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Animal-rights activists are the danger to animals

It is possible to have a conscientious opposition to research on animals, and every university has channels by which activists can register their dissent, and by which they can also influence ethical decisions made by institutional animal research review committees. There is a right way and a wrong way to protest. And the wrong way is charge into a lab, disrupt experiments in progress, and “liberate” highly inbred, specialized animals that are dependent on laboratory care for their health and survival. Protesters in Milan chose the wrong way.

Activists occupied an animal facility at the University of Milan, Italy, at the weekend, releasing mice and rabbits and mixing up cage labels to confuse experimental protocols. Researchers at the university say that it will take years to recover their work.

Many of the animals at the facility are genetic models for psychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

I don’t even understand the mindset here. Where are you going to release lab animals to? They may require special diets and care, they most likely have been raised in a very specific environment and have no ability to cope with a different place, and they may have genetic diseases that make them completely unable to compete with wild forms. Years ago at the University of Oregon, ALF pulled a stunt like this; they released lab-bred animals along the side of I5. The only animals to benefit in the area were the red-tailed hawks who saw a sudden bounty of terrified white rodents.

And further, scrambling the data for research into human neurological disorders accomplishes nothing other than slowing research. Why? This is nothing but hatred of science.

There’s not much one can do in the face of determined stupidity other than to show a united front. Sign the Call for Solidarity with the scientists in Milan.

Comments

  1. Johnny Vector says

    It’s the same HULK SMASH! mindset that leads people to build pressure cooker bombs. And equally effective at building support for your cause.

  2. microraptor says

    I don’t even understand the mindset here. Where are you going to release lab animals to? They may require special diets and care, they most likely have been raised in a very specific environment and have no ability to cope with a different place, and they may have genetic diseases that make them completely unable to compete with wild forms.

    My understanding is that the kind of people who typically pull these types of stunts don’t get that: they think that the animals will just automatically know how to live in the wild in perfect peace and harmony doing whatever it is that animals do when evil awful scientists aren’t sticking them in cages (which does not apparently involve being eaten by predators).

    Or they’re people who actually know that the animals they’re releasing can’t actually survive in the wild or will be highly disruptive to the local ecosystem but don’t care because their real goal is simply to hurt scientists.

  3. yazikus says

    It’s about as ethical as “liberating” a bunch of kittens off in the countryside because you didn’t fix your cat.

  4. Becca Stareyes says

    Well, good to know the hawks are getting something out of it, even if the vandals managed to make both humans and rodents/lagomorphs unhappy.

    Granted, I prefer just to donate to hawk-related causes than arrange for food drops…

  5. says

    Great idea.
    Seriously. Not only will the released animals probably suffer before they die a miserable death (hey, if you thought Bambi was a cruel sad movie, here’s news: nature is a cruel place), but also will researchers now require MORE animals to start again. And humans will suffer for longer because the knowledge to helpo them takes longer. Lose-lose-lose all around, I guess.
    Oh, do those “activists” ever wonder about diseases that should probably not get into the wild?

  6. unbound says

    Consideration beyond the current moment is likely not part of their thought process at all. They see it simply as wrong, so anything they do must be right. Not much different than much of the anti-choice movement who also don’t have any thoughts towards the long-term issues.

  7. yazikus says

    Oh, do those “activists” ever wonder about diseases that should probably not get into the wild?

    Wasn’t that the plot of 28 Days Later? Animal activists let out animals, spread zombie disease, cause zombiepocolypse.

  8. ibbica says

    Oh, do those “activists” ever wonder about diseases that should probably not get into the wild?

    They either (1) don’t think about anything beyond their own desires/doctrines/dogmas, or (2) they don’t care, or (3) they write any such consequences off as the ‘fault’ of the scientists, rather than their own, or (4) they imagine their actions serve some Greater Good. Fools in any of those cases, frankly.

    Or they’re people who actually know that the animals they’re releasing can’t actually survive in the wild or will be highly disruptive to the local ecosystem but don’t care because their real goal is simply to hurt scientists.

