researcher David Jentsch, that “what goes around comes around and we’re hopeful that in time his hideous ‘Karma’ will catch up to him and he’ll be forced to receive the final payment he deserves.” Perish the thought that we’re encouraging anyone to do anything bad (although we’d very much like to see Ringach or Jenstsch dead or at least make his life miserable). We’re just telling people where someone we hate lives, where he works, and where his children go to school, all the while telling people what an evil, evil man we think he is and how he deserves horrible things to happen to him. It’d be a real shame if Ringach were to slip and fall and break his skull, wouldn’t it? Or if a “mechanical fault” caused his car to blow up with him in it. (Oh wait. That’d be Dr. Jentsch.) At the very least we want to scare the crap out of Ringach’s wife and children and make Ringach fear for their safety, just as some anti-vaccine activists have targeted Paul Offit in similar ways.

That reminds me: Where were these animal rights “activists” when Andrew Wakefield was torturing baby Macacque monkeys in the name of horrendously bad science designed to be used as a “made for court” study against vaccine manufacturers?

But I digress.

The animal rights activists making the threats may make fun of the “rent-a-cop” guarding Ringach’s house, but if I were Ringach, I’d want a 24 hour armed guard at my house, too. These people are scary and unbalanced. In fact, if I were Ringach, I’d also seriously consider buying a couple of handguns and learning how to use them. I’ve never owned a gun in my life, but if I were in the sites of these thugs, I’d seriously consider changing that situation. They think nothing of invading property and intentionally intimidating people. Some of them have tried to firebomb researchers houses and cars. You have to take that sort of threat seriously.

None of my rant is to be interpreted as meaning that I do not support the humane treatment of animals and oppose inhumanity and cruelty. I do. Very strongly. However, as I’ve discussed before, animal rights activists are not about promoting the humane treatment of animals as much as they are about an ideology that proclaims animal rights to be the equal of human rights. (Which, come to think of it, makes the images of animal rights extremists marching past Ringach’s house with pet dogs on leashes seem rather incongruous–isn’t keeping pets slavery in the view of animal rights activists?)

Animal rights extremists confuse animal welfare, which encompasses the humane use of animals designed to minimize suffering and enhance quality of life, with animal rights, an ideology that states that animals have an intrinsic right not to be controlled by humans. That means no killing, ever, no zoos, no cages, no eating them, no using them in research, no riding–not even keeping them as pets or putting them on leashes, which is why I found the pictures of these animal rights extremists walking dogs on leashes by Ringach’s house so startling. (It didn’t help that the dog reminded me of my poor, late, lamented Echo.) A consequence of this belief is that doing experiments on animals is viewed as no different from a moral perspective from doing experiments on humans, and to them all animal experimentation is “vivisection.” From this flow the allusions to Nazis and the Holocaust and considering their opponents to be murderers and torturers, as they state so baldly in this post about Ringach:

At least intellectually, I think I understand how you are able to commit such despicable atrocities. Like all torture-murderers, you devalue and objectify the victim in order to enjoy the fetishized obscenity. I think the closest comparison I can draw is to David Parker Ray. He imprisoned, restrained, terrorized, and, with masterful precision, sadistically tortured and mutilated his victims — exactly like you. Ray referred to his victims as “packages.” You refer to your victims as “research.” The two of you may have been twins separated at birth. But Ray is dead.

See what I mean? In the twisted world of animal rights extremists, any scientist who does animal research must be a cackling sadist getting his rocks off on the suffering and killing of animals. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, most of us don’t even like doing animal research that much; we do it because it is the best or only way to obtain the scientific answers we seek. We do it because it leads to treatments that save lives. Moreover, few are the animal researchers who don’t realize that there are difficult ethical issues involved in the use of animals in research, particularly non-human primates. We acknowledge it. Although few people have much trouble with using mice or rats for research, when it comes to dogs, cats, or primates, the ethical issues get thornier. To animal rights extremists, though, it’s all black and white, whether a researcher is using a mouse or a monkey. Moreover, a huge effort has gone into tighter regulation of animal facilities and efforts to minimize the use of animals, particularly primates, in research. Indeed, any time I write an NIH grant, I have to spend several pages justifying the proposed use of animals, detailing how they will be used, justifying statistically the numbers, species, and ages proposed, and explaining how we will minimize pain and suffering. And I only work with mice. The requirements are much

The dehumanization of researchers as sadistic mini-Mengeles, however, is why the animal rights extremists in question consider themselves morally superior to–well, pretty much everyone else–and free to harass and attack Ringach and his family. It’s why idiots like disgraced surgeon Jerry Vlasak, of whom NIO appears to be a big fan, defending him because he is a surgeon even though Vlasak doesn’t appear to have practiced trauma surgery in quite a while, thinks it’s hunky-dory to assassinate researchers to save animals–although, one notes, he apparently doesn’t have the courage of his convictions to do it himself. Instead, he tries to “inspire” young, idealistic, and gullible “activists” to do the dirty work of intimidation and threats. Of course, animal rights extremists often intentionally blur the distinction between animal welfare and their true believes, because most people would consider animal welfare to be a respectable goal. In fact, the NIO website has an article on this very issue, and it is rather amusing how confused its view on animal rights versus animal welfare is:

In direct response to the wretched reformism and opportunism of bureaucratic “welfarism,” a new movement emerged to reconstruct nonhuman animal advocacy unequivocally as a struggle for animal rights, not “welfare”; for the total abolition of nonhuman animal slavery rather than its regulation; and for veganism, not “humane” animal-derived products of any kind. To a significant degree, the new vegan abolitionist movement has been shaped and defined by the work of Gary Francione, professor of law at Rutgers University. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Francione exposed the duplicity of “new welfarists” who use the term “animal rights” but pursue “welfarist” policies. These policies, Francione argues, are incoherent and dilute the meaning of rights; “welfarism” in any form, he insists, works to the benefit of industries and thus increases, rather than decreases, the demand for animal-derived products; it only aggravates, rather than alleviates, speciesism and the plight of nonhuman animals in horrific systems of exploitation.

The animal rights loons who run the NIO website don’t like Francione, actually, but they basically agree with his premise that animals should never be used by human beings. They want to tie animal liberation to a potpourri of radical political causes that sounds as though it is the sort of thing that Monty Python so aptly skewered in The Life of Brian, linking animal rights to removing the “crushing loadstones of anthropocentrism, speciesism, patriarchy, racism, classism, statism, heterosexism, ableism, and every other pernicious form of hierarchical domination.” Help, help, I’m being repressed! Oh, wait. I’m mixing movies. Still, it seems appropriate, given the word salad of “isms” against which our intrepid NIOmeisters rail.

I suppose it’s some consolation that the moderate animal rights advocates who don’t espouse intimidation and violence and agreed to participate in the UCLA panel discussion are apparently catching quite a bit of flak for their decision. For example, Dr. Ray Greek (whose truly awful arguments against animal research I have discussed before) wrote a lengthy defense of his decision to participate in the discussion. Here’s a key quote:

If activists wish to engage in direct action, promote direct action, condone violence in the pursuit of certain outcomes and so forth, so be it. (Now is not the time and this is not the forum for a debate about the ethics of such actions and positions.) But it is disingenuous to simultaneously act in the ways described above and then feign surprise and offense when society does not take seriously their request to participate in an event that functions in the confines of the norms of society. You cannot have it both ways.

I may have trashed Dr. Greek before, but he’s spot on in his assessment above. Animal rights extremists do want it both ways. In any case, their attacks on Dr. Greek for agreeing to dialogue instead of “direct action” support Janet’s assertion that the extremists like those at NIO endanger civil society. They can’t tolerate even squishy moderation. You’re either with them completely, or you’re a heinous, evil beast worthy of whatever they deem you to deserve. Even so, one notes that NIO and the Animal Liberation Front use just words to criticize Greek for not sticking to the party orthodoxy with respect to their demands for “total animal liberation.” Greek doesn’t have to worry about masked thugs coming to his house in the middle of the night to frighten and intimidate his family, as Ringach does, or about mobs of protesters trying to force their way into his house on a Sunday afternoon, as a researcher at UC Santa Cruz did.

Contrary to the stereotype of animal rights extremists, researchers are not “little Mengeles,” only with animals. I have no doubt that there probably was a time in the past when the concern for alleviating the suffering of experimental animals was inadequate, but that was before I entered the biomedical research field as an investigator. Since I’ve been in the field, I’ve seen only increasingly strict regulation. I encounter this every year when I have to renew my mouse protocols and every time I write a grant. Each year, it seems, the amount of detail demanded grows and the objections increase, even for what would have been approved without question a mere five years ago. Animal research is highly regulated, far above what it was before, and that IACUCs have become almost as strict in regulating animal research as Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) have become in regulating human research. The stereotype of the cruel “vivisectionist” that ALF and its fellow radicals like to promote just isn’t true. Animal research is one of the most highly regulated activities that scientists do. It’s not as highly regulated as human subjects research, but it’s getting there.

Of course, animal rights extremists don’t care, because they are not about animal welfare; they are about animal liberation. To them all animal research is torture and “vivisection.” They are also profoundly anti-scientific–Luddite, even. Animal rights activists deny that animal research has ever produced any advances in medicine, a claim that is not just demonstrably false, but risibly, contemptibly false. They claim more than that, namely that animal research is misleading, that it actually slows down medical progress. They argue that computer models and cell culture can substitute for animal research. Would that were true! But that, too, is false.

I have a proposal for the animal rights extremists. Can we make a deal here, animal rights “activists” cum terrorists? Can we just agree to leave the children out of it? Is any cause worth traumatizing children over? Is any cause worth intimidating children, trying to mess up their lives and turn them against their parents? Whatever you think of their parents, children can’t choose their parents, and they don’t deserve having the likes of you drag them into your disagreement with their parents. A six year old does not understand the moral or political arguments you make; he only understands that scary people are telling his friends that his daddy is a murderer. Let me just put it this way. You appear to value animal rights far more than human rights. In fact, I’ll say that you don’t give the proverbial rodent’s posterior about any human rights other than your own, given how you think nothing of violating the rights of children if they happen to be the children of your enemies.

Not that I expect animal rights extremists to see reason in this.

That’s why I join Janet in calling out these thugs. They need to be exposed, their actions. They need to be called out with comments on their blog. Scientists and citizens who support science need to oppose them when they infest various discussion forums and newspaper letters sections. When they protest in demonstrations, scientists need to organize counterdemonstrations, the way Pro-Test and UCLA Pro-Test do. When animal rights extremists launch campaigns to influence legislators, scientists and citizens supporting science need to oppose them. The public needs to be educated about the benefits and fruits of animal research, and the fallacious arguments of animal rights extremists exposed.

In their own way, animal rights extremists are every bit as dire a threat to public health as anti-vaccine activists and their ideology every bit as immune to reason and science as that of any creationist. True, their activities won’t lead to epidemics now, but if unchecked over time their activities will degrade medical research and slow the advance of medical science to a crawl. You and I may not pay the price, but our children and our children’s children certainly will. That is why the time for silent acquiescence, for hunkering down, is past.

ADDENDUM: PZ Myers has weighed in, and I note that a few commenters have tried to engage the animal rights extremist on the NIO blog. They have failed, but in the attempt they have shown just how irrational and hate-filled the animal rights extremists are. For instance, a commenter named Rob wrote:

You people are inconsistent. Animal research has helped millions of human beings live better lives. Your moral compass is so out of whack it leads you to believe that animal research is out of line, and yet, blowing up researchers is justice.

He too has a “rent-a-cop” in front of his house twenty-four hours a day, ever since his car was blown up last year. Most everyone agrees that it would have been great if he had been in it!

I don’t know anyone who would agree with that besides some seriously sick-minded individuals. If you have issues with animal testing, this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. Pass legislation, talk to your congresspeople. Blowing up researchers makes you terrorists, and nobody is going to value your cause when it has this kind of sick-minded logic behind it.

NIO’s Camille Marino responded:

no rob,

you are inconsistent!

would you mutilate your dog or cat?

should we have panel discussions with pedophiles?

should we compromise with rapists so that we can come to some happy medium?

if there was no money involved, these sadistic freaks would be plying their trade on neighborhood children in backyard bunkers.

if daddy makes a living bathing in blood, you have to expect some of it to drip off onto junior.

camille

Actually, that’s the reason why I think that it’s pointless to try to engage people like Camille. Should we have a panel discussion of someone who thinks her position so morally superior that she has the right to target innocent children, someone who views us as on the same moral plane as pedophiles and rapists, who places the “rights” of animals above the rights of human beings to the point where she thinks violence against humans is justified in the name of her cause?

I would say: Absolutely not. She has a right to free speech, even speech as hateful as the above. However, jail her when she breaks the law, and throw away the key to the cell door. Also note that Camille says:

And my answer is that I unequivocally support violence if it will stop the violent.

That’s about as clear a statement as you can find, just as clear as Jerry Vlasak’s advocating assassinating researchers to stop animal research.

Does anyone want to make a bet about how long it takes Camille to start deleting comments criticizing her advocacy of targeting children–or any critical comments at all? No doubt NIO won’t like having the light of day shined on its cesspit of irrational hate.

Comments

  1. #1 Paul Browne
    February 24, 2010

    Thanks for the support Orac!

    David made some suggestions (see below)on Janet’s blog for anyone who wishes to do something about this situation. I’ll only add a recommendation that you also sign the Pro-Test petition at http://www.amprogress.org/petition

    “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.”

  2. #2 bobh
    February 24, 2010

    If animals=humans then humans=animals. Animals eat other animals, therefore humans can eat other animals.

  3. #3 Bijan Parsia
    February 24, 2010

    A few quibbles (though I generally agree that these folks are loons; PETA, for example, regularly goes for sexist and racist imagery in its quest for animal lib).

    Animal rights extremists confuse animal welfare, which encompasses the humane use of animals designed to minimize suffering and enhance quality of life, with animal rights, an ideology that states that animals have an intrinsic right not to be controlled by humans.

    Let’s grant that most of these extremists are confused in any number of ways (e.g., “Animal Mutilator Dario Ringach is extremely rude… he NEVER responds to emails” — Somehow I don’t think “Animal Mutilator” is a Miss Manner’s approved mode of address.) However, I don’t think holding an animal rights ethical view is a confusion of animal welfare with animal rights. Whether you think animals have rights is a substantive ethical position. It may be wrong. It may be wrong to think that every animal rights view entails no experimentation (e.g., most of us hold that humans have rights, but that experimentation on humans is often permissible). But I don’t see how it’s a confusion. If you think that animals have rights (in a strong sense), and, in particular, they have a right to be free of non-consensual, not-for-their benefit pain, and, as is generally the case, animals can’t consent, then, yes, you are committed to banning most experimentation, regardless of the benefits.

    It’s possible to find that position loathsome, but it’s coherent.

    Similarly, just because animals have rights doesn’t mean that they have arbitrary rights. For example, children have rights, but we’re allow to do things to our children that we aren’t allowed to do to (nonconsenting) adults (e.g., determine their course of treatment).

    And of course, you can think that regardless of whether animals have rights, it’s morally wrong to abuse them (to no purpose).

  4. #4 hyperdeath
    February 24, 2010

    Most of these “animal rights” extremists are just thugs looking for an excuse. Had they lived in Alabama 100 years ago, they would be leading lynch mobs. Had they lived in Germany 75 years ago, they would have been burning Jewish shops. If they lived in modern day Iran, they would be beating up student demonstrators.

  5. #5 Nostrum
    February 24, 2010

    Lovely people. I once saw PETA protesters at a March of Dimes rally. They were less bullies and more deluded sheep in this case. They told me that animal research had “not lead anywhere.” As the parent of preemies, I know otherwise. Animal research is one of the reason my kids are alive today. Not to mention one of the reasons those protesters didn’t catch Polio.

    Those kids with their stickers could probably be reasoned with, but I’m not sure it’s worth having your family threatened by people that clearly can’t see reason.

  6. #6 Ruth
    February 24, 2010

    And if one of these loonies injures themselves with a faulty bomb, will the evil medical researchers have to sew them back together?

    Deer have damaged my yard. Where can I sue them for compensation? With animal rights comes animal responsibilities.

  7. #7 DLC
    February 24, 2010

    These crumbs make me angry.
    Too much so to be polite about it.
    Although I agree with hyperdeath @4:
    most of these people would just love being football hooligans in Britain. Of course, it’s easy to terrorize a researcher and his family. Six year olds don’t fight back very well, do they?

  8. #8 Todd W.
    February 24, 2010

    Given the terrorist nature of many of these people, perhaps something akin to Anonymous could be started (not sure if PRO-TEST is like that or not), so that people could feel at least a little safer protesting them.

    And another thought, what is the FBI doing to counter this domestic terrorism?

  9. #9 bug_girl
    February 24, 2010

    I am just keeping my fingers crossed that these folks don’t come into the midwest–it’s a scary time to be working with animals. Our dairy farm has had to take many precautions. And our research topic is animal health and welfare!

  10. #10 Zaher Bey
    February 24, 2010

    Don’t these people watch Animal Planet? Animals are assholes. Especially the more intelligent ones. I can’t for the life of me figure where they get the impression that animals are innocent of anything.

  11. #11 Dianne
    February 24, 2010

    Don’t these people watch Animal Planet?

    No, they don’t. They don’t know anything about animals. People who spend time with animals and actually like animals join the humane society or become veterinarians or become animal care experts in research labs. These people just like the idea of the innocent animal, as contrasted with the evils of humanity. Fundamentally, they’re luddites.

  12. #12 Anonymouse
    February 24, 2010

    The logical inconsistencies of these people are kind of staggering. For example, they claim that the natural human diet is vegan, yet it’s impossible to sustain a vegan diet long-term without taking B12 supplements. There’s also the insistence on using synthetic products over animal products even when the animal products are less polluting to the environment and ultimately less harmful to animal populations as a whole. Just nutty all around. I think #10 above nails it–Luddites who don’t actually know anything about animals.

  13. #13 Shawn
    February 24, 2010

    “You can’t hug your children with nuclear arms!”

    *thud*

    “Check please”

  14. #14 BB
    February 24, 2010

    @#12: Anonymouse,you make excellent points. And B12 supplements come from: ANIMALS!!

    Excellent, excellent post, Orac. I’ll be spreading a link to it.

  15. #15 Todd W.
    February 24, 2010

    If animals have the right to not be harmed, then where are the terrorists animal rights activists protesting around lion prides, alongside the Nile, etc.?

  16. #16 Paul Browne
    February 24, 2010

    “That reminds me: Where were these animal rights loons when Orac “Andrew Wakefield was torturing baby Macacque monkeys in the name of horrendously bad science designed to be used as a “made for court” study?”

    Perhaps crank magnetism also acts as a force field that protects cranks from other cranks.

    I suspect the AR extremists took one look at AoA or Generation Rescue and thought “these folk are even more unbalanced than we are…and there are more of them. Lets find an easier target; somebody who is doing ethical and scientifically sound research and doesn’t have an army of cranks to call on”.

  17. #17 Anonymouse
    February 24, 2010

    And B12 supplements come from: ANIMALS!!

    Actually, the supplements use a synthetic form of the vitamin. But still, if your diet requires you to take a manufactured supplement in order to prevent permanent neurological damage, you can’t say it’s a “natural” diet.

  18. #18 Adam_Y
    February 24, 2010

    Perhaps crank magnetism also acts as a force field that protects cranks from other cranks.

    I suspect the AR extremists took one look at AoA or Generation Rescue and thought “these folk are even more unbalanced than we are…and there are more of them. Lets find an easier target; somebody who is doing ethical and scientifically sound research and doesn’t have an army of cranks to call on”.

    Actually if you look at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s stance of animal testing of homeopathy its weird. They rightfully complain about the animal testing but ignore the fact that it has no chance of working which makes it even more heinous.

  19. #19 Andreas Schaefer
    February 24, 2010

    I suggest to take animal rights activists by their word and refuse them anything remotely connected with the use of aniimals.
    No wool , no leather and since all surgeons did their fisr steps by dissecting frogs ( I suppose ) no surgery. No medicine that has ever been tested on animals. No cosmetics that has been tested on animals.


    I mean if they have convictions they should live* by them. After all if someone was a radical anti-gun activist but kept a dozen guns for private use one would regard him as hypocrite.

    Also I wonder where they draw the difference between animals and ‘lower lifeforms’ Are single cell organism animals ? Don’t have cells a ‘right to live’ ?

  20. #20 Ian
    February 24, 2010

    Once again I’m not going to win the popularity prize here, but I’m not sure that the ends of these “activists” are wrong. At least from a logical standpoint. Their means are absolutely wrong, and if I ever meet one I’m sucker-punching him/her in the throat (Canadian protesters tend to be a bit more moderate – big surprise).

    If this is the wrong forum for this discussion, I’ll drop the issue and take it elsewhere.

    We can all get behind the maxim “slavery is ethically wrong.” But what if, instead of systematically oppressing a subset of the population because of skin colour, we kidnapped only a handful of them? And what if, instead of putting them to work in the fields, we sedated them and, while taking pains to be humane, attached them to terminal patients to act as human dialysis machines. Furthermore, once the slaves died, we harvested their organs and transplanted them into other people, saving a half-dozen lives per slave. It doesn’t make it any less ethically wrong, just because we’ve contrived a tangible benefit from it.

    The analogy falls apart because animals aren’t humans, but that seems a fairly arbitrary division. The criteria for “humanity” seems to be eroding. Some animals have been shown to exhibit self-recognition, abstract reasoning, future planning, tool use – all of which have been cited, at various points, as the essential trait of human-ness. We’d be similarly uncomfortable saying that a person with severe brain damage is no longer human because he cannot perform those same feats. Furthermore, this same argument was used as justification during the era of African slavery.

    I guess my difficulty is that there doesn’t seem to be a easily-discernible line between what constitutes a “human” and an “animal”, except insofar as we can arbitrarily show species favouritism. If anyone has heard of a better argument, I’d love to hear it because I recognize the importance of animal research; however, I also recognize the importance of policies being founded on rational, ethical principles even when the consequences are uncomfortable (free speech being foremost among those). Especially if we are going to make the “ends do not justify means” argument, which could, along the lines I’ve outlined above, be turned right back against us.

  21. #21 Calli Arcale
    February 24, 2010

    Okay, so if I’m understanding the animal rights people correctly, if you do as they ask and stop experimenting on animals, your reward will be . . . for them to continue the same campaign of terror and intimidation that they carried on before!!!

    So what motivation, exactly, do animal researchers have to stop using animals in their research, if the terrorism will continue regardless? Apart from a faint hope that the crazies will leave them alone?

    I think we can indeed have a sane, rational discussion about how best to treat animals. And I believe we need to have that discussion repeatedly, with people there to represent both the point of view of human needs for animals and the point of view of the animals’ needs and wellbeing. The problem is, these people aren’t interested in a discussion. They’re not even interested in the welfare of the animals. They aren’t even thinking about the animals anymore; it’s all just raw emotion. Unthinking rage.

    I feel for the “rent-a-cop”. My brother-in-law used to work as a security guard, and it’s a thankless job. Especially in Minneapolis, where the police would rather let private security guards do their job for them. Especially at the University of Minnesota, where he was on duty when the ALF attacked. Fortunately, he was not on duty in the particular building where ALF did their thing. When his turn to watch that building came around a few weeks later, he was on edge the whole time.

  22. #22 Mike
    February 24, 2010

    First, if any of those thugs come on your property just shoot them down. They pose an eminent danger. Second, stop using animals in research and use these cretins instead. It’ll save animals and eliminate a threat to society. I sure wouldn’t play nice with those idiots.

  23. #23 Bob
    February 24, 2010

    I really hate to say it, but yes, if I were in this position I’d probably own half a dozen .45 automatics and a large supply of Glaser safety slugs.

    I wonder how the law views putting medium animal traps outside ground floor windows. Granted, I’d have no desire to actually trap or injure an innocent animal, so the triggering pressure would have to be substantially increased.

    I’m not a violent person and I would much rather this be handled via law enforcement and the legal system, but when a fringe minority has decided the gloves have come off, rational discussion is counterproductive, and concludes they are above the law regarding direct action, I see vigilante defense as a completely reasonable response.

    It should never reach that stage but sadly, it often does (see Eric Rudolph, Dr. Tiller’s murderer, Al Qaida, &c.) Public opinion galvanizes around horrific incidents; the problem for the individual is to avoid being the victim of the aforementioned galvanizing incident.

    I’ve listened to interviews with Peter Singer, philosopher and author of Animal Liberation, and while I may not completely agree with him, I find his ethical arguments extremely interesting. He does what a good philosopher should; he challenges your assumptions and really makes you think, and he does so in a calm tone of voice with no hyperbole or calls for harrassment or murder. He seems like the last person in the world to firebomb someone’s house or terrorize someone’s children.

    I cannot begrudge people a different ethical outlook. It’s through blogs like Orac’s that I’ve learned about ethical protocols for medical and psychological research. It looks like a lot of people are trying to do the right thing, imperfectly navigating very complex ethical waters.

    And then there is this small group self-righteous, violent, anti-intellectuals hellbent on terrorizing anyone who doesn’t completely buy into their ideology, akin to a suburban version of the Khmer Rouge. So while I wish this all could be resolved calmly by rationality or rule of law, I’m not so naive to believe that’s possible. If the escalation in violence by the fringe continues, someone is going to get seriously injured or killed. I can only hope that person is not a researcher, family member or bystander. I don’t wish them dead but when they engage in literal violence and terrorism, what choice does an individual have but to pull the trigger in self-defense?

  24. #24 Raging Bee
    February 24, 2010

    The criteria for “humanity” seems to be eroding.

    Only in the eyes of people who have no respect for their fellow humans.

    And I’m with Mike here: these unhinged loonies will NOT be deterred by laws or lawsuits. People targeted by their harassment (I’m still a bit reluctant to call it “terrorism”…for now) need to buy guns, become proficient at their use, and, when directly threatened by people who invade their property and threaten their families, shoot to kill. Teh PETA folks will scream, some scientists might go to jail (which may not be worse than living under PETA’s threats), but it’s a pretty safe bet that in the long run, the physical harassment will stop. These people are bullies, and bullies are cowards. (Why do you think they harass rich women who wear fur, but not bikers who wear leather?)

  25. #25 Mu
    February 24, 2010

    I wonder how animal rights terrorists deal with guard dogs, especially if said victims of human oppression are extracting their dinner from their gluteus maximus. Can you hurt animals if the animals fight on the wrong side?

  26. #26 Anonymouse
    February 24, 2010

    Ian, I’m not well-versed in the animal liberation ideology, but I do think there is always going to be some arbitrary line drawing when it comes to these arguments, as there is in the abortion debate (cut off period for legal abortion), end-of-life care debate (at what point in a person’s illness is it okay to withdraw food and water) and so on. We’d love to be 100% logically and rationally consistent in all circumstances but it’s pretty much impossible.

  27. #27 micheleinmichigan
    February 24, 2010

    I don’t often comment of read here but this post caught me eye. It makes me very angry and then very sad. Sometimes I get very frustrated with how people act.

    I agree with Paul Browne’s linked suggestions on steps to take, particularly “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, etc”

    After some soul searching I have to add another step. Always question the use of threats, subversive tactics, incindary talk, violence, sabotaging that may cause harm, regardless of how important or ethical your cause may be. Before you start any campaign set group rules on what you believe is ethical behavior and stick to it.

