being recrutied unawares vs. being intimidated out of the discussion

Mon Jul 26 08:02:00 EST 1993

Although I do not have the original message to quote, Michael Holloway
(mhollowa at raises the legitamate concern that we may be
"sucked into" the discussion of "animal rights" (AR) onto grounds where
where the AR activists have the advantage.  However, if we ARE *AWARE*
that this is what they are attmepting to do, and we examine the vocabulary
that they use, and put into place OUR OWN terms and meaning, then, for
various reasons, participating in a discussion on the treatment of animals,
and how we can justify our use to the general public who are concerned
about animal *welfare* and confused by AR, is a legitamet thing to do.
We aren't "unawares" because concerned individuals like Dr. Holloway have
made us "aware".  We aren't using the definitions of AR because we make
our own.  Most importantly, we don't come to the conclusion that AR groups
do & would like us to.

I can't help but feel that if scientists simply refuse to participate in 
these discussions, then we will be perceived as arrogant and callous by
the public; see the rather eye-opening speech "Earth, Animals and Poisened
Apples: How the Luddites are Trashing Science" by Jon Franklin (posted by
M. Holloway) on the issue of arrogance.  It seems to me that we must
determine how to participate in public debate over these issues *without*
being "recruited unawares" - I'm certain that this is possible.  It may,
of course, require that we take as our starting position that animals 
simply do not have "rights", but that we are concerned about their

If we do not participate in these debates, then how can we keep others
from setting (political) policy for us?  I would say that Franklin's
speech demonstrates a good ability to discourse, or debate, the
subject without being "recruited" and without avoiding the topic
altogether.  Could it be that the AR groups have set us another pitfall
by trying to initimidate us out of the debate?

Most of all, it is important that we do not fight (trash) each other
for considering what are indeed philosophical issues.  Not everyone has
his or her mind made up, though Franklin's talk does give good reason
for the presentation of a unified front.  And, as has been pointed out,
scientific instiutions and societies do have their policies, which we
should all support.

As to the question raised in another e-mail (sorry, I didn't keep that
quote either), "Are we scientists or are we philosphers?" here's a
little pole:

1)  Do you hold, or are you working towards a degree, entitled 'Doctor of

2)  If your answer to #1 is "yes", how much meaning do you attach to the
    term 'Philosophy'?

3)  Who should decide the role of animal *welfare* in science?

4)  Should these decisions be re-examined on a periodic basis, given (or
    in spite of) the current AR movement?

Paul M. Schlosser
schlosser at
[The opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent
those of CIIT, though a high degree of coincidence may occur.]

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