    Bingo. “Do what we want, or we’ll punish you for your disobedience.” Hard to see their actions as anything more than entry-level terrorism.

  9. ibbica says

    Oh, do those “activists” ever wonder about diseases that should probably not get into the wild?

    Wasn’t that the plot of 28 Days Later? Animal activists let out animals, spread zombie disease, cause zombiepocolypse.

    I love love love that movie :) Among other reasons, there are a big handful of scenes that act as great litmus tests of the attitudes of the people you’re watching it with…

  10. yazikus says

    I love love love that movie :)

    I do too, I haven’t watched it in years though! Methinks it is time to add it to the netflix queue.

  11. Eristae says

    Or they’re people who actually know that the animals they’re releasing can’t actually survive in the wild or will be highly disruptive to the local ecosystem but don’t care because their real goal is simply to hurt scientists.

    Most of the animal rights activities who are in favor of freeing animals that I’ve encountered are of this branch of thinking. They will openly state that they know that the animals will die, but will insist that it is better that the animals “die free” than die in a lab. It drives me batty. If some scientist decided to just stop feeding one of their research animals and let said animal starve to death in its own filth, that scientist would justly be in trouble being description. But if the animal is “freed” and starves to death in an ally in its own filth, that’s okay.

    Fah.

  12. okeydoke says

    Organisations like ALF are nothing but mindless thugs that love the warm and fuzzy feels their crude activism gives them.

  13. haitied says

    Never mind if these animals had communicable diseases. . This is why I ask people to donate to the SPCA instead of groups like PETA who support these “liberators”.
    The SPCA in the US fights animal cruelty and is involved in many court cases to make sure abusers are punished, whereas PETA is involved in collecting money, and staying in the public mind so they can con donations from people.

  14. M, Supreme Anarch of the Queer Illuminati says

    I worked for about six months as a barista at a coffee cart at an office park that included at least one medical research company. One of my regulars (I tried to make sure we always had something vegetarian stocked) was there as an animal lover. Not as a protester; instead, she got a job taking care of the lab animals so she could be sure that they were treated as humanely as possible. She may also have been active in pushing for tighter controls on animal testing; either way, these seemed like the actions of someone who was genuinely motivated by concerns about the welfare of animals rather than by a desire for flashy ways to feel self-righteous.

  15. dianne says

    This sort of “animal rights” activist never seems to actually like animals. Releasing nude mice into the wild? Did they think all the cautions about infection on the doors of the lab were just for fun or what? They aren’t even thinking about the short term consequences.

  16. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    instead, she got a job taking care of the lab animals so she could be sure that they were treated as humanely as possible. She may also have been active in pushing for tighter controls on animal testing; either way, these seemed like the actions of someone who was genuinely motivated by concerns about the welfare of animals rather than by a desire for flashy ways to feel self-righteous.

    This, totally.

    The two people who took care of animals in my lab were two undeniable animal lovers.

    One had rescued an abandoned baby hare as a child and a baby squirrel later that her boyfriend had found agonizing in his workplace.

    The other took home and kept a young female lab rat that the company from which we bought our animals had sent by mistake. She even performed surgery (she had been trained for this on account that she needed to sterilize rats in many research protocols) on said rat when she got mammary tumors.

    Both were also very good at observing the animals’ behavior, and therefore able to spot the side effects of the drugs that were administered to them.

  17. Sastra says

    Eristae #11 wrote:

    Most of the animal rights activities who are in favor of freeing animals that I’ve encountered are of this branch of thinking. They will openly state that they know that the animals will die, but will insist that it is better that the animals “die free” than die in a lab.

    I think you got it. The underlying motivation here is not to hurt scientists or stop research science; it’s not even about the individual animals or serious concerns about the environment. This sort of animal rights activist is driven by an ideology which rests on the Naturalistic Fallacy: whatever is natural is good and pure and humanity only pollutes and corrupts it.

    This “pollution” consists of everything from technology to toxins to harmful mindsets. We arrogantly change and manipulate nature — nature nature and our OWN natural natures — the gentle, humble, simple way we would all be if “rationality” hadn’t split us off from our deep spiritual connection with Gaia, Mother Earth, Cosmic Consciousness, or God. Science seeks to aggressively dominate, rather than peacefully accept.