    Around many controversies there are fringes on each side that believe their cause is important enough to warrant these tactics. People get angry and cross a line that they wouldn’t in a different frame of mind. This generates a culture of war that only reinforces the same behavior in opposing and other unrelated groups.

    I am sorry to sound Pollyannaish and even sorrier to sound like I’m preaching at a bunch of strangers who are justifiably angry. Mostly I’ve come to the above conclusion to decrease my sadness at how some people behave so badly and to feel that by behaving better myself I could somehow offset their behavior.

  28. #28 realinterrobang
    February 24, 2010

    The analogy falls apart because animals aren’t humans, but that seems a fairly arbitrary division.

    Uh, not really. We abolished human slavery in civilised parts of the world in part at least because human beings demanded their rights. (Granted, the in-group does have to allow the out-group to have its rights.)

    I’ll be for that kind of “animal rights” as soon as animals start demanding them. Until then, that’s where I at least draw the line. Anything that’s self-aware and ethically aware enough to ask for freedom and rights — and to assume the corresponding responsibilities — ought to get those freedoms and rights, but most animals aren’t.

  29. #29 Karl Withakay
    February 24, 2010

    How do the animal rights activists propose to stop the pro-vivisection, murderous, monsterous lions in Africa from mutilating, torturing, and murdering gazelles?

    These cold, evil animals (likely fans of Joesph Melange) often don’t even wait for their victims to expire before consuming them WHILE THEY ARE STILL ALIVE!

  30. #30 Alareth
    February 24, 2010

    Whenever I’m presented with the “vegan is the natural diet” BS I like to point out all humans have canines, teeth designed for the ripping and tearing of meat, and that evolution is causing us to lose our molars and appendix.

  31. #31 Rita Wing
    February 24, 2010

    Thanks,Bijan Parsia and Ian, for notably restrained and logical posts, in marked contrast to much of the mud that seems to have been stirred up from the bottom by this rather unbalanced entry.

    People who behave in unethical ways can expect to be called to account for their behaviours, however righteous they feel their cause to be: all civil rights protesters, suffragettes and so forth expected and received treatment most of us would hope to avoid in our usually timorous protests against oppression of various sorts.

    Whilst in no way favouring causing suffering to human animals in the course of a protest, I wish people would stick to the ethical nitty-gritty of vivisection – it may be expedient, but it’s morally wrong – the famous three R’s go a fair way to admitting this, and they are respected by the entire scientific community.

    The right of sentient beings of any species not to be exploited as chattel property merely because they are arrayed against superior technological power is not an extremist view, it is a logically defensible one. The overwhelming majority of those who hold this view abhor violence and cruelty practised in any direction, but they are not to be put off the ethical scent by welfarism or wild accusations of “terrorism” which leave intact the notion that might is right and that the ends justify the means. This is true neither for one side NOR the other.

  32. #32 Mark
    February 24, 2010

    First, Ian @ 20, thanks for the thoughtful approach to the discussion. I don’t agree with your position, but at least you seem to be someone I can discuss the issue with.

    Second, to call these people thugs is to do yourselves a disservice. What’s happening between animal researchers and these groups is a form of combat, so far mostly non-violent, but combat none-the-less.

    In “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu says:

    “So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
    If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
    If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.”

    The groups are organized in the same way many terrorist groups are, they have a command structure broken into leadership and soldiers. The leaders want power and control. The soldiers are mostly disenfranchised, angry, young people who are unwilling to think for themselves and are easily manipulated.

    The people you see at the protests are mostly the soldiers, and shooting them, as some commenters have suggested, only escalates an already bad situation, and gains nothing.

    You also need to recognize that logic will not work, extremists of any kind are not driven by logic, they are driven by rage.

    Obviously this is a simplification, and some of them are just old fashioned sociopaths, but in general these groups fit the profile of any other terrorist group.

    If you wish to combat these kinds of groups, you first have to understand how they work and what motivates them.

  33. #33 Raging Bee
    February 24, 2010

    Rita: this entry was an attempt to report facts about the behavior of certain “animal rights” thugs, and the consequences of such behavior. Calling such a post “unbalanced” only proves you’re the unbalanced one.

    I’m with realinterrobang: animals are nowhere near sentient enough to be able to demand, understand, or exercise “rights” as we humans understand the concept. So giving them “rights” is meaningless and useless. I wanted my cats to be free to roam about outside; but my house is surrounded by streets they couldn’t sensibly negotiate, so they had to stay inside, otherwise they would have been killed by things they were simply not equipped to understand or deal with.

    Animals don’t have rights; but humans, as the master race, have obligations toward other species, just as all rulers have obligations toward those they rule. IMHO that means, among other things, no UNNECESSARY cruelty to animals. I support animal experimentation — provided such experiments really are properly done and can reasonably be expected to yield useful information. Not all animal experiments meet that standard.

  34. #34 muttpupdad
    February 24, 2010

    I have never seen anyone in a wheelchair at the protest in front of my lab, just really heathy people.

  35. #35 Zaher Bey
    February 24, 2010

    Thanks,Bijan Parsia and Ian, for notably restrained and logical posts, in marked contrast to much of the mud that seems to have been stirred up from the bottom by this rather unbalanced entry.

    Ah yes, the I’m better than you because I couch my insults in fancy-talk trick.

  36. #36 Anthro
    February 24, 2010

    Of course these extremists are unhinged and dangerous. They are locked up regularly by the FBI as well they should. Having made that clear, I want to say that I am–rationally, I think–opposed to experimentation involving our closest relatives–the great apes. I have worked in support of Jane Goodall’s work to limit the years of service to research that chimpanzees have to give and then be allowed a comfortable retirement. I do not see how we can consider ourselves worthy of some “higher status” when we deliberately cause pain and suffering to creatures that we share so much with. Those who hate racism, sexism, ageism should not embrace specieism. I know the line has to be drawn somewhere, but I am disturbed by some of the comments here that take the view that if a creature can’t “ask for it’s rights” than it doesn’t deserve them or that “responsibilities come with rights”. These things do not apply to human children and chimpanzees are not very different from two-year-old children.

  37. #37 Denice Walter
    February 24, 2010

    I wonder how the basic beliefs promulgated by woo( with which we’re all *too* familiar)directly or indirectly contribute to this movement in its more radical forms:1.an idealization of the natural world(e.g.plants are “medicines”, animals are “innocent”,the “wisdom” of nature,the “wisdom” of ancient peoples,”organic” farming),2. a demonization of science: scientists,doctors,pharmaceutical treatments, universities(e.g.”medical industrial complex”,the “drug” cartel,”Big Pharma”,”BigFarm”,industrial “toxins”),3.the idea that there is an all-emcompassing “Plan” to overtake and re-structure the natural world and enslave opponents?Certainly, fuel for the fire..

  38. #38 Rene Najera
    February 24, 2010

    You can’t negotiate or reason with loons. You just can’t. Period. In my country, Texas, we have a way of dealing with threats… And it is fast. And it is painful.

  39. #39 Todd W.
    February 24, 2010

    One of the primary failings of these sorts, I think (apart from their unthinking rage), is in their belief that humans have the current ability to duplicate the complexity of a living creature in an artificial construct (e.g., computer models). There is so incredibly much that we just don’t know and wouldn’t even think to account for, that any model we create would be necessarily lacking.

    What they seem to forget (or just don’t deem important enough to address) is that this would lead to far greater risk to human subjects involved in research of new medical products. It is not unlikely that we would have many, many more individuals dying or being severely/permanently injured from new prospective products. This, in turn, would likely have a chilling effect on people volunteering to be subjects in research, thus slowing or even halting lines of new development and advancement in medical knowledge and treatment.

    They are, quite frankly, idiots.

  40. #40 Dianne
    February 24, 2010

    Some animals have been shown to exhibit self-recognition, abstract reasoning, future planning, tool use – all of which have been cited, at various points, as the essential trait of human-ness.

    And quite a number, demonstrably, do not. Mice show no signs of self-awareness on the mirror test, to give one example. I’d be willing to severely restrict research on chimpanzees and other great apes, elephants, and dolphins if animal rights activists would then acknowledge that the animals most often being used really don’t have a lot of mentation to worry about.

    We’d be similarly uncomfortable saying that a person with severe brain damage is no longer human because he cannot perform those same feats.

    No, but if the brain damage is severe enough (that is, brain death) we might well call them “dead” and harvest their organs. If the damage is less severe but bad enough that the chances of meaningful consciousness are low, then we feel comfortable letting family members withdraw care, including food, water, and ventilator support. We feel comfortable letting people make statements (living wills) saying that they do not want further care if their brains are close to non-functional. So why the excess worry about killing an animal like a frog that has never had a cortex but comfort with letting a person whose cortex is no longer working die?

    Furthermore, this same argument was used as justification during the era of African slavery.

    Was it? Not saying you’re wrong, just asking for a citation. I thought the arguments for-and against-slavery in the US tended to be religious, not biology based.

  41. #41 Dan Weber
    February 24, 2010

    I wonder how the law views putting medium animal traps outside ground floor windows.

    Might be a lot like spring guns, which aren’t legal, at least for protecting property against thieves. Go look them up on Wikipedia.

    Now, if you accidentally leave a covered pit filled with feces-tipped bamboo spikes and broken glass on your property, you have no duty to protect a trespasser from falling in.

    IANAL.

  42. #42 Adam_Y
    February 24, 2010

    These things do not apply to human children and chimpanzees are not very different from two-year-old children.

    What??? Thats is the most assinine thing I have heard in a while. None of the behavior that a grown chimpanzee displyas even comes close to what a two year old would display at its worst.

  43. #43 Adam_Y
    February 24, 2010

    . I do not see how we can consider ourselves worthy of some “higher status” when we deliberately cause pain and suffering to creatures that we share so much with.

    That is the stupidest argument I have heard in a while. So you don’t care about cats,dogs, mice, or any other animals that we use animal testing for?

  44. #44 Dianne
    February 24, 2010

    @36: I am nearly with you on that one. I agree that any research on great apes needs to be as limited as possible, avoid harm to the subjects as much as possible, and provide for the subjects after the experiment is finished, and only conducted if there really is no alternative and the question is of extreme importance.

    That having been said, though, I would point out that chimpanzees in particular aren’t exactly nice. Ever seen “Life of Mammals”? There’s one scene where the (male) chimps harass and kill a chimp who isn’t getting along with them well enough. Another in which the (again male) chimps all get together and go out cruising for a vulnerable animal to attack. They end up killing a monkey with an infant if I remember correctly.

    Of course, the cruelty of other animals doesn’t imply that humans should be cruel to them. We can empathize with other animals and should use that empathy to prevent suffering as much as possible. But part of treating animals well, whether as wild animals, pets, research subjects, or even future dinners, is understanding and respecting the animals for what they are. Making sure that their needs are met, not our needs or the needs we think that they should have.

  45. #45 Mu
    February 24, 2010

    Now, if you accidentally leave a covered pit filled with feces-tipped bamboo spikes and broken glass on your property, you have no duty to protect a trespasser from falling in.

    Homeowners are routinely found negligent when kids climb their 6 ft fence and drown in their pool. So traps are out. Poorly secured climbing rose bushes around your windows on the other hand …

  46. #46 wockrassa
    February 24, 2010

    This is more or less what I posted @ the Ethics blog, as well as Pharyngula, but I felt it might bear repeating. I’m not sure why we’re not stuffing Guantanamo to the rafters with people like this “Camille”.

    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.

  47. #47 Dan Weber
    February 24, 2010

    Homeowners are routinely found negligent when kids climb their 6 ft fence and drown in their pool.

    That’s classified under attractive nuisance. It applies to children being attracted to it, which might apply to the pit, but not at all if it’s a trespassing adult who falls into it.

  48. #48 Ian
    February 24, 2010

    @realinterrobang #28 – the line you’ve drawn between animal and human doesn’t stand up. Your argument essentially boils down to “if they can’t vocalize in order to assert their rights, they don’t have any.” Unless I am completely misunderstanding what you’ve said, that argument can be evenly applied to any non-vocal or non-literate society, or conversely I could say that any sign of struggle is a demonstration of the assertion of “rights.”

    As far as the “sentience” argument goes, that seems to be the closest to a coherent, rational basis for the human dominance assertion. It is, of course, problematic because at first we (as humans) said that humans were the ONLY sentient creatures, then we added chimps, dolphins, now elephants… I guess my original point was that animals have been observed to engage in formerly “uniquely human” behaviours so it’s tough to say exactly why we are different.

    Maybe along the line of evidence-based medicine, we could say that once a species has been shown to exhibit sentience, it’s no longer ethical to experiment on them? Protesters would have to show credible, controlled studies that give convincing evidence of sentience in members of the species under dispute. That would certainly give “show me the monkeys” a new twist.

    @Diane #40

    It was. I’ll see if I can dig up a citation if you’re honestly interested in the subject. As a parallel, you can look at the justifications for denying blacks the vote in the Jim Crow era (in Woodward’s “The Strange Career of Jim Crow”). The idea was that since they couldn’t read, they weren’t citizens and therefore didn’t deserve rights. Farther back than that, “scientists” (in quotes because they used no science whatsoever) established that the Negro was a sub-species, quite different in many important characteristics than white people, and therefore inferior. You can check out “http://www.aaregistry.com/african_american_history/2420/Nigger_the_word_a_brief_history” for a brief discussion of this, but it’s, as I say, brief.

    (Interestingly, when I do a search for “nigger, science, inferior” on Google, I find that this same reasoning is still alive and well on teh interwebz)

    I am not trying to conflate these two positions, but the principle/reasoning behind them is identical even if the scale is not.

  49. #49 Raging Bee
    February 24, 2010

    I know the line has to be drawn somewhere, but I am disturbed by some of the comments here that take the view that if a creature can’t “ask for it’s rights” than it doesn’t deserve them or that “responsibilities come with rights”. These things do not apply to human children and chimpanzees are not very different from two-year-old children.

    Well, a little more common sense and a little less emotional self-righteousness would clear up any “disturbance” here. It is, quite simply, physically and mentally impossible for animals to demand, understand or exercise “rights” as we understand them; or to function as equals within our society according to a code of laws. NO ONE has observed any other species of animals showing any such capability. Pretending to give animals “rights” (and corresponding responsibilities) that they cannot consciously exercise is pure folly, and unworkable.

    There’s no point in talking about animal rights; and more to be gained by talking in terms of human responsibilities toward the other species under our power. We will ALWAYS have final control over the animals, whether we want it or not, merely by being a technological civilization.

  50. #50 Prometheus
    February 24, 2010

    I am 100% behind the prevention of cruelty to animals, but I can’t even fathom what “animal rights” would look like.

    Rights are accompanied – in rational societies – by responsibilities. Most societies recognise that certain members have diminished capacity to carry out these responsibilities and give these people a correspondingly reduced set of right. For example, as a human child in most of the Western world, you have fewer “rights” than adults, but you also have a greatly reduced set of responsibilities.

    The problem with granting “rights” to animals is that they – for the most part – seem incapable of holding up the “responsibilities” end of the bargain. In human society, people who don’t meet their responsibilities are – depending on the severity of the infraction – reprimanded, fined, jailed, institutionalised or (in some jurisdictions) executed.

    If we decide that animals have rights equal to those of humans – which seems to be the goal of some of these groups – then my cat would probably end up imprisoned for life as a rodent serial killer. This might actually be a good thing, since she would probably be a very easily manipulated voter, given her weaknesses for tuna and catnip.

    The “animal rights” groups are talking about giving animals the vote, aren’t they?

    For that matter, in the US, animals who were adults and had no criminal record would be allowed to own firearms, which would make deer hunting much more “sporting”.

    Prometheus

  51. #51 Matt Springer
    February 24, 2010

    That’s classified under attractive nuisance. It applies to children being attracted to it, which might apply to the pit, but not at all if it’s a trespassing adult who falls into it.

    Generally speaking any kind of trap will still be against the law. It’s a danger to meter readers, the fire department, delivery services, pets, etc. Instead, I’d invest in a hidden outdoor security camera. And a Remington 870.

  52. #52 rob
    February 24, 2010

    when i was in grad school, some peta people broke into an animal research lab and stole a bunch of research animals. mainly white rats. they released them into the wild in a nearby park. not all the animals were retrieved, and a majority of the ones that were, were dead. the lab raised animals had no idea how to survive in the wild. i laugh at the stupidity of peta and how they want humane treatment of animals then some of their members are directly responisible for animal deaths. the animals were treated much better in the lab than a feral cat treated them. dumbshits.

  53. #53 Ian
    February 24, 2010

    @Raging bee #49

    Nobody has observed infants demanding rights either, but we recognize that they DO have rights. Many would argue that unborn children don’t have rights either, since they don’t meet even the basic requirement of sentience. In fact, psychological testing suggests that children acquire sentience at the same time they acquire language, so the argument follows that infants before 18 months don’t have any rights. Your “common sense” appeal is inadequate, and just as unworkable as the animal rights stance you object to.

    However, I am in favour of your practical approach of saying that we ought to reorient the argument to that of our responsibility to animals. This doesn’t necessarily preclude animals from having “rights”.

    @Prometheus #50

    Animals absolutely have responsibilities that they fulfill. The natural world is dependent on bees to fertilize plants, on worms to digest decaying matter into soil, for raccoons to correct the dangerous trend toward upright and full garbage cans. We’d be in a lot of trouble if animals stopped animaling.

    By no means am I suggesting that animals are to be considered full partners or achieve the status of humans, but we need to be clear about WHY that is the case. If it’s simply “just ’cause” then we have to be honest and say that, but then we can no longer ridicule those who believe otherwise because their argument “’cause why?” is on equal footing.

  54. #54 Raging Bee
    February 24, 2010

    Follow-on to Prometheus: rights are based on sentience: having a right to do something means you are ABLE TO CHOOSE to do it, and to use learning, reason and judgement in making such choices, and to understand and accept responsibility for the consequences of your choices. If your actions are entirely dictated by hardwired instincts, and your mind is incapable of planning, understanding, thinking ahead, or overruling instinct when you think the instinctual response might not be right, then you cannot be said to have any “right” to do anything.

    Do we try to explain to our cats how to deal with cars and traffic before letting them outside? Do we put them on trial for getting into fights with other animals? Of course not. We all understand that they are simply not sentient enough to make rational choices in these matters, or to understand what we’re punishing them for if we punish them afterwords. Giving them “rights” is nonsense.

  55. #55 Liz
    February 24, 2010

    I find it interesting that many PETA types can go completely berserk over a crate of feral kittens in Russia or 10 chimps in a lab in Kazoo, but show no concern that people in their own hometown are homeless or starving. They couldn’t care less about the atrocities in Darfur or the ghastly conditions in Haiti. Or the fact that babies are dying by the scores in developing nations from frigging diarrhea.

    I guess the people who are born with diseases and disorders who can be saved by animal research should just lie down and die instead, for the animals.

    It’s all so easy and comfortable when you’re rich and healthy and have a large amount of spare time on your hands.

    Obviously we shouldn’t be torturing and slaughtering animals for no good reason. But I have about had enough of animal “rights” and veganism becoming another religious-type of movement. A hunter knows much more about his prey and the ecosystem that supports it than a PETA nitwit.

  56. #56 Prometheus
    February 24, 2010

    We have “animal rights” thugs periodically visiting my university (usually during the spring and summer, when the weather is nicer) and they’ve managed to run off a couple of fine, ethical researchers. What I’ve noticed about these thugs is that they are very “casual” about the rights of the researchers but extremely vigilant about their own.

    For example – after breaking into the house of one researcher at night and being confronted with a loaded pistol, they had the chutzpah to try to get the professor charged with “menacing” (pointing a weapon at them).

    This is not significantly different from the anti-war protesters who, upon being arrested for disorderly conduct, vandalism and trespassing (which should have been “breaking and entering”), were whining about how an arrest record would “ruin their chances of getting into graduate school”. The strength of their convictions was showing, to be sure.

    I strongly suspect that the “extremists” of these organisations – those that make threats and place firebombs – are doing so because they perceive that they are in little physical danger from academics and researchers. You’ll notice that there are few terrorist attacks on ranches, where people tend to be armed and willing to shoot, compared to university campuses, where guns are often banned (and, honestly, how many university professors have ever even held a gun?).

    Perhaps, as some people have suggested, the solution may be for the “animal rights” terrorists to get a little skin in the game. I suspect that it wouldn’t take too many dead and wounded terrorists for the ardor to cool.

    And perhaps we researchers should take a page (or chapter) from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. He writes about making “the establishment” play by their own rules while the “radicals” don’t (which is classic narcissistic personality disorder, by the way). How about we pull a little switcheroo? What if the researchers firebomb the houses of known ALF sympathisers and harrass their children at school?

    I’m not saying that someone should, mind you. But I would understand (wink, wink) if someone did do that.

    All hypothetically and academic, of course.

    Maybe it’s time to take power away from a vocal and violent elite and put it back in the hands of “the people” – the people who do animal research and the people who benefit from it.

    Prometheus

  57. #57 Anonymouse
    February 24, 2010

    Animals absolutely have responsibilities that they fulfill. The natural world is dependent on bees to fertilize plants, on worms to digest decaying matter into soil, for raccoons to correct the dangerous trend toward upright and full garbage cans. We’d be in a lot of trouble if animals stopped animaling.

  58. #58 The Panic Man
    February 24, 2010

    wockrassa @#46: These people won’t be seen as terrorists because, as recent events have shown, it’s only terrorism if you’re brown-skinned and have a funny name.

    White guys flying planes into buildings because they’re pathetic tax cheats blaming everyone but themselves for their problems? Not terrorism.
    Walking into someone’s church and shooting them to advance your cause? Not terrorism.
    Threats and violence like in the article? Not terrorism.
    But if you’re from some country that doesn’t worship the same Sky-Man as us? Oh, you better believe anything you do is terrorism.

    Anyway, I’m thinking we need to resolve these kinds of things peacefully and without malice. And when that doesn’t work, we have them hauled off and locked away forever. If a few of these human-hating terrorists die for their destructive little cause in the process, so be it. They wish to live without regard for human life, so I refuse to have regard for theirs.

  59. #59 Raging Bee
    February 24, 2010

    Nobody has observed infants demanding rights either, but we recognize that they DO have rights.

    No, we recognize that we have obligations toward infants; and we give them rights and responsibilities when they show that they understand them.

    Your “common sense” appeal is inadequate, and just as unworkable as the animal rights stance you object to.

    Bullshit — my common-sense appeal is applied in the real world every day, and is proven to be workable. (Of course, you have to get out in the real world to see the proof.)

    Animals absolutely have responsibilities that they fulfill. The natural world is dependent on bees to fertilize plants, on worms to digest decaying matter into soil…

    Again, this is bullshit: animals don’t consciously decide to play their parts in a preplanned order; they all do what their hard-wiring tells them to do to stay alive from day to day, and the “system” that results from it is the unintended, unplanned, unconscious result of all that instinct-driven opportunistic action. It’s not socialism, it’s Thatcherism. And it’s certainly no basis for an animal-rights argument.

  60. #60 Ian
    February 24, 2010

    @Anonymouse #57

    Before we start talking about “absurd extremes”, I just want to point out that you are the one invoking plant rights, which I’ve never once mentioned.

    It’s a fair enough retort to suggest that my definition of “responsibility” is incorrect. I went to dictionary.reference.com (if someone can show me how to embed HTML links in comments I’d be most appreciative) and looked up the word “responsible”. There are two candidate definitions:

    3. chargeable with being the author, cause, or occasion of something (usually fol. by for): Termites were responsible for the damage.
    4. having a capacity for moral decisions and therefore accountable; capable of rational thought or action: The defendant is not responsible for his actions.

    The third one seems to suggest that animals CAN be “responsible” for things (although that’s not really the context), but the fourth one is a tautology: If only human beings are rational and moral (which I would argue is not necessarily the case), then only human beings can be responsible. Therefore animals can’t have rights, because they can’t be responsible, because they aren’t human.

    Furthermore, if I fulfill my societal obligations not out of conscious and ethical duty, but simply because I like to do them, am I being responsible or am I simply operating out of “instinct”? I really like my job. As an unintended consequence, society benefits from the output of my work and my income taxes. However, I’d still do my job even if there was no benefit to anyone besides me. Does that make me unethical or non-responsible?

    Anyway, I think this is one of those things that boils down to a values argument, and could probably go on in perpetuity. I honestly haven’t put a great deal of thought into this issue, but now it’s a bee in my bonnet. I’m going to stop posting on this thread, but if anyone really wants to continue the debate or has new insights, you can e-mail me at crommunist(at)gmail(dot)com.

  61. #61 The Panic Man
    February 24, 2010

    In short, Ian, since you know you’re outwitted, it’s time for you to take your ball and go home.

    Good f’in riddance.

  62. #62 Raging Bee
    February 24, 2010

    Furthermore, if I fulfill my societal obligations not out of conscious and ethical duty, but simply because I like to do them, am I being responsible or am I simply operating out of “instinct”?

    You are being responsible, because you have a demonstrable ability to understand your actions and choose whether or not to follow your instinct. (And you probably don’t follow your instincts to the same degree in ALL areas of your life.) You’d still do your job if there was no benefit to others, but would you still do it if, say, your paychecks started bouncing or you changed your mind about what you wanted in your life?

  63. #63 Perky Skeptic
    February 24, 2010

    Another commenter wrote:

    “These things do not apply to human children and chimpanzees are not very different from two-year-old children.”

    Except for their propensity for killing and eating the babies of other chimpanzees, oh hey, and human babies as well.

    I agree that we should have empathy for other primate species, and for animals of all sorts. But they are not analogous to little humans, and people would do well to remember this, for their own safety.

  64. #64 Prometheus
    February 24, 2010

    Ian responds:

    “Animals absolutely have responsibilities that they fulfill. The natural world is dependent on bees to fertilize plants, on worms to digest decaying matter into soil, for raccoons to correct the dangerous trend toward upright and full garbage cans. We’d be in a lot of trouble if animals stopped animaling.”

    I don’t see the basic survival behaviors – eating, in your examples – as being “responsibilities” that animals perform. If they stopped “animaling”, they would die – a fine motivator for behavior.

    One way to distinguish between a responsibility and a natural function is that responsibilities usually involve us either not doing “what comes naturally” (e.g. fighting over mates or urinating on the sidewalk) or doing things that don’t benefit us (or our offspring) directly and don’t “come naturally” (e.g. paying taxes).

    You can train some animals to behave in ways that mimic “responsibility” (e.g. house training a puppy), but they do it because we’ve conditioned them – through reward and punishment – to behave that way, not because they understand that peeing on the carpet is “wrong”.

    Granted, there are people whose behaviors are similarly based only on operant conditioning, but these folks are usually in frequent trouble with “the law” because they – like even the most intelligent non-human animals – haven’t “internalised” the responsibilities of society.

    As for the reason to treat animals with kindness, I can think of no better reason than “because it is the right thing to do”. One thing that separates us from the other animals is that we do eat meat and yet have resolved (beginning thousands of years ago) to kill our prey in ways that minimise their suffering. Watch “Animal Planet” for a few hours if you think that other carnivores or omnivores are at all concerned about the suffering of their food.

    One thing that makes me unwilling to accept the “animal rights” activists stated objections to cruelty is that they are willing to be cruel (and even homicidal) toward members of their own species. If cruelty to animals is “dehumanising”, then cruelty to people should be much more so.

    Prometheus

  65. #65 Ian
    February 24, 2010

    @Prometheus & Raging Bee

    Fair enough, that’s a reasonable explanation. Thanks.

