Terrorism against researchers in name of "animal rights"

Mark D. Garfinkel garfinkl at iitmax.iit.edu
Wed Feb 2 11:41:08 EST 1994

In article <2ilrjt$nn7 at ysics.physics.sunysb.edu> mhollowa at epo.som.sunysb.edu 
(Michael Holloway) writes:

>In article <2il50l$n16 at news.uibk.ac.at> c72454 at cx.uibk.ac.at (Teerakiat Kerdchar
>oen) writes:
>>In <2ikc9h$k66 at ysics.physics.sunysb.edu>, mhollowa at epo.som.sunysb.edu wrote:
>>> The January 14th issue of Science reports that 34 bombs were mailed to
>>> British biomedical researchers injuring 7 people.  A "animal rights"
>>>The mixed signals coming from the research community regarding "animal
>>>rights" has helped fuel this increasingly dangerous situation.
>>       In Thailand, we have a memorial ceremony for dogs those have
>>been killed in veterinary researches and educations. I have been told
>>that the dogs are treated gently. Indeed, those researchers I met
>>definitely recognize the dogs' right. They recognize the donation of
>>those animal's spirit and soul to the human welfare. Animal also has
>>mind and feeling. Pay some compassion to them, please.

>I really don't want to pick on anyone [...]
        "I really don't want to pick on anyone," BUT...

        A common tool of propaganda is to put the disclaimer out in
front, and to do it anyway. Dr. Holloway claims he doesn't want to pick
on anyone, and so it's our fault he criticizes so harshly in public. If
Dr. MDG  weren't so confused as to be an apologist, if Dr. TK weren't
so sentimental, then Dr. Holloway wouldn't *have* to roast us. Dr. Holloway
is at-risk of adopting the tactics of those whom he opposes, and in
doing so he is at-risk of diminishing his own power to persuade.

>[animal rights extremists' view:]
>By killing an animal, no matter how humanely, you are just as
>guilty of murder as if you killed a human.
        I understand that the Green Party in Germany has or had a leader
who once said that his/her goal was to make people feel more profoundly
saddened by the death of a tree than by the death of a child.

	This is a dangerous doctrine, the diminution of humanity and
the elevation/mystification/deification of nature. It is both a
rejection of the successes of Western science, and strangely enough
a *consequence* of these successes. It is a consequence insofar as
biologists, especially in the last 20-40 years, have learned about the
unity of mechanisms underlying life. Human beings are somehow less
unique because we share such a high degree of biochemical & physiological
similarity with lab rats, among other species. It's easy to believe that
it does boil down to the fact that *we* do experiments on other species,
and not *they* on us. And the reasons why it goes this way are human
intellect, human rationality, human language. They remain our defining
attributes; there is nothing evil or unnatural about our applying our
abilities to furthering our knowledge, to bettering our lives.

>Despite "animal rights" propaganda, you know full well that biomedical
>research using animals is important for increasing our knowledge of
>biological systems and for saving lives. The people you are trying to
>identify with [...]

        Dr. Holloway, please re-read TK's post. TK said that Thai
researchers identify with *lab animals* (curiously, only dogs!?!) and
not with animal rights activism. The way he/she is doing so makes it seem,
to me, that this is a Thai cultural or religious characteristic. I don't
think it's fair to assume that a Western political extremist belief is
the root of what you called "laudable sentiments."

> [animal rights activists] believe that the use of
>animals has cost much human pain and suffering and is carried out for the
>economic gain of the researcher.  In other words, they believe you're
>some sort of demon.  These people believe that they are completely
>justified in destroying labs and careers.  They terrorize good people,
>and their families, with threats and physical attacks.

        Yes, that is the way they appear. Irrational, sensationalistic,
destructive of the human spirit. Contemptibly anti-human both in their
violent actions and in their fundamental philosophy. Isn't it easy to
demonize when one's mental pallet paints the world in black & white?

Mark D. Garfinkel (e-mail: garfinkl at iitmax.acc.iit.edu)
My views are my own, which is why they're copyright 1994

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