    So yes — they probably don’t care about the suffering of the lab animals themselves as long as the moral principle of “follow nature” is followed. The lab animals being eaten by predators is part of the Eternal Circle of Being and all is right with the world. My guess is that they think their actions will create a ripple effect over the spiritual realm and eventually these occult powers help change the hearts and minds of people stuck in the material realm, bringing them back in harmony.

    You can justify anything if you’re allowed to make your background facts out of bullshit.

  18. sundiver says

    PETA: Poorly Educated Teen Activists. Dianne, what goes on in their heads aint thinking. Long or short term.

  19. redwood says

    I had a friend who kept two parakeets a few years ago. She lived in a communal-type house and one day when she was out, an “animal-lover” who had been ragging her about her cruelty in keeping the birds “prisoners” went into her room and released them (he probably had to force them out the window). When she returned and went out searching for them, all she ever found were clots of their feathers. She was heartbroken and the birds were dead. Of course the doer of the evil deed was unrepentant and actually blamed her for their deaths (for not letting them free while they were young enough to learn how to live outdoors or some such crap).

  20. Sastra says

    My own favorite example.:

    “Cows do not belong in dairy farmers’ pens. They belong out in the wilderness, where they may run free with the wolves and bears,” PETA spokesperson Linda McCune said. “This raid was an important first step toward returning the proud, majestic cow to its natural environs.”

  21. says

    ivarhusa: at least that guy showed some remorse when he saw what happened. That’s more decency than I’ve seen from most ARAs. Also, he seemed to be just getting a mouse out of his house, not “liberating” it from “oppressors.”

  22. yazikus says

    @Sastra
    After a trip to the zoo a while back, I came away with the feeling that it was pretty unethical to keep a lot of those animals in the conditions they had at the zoo. Like polar bears in an open air enclosure when it was some 70 degrees F, I guess. However, I did feel that the antelope probably enjoyed their life there. Lazing around in the sun, plentiful food, no predators. So yeah. (Not saying we should “liberate” zoo animals here, just that maybe we could make their zoo habitats a titch more realistic).

  23. mythbri says

    @yazikus

    I love going to zoos because I love seeing live animals that I will never get to see in their natural habitats. But it’s hard to go to the zoo and see some of the animals performing repetitive motions, which could be an indicator of stress. I think that zoos are important for their role in conservation, and the opportunity to educate and raise awareness.

    I’m conflicted. Habitat improvement and daily enrichment are two things that are becoming more and more common, though.

  24. says

    I have heard it discussed, but never in any real depth: supposing everyone went vegan, what would we do with all the sheep and cows and pigs? Surely there would be too many of them to just release, and sheep and cows especially are not very well-equipped to survive on their own. Pigs would probably be OK, but at what cost? Roving herds of feral pigs, like in Berlin? Well, I doubt that will ever happen, but still, it is an interesting thing to consider.

    And I’m not saying we shouldn’t all eat less meat and hopefully reduce the numbers of animals on commercial farms and thus their environmental impact. Just that it’s highly unlikely that veganism will take the world by storm.

  25. Brandon says

    This is why I think it’s important to draw a fairly bright line between animal welfare advocacy and “animal rights” activism. People who are happy to take the animal rights label are almost uniformly kooky and poorly informed.

  26. lydia says

    Yes, the activists are misguided BUT to begin with why don’t we get to the ROOT of the problem and stop breeding these animals with genetic diseases and conditions to begin with? Wait, how about we find some other way to do research period! If aliens (this is just hypothetical of course) came down to Earth and decided we were beneath them and could use us for research purposes we wouldn’t think that was good or ethical. Well same deal here folks, plain and simple.

    And while I’m on my high horse here, why don’t you all became vegetarians? If people ate more veggies and fruits and less meat and processed crap there wouldn’t be so many people starving on this Earth, nor would the environment be as fucked as it is now, plus animals would experience a lot less suffering.