  66. #66 Todd W.
    February 24, 2010

    @Prometheus

    Watch “Animal Planet” for a few hours if you think that other carnivores or omnivores are at all concerned about the suffering of their food.

    No kidding. Take a look at hyenas for some prime brutality. Many carnivores will just bleed an animal to death before eating the meat. Hyenas just start eating their prey from the moment they bite.

  67. #67 Otto
    February 24, 2010

    “In fact, if I were Ringach, I’d also seriously consider buying a couple of handguns and learning how to use them.”

    A short-barreled 12-gauge shotgun is a much better choice of home-defense weapon for most people.

  68. #68 Jon H
    February 24, 2010

    Dianne wrote: “That having been said, though, I would point out that chimpanzees in particular aren’t exactly nice.”

    Neither are humans. You can find much worse behavior among chimps’ human neighbors. The Lord’s Resistance Army? Killing albino people to use their body parts for ‘magic’? Raping babies to ‘cure yourself of HIV’?

    Chimps are chimps. What’s our excuse?

    More to the point, do you really want to stoop to the level of brainless “I don’t like snakes they’re nasty kill them all!” or “sharks eat people kill them all!”?

    Perky Skeptic: “Except for their propensity for killing and eating the babies of other chimpanzees, oh hey, and human babies as well.”

    See above. Why, exactly, should we care that they eat babies?

  69. #69 Mu
    February 24, 2010

    Regarding the comment of protesters trying to get a professor charged with “menacing” them with a pistol in his own house, there is a legal precedent (I think from Kansas) that while shooting in self defense would have been legal, threatening with a gun (leading to an aborted attack) was not. Several of the “castle doctrine” laws allowing a home owner to not retreat can be read similarly as “shoot, don’t talk”. Stupid, but that’s laws for you.

  70. #70 TB
    February 24, 2010

    @Alareth #30

    Whenever I’m presented with the “humans have canines” BS I like to point out that many herbivores have canines.

  71. #71 Pablo
    February 24, 2010

    If 2 year olds had the strength and appetites of chimpanzees, can we really say they wouldn’t be killing babies?

    I would be keeping a pretty darn close eye on their brothers and sisters, I would think.

  72. #72 Bruce
    February 24, 2010

    Camille Marino said it well. Why should we afford respect to someone who is essentially a criminal – if not legally, then at least morally (a criminal)?

    Reading blogs like this, can be depressing. One would think there’s no concern for morality or animal rights out there, but things are getting better:

    http://www.njsendems.com/release.asp?rid=906

    ^^ It is possible, to work through the legislative process to achieve results. Its got to be incremental, but right now we have one of the most progressive administrations nationally. Many Democrats have embraced animal rights, and I believe we are on the verge of a breakthrough nationally. Europe is ahead of us in the evolution of society, and they are much more progressive. There they have gotten a lot of good animal welfare regulations passed. I think we can soon follow suite here.

  73. #73 HPMac
    February 24, 2010

    I’d also like to point out that PETA, at least, is a seriously hypocritical group.

    1) Owning animals as pets is a bad thing.
    2) Let’s get people to give up their pets so that the animals are no longer subjugated by their human owners.
    3) Then let’s kill them all in a gas chamber and dump the bodies in a dump in NC.

    They really think the animals are happier dead than living with their human families?

    And what about population control? I mean, most responsible pet owners these days spay/neuter their pets. What happens when all the cats and dogs go wild and there’s no neutering?

    I personally would never hunt, but I also understand the need for hunting deer in order to control the population. And it’s regulated and whatever, so be it.

    I think the hypocrisy of these “animal rights” groups is one of the things that bothers me the most. And by that, I don’t mean just the killing of animals they’ve reclaimed, but the threatenening of human scientists and their families. Do they really think anything can be accomplished through terrorism?

  74. #74 Raging Bee
    February 24, 2010

    Mu: such laws are not totally stupid. What they seem to be saying (note: IANAL) is that shooting someone in self-defense is okay (though you may have to furnish some proof of a threat), but keeping him in your house so you can continue to hound or otherwise mistreat him, when he’s already disarmed and unable to resist or flee, is not. Not sure where keeping him in your house till the cops come and get him is on that scale…

  75. #75 BA
    February 24, 2010

    Although I understand where these choice/free will/sentience explanatory fictions come from but there is nothing behind them to distinguish human animals from non human animals. All behavior is determined. Aren’t we all pre-disposed to science here? That said, this determination is not a pre-determinism and there is much more than the reinforcers and punishers that one experiences that are the causes of behavior. For all animals, there is our phylogenic history that makes up much of what translates into our preferences, predispositions, instincts, etc. However, “instinct” as the term is often used, can be influenced by individual experience. Adapting to dynamic environments is necessary for survival and thus natural selection prepares the organism to be sensitive to reinforcers and punishers (although a better way of thinking of these are appetitive and aversive control – they are not simple processes). There are also socio-cultural influences. Non human animals learn from each other. Some use tools. Some have elaborate “languages.” What makes you think we humans are special?

    After leading you down that path, I’ll hazard a guess that we are “different” in that socio-cultural influence and the verbal behavior of humans are more complex. One of these differences is the development of societal rules. That said, one could argue effectively that some animals live under the influence of elaborate societal rules. Nonetheless, how we act is the product of these three levels of influence and are humans different? Yes, in many ways. One of them is probably the depth and complexity of societal influence on the development of each of its members.

    As an aside, one way of thinking of choice is that it is the product of many influences but is the expression of the person’s history at the moment the choice is made. How are we to go about analyzing it? I know I would want to know about the individual and would not really care about what others would do in that situation. A psychologist might suggest that to predict the behavior of an individual selecting a snack from a vending machine, we would be well positioned by analyzing the choices of 10,000 people. I’d prefer 100 samples of the individual’s behavior in that situation. I may be wrong in my prediction but I’d be willing to bet a king’s ransom that I’d beat that psychologist’s guesses when predicting the behavior of 100 people and I’ll have collected fewer samples of behavior.

    I’m also not an animal rights activist but do favor the humane treatment of all living beings.

  76. #76 Greg F.
    February 24, 2010

    #4:

    Most of these “animal rights” extremists are just thugs looking for an excuse. Had they lived in Alabama 100 years ago, they would be leading lynch mobs. Had they lived in Germany 75 years ago, they would have been burning Jewish shops. If they lived in modern day Iran, they would be beating up student demonstrators.

    Seconded. There are people out there who want an ideology that allows them to harm others and act out their violent fantasies and this is one of the ways they do it. They pick an ideology and use it to justify an outlet for their murderous rage. I’ve been asked to write about them a while back by some of my readers and the only conclusion I could come to when looking into their “arguments” is that they’re just itching for an excuse to torture and kill someone themselves:

    http://worldofweirdthings.com/2009/10/11/when-anti-research-groups-get-violent/

    Actually, if you think about it, how hypocritical is it to try and kill people for the sake of stopping perceived violence? To borrow the words of the unhinged thug in Orac’s post, if you bathe in human blood, how different are you from the very people you decry?

  77. #77 Orac
    February 24, 2010

    Reading blogs like this, can be depressing. One would think there’s no concern for morality or animal rights out there,

    You “would” think that, but you would be wrong.

  78. #78 Dianne
    February 24, 2010

    Chimps are chimps. What’s our excuse?

    Humans are humans. What more excuse is needed? Or rather, if “chimps are chimps” is an explanation, why should humans require more?

    The point being that chimps are not disney animals, they aren’t even domesticated animals. They’re wild animals that do wild animal things. Expecting them to behave like humans or want the same things as humans want is ridiculous.

    Animal rights activists often seem to believe that animals are just humans dressed in fur, feather, or scales. They’re not. They’re different species and they want different things. What would be helpful and even necessary for a human may be detrimental for another animal.

    Like PETA’s problem with pets and their equation of pet ownership with slavery. Take dogs as an example. Dogs are domesticated animals. They have been bred for generations to like living with humans and depend on humans. You can argue with the morality of domestication if you like, but the fact is that dogs are happiest living with a mixed human/dog pack. “Freeing” them to starve on their own is inhumane. Forcing a dog to eat vegetarian food is detrimental to their health: they’re carnivores not omnivores and can’t dispense with the meat side of their diet. They aren’t humans, they don’t have the same wants or needs as humans. The same goes for all other non-human animals. If you want to help them, you have to understand them.

  79. #79 Dan Weber
    February 24, 2010

    If 2 year olds had the strength and appetites of chimpanzees, can we really say they wouldn’t be killing babies?

    If trees could scream, would we still cut them down? I think we would, if they went around screaming all the time, for no good reason.

    There is a legal precedent (I think from Kansas) that while shooting in self defense would have been legal, threatening with a gun (leading to an aborted attack) was not.

    IANAL, but if you brandish a gun, the situation must be serious enough for you to shoot. This generally translates as “don’t draw a gun unless you intend to use it.”

    It may be that pulling the gun de-escalates the situation so you don’t have to fire, so you don’t need to follow through.

  80. #80 Tyler DiPietro
    February 24, 2010

    If animals have rights, the highest quantity of violations of such rights are perpetrated by other animals. When are we gonna start the prosecutions?

    “Animal rights” is just rhetoric that appeals to people susceptible to knee-jerk “OH IT’S SO CUTE AND FLUFFY” reactions, as an ethical theory it’s pure intellectual lunacy.

  81. #81 bikemonkey
    February 24, 2010

    I thought the arguments for-and against-slavery in the US tended to be religious, not biology based.

    oh, it was not merely religion, Dianne.

  82. #82 Jack Lani
    February 24, 2010

    “Thuggery” doesn’t stop with attacks on scientists. How I wish mainstream law enforcement would focus more on crimes of animal rightists. Neither show dog folk nor most law enforcement realize the foreign “en masse” imports come from nations highest in production of highly processed narcotics. It’s been estimated that $40,000,000 of foreign strays are transported here in large groups yearly by often shadowy private people through groups with highly questionable agendas. Does it strike anyone else as odd that many of the larger dogs are entering the US supposedly spayed or neutered from nations that have few vets and do micro amounts of dog surgeries? They are the same dogs that so often get further surgery for “complications” stemming from the original surgery. Is legitimate surgery being done on them–or are these dogs being used as international drug mules? I often wonder how many levels or types of crimes animal radicals too often get away with?

  83. #83 sophia8
    February 24, 2010

    Forcing a dog to eat vegetarian food is detrimental to their health: they’re carnivores not omnivores and can’t dispense with the meat side of their diet.
    Actually, dogs *can* live on a vegetarian diet, provided it’s varied and includes different types of proteins. Cats, however, need the enzymes found in meat. Which is probably one of the reasons why animal rightists prefer dogs rather than cats as pets – sorry, “companion animals”. (And of course a dog will always look up to and worship their human as the pack leader; whereas you’re lucky if your resident feline lodger so much as gives you the time of day.)

  84. #84 Otto
    February 24, 2010

    @Jack Lani:

    “It’s been estimated that $40,000,000 of foreign strays are transported here in large groups yearly by often shadowy private people through groups with highly questionable agendas.”

    By whom?

  85. #85 Jon H
    February 24, 2010

    “Actually, dogs *can* live on a vegetarian diet, provided it’s varied and includes different types of proteins.”

    Yeah, but if they get a chance to scarf down a hunk of meat, they’ll go for it. Enforced vegetarianism goes against their nature.

  86. #86 MadScientist
    February 24, 2010

    The terrorists are imbeciles; they always whine about “vivisection”, and yet genuine vivisection is a rarity in experiments. You can go to hundreds of labs and not find one which has a single vivisection in its history. They are mindless fanatics who don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.

  87. #87 MadScientist
    February 24, 2010

    Hang on, their Quack Disclaimer is merely a diversion. They stated that they will engage in unlawful activity (harassing school children). They need to be rounded up, convicted for their conspiracies, and locked away for good.

  88. #88 Bill
    February 24, 2010

    An animal ‘right’ could be stated to be the right to use other animals to the benefit of the ‘user’, each to their own disposition. Hence, it is right for a lion to use a gazelle as sustenance.

    Human beings are animals. If all animals have rights (not my position), then we have to recognise that human beings share this right. Because we are aware of the pain and suffering, we have an obligation when exercising this right to do what we can to minimise it, but being aware of pain and suffering does not mean we must forego the right.

    If my reasoning is correct, then the only ethical, consistent position for an animal rights activist to hold is to allow carefully controlled animal experimentation where we are both exercising our right to use animals to our benefit, but are also discharging our obligation with respect to the welfare of those animals.

    Of course, as has been pointed out by many above, animal rights activist are only recognising the rights of non-human animals, while disregarding the rights of human animals.

    I guess my point is that, regardless of your position on animal rights, the logical conclusion is pretty much the one that the fundamental activists are (violently) protesting over.

    Sadly, you can’t end a war with logic.

  89. #89 LovleAnjel
    February 24, 2010

    One of the labs I worked in had a great solution to avoid protesters: it was located in the Children’s Hospital. Nothing like a dying child to dissuade fake blood-throwing.

  90. #90 MadScientist
    February 24, 2010

    @Ian #20: Do you need to be reminded that humans are animals? How can you claim that “humanity is eroding”? Was there some “golden age” in the past when we were all gods rather than animals? Humans need to kill and eat things like most other animals do. Experimenting on animals not only helps humans but other animals as well. I doubt anyone enjoys doing these experiments on animals, but we simply do not know enough to be able to do without it. The terrorists claiming to be acting on behalf of animals can go live in the African wetlands in harmony with nature, as their delusions which they would force on others tells them they can.

  91. #91 jj
    February 24, 2010

    Ugh I hate to see that UC Santa Cruz incident. I swear sometimes this town really pisses me off with it’s overly PC-hippie-organic-wooster image. There’s some amazing things that happen on that campus, but there are some activist who I swear are just rich white kids rebelling from mom an dad (no wait they are, I’ve met them).

  92. #92 Antaeus Feldspar
    February 24, 2010

    Camille Marino said it well. Why should we afford respect to someone who is essentially a criminal – if not legally, then at least morally (a criminal)?

    Hey, guess what, Bruce?

    I just determined, purely on my own authority, that “assheadery” is now a felony crime!

    And I also appointed myself judge and jury, put you on trial, and determined that you’re guilty of that crime!

    So why should I show you any sort of respect, Bruce? Where you are a known criminal, and all… Don’t give me that nonsense about how you aren’t legally a criminal, you’re morally a criminal.

  93. #93 Jack Lani
    February 24, 2010

    Otto:

    Pet Place an online mag my spouse as a 40 year show dog person subscribes to has an article on it in current edition citing the $40,000,000 figure. I knew the number of foreign imported strays had increased recently but hadn’t suspected the volume bringing in US shelters so much nor displacing US dogs as much are they currently are doing. Friends in BP and one in Customs are concerned over the foreign strays being perfect vehicles for use to carry chips we might very well not want out of the country. They appear the same as some of the animal identification chips on overly casual exam.

    Jack

  94. #94 micheleinmichigan
    February 24, 2010

    I’m disappointed with the tone of many of the comments here. Threatening people is wrong, so let’s demean and threaten people? Or lets go get guns! sure that’s what we need to protect our children.

    I wish I could believe that. Maybe if I hadn’t had an associate that lived in Detroit and kept a rifle in the house for protection, I would. Unfortunately that associate is now in jail due to the shooting death of his infant child during an incident were he THOUGHT he was protecting his turf.

    Or a friend of mine who got his dad’s gun out (which he didn’t realize was loaded) and shot his friend while playing bank robbers. Luckily his friend did live.

    Do you really think that an unlocked loaded gun is that safe. You people who swear you would get training (but are apparently forming an opinion about guns before the training)? Do you think a locked unloaded gun with ammunition stored separately is a totally great protection?

    Oh yeah and lets put animal traps outside windows were curious kids can get caught in them.

    Please, Please don’t expect me to believe that your first consideration is human life here. Your p*&#ssed off and you want to feel powerful or your not even mad and you just want to look manly.

    Are you really going to tell me that you can not manage to discuss some better options than a 16 year old gangbanger could manage? You folks with computers who have plenty of time to read, vent on blogs and I thought were supposed to have some level of intelligence?

    Regarding the scientist’s children. Most schools have strict policies not allowing strangers on site and not allowing political, religious flyers to be distributed. In fact one of our local schools had a similar attempt by an anti-abortion campaign outside of an elementary school. It was squelched very quickly. If you are genuinely concerned about protesters outside school property. Take the time to mobilize, write letters, if you are local, organize a preventative measure.

    Or you can whinge and whine and talk about what a big gun you are going to get.

  95. #95 Tyler DiPietro
    February 24, 2010

    Knew we’d get the anti-gun nuts at some point.

  96. #96 The Panic Man
    February 24, 2010

    Tell me, micheleinmichigan, would you like a couch to faint on because of us evil, evil people who are tired of these kinds of vicious terrorists? OR would you just like another strand of pearls to clutch?

    Hell, I hate guns on principle, but I’m a live-and-let-live type and don’t give two squirts of warm dog whiz what people here are thinking about to defend themselves, at least those staying within the bounds of the law. You, on the other hand, seem to think we’re all supposed to just roll over and call you correct because you’ve got a few anecdotes to whine about.

  97. #97 Prometheus
    February 24, 2010

    Michele-in-Michigan,

    Nice straw man about guns, by the way. Yes, improperly stored and improperly handled guns are dangerous. So are bicycles. Guess which accidentally kills more children (and people in general) every year? But, guns are “scary”, so you feel that anyone mentioning them must be a scary, irresponsible person.

    This may seem harsh and right-wing-extremist to some people, but negotiating with the “animal rights” terrorists doesn’t seem to have done anything but convince them that they must be “winning” if we’re willing to negotiate. Sometimes the only way to deal with people who espouse the use of violence and intimidation is through violence and intimidation.

    Since most of the “animal rights” terrorists are cowards (as I mentioned in another post, they go after unarmed, nerdy university researchers, not armed ranchers), the use of force has a good chance of getting most of the bored rich kids who make up their rank and file to suddenly lose interest. Then we can send in the FBI to mop up the “hard core” crazies.

    Prometheus

  98. #98 David N. Brown
    February 24, 2010

    These threats work very poorly for even the extremists of the animal rights movement. Their record has been that, even when resorting to criminal action, they choose what could better be called sabotage or destruction of property rather than violence. Discussing violence against scientists now, or even using it as a threat, will undermine any basis for public sympathy.
    Incidentally, I think the best way to state the case for humane treatment of lab animals is that stress and intentional or unintentional harm are confounding factors in experiments. Hence, comfortable and healthy animals are the best lab subjects.

  99. #99 Tyler DiPietro
    February 24, 2010

    My position on guns is pretty simple. When people are debating, you use arguments. When people are either threatening violence or openly supporting the use thereof against you, you use bullets (in self defense, of course). Being a softy and trying to reason with the likes of Camille Marino and her ilk is a fools errand. One or two of these thugs ending up with one between the eyes will probably scare off the majority of them, given that their mostly comprised of pampered rich kids with nothing better to do.

  100. #100 Anonymous Worm
    February 25, 2010

    Some animal rights groups are moving past the whole obsession with mammals.

    My campus has a group that tried to get the Biology department to stop using invertebrates in the teaching labs. They wrote up a misleading petition and got signatures from a ridiculously large proportion of the student body, most of whom probably weren’t planning to take Biology for general ed, let alone major in it. What’s the problem? We’re using sweet, cute, lovable earthworms, crickets, and cockroaches. (Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches!)

    So far, they’ve just arranged for misleading press coverage (the reporter manufactured quotes from faculty when they sounded too reasonable) and held some protests. But we try to keep our research lab doors locked in case they decide to liberate the Lumbriculus or sabotage our computers.

  101. #101 bellastarkey
    February 25, 2010

    how can you tell if a dog is foreign? does it have an accent?

  102. #102 Pierce
    February 25, 2010

    “A year and a half later, in 2008, Ringach’s case and other attacks and threats directed against UCLA researchers, such as when animal rights terrorists flooded the home of another researcher […]”

    While I agree that using Molotov cocktails could be defined as terrorism, I disagree that flooding homebodies home is. It sounds more like a prank.

    “ALLCAPS. It’s always ALLCAPS with these people.”

    Generalization #1

    “Yeah. Yeah, that’s the ticket. We aren’t threatening anything…you know…illegal”

    I can’t comment on the intentions of some website operators, but what is illegal about merely posting someone’s information online? While asking that question, I realize there are people in jail for doing that, but why do researchers deserve to be protected from public scrutiny? Their research is publically funded, and if people disagree with that research, they should be able to contact him, both at work and home.

    “However, as I’ve discussed before, animal rights activists are not about promoting the humane treatment of animals as much as they are about an ideology that proclaims animal rights to be the equal of human rights.”

    It sounds like you’re familiar that there are different “animal” sects. There are groups that support the humane treatment of animals, like HSUS and there are groups that support animal “rights.” Even the term “rights” can differ from one to another, so I wouldn’t agree that we believe animal rights to be the equal of human rights. We (and the animal rights people that have similar ideology) believe that non-human animal’s interests should be valued as much as human interests. So for example, to kill a chimpanzee to save a baby is unethical because the babies’ interests are given more weight than that of the chimpanzees.

    “(Which, come to think of it, makes the images of animal rights extremists marching past Ringach’s house with pet dogs on leashes seem rather incongruous–isn’t keeping pets slavery in the view of animal rights activists?)”

    This seems more like a little jive against animal rights activists rather than a serious critique, but I’ll try and explain why caring for companion animals is congruent with animal rights. Companion animals are dependent upon humans to survive. Therefore, providing them with shelter, food, and veterinary care is not only necessary for their wellbeing, but also human’s ethical obligation as being responsible for their domestication. So while we would care for the animals that are alive now, we would prevent future breeding. The relationship between companion animals and humans is complex and we would seek to avoid this relationship (as with all nonhuman animals) in the future.

    “Animal rights extremists confuse animal welfare, which encompasses the humane use of animals designed to minimize suffering and enhance quality of life, with animal rights, an ideology that states that animals have an intrinsic right not to be controlled by humans. That means no killing, ever, no zoos, no cages, no eating them, no using them in research, no riding–not even keeping them as pets or putting them on leashes, which is why I found the pictures of these animal rights extremists walking dogs on leashes by Ringach’s house so startling.”

    I am not confused by this at all. In fact, many animal rights activists find the policy of animal welfarism detrimental to animal rights.

    “Indeed, any time I write an NIH grant, I have to spend several pages justifying the proposed use of animals, detailing how they will be used, justifying statistically the numbers, species, and ages proposed, and explaining how we will minimize pain and suffering.”

    I’m not sure who this blog is aimed towards, but I find it interesting that your evidence for tighter regulation is that you have to write “several pages” explaining how you use nonhuman animals. You have to write several pages. The animals you experiment on have to die, potentially, in cruel ways.

    Regardless of how they die, they still die. That’s the bottom line. We don’t believe humans have the right to kill other species, regardless of purpose. The mice you kill have no interest in being part of experiments for the “improvement” of human lives. Furthermore, despite “tighter regulations,” the whole system is basically self-regulating. So animal researchers are the ones deciding “yes this is ethical, yes this is humane.” At least where I live, the universities have animal care boards, one of which turned out to be run by a guy we were protesting for animal cruelty! (We protested at his office, not his home.)

    “ […] animal rights extremists in question consider themselves morally superior to–well, pretty much everyone else–and free to harass and attack Ringach and his family. “

    “Of course, animal rights extremists often intentionally blur the distinction between animal welfare and their true believes, because most people would consider animal welfare to be a respectable goal. “

    I’m not exactly sure what group of people you’re referencing when you say “animal rights extremists.” You frequently use the term, but haven’t defined it. Does that include people that don’t believe in zoos, or people that “terrorize” animal researchers? Or both? After this you post a paragraph about Francione, which seems to indicate you’re aware that there are differing beliefs within the animal rights community, but you still lump them all together. As an animal rights activist, the distinctions between welfarism and animal rights are quite clear. I don’t advocate for treating chickens better before their slaughtered, I advocate for them not being slaughtered.

    “ […] anthropocentrism, speciesism, patriarchy, racism, classism, statism, heterosexism, ableism, and every other pernicious form of hierarchical domination.”

    You’re stumbling upon a root cause of problems. From Francione’s site:

    Racism, sexism, speciesism, and other forms of discrimination are all analogous in that all share the faulty notion that some morally irrelevant characteristic (race, sex, species) may be used to exclude beings with interests from the moral community or to undervalue interests in explicit violation of the principle of equal consideration.

    That’s how they’re all tied together.

    “I suppose it’s some consolation that the moderate animal rights advocates who don’t espouse intimidation and violence and agreed to participate in the UCLA panel discussion are apparently catching quite a bit of flak for their decision.”

    Why is it a consolation that those who aren’t using intimidation tactics and violence are “catching flak?”

    “They are also profoundly anti-scientific–Luddite, even. Animal rights activists deny that animal research has ever produced any advances in medicine, a claim that is not just demonstrably false, but risibly, contemptibly false.”

    Your essay would be far better without sweeping generalizations. I am a scientist, I believe in the value of scientific reasoning, I am also an animal rights activist. Again, you never defined what an “extremist” is, so I’m not sure who you’re talking about. I know other animal rights activists that are also scientists. I wouldn’t say that animal research has never produced advances in medicine, I would say that most animal research does not provide advances in medicine. But you already pointed out yourself, it is a moot point. The benefits (or not) to humans does not ethically justify the experimentation of animals. (At least to animal rights people such as myself.)

    “Can we just agree to leave the children out of it? Is any cause worth traumatizing children over?”

    Children turn into adults. Even children get to experience vivisecting animals in school via cats, pigs, frogs, etc. If they’re old enough to engage in the scientific process, they’re old enough to decide whether or not experimenting on nonhuman animals is right or wrong, or at the very least to be aware of that fact that some people believe it is wrong. Would you like to just put a halt on expressing all views to children? Let’s hold off on the McDonald’s ads because they don’t understand where their chicken nuggets come from and how cruelly they’re treated and let’s hold off on the zoo because they don’t understand what it is like to be used to roaming hundreds of miles and then being confined to a small pen.

    “given how you think nothing of violating the rights of children”

    What rights are being violated?

    “Most everyone agrees that it would have been great if he had been in it!”

    I’m not exactly sure who that is from, but one guy saying “most everyone” is pretty problematic. I certainly would not think it would be “great” if anybody, regardless of their actions, be blown up in a car.

    “And my answer is that I unequivocally support violence if it will stop the violent.”

    I actually chuckled at this. I don’t believe in “means justifying the ends,” as many of my animal rights peers also don’t believe in it. I’m sorry that to you, as a researcher, it isn’t a laughing matter, but the logic is humorous.

    Thanks for the post minus some of the generalizations. I think experimenting on animals is wrong, as I think blowing up your car for not agreeing with me and even engaging in vivisection yourself is also wrong. I don’t believe in violence towards nonhuman animals nor do I believe in violence towards humans.

  103. #103 The Panic Man
    February 25, 2010

    So, Pierce, what exactly was the point of that wall of text, other than to prove that you’re more interested in whining about “generaliztions”, pushing your childish viewpoints, and trying to justify terrorism and violence than posting anything relevant?

    In all that whining, all you’ve done is post the same old garbage we’ve all heard a million times before. You’ve done it, now put a sock in your liehole and stop trying to explain away these terrorists.

