Animal "rights" on bionet (was Re: being recrutied unawares vs. being intimidated out of the)

Michael Holloway mhollowa at ic.sunysb.edu
Mon Aug 2 20:01:51 EST 1993


In article <CAzs9G.E1L at dartvax.dartmouth.edu> James.F.X.Wellehan at dartmouth.edu (Jim Wellehan) writes:
>In article <23bk0d$n9i at max.physics.sunysb.edu>
>mhollowa at ic.sunysb.edu (Michael Holloway) writes:
>
>> Perhaps more detail to the question was necessary.  I was hoping that Jeffe!
>> Fried, or someone, could explain what actions they believe are taking place
>> within biomedical research that requires a "balancing" with the views of
>> activists who are out of the mainstream.
>
>I think the actions taking place that require balancing are not in
>animal research, but public relations.  If we present ourselves as
>haughty and unwilling to listen to other viewpoints, then we cannot
>expect much empathy from the public.

Fine then, an answer - even though I'm forced to dig for it.  What
Jim is saying is that even though the horror tales of the animal
"rights" activists are indeed deceitful, and that adoption of the philosophy
of "animal rights" is not necessary to correct a great wrong, this movement 
dedicated to (among other things) the abolition of biomedical research must 
still be referred to as though they were benign.

What Jim is proposing is unclear.  So far, everything
that he's written has been a defense of the animal "rights"
movement couched in vague generalities like "listen to other
viewpoints" without any attempt to evaluate those viewpoints.  A suggestion 
that no conclusions should be made about animal "rights" needs some 
argument for why this one topic should be different from anything else in 
human experience.  As for public relations, anyone confused by Jim's 
statements needs to go back and read Jon Franklin's speech (now in the 
bionet archives under "How Animal "Rights" Activists Are Trashing Science").  
More effort is needed in communicating that the animal "rights" activists are
actively misrepresenting the facts, not in convincing any uninformed
observers that the animal "rights" movement represents a legitimate
"viewpoint".

There is a large and rather obvious difference between considering a
harmful viewpoint and defending it.  There is no popular clamoring
for crippling biomedical research.  Instead, the public wants, and
has a reason to expect, researchers to clearly and succinctly
communicate relevent matters related to their work.  What the animal
"rights" movement has to say about biomedical research is fraud.
Period.  Government and the majority of the public will understand.
Apologists will not.

Mike Holloway
mhollowa at ccmail.sunysb.edu



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