  27. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Radical animal rights activists need to be freed on the plains of the Serengeti to run with prides of large feline predators, hyenas and other large predators. Predators make for a smarter gene pool.

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Wait, how about we find some other way to do research period!

    Fine, show us how. But where do you want the first in vivo test of a new drug. In you or a rat? Those are the ethical alternatives. Think about that, then get down off your high horse where you expect everybody else to do the real work at your behest. Do it yourself.

  29. mythbri says

    @lydia

    Wait, how about we find some other way to do research period!

    Let us know when you come up with one.

  30. Anthony K says

    But where do you want the first in vivo test of a new drug. In you or a rat?

    Hi, fallacy of the excluded middle! I was waiting for you to show up.

  31. yazikus says

    @mythbri

    I’m conflicted.

    I think we should be. The particular zoo I was at hosts a summer concert serious, where they have bands come and play on a stage at the zoo. I couldn’t help but wonder, wouldn’t that noise be seriously stressful for the animals?? Why do you need to have a concert at the zoo? Also, the food was super shitty. All they had to offer was hot dogs, pretzels, slushies & dippin dots. Dippin Dots!!! I thought those went extinct back in the 90s! How cool would it be if (the zoo is split into sort of geographical sections and there is a food stand in each section) the food at each section was representative of indigenous plants/ food styles? With a little info booth about the native plants? And not to rant further, but the only way I could see myself being comfortable with the animals being kept would be if we made the zoos part of the state university, with trained specialists caring for them & students helping & learning and kept it from being a strictly for-profit private endeavor.

  32. lydia says

    First off, except for a few drugs like penicillin for example, most new drugs don’t work or are only needed because we want to take a pill rather than eat right and take care of our health. Most advances in our human health and increased life span comes from better sanitation and living conditions and not medical research. There are exceptions of course but in this is true. And run this by me again, why do I have to come up with a way to reinvent research or else it’s kill the animals? I think we can all brainstorm and come up with better ways to do research.

  33. Brandon says

    Hi, fallacy of the excluded middle! I was waiting for you to show up.

    The other option is… what, exactly? Not testing drugs in vivo?

  34. Anthony K says

    First off, except for a few drugs like penicillin for example, most new drugs don’t work or are only needed because we want to take a pill rather than eat right and take care of our health.

    This is exactly why I can’t root for the humans in these conversations.

    All the dead rats in the world won’t make Lydia a non-idiot. Into the fucking vats with Lydia.

  35. HappyHead says

    @lydia

    If people ate more veggies and fruits and less meat and processed crap there wouldn’t be so many people starving on this Earth

    That doesn’t follow. The source of people starving isn’t people eating meat, it’s people not being able to afford or access food, due either to personal economic difficulty, or regional economic difficulty. Putting a few cattle farmers out of work is not going to suddenly change that, even if they are able to find other work raising vegetables. The net employment levels won’t have changed significantly, and the people who are starving now, would still be starving.

    And run this by me again, why do I have to come up with a way to reinvent research or else it’s kill the animals?

    Because you are the one demanding that people do something other than the only thing they currently have, as though you think it’s a brand new novel idea that nobody else is already trying. If you don’t like it, do something about it. “Brainstorming” isn’t going to cut it – you’re going to have to find and prove a real method that actually works, which nobody else has been able to do so far.

  36. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Wait, how about we find some other way to do research period!

    Er, did this mean you have a process in mind, or that you just don’t believe anyone else has thought of that yet?

  37. Anthony K says

    The other option is… what, exactly? Not testing drugs in vivo?

    You got it. That’s at least one.

  38. Brandon says

    First off, except for a few drugs like penicillin for example, most new drugs don’t work or are only needed because we want to take a pill rather than eat right and take care of our health.

    If penicillin sets the timeline for what qualifies as “new drugs”, then I present you with the smallpox and polio vaccines.

    I think we can all brainstorm and come up with better ways to do research.

    Yeah, those of us that actually do research for a living do our level best to do that. Presently, there’s no substitute for certain in vivo animal models. Handwaving and insisting that we must do something is ignorant.

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    most new drugs don’t work or are only needed because we want to take a pill rather than eat right and take care of our health.