  104. #104 Chris
    February 25, 2010

    Pierce:

    Children turn into adults. Even children get to experience vivisecting animals in school via cats, pigs, frogs, etc.

    Well, The Panic Man, this pretty sums up Pierce and his friends… children are human, and because they are human they are automatically evil.

    He really does not care about humans, even young humans. He may not like violence against young humans, but he won’t life a finger or protest hurting them.

    In short: he really does not care, as long as cute furry animals are not experimented on.

  105. #105 SkydiverIm
    February 25, 2010

    Warning: personal anecdote!
    As a 23 year old, White, middle class, protected and slightly naive, masters student, I could not understand why my professor would not let me enter the animal facility through the front door. I had to go through the ER ambulance bay, through (the rarely used) exam room 3 which had a door marked “storage”, which was actually a fire escape, up 3 floors, and enter that way. In a later conversation with the resident vetrenarian I got more clued in: the front door was only used for deliveries, all the staff at the facility dressed as doctors and nurses and entered the same way I did. He wondered if the carpark outside was only built so that the protesters had somewhere to loiter…

  106. #106 Mary
    February 25, 2010

    I say we use all the inmates on death row or those who have been imprisoned for life for scientific research and leave the animals alone. They’re just a drain on our resources anyway and most animals have more to offer than the dregs of society.

  107. #107 Catherina
    February 25, 2010

    Mary, I say you read up on human rights.

  108. #108 SkydiverImi
    February 25, 2010

    Mary
    As good a solution as you (flippantly?) think that may be, have a Think about it. As The Catherina said: read up ón your human rights. And consider the wrongfully convicted currently spending time at the taxpayers expense. In addition to many texts on ethics and human rights I am sure many commenters here can reccomend, I would like to add some science fiction: notably Larry Niven has explored the implication of using death row inmates for spare organs in his stories bout Gil “the ARM” Hamilton. Short summary; it gets messy. Longer summary; it gets REAL messy!

  109. #109 David N. Brown
    February 25, 2010

    Pierce,
    “While I agree that using Molotov cocktails could be defined as terrorism, I disagree that flooding homebodies home is. It sounds more like a prank.”
    Flooding a house is nothing more or less than destruction of property. I have given the matter some thought, and I consider busting plumbing a good contender for the most effective way to inflict monetary loss upon the owners of a property. And there’s nothing ambiguous about Molotov cocktails…

  110. #110 BE
    February 25, 2010

    Provivisectionist comments here do not seem to have taken into consideration the dangers to humans of an animal based methodology, such as ADRs and disasters such as TGN1412 clinical trials.

    There’s a current proposal in the UK for an investigation into the efficacy animal testing, as it has never been scientifically evaluated.

    Scientists at the DR Hadwen Trust are doing biomedical research without using animals, and there are several companies which test drugs without the use of animals.

    Many lab animals are still being badly treated despite all the supposed rules and regulations ( see Diaries of Despair) and were it not for activists the public would never know what really goes on.

  111. #111 Rogue Medic
    February 25, 2010

    He imprisoned, restrained, terrorized, and, with masterful precision, sadistically tortured and mutilated his victims –

    Masterful precision and sadistically tortured do not belong in the same sentence. At least not for any sane writer of non-fiction.

    This quote that Orac took from the negotiation is over suggests a jealousy on the part of the author. These do not appear to be people who should be allowed outside of a locked facility, whether correctional or psychiatric.

  112. #112 Kristen
    February 25, 2010

    @Mary

    I say we use all the inmates on death row or those who have been imprisoned for life for scientific research and leave the animals alone. They’re just a drain on our resources anyway and most animals have more to offer than the dregs of society.

    This comment is very ignorant. The 13 year-old child I am raising, her mother has a life sentence. She was an accessory to armed robbery when she was 20. While in prison she has completed 14 certification programs, advocated for the rights of children and counseled imprisoned mothers on the importance of caring for their children when they get out (I didn’t know her before she went to prison).

    She is not a drain on resources, and you are a very cruel person. You really think the lives of lab animals are more important then that of humans?

    Words fail me…facepalm. If you wanted sympathy for your cause your doing it wrong.

  113. #113 BE
    February 25, 2010

    let’s not kid ourselves that humans are not being experimented on , as they always have- the weak, the old, the military, prisoners,ethnic minorities, the menatally ill are obvious targets, but clinical trials ‘volunteers’ are usually cash strapped young males, who may choose to ignore the ‘small print’, may not even have potential dangers explained properly to them, and may not be aware that animals were the test subjects prior to Phase 1 clinical trials

  114. #114 JBlilie
    February 25, 2010

    I’ll believe these people are sincere when they are willing to do one of the following:

    1. Volunteer their children for medical testing to test safety and efficacy of new techniques in lieu of animal testing.

    2. Forego all modern medicine since it is all developed using animal testing. (This includes every implantable device, which undergoes biocompatibility animal testing.)

  115. #115 Orac
    February 25, 2010

    may not even have potential dangers explained properly to them, and may not be aware that animals were the test subjects prior to Phase 1 clinical trials

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    It is very clearly stated in informed consents that phase I clinical trials are “first in human” tests of new drugs.

  116. #116 Richard Eis
    February 25, 2010

    I can’t comment on the intentions of some website operators, but what is illegal about merely posting someone’s information online? While asking that question, I realize there are people in jail for doing that, but why do researchers deserve to be protected from public scrutiny? Their research is publically funded, and if people disagree with that research, they should be able to contact him, both at work and home.

    He would never get any work done.

    Of course if you work in government then obviously every person in the US should be able to ring you up to harrass you personally. I mean, that won’t cause any trouble at all will it. And of course sinceyou have their home address, you should all go round to see him personally. But maybe you should take a weapon just in case he gets annoyed. He is a dangerous killer of puppies after all.

    This seems more like a little jive against animal rights activists rather than a serious critique, but I’ll try and explain why caring for companion animals is congruent with animal rights.

    So you would stop animals from breeding, you would deny them medical care for things that will kill them in the wild. Nice. Domestication is a type of symbiosis. Something that happens in the wild already. Stop it, and it will happen again anyway. Life is complicated. Get over it.

    Much as the christians like to do, you seem to be a moderate complaining that “not all activists are like that” when we are talking about the “crazies” in your movement.

    It is irritating when the christians try this switch tactic. It is just as annoying when you do it.

  117. #117 Luna_the_cat
    February 25, 2010

    @Pierce:

    what is illegal about merely posting someone’s information online?

    When personal details are posted online by someone else and without consent, then it can be prosecuted under privacy laws, even where that information might be available under other public searches.

    And when personal details are posted on a web site demonizes its targets, attempts to convince its readers that the individual in question is lower than pondscum, morally equivalent to a mass-murdering rapist, and deserving of anything which can be done to stop them, and which either tacitly or explicitly endorses violent, illegal and harassing actions….well, why don’t you ask Dr. George Tiller about the outcome of that.

  118. #118 Jesse
    February 25, 2010

    Pierce, since you’re a scientist you obviously understand how science works. So, how do you propose that we continue learning things about animals (including humans)? Taking away testing on animals would severely impact biology, medicine, and psychology. It would make it near impossible for us to learn much about how biological systems actually work. We’d never again be able to get a drug to market.

    Are you really suggesting that we entirely abandon researching life sciences? No new meds?

    I’m a vegetarian and I care greatly about animal welfare. I would be a huge fan of shutting down factory farming and eliminating non-scientific animal testing. But in science, the benefits of the knowledge outweigh the cost (not just monetary) of the animals. They are being used for good. Using animals in studies is a difficult thing to get approved, especially for higher lifeforms. IRB boards do include someone from outside the field on them to protect against in-field bias for approving the research. It is very much not something scientists take lightly.

    But, and this is unfortunate, sometimes you do need to use animals in the name of science and acquiring new knowledge.

  119. #119 Paul Browne
    February 25, 2010

    BE “Scientists at the DR Hadwen Trust are doing biomedical research without using animals, and there are several companies which test drugs without the use of animals.”

    I’m not sure that you appreciate the irony of bringing up an anti-vivisection group that is named after the notorious anti-vaccination campaigner Walter Hadwen on the Respectful Insolence blog.

    It is certainly possible to do good some biomedical research without using animals, but for many kinds of basic and translational biomedical research animal use is still necessary.

    Pierce “While I agree that using Molotov cocktails could be defined as terrorism, I disagree that flooding homebodies home is. It sounds more like a prank.”

    I suspect that you wouldn’t think of it as a prank if it was your home. Such acts are a form of harassment and intimidation and those tho carry them out certainly earn the name of criminal extremist, and the line between criminal extremism and terrorism is very blurred.

    Pierce “but what is illegal about merely posting someone’s information online? While asking that question, I realize there are people in jail for doing that, but why do researchers deserve to be protected from public scrutiny?”

    It all depends on the intent behind posting the information. If it can be demonsterated that the intent is to facilitate harassment, intimidation or violent attack, as is often the case whe the information includes home addresses, children’s schools etc, than I can easily see the posting of such information crossing the line into illegality.

    Pierce “At least where I live, the universities have animal care boards, one of which turned out to be run by a guy we were protesting for animal cruelty!”

    Have you ever stopped to consider that your protests against him were based on flawed information or judgement. Just because somebody is targeted by protests doesn’t mean they have done anything wrong…in fact the opposite often applies.

  120. #120 Raging Bee
    February 25, 2010

    michelleinmichigan whinged thusly:

    Are you really going to tell me that you can not manage to discuss some better options than a 16 year old gangbanger could manage?

    If you actually read the comments here, you’d know we’ve proposed a wide variety of solutions — in addition to acknowledging the solutions that have already been tried and failed. Your comment proves you neither know nor care what you’re talking about.

  121. #121 Vicki
    February 25, 2010

    I’ve noticed that *none* of the people who are saying “why is it wrong to post other people’s names and addresses online?” are signing their own full names, or providing *their* contact information.

    I have no objection to online pseudonymity in and of itself–a consistent handle is a consistent handle, whether or not it’s on your driver’s license or passport, and anonymity can be necessary in some cases–but I think it’s worth pointing out the hypocrisy.

    Pierce in particular, why shouldn’t people be able to call you up at your lab and ask you to defend your position on animal experimentation? And to justify whatever you’re working on, for that matter: if nobody thinks it’s harmful, there’s probably someone who would like you to explain why you’re spending taxpayer dollars on it.

  122. #122 xine
    February 25, 2010

    I’m usually in line with “the animal rights extremists,” though I typically draw the line at harassing the target’s family members. And I’d much rather someone blow up Wakefield’s lab than a UCLA lab… but doing both at the same time would be preferable.

  123. #123 Raging Bee
    February 25, 2010

    And I’d much rather someone blow up Wakefield’s lab than a UCLA lab… but doing both at the same time would be preferable.

    Because you don’t choose to recognize any difference between Wakefield and UCLA?

    Advocating sabotage and vandalism against legitimate scientific endeavors is bad enough. Advocating such actions based on such willful ignorance and lack of discrimination as xine shows here, is just plain morally retarded.

  124. #124 BE
    February 25, 2010

    #115 Orac

    unfortunately many people may read this information & sign up but be unaware of the fact that the results of animal experiments cannot accurately be extrapolated to humans

  125. #125 BE
    February 25, 2010

    #115 Orac

    unfortunately many people signing up will be unaware that the results of animal experiments cannot be accurately extrapolated to humans

  126. #126 JohnV
    February 25, 2010

    That’s a pretty definitive statement which is unsurprisingly lacking in citations, BE.

  127. #127 BE
    February 25, 2010

    #115 Orac

    I am well aware of this, but unfortunately many people signing up will be completely unaware that the results of animal experiments cannot be accurately extrapolated to humans, or in their desperate need for cash, not bother read the form properly

    clinical trials are not without ethical issues which need addressing

  128. #128 Orac
    February 25, 2010

    unfortunately many people may read this information & sign up but be unaware of the fact that the results of animal experiments cannot accurately be extrapolated to humans

    So, you appear to be changing your story. Previously you said that test subjects aren’t informed that phase I trials are “first in human” trials. Now you say that they are but that they aren’t told that animal studies aren’t an don’t accurate predict human response, which is a rather strong generality that you do not back up with evidence. Clinical researchers are aware of the pitfalls and problems with animal studies and take that into account.

    In any case, as a lawyer would challenge a witness who changes his story: Were you lying then or are you lying now?

  129. #129 Obvious
    February 25, 2010

    the results of animal experiments cannot be accurately extrapolated to humans

    This statement could be reworded to make it more accurate with appropriate nuance:

    The results of animal experiments can only be imperfectly and cautiously extrapolated to humans, however no other mechanism of biological experimentation has acheived anything approaching the success rates of animal-derived data in basic and clinical applications. Alternative methods (e.g., in vitro tests, in silico modeling) may supplant animal experimentation in the future, but to even validate and improve these models will neccesitate continued further animal testing.

  130. #130 MikeMa
    February 25, 2010

    xine,
    You mean blow up the labs with all the animals in them? Guards? Lab workers?

    Interesting.

  131. #131 Pierce
    February 25, 2010

    @ Jesse

    “how do you propose that we continue learning things about animals (including humans)? Taking away testing on animals would severely impact biology, medicine, and psychology.”

    We don’t need to “learn things” about animals. We don’t kill billions of animals to “learn things,” about them. Biology, medicine, and psychology can continue without experimenting on animals. Sure, it may be more convenient to experiment on animals, but it’s morally unethical. And let’s be clear, the majority of research isn’t being done to benefit animals or understand them better, it is to better “understand” humans. The NIH isn’t interested in finding out about a mouse’s brain for the mouses sake, they’re interested in however they can tie that to a human brain.

    @ Paul

    “Have you ever stopped to consider that your protests against him were based on flawed information or judgement. Just because somebody is targeted by protests doesn’t mean they have done anything wrong…in fact the opposite often applies.”

    Well, kind of. His research publications explicitly told us what he did to animals, and my animal rights beliefs are pretty ingrained at this point. While I don’t understand all of the science, I’m pretty well versed in the ethics. This is why I’m not going to demonize the researcher, but will publicly voice my opposition to what he does.

  132. #132 Obvious
    February 25, 2010

    The violent (or those that explicitly or tacitly support violence & destruction) ARA groups are simply the radical left’s version of the abortion clinic bombers and their groupies. They use the same logically stunted arguments and intimidation techniques.

    I’m sure the two groups’ constiuents would be largely offfended by this comparison…

  133. #133 Raging Bee
    February 25, 2010

    Wow, Pierce, you’re sounding more like an uncaring Luddite with every post…

    We don’t need to “learn things” about animals.

    Yes, actually, we do, for a variety of practical as well as pure-science reasons.

    We don’t kill billions of animals to “learn things,” about them.

    Yes, actually, we do. (Got a cite for that “billions” figure?)

    Biology, medicine, and psychology can continue without experimenting on animals.

    Got any proof of that? Any examples of significant research going on in any of these fields unhindered by a blanket refusal to use animal experiments or any information gained thereby?

    Sure, it may be more convenient to experiment on animals, but it’s morally unethical.

    I hear this same attitude from the anti-woman right: my interests are based on morality, your contrary interests are just “convenience,” and I’ll never compromise my beliefs for anyone else’s mere piffling “convenience.” You’re obviously using the word “convenience” to belittle and ignore the legitimate concerns of those you disagree with.

    And let’s be clear, the majority of research isn’t being done to benefit animals or understand them better, it is to better “understand” humans.

    It’s being done for both purposes; and the two are not mutually exclusive.

    The NIH isn’t interested in finding out about a mouse’s brain for the mouses sake, they’re interested in however they can tie that to a human brain.

    Scientists in general are interested in BOTH issues. Again, you can’t separate them in the real world.

    While I don’t understand all of the science, I’m pretty well versed in the ethics.

    Bullshit — if you REALLY understood the ethics, you’d know you can’t make ethical judgements unless and until you understand the science. Having a strong and simpleminded opinion and disdaining relevant facts does not make you “well versed in ethics.”

  134. #134 activist
    February 25, 2010

    Animal rights activists have never condemned putting dogs on leads, you fucking idiot.

    Don’t preach about what you don’t understand- you obviously have no concept of what it means to support animal rights.

    Just like every other scumbag who supports vivisection, you’re nothing more than a waste of space.

  135. #135 Todd W.
    February 25, 2010

    @activist

    Wow. Stay classy.

    Now, just to clear some things up. Do you support the use of violence and/or threats against scientists (and/or their families) who use animals in their research, and if so, why? Second, do you understand what vivisection actually is? Third, can you cite any sources that indicate that vivisection is the normal course of animal research?

  136. #136 Kristen
    February 25, 2010

    It looks like the pro human suffering activists are coming out of the woodwork.

    I am starting to agree with the assertion that they should forgo any and all medical advances that came about as a result of animal research.

    These are little rich art school cowards! What about Darfur, the suffering of women in South Africa, recovery from the tsunami in South-East Asia, recovery in Haiti and all the myriad of other suffering going on? That is unimportant compared to the suffering of lab rats?

    With all these peoples energy and passion they could really be helping the world. Instead they have manufactured a “cause” that doesn’t require them to sacrifice their comfortable lifestyle, or (God forbid) have to physically touch or help those they consider lower than animals.

    “Animal activism” is a luxury most people on this earth cannot afford.

  137. #137 Natalie
    February 25, 2010

    Animal rights activists have never condemned putting dogs on leads, you fucking idiot.

    I don’t believe anyone claimed they did. I fail to see the problem with pointing out that they appear to be holding two contradictory beliefs.

  138. #138 Chris
    February 25, 2010

    I see another single issue troll has appeared who does not seem to understand what the blog posting was about.

  139. #139 micheleinmichigan
    February 25, 2010

    “If you actually read the comments here, you’d know we’ve proposed a wide variety of solutions — in addition to acknowledging the solutions that have already been tried and failed. Your comment proves you neither know nor care what you’re talking about.”

    Raging Bee, – I was indeed reading all the comments. The reason I choose the words “some comments” was because I was speaking to the commentor’s who were suggesting or eluding to the use of guns, traps or bombs.

    Probably, I should have been more clear in this specific comment that other posters had worthwhile suggestions. I did not intend to reprimand all the commentors as a group.

    I did make the assumption that I was talking to a group of individuals who were posting independently not a “we”. Perhaps the commentors here are more cohesive that I understood.

    Also,I can assure you that I do care about what I am talking about. I will be philosophical about whether my knowledge would meet your standards.

    I was giving the site another look due to a connection from another site. I guess it’s just not my cup of tea.

  140. #140 Calli Arcale
    February 25, 2010

    activist — some do. Most are okay with leashing dogs, but there are some so extreme that almost anybody would agree they’re nuts.

    I think it is vitally important to treat animals with respect. This does not mean halting all animal research. Like hunter-gatherer tribes who say a prayer to thank the spirit of the deceased antelope (or whatever), we need to be cognizant of the price we ask them to pay. It is our responsibility to ensure that we use them only when we must, use them only when the benefit outweighs the price, minimize their suffering to the maximum extent practical, provide for their physical, social, and medical well-being while in our care to the maximum extent practical, and, lastly, to ensure that we make sure to get the most we possibly can out of it, so that their sacrifice is not in vain. That means the studies must be very well designed, and there must be a distinct scientific gain at the end.

    I definitely support testing of medications on animals. They must be tested on someone, after all, and though animal models have their limits, I’d rather determine teratogenicity on a pregnant mouse than a pregnant human. It’s not that I want to hurt either; it’s that if I have to choose, I’d rather it be the mouse.

    This extends far beyond medical research. Zoos, farms (big and small), entertainment acts, pet stores, breeders, hunters, fishermen and so forth all need to constantly work to improve how they interact with the animals. And that responsibility is upon all of us pet owners as well. We cannot expect to never harm an animal; our mere existence threatens billions of animals constantly. We therefore have a responsibility to recognize that and strive to husband this biosphere as best we can.

    I think it is absurd to talk of giving animals rights. Rights are human things. How can an elephant have rights in our society? It can’t, because it really can’t be a part of our society in the first place. Oh sure, we could try and make it a part of our society, but it would never be happy. Elephants belong in elephant society, not human society, and there are elements of elephant society which would violate human rights — and vice versa. Humans don’t belong in elephant society either.

    But that doesn’t mean we can’t grant them certain protections. I believe it should be taboo in our society to injure or kill an animal for pleasure, for instance. And I believe we need to constantly work to find those who are not treating animals properly and subject them to criminal prosecution. Many places have laws forbidding animal cruelty, and requiring that owners meet certain standards in the care of their animals. Those laws need to be enforced, because there are indeed breeders/labs/zoos/pet owners/etc who do not treat the animals properly. PETA did a good thing when it exposed the hog farm in southern Minnesota (or was it Iowa?) where supervisors (themselves poorly supervised) were actually torturing the pigs for fun. While I think most of PETA’s actions tend to be rather silly and pointless, that one was definitely a good deed. We need more of that kind of thing, and less of the insanity. Firebombing houses (or even advocating vandalism) is not going to win over any new supporters of animal welfare.

  141. #141 Vicki
    February 25, 2010

    There’s something that keeps running through my head as I read about this topic (here and on other blogs):

    “For causes are ashes when children lie slain.”

    Stan Rogers was talking about a very different political question, but the problem of unethical tactics is similar.

  142. #142 Militant Agnostic
    February 25, 2010

    These are little rich art school cowards! What about Darfur, the suffering of women in South Africa, recovery from the tsunami in South-East Asia, recovery in Haiti and all the myriad of other suffering going on? That is unimportant compared to the suffering of lab rats?

    Heck, if they really consider the suffering of animals to be more important than that of humans, they should be protesting confined animal feeding operations. The number of animals involved is much larger and the conditions are probably much worse, especially for pigs (which have intelligence comparable to dogs). Of course, pigs are not very cute and cuddly and the activists would have to go out of the city to protest.

  143. #143 Militant Agnostic
    February 25, 2010

    Vicki – What Stan Rogers song is that?

  144. #144 Composer99
    February 25, 2010

    @133

    [...] if you REALLY understood the ethics, you’d know you can’t make ethical judgements unless and until you understand the science.

    I assume you are implicitly qualifying that this statement applies only to the sort of rigorously-conducted animal research as described by Orac.

    I agree Pierce has come to an incorrect conclusion about the ethics or necessity of scientific animal research. However, I disagree that he must understand the science behind something in order to conclude it is unethical. Being able to demonstrate a clear breach of a basic ethical principle is sufficient.

  145. #145 Vicki
    February 25, 2010

    Militant Agnostic–That’s from “House of Orange,” which I think is on the album _Fogarty’s Cove_. It’s about Ireland and the Troubles and IRA fund-raisers in North America.

  146. #146 micheleinmichigan
    February 25, 2010

    Posted by: Tyler DiPietro – anti-gun nut

    Not anti-gun. Actually worked as a government contractor around a lot bigger guns than most people have been close to. The military people I worked with, never spoke of guns or their use in the flippant uninformed manner I’ve seen here (around me). So, I can assure you, I’m not on some other blog trying to rally a bunch of folks to post here about guns.

    The Panic Man – “Tell me, micheleinmichigan, would you like a couch to faint on because of us evil, evil people who are tired of these kinds of vicious terrorists? OR would you just like another strand of pearls to clutch?, etc”

    Gosh when I accuse some guys of only caring about their big “guns” I don’t really expect a clutched pearls comeback. Apparently, I was too ladylike. I’ll have to work on that. Or was it the suggestion that I care about the lives of children that…oh wait, that was what the post was about. The wrongness of involving or endangering children to achieve your goals.

    Actually, I don’t expect you to say or believe I’m right. (Well, sure it’d be fun if everyone just decided to idolize my wisdom, a girl can dream can’t she…with her pearls and all.) But, I’m presenting my side and views in the hopes that some people are receptive or at least in the end will take more precautions than they might have if I hadn’t said anything. If you are offended by that, I guess either I didn’t do my best job to convince you or you are not convincable on this topic. And yes, I would like a couch, in blue velvet with Scothguard, please. Thanks!

    Of course if someone is interested in rallying support against this animal rights groups on the grounds that they are violent, and they do so with talk of guns and bear traps not legislation, pickets, protests, boycotts, etc. It’s hard to not think kettle/pot. But I beginning to see that what is really happening is vent-fest.

    Also Prometheus “Nice straw man about guns, by the way. Yes, improperly stored and improperly handled guns are dangerous. So are bicycles. Guess which accidentally kills more children (and people in general) every year? But, guns are “scary”, so you feel that anyone mentioning them must be a scary, irresponsible person.

    Well, how many death are caused each year by: riding bicycles, guns and the anti-vax movement? Because there are more bicycle deaths, I should not speak out about gun deaths or the anti-vax movement? I’m sorry who’s straw man is that?

    But, yes, It is true I do not trust strangers with weapons. I assume anyone who has a gun, who I do not know to be a responsible, knowledgeable person or who does not show me in their comments to be likely to be responsible or knowledgeable may be dangerous or negligent. Of course I do not feel the need to trust or distrust someone with a bike since I feel they are unlikely to kill me (or even an innocent bystander child). I see my lack of trust offends you. I’m not sure what I could do about that.

    (In case you ask, I am also a defensive driver.)

    Also, once again, I was only referring to commentors who were using such language. Not the board in general.

  147. #147 Calli Arcale
    February 25, 2010

    Militant Agnostic @ 142:

    Heck, if they really consider the suffering of animals to be more important than that of humans, they should be protesting confined animal feeding operations.

    There are plenty of animal rights protesters protesting against feedlots (though mostly they do their protesting in the city where it will be visible — exceptions include those who actually attack farms, with one of the more notable examples being the twits who released all those mink from a fur farm in Wisconsin — to their certain death, of course, because these mink had been raised in captivity). I’m not sure how much overlap there is between the anti-feedlot and anti-”vivisectionist” crowd; there does seem to be a subset of animal rights activists who are almost exclusively focused on the use of animals for medical testing, cosmetics, and research. (Incidentally, they call it “vivisection” regardless of whether or not surgical procedures are actually involved. At first, I thought that was just a propaganda technique, but I’m starting to suspect that most of them actually believe that represents the bulk of animal research.)

  148. #148 Dave
    February 25, 2010

    M-in-M@146

    Im really not clear what you are on about. The references to guns in these comments that I saw, were in reaction to the prospect of a violent individual in threatening one and one’s children, in ones own home. Ill admit, Im not convinced that having everyone run around armed to the teeth is the best way to order a society, however, the scenario I just described is one where I am quite comfortable with a threat of violence, if not actual violent retaliation.

    BTW, I cant figure out who brought up bicycles, but guns kill way more people than bicycles (by almost a factor of 50.) Cars on the other hand, THOSE are scary things.

  149. #149 Big Ugly Jim
    February 25, 2010

    And now they’ve got a new page on the Negotiation Is Over website proudly explaining that it’s time to quit messing around and start up with the ole’ Direct Action attacks. This is accompanied by a list of links to blogs (such as mine! HEE HEE) that hurt their feelings on this subject, and terribly photoshopped pictures of medical researchers being gored.

    http://negotiationisover.com/2010/02/25/ya-basta-enough-game-change-at-ucla/

    It’s awful nice to see my writing on the same page as PZ Myers and Orac. :)

  150. #150 micheleinmichigan
    February 25, 2010

    Dave – Examples of what I’m reacting to below. I do not see a reference to breaking into one home in any. I do not view stepping on someone’s property as breaking into their home. Particularily since our niegh kids do it all the time with us. I have been threatened with violence (in person, not online) and managed to deal with it without bullets. I really think these statement go beyond defensively protecting yourself in your home.