    *Floosh*, unevidenced presupposition dismissed as sewage. Citations needed for all such claims, or don’t make them. Welcome to science.

  40. Louis says

    Lydia, #33,

    First off, except for a few drugs like penicillin for example, most new drugs don’t work or are only needed because we want to take a pill rather than eat right and take care of our health.

    Please elaborate on this claim, with some evidence if you don’t mind.

    Thanks.

    Louis

  41. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I think we can all brainstorm and come up with better ways to do research.

    Why do you think you can demand real scientists doing said research take their valuable time to discuss what they already know with ignorant you? You need to educate yourself, not keep slinging slogans like a liberturd.

  42. mythbri says

    @lydia

    First off, except for a few drugs like penicillin for example, most new drugs don’t work or are only needed because we want to take a pill rather than eat right and take care of our health.

    Citation needed.

    Most advances in our human health and increased life span comes from better sanitation and living conditions and not medical research. There are exceptions of course but in this is true.

    Citation needed.

    And run this by me again, why do I have to come up with a way to reinvent research or else it’s kill the animals? I think we can all brainstorm and come up with better ways to do research.

    What kind of research? Like PZ’s research on zebrafish? Do you know what kind of research is done with animals? Do you know what kind of regulations are in place regarding animal testing? What are your credentials in the fields of biology, biochemistry, genetics, psychology, etc.?

  43. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I’ll be sure to tell my father to ditch all the useless heart medication and eat more fruit and veggies. I’ll make sure to call his sister too, to tell her that she really doesn’t need all the million medications she takes every day for lupus.
    more fruit and veggies, less meat and we’ll all be healthy.
    Except for getting colds. You just can’t fight a cold. Or can you?

  44. dianne says

    Actually, animals are used less often in research now because alternatives have been found for some situations. Animal research is tightly regulated and any animal research at a legitimate university has to go through an animal use committee which asks, among other things, whether this research could be done in ways that don’t involve animals and if animal welfare has been reduced as much as is possible. I encourage any person who is concerned about the welfare of animals used in research but who does not take the position that only abolishing animal research would do any good to become involved in animal use committees and put their intention of decreasing animal suffering to work in a positive way. Much better for animals than releasing nude mice into the wild to be eaten by predators or bacteria.

  45. hillaryrettig says

    it’s not a hatred of science, PZ, they’re not out busting up chemistry or physics labs.

    it’s a hatred of inhumane torment, and an often pointless, self-perpetuating research-industrial complex that perpetuates it.

    and, as an animal rights activist, let me say that your sensationalist, painting-with-a-broad brush headline stinks.

    i’m guessing that they’re going to try to home many of the animals, so those animals will be better off than in the lab. and, who knows, maybe even the ones that wind up dead would prefer that fate to whatever was being done to them in the lab.

    i don’t agree fully with the activists’ tactics, but you seem to lose it on this topic more than any other.

    relatedly, I love how scientists (not nec. you PZ) will do everything possible to support animal research except show photos of what it really looks like. Oh, that’s right, “the public” is too emotional and sentimental to evaluate the images rationally. (Because scientists are a superior race who are always rational and always have a superior moral code, yeah.) Or, maybe they’re afraid the public will recognize a horrorshow when it sees it…

  46. yazikus says

    who knows, maybe even the ones that wind up dead would prefer that fate to whatever was being done to them in the lab.

    Hah. Someone totally called this response earlier in the thread. Better to die free.

  47. carlie says

    I am amused that lydia uses penicillin as her example of a wonder drug that has kept any others from being needed, given that penicillin pretty much works like shit a lot of the time now. Fucking evolution, how does it work?

  48. Louis says

    Hillaryrettig, #46,

    it’s a hatred of inhumane torment, and an often pointless, self-perpetuating research-industrial complex that perpetuates it.

    Could you give me examples of which companies and research organisations are engaging in pointless research involving animals?

    Thanks.