    “First, if any of those thugs come on your property just shoot them down. They pose an eminent danger. Second, stop using animals in research and use these cretins instead. It’ll save animals and eliminate a threat to society. I sure wouldn’t play nice with those idiots.

    Posted by: Mike | February 24, 2010 10:05 AM”

    “I really hate to say it, but yes, if I were in this position I’d probably own half a dozen .45 automatics and a large supply of Glaser safety slugs.

    I wonder how the law views putting medium animal traps outside ground floor windows. Granted, I’d have no desire to actually trap or injure an innocent animal, so the triggering pressure would have to be substantially increased.”

    “Now, if you accidentally leave a covered pit filled with feces-tipped bamboo spikes and broken glass on your property, you have no duty to protect a trespasser from falling in.”

    IANAL.

    Posted by: Dan Weber | February 24, 2010 12:27 PM

    —-

    “Perhaps, as some people have suggested, the solution may be for the “animal rights” terrorists to get a little skin in the game. I suspect that it wouldn’t take too many dead and wounded terrorists for the ardor to cool.”

    “My position on guns is pretty simple. When people are debating, you use arguments. When people are either threatening violence or openly supporting the use thereof against you, you use bullets (in self defense, of course). Being a softy and trying to reason with the likes of Camille Marino and her ilk is a fools errand. One or two of these thugs ending up with one between the eyes will probably scare off the majority of them, given that their mostly comprised of pampered rich kids with nothing better to do.”

    Posted by: Tyler DiPietro | February 24, 2010 11:53 PM”

    My apologize to Orac for the extensive cut and paste.

  151. #151 Dave
    February 25, 2010

    M-in-M,

    Re Mike’s comment: I agreethat simply stepping on one’s property is not the equivelent of breaking into one’s home. However, given the context of this post (ex ARAs use of Molotov Cocktails) I think it is pretty clear Mike is not talking about someone simply stepping onto his property.

    Re: Dan Webber’s comment, do look up what a Glaser Safety Round is. Re the traps, remember, this was in reference to ARA’s wearing masks and banging on the researcher’s windows at night. Im not sure what neighborhood you live in, but that is certainly not a common activity of the children in my neighborhood.

    Re: Tyler’s comment, hear you have half a point, he uses the phrase, “people are either threatening violence or openly supporting the use thereof against you,” I would only agree with the first part, while inciting violence is criminal activity, Im not sure it warrants a violent response.

    However, the main point is that all these comments were made in the context of a discussion about the violent harassment and abuse that ARAs inflicted upon Dr. Ringach. To criticize it as if it were made in reference to neighborhood kids stepping on ones lawn is dishonest.

  152. #152 IDM
    February 25, 2010

    Indeed, any time I write an NIH grant, I have to spend several pages justifying the proposed use of animals, detailing how they will be used, justifying statistically the numbers, species, and ages proposed, and explaining how we will minimize pain and suffering. And I only work with mice. The requirements are much

    I’m guessing that you meant that the requirements are much more stringent as a byproduct of these fanatics. I feel like rewatching the Penn&Teller takedown of PETA again.

    And is it me, or are quacks consistently unable to stay within their subject matter without having to make Godwin law breaking accusations, ad-hominems, philosophical woo, or pedophilia remarks?

  153. #153 micheleinmichigan
    February 25, 2010

    “However, the main point is that all these comments were made in the context of a discussion about the violent harassment and abuse that ARAs inflicted upon Dr. Ringach. To criticize it as if it were made in reference to neighborhood kids stepping on ones lawn is dishonest.”

    Dishonest? To suggest that a trap meant for a harasser could accidentally be triggered by a neighborhood child? The video tape linked, clearly showed a suburban family type neighborhood. Mine is similar, although more modest. Maybe our neighborhood children are just ruder. I had no intention of being dishonest.

    If it looked like I was saying that the poster was intentional trying to hurt children, no. I did not mean to say that.

    My bad on the safety round. I let myself be mislead be the half dozen .45.

    I guess my question ultimately is, do you think that kind of rhetoric is constructive? If you saw the same statements on a ARAs site, would you be as accepting?

  154. #154 Raging Bee
    February 25, 2010

    I’m guessing that you meant that the requirements are much more stringent as a byproduct of these fanatics.

    You’d be guessing wrong. Such requirements are more stringent as a result of peaceful, legal, disciplined political and economic action, at all levels, over a period of many years, by people who cared enough to know the truth, respect other people as well as animals, and not spout the same empty slogans over and over again. We, as a society, have been exposing and restricting mistreatment of animals LONG before any scientists reported being personally harassed by undisciplined bullies in ski-masks.

    Articulate and effective opposition to cruelty to animals has been coming from many walks of life, including environmentalists, vegetarians, people who work with endangered species, animal-shelter operators, pet owners, scientists, and more. Violent extremist bullies had no hand in this progress, and they don’t get to claim credit for any of it. They’re nothing but a tiny, shrieking, self-important, attention-hogging minority within a much greater (and more civilized and effective) movement.

  155. #155 Jennifer B. Phillips
    February 25, 2010

    I’m guessing that you meant that the requirements are much more stringent as a byproduct of these fanatics.

    Only Orac knows for sure, but given the context of the quote I would guess that he was going to complete this thought with something like “The requirements are much more stringent with larger mammals (the aforementioned dogs, cats and primates)”.
    The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for each research facility strives to make policy informed by scientific data on minimizing pain and suffering, and providing the most comfortable, low-stress environments for all research animals. Much attention is paid to environmental conditions beyond basic cleanliness and overcrowding–indeed, there are guidelines in effect for noise, light levels, and every human interaction or intervention.

    Researchers who work with animals are deeply invested in their health and well being. It’s important for our experimental outcomes, for sure, but there’s a deeper ethical consideration in play as well. Animal research is vital to biology discovery in general and human health advances in particular, but we don’t want to sacrifice animals for no good reason. It’s good science to think through ones experimental design, determine the necessity of animal use for all of the stages of your given research goals, and determine how many animals will be necessary for any given experiment. No one takes this task lightly.

    Bottom line: these guidelines exist because scientists have given thorough consideration to the methodology and the ethics of animal research, NOT because some nosy parker do-gooders came along and made us toe the line. I think it is a huge mistake to give the fanatics any credit for tightening these regulations, particularly given the overwhelming evidence that they are not amenable to any sort of compromise.

  156. #156 Tyler DiPietro
    February 25, 2010

    To clarify my comment, by “threatening violence or openly supporting the use thereof against you”, I don’t mean you should just shoot someone if they threaten you or try to justify violence against you. I mean you should arm yourself in preparation for when one of these dickheads actually attempts to perpetrate such violence. Sorry if it came off as the former.

  157. #157 Tyler DiPietro
    February 25, 2010

    “If you saw the same statements on a ARAs site, would you be as accepting?”

    If ARA’s were being openly threatened with violence for non-violent activities by some group of nutbars or another, yes, I would understand their desire to defend themselves perfectly well.

  158. #158 Monson
    February 25, 2010

    They have enlisted the Orcas. You are all doomed.

  159. #159 Igor
    February 25, 2010

    Oh, no!! Just as I dug a moat around my house to protect it from these nutjobs. Now my defenses will be bridged in no time.

  160. #160 anonymous
    February 25, 2010

    re: Prometheus @56

    And perhaps we researchers should take a page (or chapter) from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. He writes about making “the establishment” play by their own rules while the “radicals” don’t (which is classic narcissistic personality disorder, by the way). How about we pull a little switcheroo? What if the researchers firebomb the houses of known ALF sympathisers and harrass their children at school?

    I’m not saying that someone should, mind you. But I would understand (wink, wink) if someone did do that.

    All hypothetically and academic, of course.

    It is wrong for anyone to do it – it doesn’t matter if you agree with some of the views espoused by someone advocating violence (overtly or not). Do not suggest thuggery, terrorism and other sociopathic behavior – even against terrorists.

  161. #161 Tyler DiPietro
    February 25, 2010

    In all fairness, guns may not actually be necessary. The easiest way to scare off an animal “rights” nutjob is to brandish a job application.

  162. #162 monson
    February 25, 2010

    Tyler! @161

    you are full of shit.

  163. #163 Monson
    February 25, 2010

    So, some people harass and embarrass children so they should be shot?

  164. #164 jenbphillips
    February 25, 2010

    Anonymous @ 160:
    Bummer about your broken irony meter, dude.

  165. #165 anonymous
    February 25, 2010

    jenbphillips @164:
    Thank you for your concern. It looks hypocritical for someone to complain about actions and at the same time commit those same acts. Yes, it is a joke, but it looks similar to postings that have led to murder.

  166. #166 jenbphillips
    February 25, 2010

    anonymous:

    It looks hypocritical for someone to complain about actions and at the same time commit those same acts.

    It would indeed be hypocritical, among other things. However, no one has even seriously suggested, let alone committed, these acts. Ergo, no hypocrisy.

    Yes, it is a joke, but it looks similar to postings that have led to murder.

    and therein lies the humor, dark though it may be. No rational person would make such thinly veiled threats, no matter how strongly he or she felt about a given cause. Prometheus is using irony to illustrate this point. You don’t have to find it funny, but please don’t mistake it for a genuine sentiment.

  167. #167 monson
    February 25, 2010

    Mike!!! @22

    eminent? you are not too bright eh?

  168. #168 Tyler DiPietro
    February 25, 2010

    “you are full of shit.”

    Get a job.

    P.S., I’m eating meat. Suck it.

  169. #169 monson
    February 25, 2010

    Tyler, you are so classy. Orac should ban you for rude behaviour.

  170. #170 Tyler DiPietro
    February 25, 2010

    “Orac should ban you for rude behaviour.”

    That’s up to him. It wouldn’t change the fact that you’re an idiot.

  171. #171 Antaeus Feldspar
    February 25, 2010

    Provivisectionist comments here

    Well, it’s a good thing BE wanted to make sure no one read his words, or took them seriously; describing all beliefs about animals other than the most extreme animal rights extremism as “provivisectionist” will do that.

    Congratulations, BE! You had a chance to get your point across, and instead the only point you got across is that you are a fanatic and it is a waste of time trying to communicate with you!

  172. #172 micheleinmichigan
    February 25, 2010

    Dave, Tyler, Raging Bee, The Panic Man , Prometheus and other folks you have expressed their displeasure with my statement.

    I’ll accept that there are 567+ other way that I could have voiced my comment. Maybe some of them would having been more convincing or at least more palatable to you. Could be my emotions are too high on the topic or my skills to low to see those ways.

    I’m sure my history has colored my reading of the above statements. As has each individuals. But what would you have me say? If you could put yourself in my place and believe that after seeing someone elses’ tragedy, I feel an obligation to try to avert another one.

    Should I tell myself; Oh well, not my business? Someone else should say something? I should say something, but I can not come up with the perfect words? Those all seem cowardly to me. And, hey I will admit to whining, but I try not to be cowardly. (if you can picture that.)

    I think any suggestion of respecting each others opinions would be ridiculous (Although I’ll respect your rights). I’ll just assume is that you’re an adult and can stomach some criticism and I am the same.

    Tyler, thanks clarifying your post.

    Panic Man, (I think), I can’t get over the couch line. I think it may be the funniest insult I’ve ever received.

  173. #173 Katharine
    February 25, 2010

    Here’s what I’d like to see:

    Animal rights extremists volunteering, in spades, to be subjects for clinical research, and not making use of our medicine or anything else that was developed by using animal research until they do.

    And in response to composer99, no, you have to understand something before making a judgment on it, because you don’t want to be making that judgment using incorrect information.

    – proud meat eater.

  174. #174 Katharine
    February 25, 2010

    And to be honest, when I begin grad school and when I finish grad school and when I start my professoring career, I do feel I’m going to have some concern for whatever animals I use. And I know I’m going to have to justify their use. But I don’t grant them any more status than they get, which is to say they are certainly animals that feel and are aware of their environment to a certain extent, but they’re not sapient or ‘near-sapient’ (how I like to think of primates and cetaceans, whose use in the more invasive sort of research I have MAJOR problems with because of the fact that they’re vastly more intelligent than most animals).

    I occasionally wonder if anyone ever had any pets that started out as their research subjects.

  175. #175 Raging Bee
    February 25, 2010

    Could be my emotions are too high on the topic or my skills to low to see those ways.

    Yup, could be. One of the things I learned in school is you gotta take time to make sure you’re using the right words to get your point across, because once you’ve given people the wrong understanding of what you meant, they won’t be listening to any excuses about your emotions or your carelessness with words.

  176. #176 Monson
    February 25, 2010

    Tyler,

    You claim animal rights activists are afraid of jobs. Based on what? Grad school is hard work lol. But seriously, you make no point.

    So many anti-animal rights activists make no sense. “I eat meat” wtf? That is an argument?

  177. #177 Tyler DiPietro
    February 25, 2010

    Monson, I would suggest getting face to face with a bear and seeing if it can reciprocate this concern you have for its “rights”. Try to get the results of it on film so I have a memento.

  178. #178 Bob
    February 26, 2010

    M-in-M,

    Let me clarify a few unstated assumptions in my post, lest you conveniently pigeonhole me as some he-man shoot-first member of the Short Penis Brigade.

    we are dealing with more than simple constitutionally-protected free speech, more than simple harassment and malicious mischief. We are dealing with people who have committed assault and arson, and have attempted home invasion and bombing of residences. These people are literally terrorists. They have intentionally committed violent acts specifically to terrorize people in order to promote their political agenda. There are very very few of them compared with the large, generally peaceful spectrum of animal rights/welfare activists. They do exist and have been escalating the violence of their attacks with time. The violent ones with murderous intent, those are the people I’m referring to.

    Now, imagining myself in the place of one of the researchers these people wish to kill or terrorize, I know I need to take some measures to protect myself and my family. Basic things like installing a security system, a fence, and good locks on the doors, maybe bars on the windows.

    But there is a limit to the effectiveness of a passive defense. There’s nothing stopping the bad people from hopping the fence and banging on my windows, or worse, stealing an SUV, driving it through my front door in the middle of the night, and cutting my throat before I’m done with my 911 call. Resources needed: a slim jim and a Buck knife.

    Let’s make an assumption about the reasonableness of my attackers. If I’m the new vivesector on the block, chances are they’ll start with small quasi-legal threats rather than arson, bombing, and murder. If they can frighten me off with some prank phone calls or by banging on my windows, they will. They’re evil, but they aren’t stupid; if they were stupid, they would already be in jail.

    Say they hop the fence and start banging on the windows. If I’ve fenced off my yard to keep out stray kids and pets and I have a reasonable idea where the meter reader, cable guy, etc. need access in my yard, I’m going to make it very difficult for someone to get behind the bushes next to the windows and I’m going to drop a couple spring-loaded animal traps there. Why? Traps are cheap, readily available, non-lethal, injurious. The first three are for my convenience, the third is for the safety of others, and the fourth is so when someone shows up at the emergency room an hour after the next window-banging incident complaining of a broken foot or ankle, the police can haul the guy and his friends in for questioning. Nobody dies or is permanently injured and there is very tangible evidence linking a person to an act. The police already do this for gunshot victims and they pick up a fair number of violent criminals after medical treatment.

    The biggest drawback to the plan is the propaganda value of “VIVESECTOR PLANT ANIMAL TRAPS IN SUBURBAN YARD!!!ELEVENTY!” And yes, this is quite probably illegal. I don’t care. It is more ethical to injure a violent sociopath such that they may be brought to justice and further harm may be averted than to let the situation escalate into the realm of the Castle Doctrine where one has no other ethical choice but to use lethal force.

    And if brought up on charges related to this, I’d lie through my teeth: “I was being harassed and I didn’t want to buy a gun. I didn’t know doing this was illegal.” I’d probably pay a fine, maybe get a suspended sentence, but at least I wouldn’t have had to shoot anyone and I wouldn’t have a gun-related arrest on my record.

    And regarding the guns, yes, I’m glad you caught the part about the Glaser safety slugs, because they’re a vital part of this mental exercise. Shotguns are ideal since they fire a wide variety of low-velocity ammunition, anywhere from rock salt and birdshot, to buckshot and deer slugs (in order of lethality and magazine loading for home defense.)

    Rifles are extremely bad weapons for home defense primarily because they fire high-velocity ammunition which has a tragic tendency to go right through typical residential construction. I would hope that any readers planning to defend their homes with a rifle live at least a mile from their neighbors because missing a shot at a home invader should not cost an innocent neighbor his life.

    Still, a shotgun may not be available in the drive-truck-into-foyer-and-cut-throat scenario above. Pistols are compact but suffer the same velocity problem as rifles. However, through the miracle of the Glaser safety slug, one has ammunition that imparts the vast majority of its energy into the first thing it hits. It has very little penetrating power, so your neighbors and family should be safe if you miss (I do not believe it penetrates typical sheetrock construction), but it also does devastating damage to what it does hit (i.e. the bad man trying to kill you.) This damage is not a concern since you would not shoot at a man without expecting to kill him. That is an ethical decision you make before you buy a gun, point it at someone, and pull the trigger. If you own a gun and have never considered the ethical implications and carefully resolved these issues for yourself, you need to not own a gun.

    It (almost) goes without saying that everyone in the household needs to know how to handle and use guns safely, if only to know where to point them, and how to safe and unload them. Again, if you haven’t been trained to handle guns safely or if you don’t treat them with deadly respect, you should not have them – full stop.

    My preference for the .45 automatic is based on very limited personal experience and the notion that if the .45 was good enough for knocking over Moros in the Philippines a hundred years ago, it’s good enough to stop a domestic terrorist in my foyer. I defer to those with more knowledge and experience of Moros and foyers.

    Michele, this might indicate to you I take the ethical and safety aspects of gun ownership very fucking seriously. It was probably not apparent from my initial post and I don’t fault you for considering my reference to a half-dozen .45s and animal traps as being flippant.

    I want to make it very clear that if I was in an animal researcher’s shoes and if I was suffering the degree of violence that some of these researchers do, and if my life or my family was in imminent danger, I would absolutely not hesitate to shoot one of these domestic terrorists in the head. Because at that moment the rule of law has failed. I should not be in a position where I must decide whether to pull the trigger. Why the police or the FBI or the rest of civil society has not reined these people in, I don’t know. And at that moment, it doesn’t matter. For me, personally, I’ll accept the nightmares and feelings of guilt and remorse and PTSD that come from taking another person’s life. I don’t want to kill, but if put in that situation I will. At the end of the day, I hope to live to see another.

  179. #179 BE
    February 26, 2010

    #119 Paul Browne:

    “I’m not sure that you appreciate the irony of bringing up an anti-vivisection group that is named after the notorious anti-vaccination campaigner Walter Hadwen on the Respectful Insolence blog.”

    Which irony? the fact that Dr Hadwen narrowly escaped with his life on several occasions ,had his taxi-cab smashed,and his platform stormed by medical students ?

    or the fact that Hadwen was actually against the ‘alternative’ societies for several reasons?

    “It is certainly possible to do good some biomedical research without using animals, but for many kinds of basic and translational biomedical research animal use is still necessary.”

    There are grounds for scepticism about the grand claims made for animal experimentation- see “Brute Science Dilemmas of animal experimentation” LaFollette & Niall Shanks

  180. #180 BE
    February 26, 2010

    #128 Orac

    “So, you appear to be changing your story. Previously you said that test subjects aren’t informed that phase I trials are “first in human” trials. Now you say that they are but that they aren’t told that animal studies aren’t an don’t accurate predict human response…”

    I stated that they ” may not be aware that animals were the test subjects prior to Phase 1 clinical trials”

    just because something is stated on a form does not necessarily mean the information has been read or understood digested

    “…which is a rather strong generality that you do not back up with evidence. Clinical researchers are aware of the pitfalls and problems with animal studies and take that into account.”

    The researchers are aware, but shouldn’t the test subject be made aware of these ‘pitfalls & problems’(somewhat of a generality too in the light of the TGN1412 disaster!)

    If the results of animal experiments & tests can be accurately extrapolated to humans, why are researchers bothering to develop non animal tests?
    “Until now we have only been able to mimic epilepsy using experimental animal models but his can never give you a true picture of what is actually going on inside the human brain in epilepsy.” Dr Mark Cunningham,Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University.ScienceDaily.com,Ist Dec 2009 (Epilepsy in vitro)

    “Recent research has shown our technology can be used to culture more realistic cancer tissue for testing, offering a powerful new tool for cancer drug discovery programmes.”
    Prof Cui, University of Oxford & Zyoxel technology co-inventor. Oxford Mail, 19th July2009

    “Our unswerving reliance on animal tests for safety and efficacy in humans does not stand up to rigorous evaluation. it is now time to move towards more human focused testing for human medicines.” Dr Bob Coleman, consultant to the pharmaceutical industry.

    “If you really want to study human disease, you’ve got to study the human. Don’t try studying something else as a surrogate, however tempting it might look because it’s easier – you’re going to get the wrong answer.” Iain Dougall of AstraZeneca (House of Lords Conference 20th October 2009)

  181. #181 BE
    February 26, 2010

    #129 Obvious

    “The results of animal experiments can only be imperfectly and cautiously extrapolated to humans”

    Therefore the first people to try out a new medication/procedure are also lab animals.

    “… however no other mechanism of biological experimentation has acheived anything approaching the success rates of animal-derived data in basic and clinical applications.”

    evidence?

    some would beg to differ

    Systematic Review of Animal Experimentation
    Knight A. 2007.

    Systematic reviews demonstrate poor clinical utility of animal experimentation. [online rapid response to Hackam DG. Translating animal research into clinical benefit. BMJ 2007;334:163-164.] http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/334/7586/163#159752, accessed 18th Apr. 2007.

    Early Day Motion (EDM)29 (UK) calls for an unprecedented comparison of currently required animal tests with a set of human biology based tests, to see which is more predictive of safety for patients, and EDM 212, which calls for better access to human tissues for medical research.

    [A million Britons are hospitalised by prescription medicines every year, costing the NHS 2 billion pounds.]

  182. #182 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    Me – Could be my emotions are too high on the topic or my skills to low to see those ways.

    Raging Bee “Yup, could be. One of the things I learned in school is you gotta take time to make sure you’re using the right words to get your point across, because once you’ve given people the wrong understanding of what you meant, they won’t be listening to any excuses about your emotions or your carelessness with words.”

    I’m sorry, you misunderstood. I did not intend that as an excuse or an apology. But if you’d like to answer my question in error free prose, please do.

    Did they also tell you in school that if you see something wrong or possibly dangerous happen you should stand back and watch it happen until you can present you position perfectly in an unemotional fashion?

    Is that what they are teaching in schools these days?

    That is not my belief. You are welcome to it.

  183. #183 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    Bob – My thought is that what you do to keep yourself safe in your home is your and the law’s business, not mine. You seem to feel assured that you will be responsible and have enough foresight to prevent innocent bystander’s being caught in the crossfire or accidental injury. Yet you post it all on the internet for god knows how many people with lord knows what level of forethought, responsibility, thuggishness to read.

    And then per Tyler’s rational, the folks in ARA can read that along with Prometheus’ irony and feel threaten, so they feel more justified in talking about getting their guns. Talk, Talk, Talk and it only increases the likelihood that some thug inclined person or not balanced person is going to hurt someone who didn’t deserve it (such as a kid or scientist,cop or security guard who are just trying to do their job) or an outright accident is going to happen.

    Ultimately I have no idea what a gun is going to do to protect yourself from a group of people who seem inclined to do their damage by sneak attack, the possible methods of which, I won’t list. Which seem more like these ARA folks. I would feel that a serious consultation with someone experienced in terrorism and harassment would be much more helpful to this researchers than a bunch of people talking about blockbuster movie scenarios and adding flames to the fire.

  184. #184 BE
    February 26, 2010

    #155 Jennifer B Phillips

    In the 1970s in the UK, the activities of the ALF,formerly the Band of Mercy,and associated direct action groups, evoked a high degree of support from media and public alike. Sympathy in particular was kindled by Mike Huskisson’s rescue of 2 beagle dogs from ICI labs & the subsequent exposure of the company’s smoking experiments- ICI being characterised as the heartless villain.The media continued to emphasise the ‘liberation’ aspect of lab animals & other actions,playing down the damage aspect, victims meeting financial costs quietly rather than risk public exposure of their ‘business’.Another success was the rescuing of a dog from a uni lab- later reunited with his real owner-evidence of the existence of organised pet stealing for sale to labs.In the 1980s activities escalated and there was outrage over pictures of a monkey which had been tattooed with the word CRAP.Video tapes of the most appalling head injury experiments were stolen from the Uni of Penn in 1984, and eventually led to the experiments being stopped. The notorious expose of Britches resulted in monkeys eyes no longer being sewn shut in experiments there, though unsurprisingly no action was taken against UCR for cruelty. In the UK,lobbying over many years had proved fruitless regarding the work of Felberg & Stean, which was stopped dead within 24 hours of video tape evidence being made public, though no charges were brought.Feldberg was using conscious cats, which had holes drilled in their skulls- detailed descriptions were provided in hs extensive contributions to the physiological literature! More recent examples include the cruelty which took place at HLS, the Diaries of Despair , detailing the mistreatment of lab animals at Imutran/faking of research results.The point these examples, the tip of the iceberg, shows how important the work of activists (snoops!) is to get the horrors of the labs into the public domain – this is what in turn motivates people to lobby peacefully for change. They’d never know what goes on otherwise, and it’s never a good idea to leave the fox in charge of the hen house.

  185. #185 Raging Bee
    February 26, 2010

    Did they also tell you in school that if you see something wrong or possibly dangerous happen you should stand back and watch it happen until you can present you position perfectly in an unemotional fashion?

    No…what makes you think I was ever taught such a thing? Do you have any idea what you’re talking about? Are you trying to tell us you don’t have time to sit still long enough to choose your words more carefully than you currently do? Or are you trying to tell us we’re not worth that much of your time?

    And then per Tyler’s rational, the folks in ARA can read that along with Prometheus’ irony and feel threaten, so they feel more justified in talking about getting their guns.

    Or “the folks in ARA” can read that and stick to lawful and nonviolent forms of protest — which have been proven to be the most effective means anyway.

    So now m-im-m is saying the victims of harassment are at fault if they take action to defend themselves? This victim-bashing proves that m-im-m is firmly on the side of the bullies, and will bend over in whatever direction is necessary to justify their vindictive, undisciplined bullying and demonize their law-abiding victims. People like m-in-m are part of the problem here, and are totally unworthy to participate in grownup dialogue.

    Ultimately I have no idea what a gun is going to do to protect yourself from a group of people who seem inclined to do their damage by sneak attack, the possible methods of which, I won’t list.

    It’s really quite simple, and you prove your dishonesty and cowardice by pretending you can’t see it. You also prove how utterly sleazy you are by implying you know what tactics certain violent criminals will use, and won’t disclose them.

    BE: In NONE of the instances you cite were terrorist acts against law-abiding citizens effective in getting animal-cruelty stopped. Just one example:

    In the UK,lobbying over many years had proved fruitless regarding the work of Felberg & Stean, which was stopped dead within 24 hours of video tape evidence being made public, though no charges were brought.

    Note: VIDEO-TAPE EVIDENCE got the cruel practice stopped; this evidence was acquired with ZERO violent criminal action against anyone. Non-violent protest works; undisciplined vindictive bullying doesn’t. Giving violent bullies credit for results they had no part in getting, only encourages more pointless violence and belittles those who actually got things done.

  186. #186 Raging Bee
    February 26, 2010

    Feldberg was using conscious cats, which had holes drilled in their skulls- detailed descriptions were provided in hs extensive contributions to the physiological literature!

    Well, since you seem familiar with the “physiological literature,” would you care to tell us what it says about useful information gained from such experiments, or how such information may have helped to make life better for anyone? Funny, you don’t even mention that aspect of all this. Probably because you don’t really care about people, or knowledge.

  187. #187 Raging Bee
    February 26, 2010

    If the results of animal experiments & tests can be accurately extrapolated to humans, why are researchers bothering to develop non animal tests?

    The fact that researchers are using more than one kind of test, does not mean either kind of test is invalid. If you don’t understand this already, then you’re too stupid to reason with.

    “Until now we have only been able to mimic epilepsy using experimental animal models but his can never give you a true picture of what is actually going on inside the human brain in epilepsy.” Dr Mark Cunningham,Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University.ScienceDaily.com,Ist Dec 2009 (Epilepsy in vitro)… And so on…

    Gee, BE, your case against animal experimentation seems to be based on the findings of SCIENTISTS — the same class of people who are now being victimized (along with their innocent families) by the bullies and terrorist-wannabees you so blindly support. So in addition to being lawless psychopaths with less self-control than your average ten-year-old, these thugs (and their brain-dead enablers here) can’t even discern who their enemies are! And we’re supposed to respect their superior morality and buy them an ice-cream cone?

  188. #188 Obvious
    February 26, 2010

    “… however no other mechanism of biological experimentation has acheived anything approaching the success rates of animal-derived data in basic and clinical applications.”

    evidence?

    some would beg to differ

    Cherry-picking some quotes that highlight the perceived weaknesses of extrapolating animal results to humans (which I explicitly agreed is the case) is not evidence to the contrary of my claim.

    You should provide evidence that there is anything that has been shown to reliably work better (or even comparably) in basic and clinical applications.

    You can’t. I’m quite sure of it.

  189. #189 Obvious
    February 26, 2010

    Repost of 188 with proper blockquotes:

    “… however no other mechanism of biological experimentation has acheived anything approaching the success rates of animal-derived data in basic and clinical applications.”

    evidence?

    some would beg to differ

    Cherry-picking some quotes that highlight the perceived weaknesses of extrapolating animal results to humans (which I explicitly agreed is the case) is not evidence to the contrary of my claim quoted above.

    You should provide evidence that there is anything that has been shown to reliably work better (or even comparably) in basic and clinical applications.

    You can’t. I’m quite sure of it.

  190. #190 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    Raging Bee – Wow, that’s a lot of name calling.

    I think I am going to assume that the average reader can see my comments are not as you characterize them.

    You to want to think I’m an enemy. So be it. In my first post I stated support of Paul Browne’s linked actions to take. They are excellent.

  191. #191 Calli Arcale
    February 26, 2010

    Feldberg was using conscious cats, which had holes drilled in their skulls- detailed descriptions were provided in hs extensive contributions to the physiological literature!

    There are indeed experiments which require the use of a conscious animal. Did you know that similar work is done on humans? Did you know that a lot of brain surgery is performed on conscious individuals? They do not scream throughout the process. If proper local anesthesia is used, they are able to remain conscious and provide valuable feedback to the surgeon. It seems reasonable that similar methods could be used when performing open brain research on cats or other animals, thereby minimizing their suffering.

    Would the animal have consciously chosen that path? Of course not. But they wouldn’t consciously choose to live in somebody’s house either — they have to be trained to it.

    I still think the best place that animal rights extremists could spend their energy is in supporting regulation of animal research and other uses of animals to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with ethical standards. We do need to do research on animals if we want to understand ourselves better. And I firmly believe we have a responsibility to minimize the suffering of those animals we study. (Exception: when studying wild animals, it may be best to let nature take its course, lest the wild not be so wild anymore because of our meddling.) Rather than blasting all animal researchers as “Mengeles”, regardless of what they actually do, I think it would be far more effective to work to improve the welfare of animals.

    Of course, it can be a lot more viscerally enjoyable to attack a person, rather than to do the hard work of actually improving the welfare of captive animals. But only the latter will actually be good for the animals.

  192. #192 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    Raging Bee,

    Also, you seem to have to no argument for anything I actually said.

    I would appreciate it if you supply a direct quote from any of my comments where I bash victims.

  193. #193 Raging Bee
    February 26, 2010

    Raging Bee – Wow, that’s a lot of name calling.

    It’s not ALL name-calling; and once again, you prove your dishonesty by ignoring all but the name-calling.

    I think I am going to assume that the average reader can see my comments are not as you characterize them.

    You have to assume this, because (so far at least) you have no evidence to conclude it.

    You to want to think I’m an enemy. So be it. In my first post I stated support of Paul Browne’s linked actions to take. They are excellent.

    Then why are you going out of your way to excuse and support terrorism?

  194. #194 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    Calli – I totally agree. Thank you for saying it so well.

  195. #195 Raging Bee
    February 26, 2010

    Another thing: calling all animal experimentation “vivisection” is just as blind, bigoted, stupid and wrong as calling all Muslims “terrorists.” Do either of these, and your credibility automatically drops to zero.

  196. #196 Dan Weber
    February 26, 2010

    Since I think I’ve been quoted a bit out of context, I’ll point out that my very first sentence on this comment thread was to say that booby traps aren’t legal, at least for property protection.

  197. #197 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    Raging Bee – Great name by the way, very apt.

    “Then why are you going out of your way to excuse and support terrorism?”

    Please, provide a quote from my comments where I support or excuse terrorism. I think it’s going to be hard since I never said such a thing. And do you really think people aren’t on to the whole “he/she supports terrorism because they don’t agree with me” gambit?

    IMO your accusations look silly. I feel like I’m holding your forehead while you swing uselessly in the air.

    If you want to say something substantive about my criticism (what I actually said). Go ahead. You do yourself a dis-service with your rhetoric.

  198. #198 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    I said “Ultimately I have no idea what a gun is going to do to protect yourself from a group of people who seem inclined to do their damage by sneak attack, the possible methods of which, I won’t list.”

    Raging HoneyBee said “It’s really quite simple, and you prove your dishonesty and cowardice by pretending you can’t see it. You also prove how utterly sleazy you are by implying you know what tactics certain violent criminals will use, and won’t disclose them.”

    To put it another way. I have no idea what your chances of protecting yourself from a group who engage in sneak attacks (20%-50%-.05%?, I don’t know) Maybe this is something to consider before getting a gun. I did not mean to suggest their was no chance, only that I believe your chances could be limited. I’d be happy to look at any source material that someone can provide on the use of a gun against a planted maltov cocktail.

    As to posting a list of possible sneaky, horrendous things that a group of thugs could do to other people. No. I don’t think that’s needed. If you need information, I’m sure you can find it somewhere on line. It’s not going to be from me.

    I don’t think there’s much point to posting anymore responses. I will try to read anyone responding to my comments. But I think further elaboration from me is pointless for both parties.

  199. #199 BlkSltzr
    February 26, 2010

    micheleinmichigan (94): Sounds like your associate and friend were not the sharpest crayons in the bunch. Darwin Award, perhaps? Just because the sort of people you hang around with are ill-prepared for the responsibility of a firearm, doesn’t mean the rest of us are.

  200. #200 young skeptic
    February 26, 2010

    “And then per Tyler’s rational, the folks in ARA can read that along with Prometheus’ irony and feel threaten, so they feel more justified in talking about getting their guns.”

    But the ‘activists’ are the aggressors. A group of people at a protest rally do not need weapons and holding this rally at the home of a political foe is obviously a hostile act. The purpose is to intimidate through a show of numbers. That they would bring weapons suggests they intend to use violence as well. I’m to disarm myself because already hostile people might do what they’ve already shown themselves willing to do regardless of whether I am armed?

    “Ultimately I have no idea what a gun is going to do to protect yourself from a group of people who seem inclined to do their damage by sneak attack, the possible methods of which, I won’t list.”

    I’m not sure if I’m reading this right(I’m probably not). Are you saying because my chances of surviving an altercation with a group of people who wish to cause me severe bodily injury is so low, I have no business carrying a weapon?

  201. #201 Anthro
    February 26, 2010

    I have never seen a post devolve into such utter crap since I’ve been reading this blog. My comment was so far back, and subsequently attacked, but I’m not going to bother with a rebuttal except to say that I don’t think the respondents really know much about primates.

    There is a lot of ignorance and confusion of terms going on here and some blatant rudeness as well. I’m very sorry I bothered to read most of this. I know many sincere people who are involved in a very legal and socially acceptable way with improving the lives of animals. None of them are extremists. Some are vegetarians and a few are vegans and most give of their time and treasure to human causes as well.

    The people Orac writes about are domestic terrorists and have been labeled as such by the government and FBI. These groups are monitored and arrests are made. Many of these people are in jail. This is hardly the same as supporting the humane treatment of non-human animals. Animal “rights” means many things to many people, but many posters have lumped a huge range of opinion and actions into one ugly lump and drawn ridiculous conclusions–especially for readers of a science blog.

  202. #202 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    young skeptic
    “I’m not sure if I’m reading this right(I’m probably not). Are you saying because my chances of surviving an altercation with a group of people who wish to cause me severe bodily injury is so low, I have no business carrying a weapon?”

    I am saying that, like getting surgery, I think it’s best to look at what defense would have the highest success rate with the lowest risk. I suspect that a gun is higher risk, lower success than other possible options.

    I never said someone has no business getting a gun. I would like more people to consider all the risks, responsibilities and consequences before saying “Well, I’m gonna get a gun.” I am asking people to seriously do that. Apparently that is incredibly offensive to some.

    Not one person here has actually said. “I’ve really thought about it. I’ve considered all the risks, I deeply understand my responsibility to keep children and innocent bystanders safe and put forth any standard protocol for risk management.”

    I have to add, I’ve have discussions with other gun owners who completely understood my concerns and were happy to talk about the precautions they take.

    Some commenter here seem far more concerned with their right to own a gun and defend themselves, than they are with their responsibilities.

    Thank you for asking for clarification. That was damn straight.

  203. #203 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    BlkSltzr – you are making a Darwin Award joke about the accidental shooting death of an infant?

    No, I can’t stomach this anymore. I wanted to read any respondents posts, Because, I feel that if you criticize, you should listen to the response. But I feel no obligation to expose myself to a psychopath.

  204. #204 Bob
    February 26, 2010

    @202

    I never said someone has no business getting a gun. I would like more people to consider all the risks, responsibilities and consequences before saying “Well, I’m gonna get a gun.” I am asking people to seriously do that. Apparently that is incredibly offensive to some.

    Not one person here has actually said. “I’ve really thought about it. I’ve considered all the risks, I deeply understand my responsibility to keep children and innocent bystanders safe and put forth any standard protocol for risk management.”

    Now either you did not read my clarification, you didn’t understand it, it slipped your mind or you willfully ignored it because that’s essentially what I wrote at 178. Maybe I didn’t use your preferred verbiage or common phrases such as ‘due diligence,’ maybe I was a bit long winded, but yes, I did address that notion of risk and responsibility quite clearly.

    What is offensive is having to repeat this to you several times because you don’t acknowledge that it’s been said already, especially since doing so would diminish your litany of hand-wringing and deflate your stereotype of gun owners as dangerous thoughtless vigilantes.

    Maybe for your average educated white middle-class suburban homeowner defending themselves against random violence in their home, the risk of firearm ownership far outweighs the benefits. But that’s not what we’re talking about – I hate repeating this – we are talking about domestic terrorists with premeditated plans of violence or murder against a target who is aware he/she is a target. This case is not typical, and certainly not random. It’s likely that the cost-risk-benefit of gun ownership is much different than in the general case. This sounds like something the FBI would keep statistics on.

    But that doesn’t matter Michele, because you’re long on criticism and hand-wringing and short on pragmatic suggestions. We should throw our hands up and declare defeat? We should not take rational, legal, well-thought-out steps to increase our safety simply because we can’t do it perfectly? You’ve made it perfectly clear what you’re against – what are you for? What is your better idea for keeping researchers safe from these thugs? Do you have any positive action to suggest or are you just going to keep whining?

    Or is this the part of the thread where you claim to be offended by all the impolite and insensitive people here and take your ball home, rather than answering hard questions?

  205. #205 micheleinmichigan
    February 26, 2010

    Bob, I did read your explanation. When I put no-one, I thought I gotta go up and re-check that guys with the .45 post. Caught psycho’s (I mean BlkSltzr’s) comment on the way up, let myself get distracted.

    It would have been more fair to say “Except Bob.” We actually don’t agree on a few other things, but you did put forth thoughts on risk management. So now I am sure we are friends and you are no longer offended.

    In regard to my putting forth ideas on what “should” be done. What I said up thread is, consult with a security expert versed in terrorism and harrassment. (so I guess I should now be offended that you didn’t read, missed or forgot my comment, but kasurasura) Call that lame if you will. It’s a very dangerous unique situation, someone well versed in those situation would be the best advisor.

    I understand something like that is an expensive endeavor. If someone who is more financially savvy than me set up a “defense fund” that collected donations for a security consultant for these scientists. I would be happy to contribute. I don’t come to RI alot, but I’d probably come across any information posted on Science Based Medicine.

    Bob also “Or is this the part of the thread where you claim to be offended by all the impolite and insensitive people here and take your ball home, rather than answering hard questions?”

    You know, considering that I was offering criticism that no one wanted, I’ve tried to be pretty responsive and thick skinned. I’ve tried to offer the best solution I see fit. I don’t know if it’s the answer. Unless you have ESP, you don’t know if you have the answer. You can characterize it how you want.

    But yeah, when someone makes jokes about the death of an infant as if somehow she didn’t deserve to be alive cause her dad was an idiot. I’m sensitive. Cause I’m not a fucking soul less flesh eating zombie. Go figure.

    Bob, you’re taking time to write a comment directed at me, You say you have some concern about children, but you don’t have the time to call that guy on that crap? You’re not going to demand he makes some positive suggestions?

    So yup, I think I’ll take my ball and my conscience and go home. Best of luck with your approach to things.

  206. #206 BE
    February 27, 2010

    #185 Raging Bee

    “In NONE of the instances you cite were terrorist acts against law-abiding citizens effective in getting animal-cruelty stopped. Just one example:

    In the UK,lobbying over many years had proved fruitless regarding the work of Felberg & Stean, which was stopped dead within 24 hours of video tape evidence being made public, though no charges were brought.

    Note: VIDEO-TAPE EVIDENCE got the cruel practice stopped; this evidence was acquired with ZERO violent criminal action against anyone. Non-violent protest works; undisciplined vindictive bullying doesn’t. Giving violent bullies credit for results they had no part in getting, only encourages more pointless violence and belittles those who actually got things done.”

    My post was a reply to #155, Jennifer Phillips, who trying to make out that everything in the vivisection lab garden was lovely & entirely down to scientists & their ethics said – “NOT because some nosy parker do-gooders came along and made us toe the line…huge mistake to give the fanatics any credit for tightening these regulations.”

    I took ‘nosy parker do-gooders’ to mean undercover activists, & hence included the Feldberg case.

    However, the whole point about the AlF raids – was that they brought to light what was happening in the secretive labs, hidden from view, and garnered public support @ further action, legal and otherwise.

  207. #207 BE
    February 27, 2010

    #186 Raging Bee

    #Well, since you seem familiar with the “physiological literature,” would you care to tell us what it says about useful information gained from such experiments, or how such information may have helped to make life better for anyone? ”

    That’s your job if you want to defend Feldberg & feel that he was wrongly targeted!

    For 40 years Feldberg had been performing a series of conscious cat experiments, where propylbenzilycholine mustard was injected into the ventricles of the brain, with horrific effects (Effects of propylbenzylycholine mustard on injection into the liquor space of cats, Brit J Pharmacol 1978;63:3)In 1983 the RSPCA had included this experiment in a report to the Home Secretary in which medical, vet & other experts agreed that the degree of pain, suffering or distress was substantial & that the only stated aim was to see if the substance produced effects in cats like those already observed in rats. No therapeutic use was attributed to prop mustard in the published paper & that such distress would be hard to justify, even for research into problems of life threatening diseases.

    The point about his case was that Feldberg was so esteemed no one dared question either his competence or the scientific validity & medical relevance of his work.The scientific priesthood was as much to blame as he was, for in continuing to fund his research they facilitatd his downfall lost their own credibility in the public’s eye & allowed the needless suffering of animals.
    Thanks to the work of ‘fanactics’ & ‘nosy parker do-gooders’Feldberg’s licence was revoked under the 1986 Act for experiments on what should have been fully anaesthetised animals.

    “The divine right of scientists to operate above the law & the imperialistic attitude of the biomedical establishment to outside censure are hallmarks of a rising technocracy that are anathema to a truly civilised society.”Dr Michael Fox,MRCVS,1990

    “Funny, you don’t even mention that aspect of all this. Probably because you don’t really care about people, or knowledge.”

    Well, why not address my earlier post on human experimentation, or my points about the human fallout of vivisection based medicine, such as vaccination damage, clinical trials disasters, adverse drug reactions and so on. Or is that all just collateral damage?Shouldn’t funds be directed towards primary healthcare and human based medicine, rather than lifestyle drugs and repeated experiments on animals, knowledge for knowledge’s sake, wasting taxpayers’ money?How about the immorality of raising the hopes of sick people on the back of results in animals, which never materialise into cures? Funding ‘crises’ where research for babies & children is sidelined ? Illegal experiments on Nigerian children? Harvesting children’s organs without the consent of parents? Where’s the morality and the compassion in all of this? Isn’t all this a kind of violence against humanity?

  208. #208 BE
    February 27, 2010

    #187 Raging Bee

    The fact that researchers are using more than one kind of test, does not mean either kind of test is invalid. If you don’t understand this already, then you’re too stupid to reason with.

    “Frankly, it is only through a study such as that proposed by the Safety of Medicines Bill that the real strengths & weaknesses of human biology-based testing will become apparent…with our present level of knowledge & technological strengths, if all animal testing was banned next week, all brains would be directed to how best to exploit human biology- in vitro, in vivo and in silico- and a more reliable testing paradigm would emerge.” Dr Bob Coleman (Regulatory Affairs Journal Pharma, Feb 2009)

    Speed & Safety in Drug Discovery Conference ,2008, at London’s Royal Society- examples of many companies abandoning animal tests for human based tests “No more place for animal studies”-Prof Johannes Doehmer of BioProof

    “Gee, BE, your case against animal experimentation seems to be based on the findings of SCIENTISTS –”

    agree…forward thinking, ethical, compassionate ones without a Semmelweiss complex!

    “the same class of people who are now being victimized (along with their innocent families) by the bullies and terrorist-wannabees you so blindly support.”

    I don’t think AV scientists I support are in the same class at all

    I expressed earlier that I consider the thousands of innocent human victims of medical disasters need to be accounted for- any offers, or shall we just ignore them?

    Don’t we all support some form of terrorism-the ANC & Mandela, the suffragettes, the Palestinians? hopefully not blindly….

  209. #209 BE
    February 27, 2010

    #189 Obvious

    “Cherry-picking some quotes that highlight the perceived weaknesses of extrapolating animal results to humans (which I explicitly agreed is the case) is not evidence to the contrary of my claim quoted above.”

    And just assuming the methodology works isn’t evidence either.
    Which is why scientists are calling for an EDM in the UK for a scientific evaluation of animal tests for drug safety.

    How do you measure ‘success’? Judging by the number of drug disasters and other failures of animal experimentation , we should be doing everything in our power to hasten its demise, rather than defnding it.

  210. #210 jenbphillips
    February 27, 2010

    My post was a reply to #155, Jennifer Phillips, who trying to make out that everything in the vivisection lab garden was lovely & entirely down to scientists & their ethics said – “NOT because some nosy parker do-gooders came along and made us toe the line…huge mistake to give the fanatics any credit for tightening these regulations.”

    Bullshit.
    This is a prime example of the extreme activist thought process. In your mind, we are all ‘vivesectors’. I never claimed to speak for all pro-test researchers in the world, throughout history, nor did I claim that ethical lines had never been crossed. I’m specifically arguing against your false analogy of the ‘fox guarding the henhouse’ when it comes to regulated, institutional, federal grant supported research. I would never use the term ‘lovely’ to describe animal research, as your pathetic straw man contends. But it is entirely down to science that the extensive protocols governing animal use exist at my and thousands of other institutions.

    The rest of your logorrhea reveals that you are clearly suffering from a severe case of crank magnetism. Fortunately, the cure for this is not reliant upon animal research–otherwise you’d be totally screwed.

  211. #211 GregFromCanada
    February 27, 2010

    So why doesn’t someone start posting the names, address, schools, places of employment of the leaders of these “activists’” families?

    I’m not suggesting that anyone do anything to them, not at all, but letting them feel for a moment the possibility that some fanatic might do something could wake them up.

    I’m going to guess that Raging Bee, for example, would not like the names and address of their family posted on a website that advocates violence.

    I think the point some of us are trying to make is that in a civil society there are ways to make change, and those ways are often long and dry. You need to get a majority of people to agree with your position, and that takes work, there is no quick way to do it and expect to have any lasting results. The problem is that these activist haven’t the patience or the skill to do anything other than yell loud and threaten people.

  212. #212 GregFromCanada
    February 27, 2010

    Sorry Raging Bee, I confused your post with another, I mistakenly put your call sign up as my example.

    I’d edit it, but I can’t.

    Sorry again.

    ~GfC

  213. #213 Obvious
    February 27, 2010

    And just assuming the methodology works isn’t evidence either.

    Which is why scientists are calling for an EDM in the UK for a scientific evaluation of animal tests for drug safety.

    How do you measure ‘success’? Judging by the number of drug disasters and other failures of animal experimentation , we should be doing everything in our power to hasten its demise, rather than defnding it.

    Am I “assuming the methodology works” if it’s readily apparent that essentially every major medical advance thus far has been dependent upon some medical testing? If every successful pharmacotherepeutic has passed basic safety & efficacy evaluation in animals? Proof, pudding, and all that. Go to PubMed and read the enormous volumes of knowledge that would, quite frankly, be unknowable without the sacrifice of research animals. I measure ‘success’ broadly, with appropriate context, and I don’t require a 100% rate of translational accuracy. What about you?

    One can and should make the completely subjective moral arguments against experimentation; it’s entirely a value judgment and people’s values can shift. You made the objective argument that “the results of animal experiments cannot be accurately extrapolated to humans”. This is simplistic at best and demonstrably false in the broad sense.

    The implication of your claim is obvious–animal testing doesn’t work, thus it shouldn’t be used–and the claim is commonly used as a substitute argument when the moral case for animal rights isn’t successful enough. I argue that this argument is a sham on at least three levels:

    1. If scientific advances were made that did allow animal testing to achieve 100% success in translational medical research (for some or all research aims), would that change any of the core stance of ARA groups? No. It’s a question of morality, not practicality. The argument is a red herring.

    2. It’s arguing that the perfect is the enemy of the good (in terms of medical success). That important rational criticisms of animal research exist, and that some high-profile examples of translational failures are evident, does not invalidate animal research as a whole. It’s akin to the anti-vaccine argument that because Vaccine X has some side effect, vaccination as a whole should be discouraged; or the creationist argument that because one aspect of evolutionary history is unknown, the entire theory of evolution is a sham. Falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus is a logical fallacy.

    3. It evades the issue of replacement techniques. It completely ignores basic research that cannot be accomplished without living research subjects (e.g., neurology, embryonic development or circulation). Should animals be removed from research today, much of current medical and basic science would come to a grinding halt. Assuming ARAs don’t wish for science to dramatically reduce its progress (perhaps a dangerous assumption), there needs to be substitute methods available that provide adequate research value. As I predicted in #188/189, you haven’t produced any citations of replacement methodologies that even approach the utility of animal research. You won’t, because they don’t yet exist (I’m quite familiar with the literature on this). Furthermore, the current and future development of these methods will require validation against animal experimentation. If the substantial hindrance of research is an acceptable outcome for ARAs, then they need to make the case that delayed and aborted scientific progress towards the treatment of medical conditions in humans and animals alike (not to mention ecology and a multitude of other research areas indirectly affected) is an acceptable ethical and moral trade-off…

    When you state of animal research that “we should be doing everything in our power to hasten its demise, rather than defnding [sic] it” you are partially right. Academic and industry scientists are working hard at developing these methods; there is room to argue that perhaps greater efforts and funding could be directed towards the goal of reducing and maybe eliminating animal-based medical research. I don’t get the sense, however, that many ARAs are aiming for this practical reality (it might be 20 years before we’ve got in vitro and in silico methods that can compete with animal testing in terms of translational success). It’s abundantly clear that the AR groups that explicitly or implicitly support violence towards their ends are not interested in this.

    I would certainly consider myself an advocate for animal welfare. I am as-yet unconvinced by the moral arguments for animal rights. I will defend animal research against fallacious nonsense such as you have provided because it’s intellectually insulting, but I support all efforts to rationally reduce the use of animals in research. Animal rights activists that perpetrate violence, vandalism, and terrorism, and those that provide aid to these individuals and groups, deserve to be treated like the criminals they are.

  214. #214 storkdok
    February 28, 2010

    Have any of the animal rights extremists/terrorists, or even the non-violent animal rights supporters thought about the fact that animals are treated with modern medicine? All the advances of modern medicine are used for animals, including treatment of diabetes, thyroid conditions, infectious diseases, treatments for all types of cancers, including chemotherapy and radiation, surgery for orthopedic problems, Cesarean sections for obstructed labor, dental procedures, and many other diseases and disorders? Diagnostic procedures are used such as CT scans and MRI’s and Ultrasound.

    The advances made in scientific research benefit not only humans, but all animals as well. I’ve had several dogs treated for various cancers, my dog and cat companions currently for thyroid disorders and diabetes, a couple of dogs had surgery for hip dysplasia, and other disorders.

  215. #215 BE
    March 3, 2010

    #213 Obvious

    Some good points that should be addressed- thanks

  216. #216 BE
    March 3, 2010

    #214 Storkdok

    “The advances made in scientific research benefit not only humans, but all animals as well.”

    Vet, Dr. Jean Greek in “What Will We Do If We Don’t Experiment On Animals? Medical Research for the Twenty-First Century” by Jean Swingle Greek, DVM & C. Ray Greek, MD,explains:

    “I fail to see how tormenting a lab dog for the benefit of my companion dog would be appropriate. Putting more value on certain animal lives is no different than the grievous ethical lapse that resulted in such blights on medical history such as occured with the Tuskegee study…Why should my beloved pet cat be allowed to enroll her less fortunate cousins in a feline variation of the Tuskegee experiment, even if she might benefit?”

    “…the argument that animals benefit from laboratory experiments on other animls is a distractor. The NIH is not doling out its billions for Fluffy’s benefit.The monies spent on research that is intended to benefit animals is miniscule when compared [to that for humans]…”

    “Because there is a legal mandate that all new human drugs be tested in animals, it is not surprising that many people have the mistaken idea that vets use this data and apply the information to their animal patients.” Dr Greek explains why this does not occur for several reasons… atypical test species,unnatural version of disease, dosage,data rarely published in vet journals,proprietary info,data not helpful in clinical setting, etc.