    Louis

  49. ryanb says

    @lydia

    You might be interested to know that there is a tonne of research out there into finding replacements for animal models. 3D tissue cultures are a big one but whilst there have been improvements that lead to a reduction in animal use for some tests and a replacement for others we are a long, long way before biomedical scientists have a tool kit that can cover every conceivable test. I’m not even sure if it would be possible to test for everything, how can you know the long term effects of an implant for example without putting it in a whole living system?

    There are organisations that track this: http://www.nc3rs.org.uk/

    That’s not even to mention that for studies of genetic diseases you need to observe developmental and effects across generations. You simple can’t do that effectively in humans given our slow generational turnover compared to animals.

    Regarding your statement about medicines and their need for testing you should stop and think when you point out that most don’t get through trials. This is because there is something about them that actively harms. When there is no alternative than humans or animals of course animals will be used.

  50. Brandon says

    it’s a hatred of inhumane torment, and an often pointless, self-perpetuating research-industrial complex that perpetuates it.

    What’s with the claim that it’s self-perpetuating? I don’t have any idea what you’re driving at here.

  51. mythbri says

    I don’t like animal testing.

    I don’t refuse any of the medical services that animal testing has yielded if I’m sick, injured or in pain, though.

  52. dianne says

    and, who knows, maybe even the ones that wind up dead would prefer that fate to whatever was being done to them in the lab.

    And who are you to make that decision for them? Maybe they prefer to live in comfort in a climate controlled and safe environment with lots of readily available food and social contact with their own littermates rather than being exposed to the elements, not knowing which way to run for safety, and then being eaten alive?

  53. ryanb says

    @hillaryrettig

    Of course a lot of research isn’t pretty and there is going to be some pain inflicted. No one is pretending this isn’t the case. But it’s the only way to advance human medicine and most people will choose animal suffering over human. Very few scientists are dispassionate about the suffering of animals and it is kept to an absolute minimum (there are many regulations and practices concerning this) but it really is unavoidable if we want to continue medical research.

    There simply isn’t an alternative toolkit at this time.

  54. ryanb says

    Damn screwed up my post. Was meant to be:

    “hillaryrettig – I love how scientists (not nec. you PZ) will do everything possible to support animal research except show photos of what it really looks like.”

    Of course a lot of research isn’t pretty and there is going to be some pain inflicted. No one is pretending this isn’t the case. But it’s the only way to advance human medicine and most people will choose animal suffering over human. Very few scientists are dispassionate about the suffering of animals and it is kept to an absolute minimum (there are many regulations and practices concerning this) but it really is unavoidable if we want to continue medical research.

    There simply isn’t an alternative toolkit at this time.

  55. mythbri says

    @hillaryrettig

    Mithri

    I’ll assume you mean me.

    zoos actually give only a tiny part of their budgets to conservation: 4-7%.

    They also suck up donations that could be used for actual conservation.

    Zoos are basically entertainment businesses – Disneylands with animals – not science or conservation.

    I was referring to breeding and genetics programs that help preserve populations. Like cheetahs, for example. I would prefer that zoos be non-profit educational centers, but since they currently are not, why should I not hope that they educate, raise awareness and inspire others to take up the cause of conservation?

  56. thumper1990 says

    ” This is nothing but hatred of science.”

    No, it’s a passionate love of animals combined with ignorance. These people don’t know animals are sometimes bred with genetic illnesses etc., they don’t realise they will require specialised diets. Despite their passionate love of animals, they are rarely (in my experience) anything even approaching an expert and don’t realise tamed animals can’t survive in the wild. They are also incapale of rationally weighing up the harm done to the animals vs. the increase in quality of life for humans resulting from these experiments. In short, they are idiots, but they are idiots for the right reasons.

  57. mythbri says

    Is medical experimentation with animals wrong even when it leads to improvements in veterinary medicine?

  58. ibbica says

    Wow, it actually took a bit longer than I’d expected for someone like lydia there to show up.

    Lydia, every scientist I’ve personally dealt with who works with animals actually cares a great deal about how they’re treated, about making sure they’re healthy, about not using an animal model when an alternative is available, about not including any more animals than we need, and about getting as much information as possible from every single animal we do include in a study. Most scientists are very aware of the need to meet behavioural and social needs on top of the basic food/water/shelter.