    “In the real world of vet medicine…I hear of a drug that has been used in the human variant of the disease that i am treating and then try it in my patients. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not…Accutane can be very toxic to human livers. Dog livers love it, but you have to monitor for toxic effects to the eyes.This does not occur in man.”

    “According to ‘New Scientist’, “Andrew Luescher of Purdue University is recruiting affected dogs to test whether drugs used to treat humans with OCD will work on them. He also plans to use brian imaging techniques to diagnose the condition.” By studying these daogs, with the consent of their humans, we will be able to learn more about the disease and test, under very controlled conditions, if a specific drug helps…This is typical. It does not require that animals be specifically bred with a disorder not does it require that the animals be housed in confining cages, on cement all day, without love and affection.Just as in human research, animals can be studied as they present to the vet with a disorder.”

    “Another fallacy purported by the vested interest groups to defend animal models is refuted by the fact that a drug that works well in humans and becomes profitable to the company will then become available and cheaper for the vet community to prescribe.For most human drugs, the veterinary market is the tiniest economic blip.”

    “Neither do animals need to be killed in order for vet students to learn to practice medicine. Physicians don’t kill humans to learn operations or anatomy. Neither do students at Western School of Veterinary Medicine. Animals that have died of natural causes are donated for the students to learn on…. Students are taught surgery by performing necessary surgeries on actual patients under the watchful eyes of their teachers.”

  217. #217 BE
    March 3, 2010

    #213 Obvious

    “Am I “assuming the methodology works” if it’s readily apparent that essentially every major medical advance thus far has been dependent upon some medical testing? If every successful pharmacotherepeutic has passed basic safety & efficacy evaluation in animals? Proof, pudding, and all that.

    Since it has been a tradition of westen medical science to use animals widely in most areas of research for at least the last 150years, it is very easy for defenders of animal experiments to claim that they have been vital to medical progress.This by no means proves that animal experiments themselves were the real key to the most important discoveries. Animals have been killed in their billions in medical research, so it only logical to suppose that some useful knowledge must have resulted somewhere along the line. Yet this neither automatically proves that these experiments were either vital or irreplaceable, not that medical progress will be severely hampered by their abandonment in the future. It’s like a slot machine – put enough in and you will occasionally triumph, but this does not make it either a reliable or logical method of pursuing your goal. Who can be certain whether or not as much or more useful knowledge could have been obtained from other sources if medical science had taken a different path?
    It’s impossible to unravel every medical discovery of the past century or more to measure precisely the part played by animal experiments, and looking at he big picture, the overall contribution to human health played by vivisection is probably marginal, considering major health improvements have resulted from better living conditions, diet, sanitation, clean water, primary health care & the myriad contributions from other disciplines such as epidemiology, maths & physics.

    We hear much about vivisections’ successes, but very little about its failures – humans damaged or killed by drugs, vaccines & procedures based on animal experiments. DES is an example of a medication brought to market on the basis of false negative results in animals- no human clinical trials were done.Despite clinical data dating from 1953 stating that the drug was dangerous, it remained on the market until 1971. By then teratogenic results manifested.DES increased the risk of vaginal and cervical cancer in patients’ daughtersa. Even the granddaughters of patients were affected. Only clinical studies revealed this. There are many more examples which show that ushering drugs to market through animal tests is treacherous, that the flexible results can be use as an excuse by drug companies when humans are harmed, claiming the ” pharmacotherapeutic passed basic safety & efficacy evaluation in animals” – ” Proof, pudding, and all that”- not much proof of success as far as the victims are concerned. What would you say to them?

    “1. If scientific advances were made that did allow animal testing to achieve 100% success in translational medical research (for some or all research aims), would that change any of the core stance of ARA groups? No. It’s a question of morality, not practicality. The argument is a red herring.”

    For ARAs the moral argument trumps all.Similarly for the scientific AV, since it’s not ‘your dog or your baby’ but ‘your dog and your baby’. No good can come of evil. Useful knowledge resulted from Nazi experiments on humans, and from the thousands of other experients on humans the world over, but they are entirely unethical.

    “2. It’s arguing that the perfect is the enemy of the good (in terms of medical success). That important rational criticisms of animal research exist, and that some high-profile examples of translational failures are evident, does not invalidate animal research as a whole. It’s akin to the anti-vaccine argument that because Vaccine X has some side effect, vaccination as a whole should be discouraged; or the creationist argument that because one aspect of evolutionary history is unknown, the entire theory of evolution is a sham. Falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus is a logical fallacy.”

    Agreed. But it’s because of the many failures that independent doctors and scientists are questioning animal research as a whole, and quite rightly.We all know someone who suffers from illness or disease, or may be a sufferer ourselves. The best methods should be developed and used to assess the safety of our medicines and people need to know that precious funds are not being wasted on torturing animals for the sake of it.

    “3. It evades the issue of replacement techniques. It completely ignores basic research that cannot be accomplished without living research subjects (e.g., neurology, embryonic development or circulation). Should animals be removed from research today, much of current medical and basic science would come to a grinding halt. Assuming ARAs don’t wish for science to dramatically reduce its progress (perhaps a dangerous assumption), there needs to be substitute methods available that provide adequate research value. As I predicted in #188/189, you haven’t produced any citations of replacement methodologies that even approach the utility of animal research. You won’t, because they don’t yet exist (I’m quite familiar with the literature on this). Furthermore, the current and future development of these methods will require validation against animal experimentation. If the substantial hindrance of research is an acceptable outcome for ARAs, then they need to make the case that delayed and aborted scientific progress towards the treatment of medical conditions in humans and animals alike (not to mention ecology and a multitude of other research areas indirectly affected) is an acceptable ethical and moral trade-off.”

    Many would argue that it’s animal research which is hindering progress and hence the attempts by scientists such as Prof Pietro Croce (“Vivisection or Science An Investigation into Testing Drugs & Safeguarding Health”), Ray Greek (“What Will We Do If We Don’t Experiment on Animals?”),LaFollette & Shanks (Brute Science) to move the debate on & outline the way forward. Safer Medicines Campaign , a not-for-profit organisation of doctors & scientists aims to protect public health and safety & believes the safety of medicines should be improved by replacing misleading animal tests with superior techniques based on human biology.

    Animal experimentation is currently seen as an ineliminable element of the biomedical paradigm and apologists assume it should be used to judge the success of other research methodologies, when there is no proof of the success of the practice itself. This in itself hinders progress. As long as sluggish regulatory bodies require animal tests , then there is no incentive for researchers to progress to human based methods.

    We need also to consider using strong public health measures to reduce chronic illness caused by environmental factors. It is immoral to research cures for lung cancer on animals when we know that smoking causes 90% of the disease.Non- human animals should not have to pay the costs of human folly.

    “When you state of animal research that “we should be doing everything in our power to hasten its demise, rather than defnding [sic] it” you are partially right. Academic and industry scientists are working hard at developing these methods; there is room to argue that perhaps greater efforts and funding could be directed towards the goal of reducing and maybe eliminating animal-based medical research. I don’t get the sense, however, that many ARAs are aiming for this practical reality (it might be 20 years before we’ve got in vitro and in silico methods that can compete with animal testing in terms of translational success). It’s abundantly clear that the AR groups that explicitly or implicitly support violence towards their ends are not interested in this.”

    As long as regulatory bodies insist on animal tests, scientific papers get published based on animal experiments, funding into alternatives is practically non existent, along with a whole host of other reasons animal research is perpetuated, then progress will be slow. Which is why , having recognised its inadequacies, as have the Dr Greeks et al of this world, it is the scientific community which should be campaigning for better methods, more funding,etc.Otherwise you could argue that they are guilty by default of hampering medical progress.Those doctors who years ago,laughed at Semmelweiss for suggesting they wash their hands before delivering babies, were never held accountable.They should have been.

    Your view of violence is ‘simplistic’. To be for or against violence is not always simplistic.Fourteen years continuous struggle for justice through the legal system in the 80s revealed every channel systematically closed against the New Zealand Anti Vivisection Society- is it any wonder such injustice leads men & women to acts of civil disobedience and worse.

    Who would argue that Mandela’s terrorist tactics were uncalled for? Or that wars are unnecessary?

    Or do we only side with the terrorists once they have been vindicated by history?

  218. #218 Calli Arcale
    March 3, 2010

    BE:

    We hear much about vivisections’ successes, but very little about its failures – humans damaged or killed by drugs, vaccines & procedures based on animal experiments. DES is an example of a medication brought to market on the basis of false negative results in animals- no human clinical trials were done.

    Are you seriously arguing that because animal trials have not always succeeded in protecting human test subjects, we should abandon it entirely? Animal testing is no substitute for human clinical trials, but it is a hell of a lot better than nothing. What do you propose replacing it with?

    (BTW, I don’t know anything about DES, but I’m curious how a drug can be legally brought to market in any developed country without first undergoing clinical trials in humans. If it hasn’t, that would constitute an unapproved drug, and could only be used as part of a clinical trial.)

  219. #219 Obvious
    March 3, 2010

    @ BE, in reply to #217

    I find your reply largely disingenuous and see that you generally missed the point.

    Your response to my claim that animal research has provided a substantial contribution to every major medical advance is effectively “yeah, but it may not have been important for all the important discoveries”. Not a powerful response. It’s quite apparent you know jack-shit about the practicalities of daily research as well: what “other sources” and “different paths” do you know of that have ever been nearly as effective as animal research. Again, you never cite these mysterious avenues of research. It’s an intellectually bankrupt argument to assert that A should be discarded in favor of B if one cannot demonstrate that B works at all (or even exists). It’s the animal rights version of vaporware.

    It’s depressingly comical that you can un-ironically cite advances in “diet,” “sanitation,” & “primary health care” as being unrelated to animal research.

    I and others readily admit that animal research has its weaknesses. Diethylstilbestrol is an easy example. The mistakes and failures of medical research are important learning tools. However, you’re again falling for the red herring and falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus logical fallacies I pointed out in #1 & #2. Particularly stupid since you state “For ARAs the moral argument trumps all.” If that’s the whole point, quit diverting the issue with vacuous attempts at downplaying the successes and pumping up the failures.

    The trite “Nazi experiments on humans” ends-and-mean argument is only slighlty less offensive to me than “people need to know that precious funds are not being wasted on torturing animals for the sake of it.” Fuck you. To equate what the scientists I work with every day as “torturing animals for the sake of it” or a horrifying sideshow within one of humanity’s most appalling eras reveals an astonishingly lack of your own humanity.

    I get it. In your head animals = people. I’m not surprised at the hubris and self-justification for violence. Most sociopaths do the same thing.

    I will continue to work for smarter and more efficient uses of animals in research. I will also continue doing the research that may save the lives of activists who would threaten mine and my family.

  220. #220 BE
    March 9, 2010

    #219 Obvious

    “It’s quite apparent you know jack-shit about the practicalities of daily research as well: what “other sources” and “different paths” do you know of that have ever been nearly as effective as animal research. Again, you never cite these mysterious avenues of research. It’s an intellectually bankrupt argument to assert that A should be discarded in favor of B if one cannot demonstrate that B works at all (or even exists). It’s the animal rights version of vaporware.”

    Well AV scientists, doctors and ex-animal experimenters do. “What Will We Do If We Don’t Experiment On Animals Medical Research for the Twenty-first Century” by Jean Swingle Greek,DVM & C. Ray Greek,MD ,outlines the present & future of biomedical research, emphasising the sheer volume of nonanimal based research going on, that the animal model is a very insignificant percentage of research methods, and how productive the nonanimal research methods are.

    Read the book and get a crit published,otherwise your mantra is just tiresome.

    If you do not give any credence to the scientists and medical professionals who have taken the trouble to research & write books and papers arguing against animal experimentation and proposing solutions, you need to say why,as you are obviously so superior, and they know nothing. Much easier to lump them all together along with baseball wielding extremists.

    “I and others readily admit that animal research has its weaknesses. Diethylstilbestrol is an easy example. The mistakes and failures of medical research are important learning tools. However, you’re again falling for the red herring and falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus logical fallacies I pointed out in #1 & #2. Particularly stupid since you state “For ARAs the moral argument trumps all.” If that’s the whole point, quit diverting the issue with vacuous attempts at downplaying the successes and pumping up the failures.”

    You still have not provided evidence that the ‘successes’ were down to animal experiments, because you can’t.Telling, but not surprising, that you can casually pass off thousands of babies deformed by thalidomide, the tens of thousands of men and women killed and harmed by Avandia, Vioxx,and numerous other drugs as simply “weaknesses”.

    recent headlines……..Concerns over diabetes drug Byetta, Safety concerns over insomnia drug,$8 million damages paid by Pfizer Sanofi abandons two drugs citing ‘risk-benefit’ concerns,Antidepressants increase risk of stroke and death,Blood pressure drug fails,December FDA bulletin lists 44 products with new warnings Paxil lawsuits total $1,000,000,000 Elan Alzheimer’s treatment abandoned HIV gel trial abandoned Reboxetine doesn’t work according to German regulators Clot busters may be dangerous FDA monitors MRI drugs Prostate drug fails Tamiflu fails to protect patients FDA wants review of kids antipsychotics Pfizer to pay $103,000,000 over breast cancer Vioxx: the dangers were known earlier but sales continued More patients died in Cubist Pharm drug trials FDA reveal dangers of Novartis drug everolimus Tamiflu can give kids fever Diabetes drugs and heart failure FDA issue warning on Voltaren ,

    Desipramine warnings increased FDA asked to ban Meridia FDA warn on Lexiva FDA warn on Norpramin FDA warn on Meridia FDA rejects Ampligen Pfizer pay $34,300,000 to patient Drugmakers ordered to pay $34,000,000 and $78,000,000 Picoplatin fails clinical trial New study questions statins FDA warn on 26 medications Aranesp does little for patients…..

    ‘weaknesses’- just the tip of the iceberg

    “I will continue to work for smarter and more efficient uses of animals in research. I will also continue doing the research that may save the lives of activists who would threaten mine and my family.”

    Also very revealing- you are happy to continue to promote research on sentient creatures,whilst ignoring the human fallout, rather than try to eliminate their use, as are enlightened scientists , to whom it is obvious medical science ‘ must and can do better’.

    You prefer your comfortable, smug, entrenched, conflict-of interest position which includes the black and white view: ‘all animal experimenters good, all antivivisectionists bad’. It suits your ‘argument’ to caricature all antivivisectionists as anti human, anti science bunny huggers. That way, the heat is off and you don’t have to account for vivisection’s failings towards both human and non human animals.

  221. #221 Calli Arcale
    March 9, 2010

    You still have not provided evidence that the ‘successes’ were down to animal experiments, because you can’t.Telling, but not surprising, that you can casually pass off thousands of babies deformed by thalidomide, the tens of thousands of men and women killed and harmed by Avandia, Vioxx,and numerous other drugs as simply “weaknesses”.

    For all your calls for not having a “black and white” view, you seem to have an awfully black and white view yourself. Is that why you think your opponents are “all animal experimenters good, all antivivisectionists bad” — because it is the exact inverse of your position?

    No one in this thread has said that all animal experimenters are good, nor that all antivivisectionists are bad. That is a strawman. It’s not even relevant to the drugs you mentioned, as vivisection would not be required to test them. Vivisection is not commonly used in animal research, and for drugs like Avandia and Vioxx, there really wouldn’t be any point. So why use the word to describe what amounts to giving various doses of a drug to the animals and watching to see how well they tolerate it?

    By the way, Vioxx is an interesting example because not only did animal testing fail to reveal any problems, but so did human testing. The clinical trials did not reveal the cardiovascular risks. Only an unusually large study revealed that risk, and it’s not clear that it’s something peculiar to Vioxx. So eliminating animal testing would not have affected the course of that particular scandal at all.

    Give up the scientific arguments against animal research; they’re meritless, since imperfect models are infinitely better than no models. You are much better off sticking the moral arguments. Falsehoods and strawmen do not argue your point well.

  222. #222 Obvious
    March 9, 2010

    That’s quite the insipid reply, BE. You’re really something.

    If you do not give any credence to the scientists and medical professionals who have taken the trouble to research & write books and papers arguing against animal experimentation and proposing solutions, you need to say why,as you are obviously so superior, and they know nothing. Much easier to lump them all together along with baseball wielding extremists.

    I have plenty of respect for researchers who publish on the topic of alternatives to animal research. They’re an important voice within the scientific community. It’s people like you for whom I lack respect: the violent, self-righteous warriors (and their apologists) with delusions of grandeur, often deficient compassion for humans, and a marked lack of relevant scientific knowledge.

    I am amply familiar with many of the arguments of animal rights proponents within science. I generally find them to be lacking, more or less, in a few main areas: consistent moral valuations of non-humans and humans, honest evaluation of the successes and importance of previous and current animal research, honest evaluation of alternative methods of research and their validation, and cogent presentations of possible/probable future research methodologies justified by current published peer-reviewed literature. Still, the academic discussion is in its relative infancy, and I maintain hope that these arguments will mature.

    You still have not provided evidence that the ‘successes’ were down to animal experiments, because you can’t.

    Ooooh, nice try flipping the burden onto me! It’s trivial to think of research avenues that could not have achieved their current progress without the use of animals. Off the top of my head: the entire field of dopamine research. Arvid Carlsson won a Nobel for his work, 50+ years ago, that demonstrated that dopamine was a neurotransmitter in its own right and not just a by-product of noradrenaline synthesis. This necessitated altering dopamine transmission in live animals. Without this work there are many medications—treatments for Parkinson’s Disease, for example—that would not have reached their current state of development and many derivative research paths that would not have been pursued. The entire field of neurology is replete with examples like this. For a third time, I ask you to provide evidence that any current research techniques have demonstrated validity and efficacy on par with animal research. Further, provide a specific example of these alternatives that are able to model biological systems as complex as the brain.

    Telling, but not surprising, that you can casually pass off thousands of babies deformed by thalidomide, the tens of thousands of men and women killed and harmed by Avandia, Vioxx,and numerous other drugs as simply “weaknesses”. [Followed by a laundry list of out-of-context “headlines”]

    This one is particularly rich. I’m some sort moral degenerate because there are plenty of examples of medical treatments that produced unforeseen side-effects? Suddenly you’re the one who cares about people? That there are known real weaknesses to animal research is something I readily admit, and 20-20 hindsight has shaped many of the approval practices of medical interventions, including further rigor in animal testing. (Thalidomide is a particularly stupid example for you to use: thalidomide was never properly tested in pregnant animals before its medical use, tests that would very likely have demonstrated the drug’s teratogenic effects. In fact, the failures of thalidomide were a driving force in the expansion of preclinical animal safety testing in pregnant animals.) Can you tell me what the success rate of imaginary clinical modalities studied only by ARA-approved methods would be? Would there be any human cost—morbidity and mortality—in prematurely phasing out animal testing in the development of disease treatment? How many thousands of animals and humans would be harmed by using safety and efficacy tests that can’t match the current results of animal testing? How would one validate the efficacy of alternative methods?

    Your argument, as I’ve shown over and over is entirely bankrupt: you can rail on and on about perceived failures in contemporary medicine, some of which are to varying degrees a consequence of animal research being an incomplete model of human pathophysiology, yet you never provide sufficient, supportable answers about reasonable research expectations and appropriate research alternatives. (Yet I’m apparently the one with the “black and white view”?) Neither yet have the “enlightened scientists,” as far as I am concerned…but these are the voices to which I will listen as they are far less likely to make the mind-numbingly hypocritical argument of “respect my superior moral stance or I’ll pipe bomb your family home.”

    On the other hand, you could quit talking about concepts you clearly know little about (such as the actual practice of animal research) and stick to the moral argument, which you already stated is the overriding principle of the ARA stance. Why you keep falling back on poorly-argued digs at the validity of animal research is an interesting question. Is it that you feel you cannot effectively make the moral argument for animal equality? Since you already Godwinned the thread a few posts up, here’s an analogy: arguing about the utility of animal research is, for the animal rights activist, akin to arguing against the Third Reich on the basis of its economic policies and whether Hitler made the trains run on time to a sufficient degree. It’s colossally beside the point…

    Make the moral argument. I’ve not yet heard a compelling case, but my mind and ears are open to convincing. They are not, however, amenable to deceit and obfuscation. Then again, maybe I should wait until you get a crit published, otherwise your mantra is just tiresome?

  223. #223 Life
    March 14, 2010

    You really shouldn’t stereotype a diverse movement as being violent and ignorant. That is intellectually dishonest. As a matter of fact, animal rights advocacy is prominent in academia. Ironically, you argue quite aggressively. You do not appear to be open minded at all. In one sentence you state “my mind and ears are open to convincing”. In another, “Then again, maybe I should wait until you get a crit published, otherwise your mantra is just tiresome?” You really should not be so spiteful.

  224. #224 Obvious
    March 14, 2010

    Life, you really have a lot of posts to read to catch up…

    the “Then again, maybe I should wait until you get a crit published, otherwise your mantra is just tiresome?” line is simply reflecting back a particularly stupid argument from comment 220.

    It’s also abundantly clear from previous posts that I support animal welfare and respect academic efforts to evaluate the ethics and morality of animal research. Finally, the subject under discussion is the violent end of the animal rights movement and their apologists. It’s not at all ironic that I would argue aggressively against and ethos that seems to devalue human life. Am I spiteful? No, I’d call it disdainful, and only towards those that would explicitly or tacitly approve of violence towards researchers in the name of animal rights.

    Seriously, read up.

  225. #225 Life
    March 15, 2010

    Mm-kay. But I still fail to see how animal rights “devalues human life”. Certainly people who believe in animal rights don’t believe humans somehow intrinsically deserve far better treatment. At any rate, it’s not so much that I agree with the particular things these guys did, or that destroying property or harassing people is per se a good tactic. I just disagree with the idea that destroying property or harassing people to stop animal cruelty (that’s what it is, killing them, confining them to cages, performing experiments on them, etc.) is evil. I don’t really see that as “devaluing human life”, but whatever. One may have a justified utilitarian case for animal research, but in my mind you do not seem to be taking the suffering of animals seriously enough. At any rate, I was only responding to your initial post, really.

  226. #226 BE
    March 15, 2010

    # 222 Obvious
    .

    “I have plenty of respect for researchers who publish on the topic of
    alternatives to animal research. They’re an important voice within the
    scientific community.”
    But obviously not enough to take their work & concerns seriously and press for reforms and progress.

    “I am amply familiar with many of the arguments of animal rights proponents
    within science. I generally find them to be lacking, more or less, in a few
    main areas: consistent moral valuations of non-humans and humans…”
    Scientists and medics such as Croce, Greek et al’s premise for replacing animal
    experimentation is that humans are being harmed – human health is their over
    riding concern, they are not ARAs.

    “honest evaluation of the successes and importance of previous and current
    animal research, …”
    It is thanks to the work of these AV scientists and medics, that the public
    is realising the lack of honesty on the part of the scientific community,
    especially regarding the role animal research plays in medical science,
    which has been exaggerated.
    “honest evaluation of alternative methods of research and their validation,
    and cogent presentations of possible/probable future research methodologies
    justified by current published peer-reviewed literature. ”
    Until the scientific community and regulatory bodies move on, non animal
    methods insanely are being validated against animal tests, which themselves
    have never been validated, precisely why in the UK EDM 569 is calling for an
    independent evaluation of animal tests for drug safety , the government
    having ignored campaigns for a Royal Commission and a Judicial Inquiry.

    Neurosurgeon,Dr Marius Maxwell, of Voice for Ethical Research at Oxford,
    would not consider it ‘trivial’ .He sets the record straight re Parkinson’s
    research on the VERO website. Just as heart surgeon Moneim Fadali in”Animal
    Experimentation A Harvest of Shame” destroys myths concerning discoveries
    in the field of heart surgery. The point is if the provivisectionists can
    perpetuate lies such as this, what else are they lying about? Furthermore,
    it would be in the provivs interest to distort the facts, rather than a
    person with no vested interests,like Dr Maxwell.

    From the VERO website:’ In a detailed chronology of the research undertaken
    in this field over the last century, Maxwell demonstrates that all the major
    advances in the treatment of movement disorders have come about through the
    study of actual human patients, not contrived animal models. To suggest
    otherwise is, according to Maxwell, to distort the true historical facts and
    ignore the key contributions of earlier, pioneering neuroscientists. Worst
    of all, the continued justification and funding of primate research for
    Parkinson’s disease and similar disorders is hampering the development of
    other, more progressive and humanly relevant techniques, and hence delaying
    the discovery of a definitive treatment for the disease. In conclusion,
    Maxwell therefore calls for an immediate end to such research, in the
    interests not just of the defenceless animals on whom it is conducted, but
    of the human patients still awaiting a cure for their debilitating disease.’

    “For a third time, I ask you to provide evidence that any current research
    techniques have demonstrated validity and efficacy on par with animal
    research.”

    Quit repeating this classic ad ignorantium fallacy, that animal research is
    somehow the gold standard.

    Current non animal research techniques are set out & discussed at length
    in “What Will We Do If We Don’t Experiment on Animals? Medical Research for
    the Twenty-first Century” by Jean Swingle Greek,DVM & C. Ray Greek,MD.

    ‘Safer Medicines Campaign’ , an independent organisation of scientists &
    doctors ,held a conference ‘Speed & Safety in Drug Discovery’ in 2009
    attended by eminent scientists from around the world who work at the cutting
    edge of developing drug safety test methods that focus on human biology –
    for example, the use of ethically donated human tissues,and cells derived
    from them which can be grown indefinitely in the lab.A way of circumventing
    the problem of how to test a drug in a whole system without exposing humans,
    was addressed by Hurel’s (Human and Relevant) biochip, which uses
    interconnected tissue pieces from the body’s organs to represent the body in
    miniature.The effects of drugs on a whole system can be found- something
    that it is often claimed only animal tests can provide.’No more place for
    animal studies’,Dr Greg Baxter.

    Prof Chris Hillier gave an account of the breadth of tests that Biopta has
    established using exclusively human tissues obtained by taking biopsies from
    donors.’The animal data…often bears no resemblance whatsoever to the
    ultimate human data’.

    Many examples of medical research without the use of animals is frequently
    reported, such as the development of virtual humans, a test to prevent
    another TGN1412 disaster,(‘We have made significant progress in designing
    new in vitro tests that hopefully will avoid the consequences that occurred
    with TGN1412…such tests could prevent harmful drugs of this type even
    reaching the animal testing stage’Dr Stephen Poole), and stem cell
    breakthrough re SMA (‘The animal models are pretty useless, to be honest’
    Prof Clive Svendsen).

    There is no evidence that animal research is valid and effective, which is
    why scientists are calling for an evaluation.

    “Further, provide a specific example of these alternatives that are able to
    model biological systems as complex as the brain.”

    http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/24429/

    Chip Makes Neurotoxicity Tests Quicker and Easier
    Device could mean fewer animal experiments.

    The genetic root of an aggressive form of childhood brain cancer was
    uncovered in 2008 by a group of Cambridge scientists who conducted genetic
    scans of patients’ brain tumours.Scientists now have a way of
    differentiating between certain types of cancer, so can tailor treatments
    more accurately.
    Doctors from Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital (2008) identified a way of
    profiling patients’ tumours, which they found have different molecular
    ‘signatures’.The discovery means that patients will be spared unnecessary
    side effects & receive the most effective treatment as early as possible.

    The point is, while you are holding on to your precious animal experiments
    these guys are forging ahead.The Semmelweiss relex is alive & well &
    residing in Obvious.