    That being said, sure, there are certainly some scientists doing in vivo research who don’t give a shit about animal welfare. There are also some farmers, hunters, pet owners, gardeners, fish keepers and bird feeders who don’t give a shit about animal welfare – especially when you include local wildlife as ‘animals’. But I invite you to look into the level and types of regulation and oversight, and the consequences of violating applicable regulations, for people in each of those groups.

    Targeting scientists really isn’t, at this point, an effective tactic to take in increasing animal welfare overall. There’s plenty of lower-hanging fruit that would give much greater gains to more animals for much lower costs (for pretty much any measure of “cost”).

  59. hillaryrettig says

    @SallyStrange, That’s a legitimate question and there’s no nice answer. Most vegans believe that in the short term there will be a lot of suffering as domesticated herds are decreased through slaughter when they become unprofitable. (Individual vegans will do what we can to save as many as we can via farmed animal sanctuaries but it won’t even be a drop in the bucket.) But the amount of suffering that will be eliminated in the long term by the elimination of animal agriculture will be vast.

    Most or all positive social changes come at a high price. As Americans started to smoke less, tobacco farmers went out of business. (Many, according to the movie Food, Inc., became chicken factory farmers.)

  60. David Marjanović says

    I think you got it. The underlying motivation here is not to hurt scientists or stop research science; it’s not even about the individual animals or serious concerns about the environment. This sort of animal rights activist is driven by an ideology which rests on the Naturalistic Fallacy: whatever is natural is good and pure and humanity only pollutes and corrupts it.

    Exactly.

    PETA: Poorly Educated Teen Activists.

    So true.

    The lab animals being eaten by predators is part of the Eternal Circle of Being

    The Circle of Knife from Itchy & Scratchy The Opera!

    Roving herds of feral pigs, like in Berlin?

    Heh. Nope, what’s going on here is that wild boars (not feral domesticated pigs) occasionally show up in the largely forested outer parts of the city.

    Hi, fallacy of the excluded middle! I was waiting for you to show up.

    What would the middle be, a strepsirrhine?

    That doesn’t follow. The source of people starving isn’t people eating meat, it’s people not being able to afford or access food, due either to personal economic difficulty, or regional economic difficulty.

    In other words, enough food is currently being produced for twice the world population. Distributing it is a question of money and political will. (Indeed, money itself is a question of political will.)

  61. thumper1990 says

    @Mythbri #53

    I don’t like animal testing.

    I don’t refuse any of the medical services that animal testing has yielded if I’m sick, injured or in pain, though.

    This. The phrase “necessary evil” (no matter how trite and cliched it may have become) may as well have been invented for animal research.

  62. mythbri says

    That doesn’t follow. The source of people starving isn’t people eating meat, it’s people not being able to afford or access food, due either to personal economic difficulty, or regional economic difficulty.

    And asking starving people to make a moral choice about food, or forcing that choice on them when they have so few resources, is unethical.

    Do vegans have a plan to feed the starving before they deprive them of a food source?

  63. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I have heard it discussed, but never in any real depth: supposing everyone went vegan, what would we do with all the sheep and cows and pigs? – SallyStrange

    Well it’s not going to happen overnight, or even from one year to the next, so I don’t think it’s a real problem. If the number of non-vegans (or non-vegetarians in the case of sheep and pigs) falls, then the number of food animals raised will decline proportionately. (Disclosure: I’m vegetarian but not vegan.)

  64. hillaryrettig says

    @Louis49

    Pointless research:

    *a lot of animal research is used for pro forma testing of new cosmetics, household products, etc. no one needs these new products

    *in the medical sphere, we’d get far more bang for our buck by investing a lot more in disease-prevention strategies (environmental, food, etc.) as opposed to disease remediation.

    *and in any research field there is plenty of research that is valueless, misguided, badly conducted, etc. // And don’t forget that every drug that was administered to humans and later found deleterious was tested and found safe on animal “models.” (Assuming the manufacturer didn’t cook the data, which also happens.