    “This one is particularly rich. I’m some sort moral degenerate because there
    are plenty of examples of medical treatments that produced unforeseen
    side-effects?”

    You can’t have it both ways.. Either animal experimentation has a good
    record,in which case why would all those enlightened scientists be trying to
    replace it, or it has major flaws.The evidence is in- tens of thousands of
    ADRs, deaths, abnormalities, potential lost cures, not to mention billions
    of sentient creatures ‘sacrificed’.If you think that’s OK, there’s something
    very, very wrong with you.Your complacency is alarming.

    ” Suddenly you’re the one who cares about people? ”
    I’ve been arguing the case for human health from the get -go. So don’t be
    conveniently forgetting that.We all have sick friend & relatives, suffer
    ourselves from illness- why would anyone want to halt medical progress? Amnesiac & irrational- any cures in the pipeline?

    “That there are known real weaknesses to animal research is something I
    readily admit, and 20-20 hindsight has shaped many of the approval practices
    of medical interventions, including further rigor in animal testing.
    (Thalidomide is a particularly stupid example for you to use: thalidomide
    was never properly tested in pregnant animals before its medical use, tests
    that would very likely have demonstrated the drug’s teratogenic effects. In
    fact, the failures of thalidomide were a driving force in the expansion of
    preclinical animal safety testing in pregnant animals.) ”

    A paper was published in Dec 2008 (Molecular Pharmaceutics) revealing why
    rats and mice are resistant to the terrible effects of thalidomide in
    humans. The supreme irony is that while the tragedy prompted worldwide
    regulations demanding animal tests for drug safety, those same animal tests
    would still fail to alert us to the hazard of thalidomide today.
    The White New Zealand rabbit was the one breed of animal affected at a dose
    between 25-300 times that given to humans.Scientists attempted to produce
    teratogenesis in animals of all varieties looking for proof in animals of
    what they already knew occurred in humans. Yeah, 50 odd years later, we’re
    really gonna spot potential dangers to humans using the mandatory 2 animals
    used for drug testing!

    Animal tests provided no real predictive value for any animal except the one
    being tested.
    One of the worst aspects of the case is that the first recorded case
    occurred on Christmas Day, 1956, but in 1957 the drug was released
    anyway.And stayed there in the face of human studies.This is a classic
    case as it illustrates the agility of those with a vested interest in animal
    experimentation for changing history to suit their agenda.

    It wasn’t that long ago cigarette manufacturers claimed nicotine was
    not addictive, based on animal experiments,( humanity loving scientists can use these tests to prove anything it seems, depending on who is footing the bill) even when epidemiological
    evidence was to the contrary, delaying warning labels and campaigns to stop
    smoking.Responsible dissent is one thing,but defiance of facts on grounds
    that imperil humans is quite another.

    “Make the moral argument…”
    Good discussion re moral argument
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/02/terrorists_of_the_animal_right.php

    [Posted by: strange gods before me ? | February 24, 2010 10:25 PM

    But the pro-test groups, and this blog, seem to have absolutely no problem
    with the status quo. No problem at all. I have not seen a single criticism
    of any current study based on the fact that it isn't ethical in terms of its
    treatment of animals. Not a single one. That tells me that tells me
    something. There has to have been at least one poorly decided ethical
    decision in the years this blog have been around, but this blog has been
    silent.
    Truth, and invariably the same problem I've noticed all over
    scienceblogs.com. There's a reflexive circling of the wagons, but never a
    serious interest in even reducing the number of animals used for the most
    trivial of cosmetic testing. This gives animal rights people no hook, no
    offer of outreach. It is understandable why people would give up and decide
    that "Negotiation is over!" when it's perfectly obvious that the
    pro-experimentation people are not at all interested in building a
    cooperative alliance to eliminate unnecessary cosmetic tests.]

    (So, how do you ‘real’ scientists view these other ‘scientists’ who drip
    toxins into rabbits’ eyes etc? Thought all scientists were supposed to be
    beavering away from a sense of pure altruism BE.)

    I have also referred several times to “Brute Science” by LaFollete &
    Shanks who tackle the moral argument.

    Let’s also not forget that it wasn’t that long ago in developed countries
    that certain groups of people were singled out for exploitation and
    experimentation , being likened to animals.Animals being of no account, it
    was easy to rationalise their abuse- blacks, slaves, ethnic minorities, the
    mentally ill, prisoners, and so on.

    Ironically it is science which is revealing more and more about the complex
    lives of animals, making it harder to justify experimenting on them, even if
    you do believe in vivisection .

    As far as I’m concerened, it’s totally unethical to defend a methodology which harms both animals
    and people,delays progress , gives patients false hope,and which may have
    lost us potential cures.

    From VERO

    Oxford Vivisectionists are Swimming Against the Tide

    Marius Maxwell
    As a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist with two decades of research
    experience, I feel qualified to contribute to the debate on non-human
    primate vivisection. The arguments of the Weatherall Committee defy much
    current scientific evidence, and have served only to confirm my view that
    the data supporting non-human primate vivisection are profoundly flawed and
    together with the moral case are indefensible.
    I concur with the findings of the crucial Perel study in the December 15th
    (2006) issue of the British Medical Journal (www.bmj.com), which represents
    a comprehensive and quantitative statistical meta-analysis to test the
    usefulness of a broad spectrum of animal based drug testing in predicting
    human outcomes. This analysis, which undermines the conclusions of the
    Weatherall Committee, found that only three of the six categories actually
    succeeded in predicting the results of subsequent human trials and that in
    all animal experimentation studied “the quality of the experiments was
    poor.” No better than the toss of a coin in other words. The predictive
    power may actually be even worse, since the study found evidence of broad
    publication bias in those experiments that did predict human outcome. They
    concluded that “Discordance between animal and human studies may be due to
    bias or to the failure of animal models to mimic clinical disease
    adequately.”
    Many are fond of claiming the importance of animal research to early
    scientific discoveries as if the same historical models bear any relevance
    at all to contemporary science. Obviously animal research in the past
    century, in the absence of better alternatives, has benefited mankind as did
    ancient studies of human anatomy. Michelangelo’s anatomical drawings and
    William Harvey’s description of human circulation spring to mind, but who
    would seriously argue that cadaveric dissection represents cutting-edge
    science today?
    The field of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) research was greatly stimulated by the
    therapeutic attempts of neurosurgeons using dopaminergic brain
    transplantation in animals and humans which came to the fore in the 1980′s
    and have since largely receded. There have been too many false positives to
    record here. Many possible false negatives may also have been ignored as
    part of widely documented publication bias. The most common non-human
    primate model of PD results from monkeys being poisoned with the neurotoxin
    MPTP. It is widely acknowledged that profound disparities (anatomical,
    physiological, neurochemical, pathological, and temporal) exist between the
    MPTP non-human primate model and humans with idiopathic PD. Despite these
    paramount concerns of human reproducibility, hundreds of studies involving
    thousands of animals have followed with conflicting and non-predictive
    results. There is no evidence to suggest that their overall predictive
    concordance to human PD treatment, if subjected to the meticulous
    quantitative analyses of Perel and co-workers above, would exceed the best
    case 50:50 coin toss probability established.
    Many are fond of claiming the importance of animal research to early
    scientific discoveries as if the same historical models bear any relevance
    at all to contemporary science. Obviously animal research in the past
    century, in the absence of better alternatives, has benefited mankind as did
    ancient studies of human anatomy. Michelangelo’s anatomical drawings and
    William Harvey’s description of human circulation spring to mind, but who
    would seriously argue that cadaveric dissection represents cutting-edge
    science today?
    The field of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) research was greatly stimulated by the
    therapeutic attempts of neurosurgeons using dopaminergic brain
    transplantation in animals and humans which came to the fore in the 1980′s
    and have since largely receded. There have been too many false positives to
    record here. Many possible false negatives may also have been ignored as
    part of widely documented publication bias. The most common non-human
    primate model of PD results from monkeys being poisoned with the neurotoxin
    MPTP. It is widely acknowledged that profound disparities (anatomical,
    physiological, neurochemical, pathological, and temporal) exist between the
    MPTP non-human primate model and humans with idiopathic PD. Despite these
    paramount concerns of human reproducibility, hundreds of studies involving
    thousands of animals have followed with conflicting and non-predictive
    results. There is no evidence to suggest that their overall predictive
    concordance to human PD treatment, if subjected to the meticulous
    quantitative analyses of Perel and co-workers above, would exceed the best
    case 50:50 coin toss probability established.

    The ‘spin’ perpetuated by overly credulous and biased media reporting that
    opponents of animal experimentation are ‘anti-science Luddites’ is hollow.
    How on earth can an animal researcher still claim to be pro-science while
    wilfully ignoring the vast body of current evidence undermining broad
    swathes of animal research? It is extraordinary how many media reports of
    the significance of recent studies casting doubt upon the accuracy and
    reliability of animal research are casually undermined by the irrelevant
    assertion that they will only serve as grist to the mill for “animal rights
    activists.” Surely the end-point of the debate should be human safety.
    Simply stated, the fact of the matter is that animal research in general has
    now been revealed to be dodgy science which ultimately endangers human
    lives.

    It is clear to anyone who cares to study the matter closely, honestly and
    objectively that the scientific justification for non-human primate
    vivisection is unsound. I cannot accept that its practitioners really
    believe it to be morally or ethically defensible either. The argument that
    supports non-human primate experimentation because of close kinship to
    humans but, blind to their moral worth, denies them ethical rights is
    sinister and repugnant. The resigned and credulous “Nasty but necessary”
    defence of non-human primate research coined by a Guardian Leader (13th
    December, 2006) is simplistic, naive, and selectively ignores the mountain
    of conflicting scientific data.
    Sadly, history reminds us that doctors and scientists have often been blind
    to the moral dimensions of their work. It is instructive to recall that only
    little more than sixty years ago, unspeakable and nightmarish forced human
    vivisection was performed by the notorious Unit 731 of the Japanese Army
    during development of their wartime chemical and biological weapons
    programmes (The Guardian, 27th November, 2006).

    Indeed, the Toxicology Working Group of the House of Lords Select Committee
    on Animals in Scientific procedures in 2002 recommended that “the
    reliability and relevance of all existing animal tests should be reviewed as
    a matter of urgency.”
    Following the recent catastrophic Northwick Park clinical study, 250 MPs (a
    clear majority of those eligible to do so) signed Early Day Motion 92: “That
    this House, in common with Europeans for Medical Progress, expresses its
    concerns regarding the safeguarding of public health through data obtained
    from laboratory animals, particularly in light of large numbers of serious
    and fatal adverse drug reactions that were not predicted from animal
    studies; is concerned that the Government has not commissioned or evaluated
    any formal research on the efficacy of animal experiments, and has no plans
    to do so; and, in common with 83 per cent of general practitioners in a
    recent survey, calls upon the Government to facilitate an independent and
    transparent scientific evaluation of the use of animals as surrogate humans
    in drug safety testing and medical research.”

    BMJ 2004;328:514-517 (28 February), doi:10.1136/bmj.328.7438.514
    Education and debate
    Where is the evidence that animal research benefits humans?
    Pandora Pound, research fellow1, Shah Ebrahim, professor1, Peter Sandercock,
    professor2, Michael B Bracken, professor3, Ian Roberts, professor4,
    Reviewing Animal Trials Systematically (RATS)

    I AGREE we need an open dialogue about animal experimentation
    issues It is now widely acknowledged that, like humans,
    animals suffer pain and distress. Researchers have described
    depression and anxiety disorders in animals used in
    experiments.
    Many excuses historically used to justify abuses of human
    research subjects are now offered to defend animal research
    practices. We must reconsider the protection of animals and
    also the failures of animal experimentation.
    Genetic differences across species manifest as profound
    differences in disease physiology and treatment effectiveness.
    That explains why more than 80 HIV/Aids vaccines and
    approximately 150 stroke treatments successful in animals have
    failed in human trials.
    A move towards computer models, human cell lines and other
    human-based methods would be both ethically and scientifically
    superior.
    Dr Hope Ferdowsian, Physicians Committee for Responsible
    Medicine, Washington DC, USA

  227. #227 SisterMaryLoquacious
    March 19, 2010

    there seems to be alot of ad hominem attacks, erroneous assumptions, sweeping generalizations, and inaccurate representations of others’ arguments going on in here.

    booooooooo.

    it is soooooo disappointing when open communication, careful understanding, and reasonable progress are murdered in favor of a perceived “win” in any disagreement. makes me feel like i’m watching a cock-fight, or c-span, or a nasty divorce.

    what a pity. so many of you seem so intelligent and passionate. too bad not many of you seem remotely interested in finding common ground or resolving any of these issues.

    disclaimer: this is not directed at everyone here! i just didn’t think it would be prudent to single out individuals.

  228. #228 gray Stanback
    March 31, 2010

    The way I see it, animal rights activists wont be satisfied until a nematode is elected President of the United States.

  229. #229 gray Stanback
    March 31, 2010

    The way I see it, animal rights activists wont be satisfied until a nematode is elected President of the United States.

  230. #230 GoAnimalTesting
    August 27, 2010

    I think we should experiment on animal rights activists, it would be cheaper and better, and we would be getting rid of a few profoundly retarded people because we all know animal rights is retarded.

    Animals wouldn’t give us rights, hell no they would just gobble us up, so why should we give them rights?

    Humanity has fought long and hard for this planet, we are not giving it back to animals!

  231. #231 GoAnimalTesting
    August 27, 2010

    PS. Dear User Life, you are retarded, please do not have children and pollute the human gene pool, if you must, then go hump an animal, thank you.

  232. #232 elaine
    March 7, 2011

    I realize I am 8 months behind here, but I can’t help but think that all this activism is also driving animal research to other countries where animal welfare is extremely low on priority lists. With human rights not even high on China’s list, and since they are an up an coming scientific mecca, I cringe to think how their lab animals are faring.

  233. #233 Ginger Peterson
    July 7, 2011

    Dr. Orac,
    I read your recent blog entry, and found parts of it to be pretty funny. Especially your description of how you are perceived as being ” … researchers as sadistic mini-Mengeles..or “In the twisted world of animal rights extremists, any scientist who does animal research must be a cackling sadist getting his rocks off on the suffering and killing of animals. ” Just made me laugh as a comparison of the story previously mentioned. Also, the irony of activists demanding that all animals be “liberated” while walking their dogs on leashes while passing Ringach’s house. It is a bit humorous in a satirical sense. I’d like to think of myself as an animal rights advocate, but there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what is morally correct which makes things quite frustrating. When I got involved I thought that everything was pretty straight-forward, and everyone was on the same page. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s already such a small minority that identifies themselves as vegans/vegetarians, but now vegans seem to want to further isolate themselves from vegetarians.

    I was curious, if you don’t mind me asking, why do you put the word “vivisection” in quotations?

    You say that you are opposed to animal cruelty, which most people appear to be, and probably practice in alignment with your ethical code, and try to reduce suffering as much as possible, but I’m going to assume here, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, this is only in regards to the physical suffering of the animal? Do you also take in to consideration the psychological suffering? I always found that so fascinating about meat eaters. The most important thing to them is that the animal doesn’t physically suffer, but no one seems to consider the psychological component.

  234. #234 Rogue Epidemiologist
    July 7, 2011

    1. This is not a recent blog entry. This is pretty freakin’ old, considering the thread ended in March, and Orac posts on a near-daily basis.

    2. I’m not Orac, but I eat meat. I am not concerned with the psychological welfare of my meat. Is my meat force-fed hormones and unnecessary antibiotics? Is it slaughtered under unsanitary conditions? Is it raised in sickly conditions? I care about those things. Is my meat happy? No, sorry, I hadn’t considered it until you mentioned it. And I wonder what you mean because the meat is dead when it’s served to me. At that point, I don’t think it cares.

    Anyway, your post is a hit and run as is mine, and we’ve seen your name come up before. I sure hope no one feeds the trolls beyond this.

    And for what it’s worth, I have friends who work for PETA, and I really like them.

  235. #235 Antaeus Feldspar
    July 7, 2011

    I was curious, if you don’t mind me asking, why do you put the word “vivisection” in quotations?

    I, also, am not Orac, but I presume the reason he puts the word “vivisection” in quotations is because much of what is called vivisection by extremists just simply isn’t. The word has a specific meaning: it is surgery conducted for experimental purposes on an organism while it is still living. But because the term has a nasty sound and nasty associations, there are some who choose to call all animal experimentation vivisection, even experiments that don’t involve surgery at all.

    Mature adults generally understand that debating things in a rational fashion includes using words to convey actual meaning, and not abusing them just to trigger knee-jerk reactions or insert premises without examination. Unfortunately, mature adults sometimes need to discuss views put forth by people who can’t or won’t abide by that social contract.

    For an example, pretend that I’m a fanatic who believes for religious reasons that the earth is flat and that it’s heretical to express any dissenting view. I might demand to know whether you will bow to my insistence on a flat earth in the following unfair phrasing: “Do you insist on clinging to your sinful heresy?” How do you respond to that?

    If you don’t challenge the use of “sinful heresy,” I can pretend that you’ve agreed with my view that the scientific truth of a spheroid world is a heresy. If you go into great detail about why you don’t agree that the spheroid-earth view is heretical, I’ve still won by dragging the discussion off the actual topic, that of the shape of the earth. The best approach is probably to either ignore my “heresy” allegations, or, if they must be addressed, to put them in quotation marks, to indicate that you are only discussing what I am calling “heresy,” not endorsing that characterization.

  236. #236 Ginger Peterson
    July 7, 2011

    Rogue-I’m not sure what you mean by “feeding the trolls”, and I don’t think you have seen my name in here before.

  237. #237 JayK
    July 7, 2011

    @Antaeus Feldspar: Here is the only mention of “Ginger Peterson” on the blog:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/03/animal_rights_terrorists_target_students.php#comment-3565262

    Turns out she thinks she’s a therapist. You probably nailed it on the head, but you forgot to mention she is a necromancer as well.

  238. #238 Ginger peterson
    July 7, 2011

    Wow did I enter hostile territory…

  239. #239 Ginger Peterson
    July 7, 2011

    I guess the idea for some here is to get a reaction by using abusive, denegrating comments, but I’m just trying to gain insight in to this whole thing. It looks like emotions are running very strong on this blog.

  240. #240 Chris
    July 7, 2011

    You should lurk a bit more, and actually read some of the more recent postings. And as a general rule, it is often bad form to start posting comments on an old article, this one being well over a year old. Hence the comment about being a necromancer.

  241. #241 Ginger Peterson
    July 7, 2011

    Wow is there a manual for this, or just an unspoken rule? ;)

  242. #242 JayK
    July 8, 2011

    Ginger, the video at the link I posted before is proof enough of your intentions. Don’t belittle us all by pretending as if you have an objective reason for dredging up an old animal rights thread. Most of the commenters on this blog have advanced degrees and above normal IQ’s. You can be passive-aggressive all you want, but I doubt you’ll gain a bit of respect for it.

  243. #243 Ginger Peterson
    July 8, 2011

    Yes I suppose this type of blog would only attract those with advanced degrees, or others who are voracious readers, and claim to be “self-educated”. I’m not being passive aggressive that’s silly. I abhor passive aggressiveness. One of my colleagues is very passive aggressive…sorry you hit a nerve :P

    I guess, ( at this point anyway)what I’m trying to understand is why emotions are running so strongly on this particular blog? So much so that I’m perceived as a threat, and most feel the need to launch pre-emptive strikes?

  244. #244 Chris
    July 8, 2011

    Ginger, the rules have been around since the era of Usenet Newsgroups. Sometimes they were even posted in a form of “Frequently Asked Questions” for newcomers (which I first read back when we had a phone modem). It has always been a good idea before jumping into any discussion to lurk for a while and learn about the general “climate.”

  245. #245 JayK
    July 8, 2011

    @Ginger: “One of your colleagues” would be in an office with a single lead psychologist in which you currently are employed as a 6-month intern?

    You obviously aren’t objective, which is why I view you as nothing more than a fraudulent troll.

  246. #246 Ginger Peterson
    July 8, 2011

    I was responding to Orac’s blog, that was all. I usually don’t bother to read the comments section because it’s usually the same “you suck… no you suck” rhetoric without any real thought put behind it. I was simply trying to gain some insight into the world of medical research, and some of the various perspectives that have developed as result of engaging in this kind of work. I’m finding out quickly however, that this is not the best way to go about doing so. Actually, what I’ve noticed is many of the underlying behaviors are similar to those who have been dubbed “extremists”. Similar behaviors…similar characteristics….I should design a study.

  247. #247 Chris
    July 8, 2011

    What made you decide to comment on an article written in February of 2010?

  248. #248 JayK
    July 8, 2011

    @Ginger: I see you are still unable to admit to the fact that you aren’t objective about this subject, that your strong bias is well documented as a youtube video. There is no reason to treat you as genuine. You are neither a scientist nor a professional, by the look of things. You might be working on the piece of paper, but you appear to lack the essential ethical components necessary to “design a study”.

  249. #249 E-Dogg
    July 8, 2011

    I LOVE Ginger Peterson! She was merely trying to ask some questions and, while understanding JayK’s fear of where Ginger was going with this, I believe, with all due respect, that he jumped the gun on attacking her. I think Chris was being helpful and merely tried to show Ginger about newbie rules on a forum.

    In no way am I trying to start something up right now or become a “troll.” I mean no offense to anything contained in my comment.

    I did want to express though that I really do love this girl. She is truly a good freakin friend. I also know this isn’t the best place to express my love for her, but I wanted to use the opportunity to do so. If anybody is going to bash her though, please pick on me instead.

    Thanks,

    E

  250. #250 JayK
    July 8, 2011

    Dude, I sat through almost a minute of her video. Pure farking torture. I do feel sorry for anyone that goes to her for “therapy”.

  251. #251 Antaeus Feldspar
    July 8, 2011

    Ginger, I’ll answer your question seriously.  I think people are overreacting to your comments, but I think there’s very understandable reasons why.

    You seem sincere, and frankly you seem pretty nice.  But over the years we’ve seen a lot of people who pretend to be sincere and nice when they’re actually here with ulterior motives.  There are those, for instance, who are here to employ a propaganda technique called JAQ (or sometimes “JAQing off”) where the JAQ stands for “just asking questions.”  

    The person employing this technique pretends to be someone they’re not; they show up in the comments of a post, usually an old post, and start “asking questions”:

    “Gee golly!  Everyone seems so smart at this place!  (Note the feigned wide-eyed innocence, and the pre-emptive stroking of egos; these are designed to get people to lower their guards.)  I’ve only started learning about this whole vaccination controversy in the last few months, so it’s all new and confusing to me.  (If they told the truth, that they have been suing a vaccine manufacturer for the past five years, they would be correctly recognized as having an interest that prevents them from being neutral on the subject.  By lying, they get to pretend that their views originate from unbiased observation, which they do not.)

    “Maybe there’s a good answer to this question, and I just don’t know it ’cause I’m so new to all of this (phony humility) but really, is there any good reason why all those big, huge multinational conglomerates that make the vaccines (note that judgmental characterization slipped in there, where “vaccine manufacturers” is the term that someone who was actually neutral on the subject would have used) have to put toxins like mercury in the first place??  (Yes, and it’s such basic information that there’s no excuse for someone who’s been involved in the debate for any real length of time to not know it:  the “toxins like mercury” that anti-vaccine activists rail against are there to keep bacteria from contaminating the vaccine and endangering the life and health of everyone who receives it.  If the substance used wasn’t “toxic” in any way, shape or form, it would not kill the bacteria.)  I mean, look at how toxic mercury is; wasn’t there some awful incident in Japan where they all got mercury poisoning and virtually all the kids got autism-like symptoms?  (Again, there’s no excuse for someone who’s been in the debate for any length of time to not know the truth that these statements are intended to conceal:  the mercury to which the residents of Minamata Bay were exposed was methyl mercury; the mercury that was used as a vaccine preservative was ethyl mercury.  The two have wildly different effects, just as the effects of ethyl (grain) alcohol are radically different from those of methyl (wood) alcohol.  And the symptoms experienced by the residents of Minamata, while severe and debilitating, were not at all like autism.  But by pretending to not know any better, the JAQing commenter can continue to push the Big Lies that they want people to believe.)

    It might sound like paranoia to think that people would come here and propagandize in such a dishonest manner, but we’ve caught people at it.  They pretend to be curious about our beliefs, but they’re really there to push theirs.  That’s one reason they prefer to comment on posts that have been dead for weeks or months; their comments will show up on Google searches and will contribute to a FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) effect, but the chance that anyone will show up and actually answer their questions is minimized.

    Now I have reasons to think that you might be actually sincere, enough so that I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.  (I’d rather not elaborate on what they are, because, well, that would tell insincere people what it is they need to fake.)  But I can also see a lot of warning flags that apparently caused others to believe you weren’t.  It’s not just the necromancy (posting on a thread that’s been dead a long time) but also presenting yourself as looking to others for their views on the subject (“there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what is morally correct which makes things quite frustrating…”) while elsewhere you are apparently decided enough on your own views to post at least one YouTube video presumably promoting those views to others.  Admittedly, I have not seen that video myself, so I am going by the descriptions of others, but I think you can see how that would come across as suspicious to people who have seen the “just asking questions” technique in action.

  252. #252 Ginger Peterson
    July 8, 2011

    Thank you, Antaeus, I really appreciate that, and yes I do have many questions, but after what I have experienced I don’t think that this is the appropriate place to ask them, but once again I do appreciate the explanation :)

  253. #253 Chris
    July 9, 2011

    Ms. Peterson, thank you for realizing that posting on an old article is not quite appropriate.

    Please in the future when you find a discussion on something that interests you to look at the time stamp, and then read the more recent articles of that blog or website. See if it a major interest, and to lurk enough to get familiar with the general tone of the forum before commenting.

  254. #254 augustine
    July 9, 2011

    Chris

    Please in the future when you find a discussion on something that interests you to look at the time stamp, and then read the more recent articles of that blog or website.

    Chris, Why do you care? Is this some sort of undiagnosed neurosis peculiar to you? Or do ALL sciencebloggers have this neurosis about the so called “necromancer”? Who cares if she commented 5 years from now?

    Is this tied into the “have to be right all the time” and “have to make sure I get the last word in” complex that seems to be a prevalent characteristic among SBM?

    Is it genetic, did your family raise you that way, or is it a learned behavior?

    If one wants Sgt-at-Arms Chris’s attention all they have to do is make a comment on an old thread. Ten-hut. Thread Police is here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Afaa0f54pY8&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rtwb34Pd1k&feature=related

  255. #255 Chris
    July 9, 2011

    Wow, Little Augie, you really are an idiot. Too bad such rank stupidity is not painful, though it must be hard to feel anything given your lack of brain cells.

  256. #256 novalox
    July 9, 2011

    @Chris

    Well, that’s augie’s “christian” love showing right there.

  257. #257 augustine
    July 9, 2011

    Chris

    Wow, Little Augie, you really are an idiot. Too bad such rank stupidity is not painful, though it must be hard to feel anything given your lack of brain cells.

    Thread honor preserved: check.
    Feelings of superiority and righteousness: check.
    Last word in: check

    Diagnosis confirmed.

  258. #258 Gray Falcon
    July 9, 2011

    Augustine, is there a point to anything you say or do? Because I still haven’t found one.

  259. #259 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    July 9, 2011

    GF: “Augustine, is there a point to anything you say or do? Because I still haven’t found one.”

    Why expect there to be any point to augie or anything he excretes anywhere?

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