    Hillary

  65. ibbica says

    relatedly, I love how scientists (not nec. you PZ) will do everything possible to support animal research except show photos of what it really looks like. Oh, that’s right, “the public” is too emotional and sentimental to evaluate the images rationally. (Because scientists are a superior race who are always rational and always have a superior moral code, yeah.) Or, maybe they’re afraid the public will recognize a horrorshow when it sees it…

    Um… you can find plenty of photos of what animal research looks like. What specific procedure are you interested in? It’s amazing what a google image search will turn up these days.

    It would seem it’s not the scientists thinking they’re not human here, but people like you apparently assuming that scientists don’t have human emotions, or have to check their empathy at the door. Hint: neither of those are true.

    As for ‘horrorshows’… What specific procedure(s) are you concerned with? What would make something a ‘horrorshow’, and what does that have to do with whether it is should be permitted to happen? I happen to have a visceral reaction to even looking at photos of human eye surgeries, especially in wide shots (shudder), but that certainly doesn’t at all mean the procedure itself should be banned as ‘a horrorshow’, or that its development should have been halted because some people are squeamish about eyeballs…

  66. David Marjanović says

    i’m guessing that they’re going to try to home many of the animals

    Not the activists we’re talking about here.

    and, who knows, maybe even the ones that wind up dead would prefer that fate to whatever was being done to them in the lab.

    This Klingon logic verges on religion.

    Zoos are basically entertainment businesses – Disneylands with animals – not science or conservation.

    That depends on the zoo.

  67. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I love how scientists (not nec. you PZ) will do everything possible to support animal research except show photos of what it really looks like. – hillaryrettig

    Do you take the analogous stance with regard to abortion?

  68. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    *in the medical sphere, we’d get far more bang for our buck by investing a lot more in disease-prevention strategies (environmental, food, etc.) as opposed to disease remediation.

    I would really love if we invested into both. Unless you subscribe to lydia’s belief that good eating and “healthy lifestyle” is the prevention of all illnesses.
    Also, if you don’t invest into disease remediation, then you’re not investing into ways to do research without animals.

    And don’t forget that every drug that was administered to humans and later found deleterious was tested and found safe on animal “models.”

    Some tests fail, so it would be better if we did none?
    *blink*

  69. ryanb says

    @hillaryrettig

    “*a lot of animal research is used for pro forma testing of new cosmetics, household products, etc. no one needs these new products”

    Where is this? The US? In Europe that practice was banned.

    “*in the medical sphere, we’d get far more bang for our buck by investing a lot more in disease-prevention strategies (environmental, food, etc.) as opposed to disease remediation.”

    Cite please. Also note that this isn’t an argument against animal testing in this form it’s simply an argument that funding could be better allocated.

    “*and in any research field there is plenty of research that is valueless, misguided, badly conducted, etc. // And don’t forget that every drug that was administered to humans and later found deleterious was tested and found safe on animal “models.” (Assuming the manufacturer didn’t cook the data, which also happens.”

    And how many drugs that didn’t make it to humans did so because of animal testing? And how many drugs that do work were made possible because of the increased understanding of biology that came through animal testing?

  70. hillaryrettig says

    @RyanB #55 – Europe is ahead of the US in adopting non-animal models for testing. Other models include chemical and cellular. There may be others.

    @Mythbri #57- (Sorry for earlier misspelling!) >Why should I not hope that [zoos] educate, raise awareness and inspire others to take up the cause of conservation?

    Because there are more effective (cost and otherwise) ways to achieve the same – e.g., national parks and sanctuaries – and because the animals suffer.

  71. cactuswren says

    First off, except for a few drugs like penicillin for example, most new drugs don’t work or are only needed because we want to take a pill rather than eat right and take care of our health. Most advances in our human health and increased life span comes from better sanitation and living conditions and not medical research.

    Last time I heard this argument, it was coming from an anti-vaxxer who claimed that human beings had just spontaneously developed a natural immunity to variola major and it was only a coincidence that this happened to come at the same time as the worldwide smallpox vaccination campaign.

  72. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Hillary Retig,
    Do you have any idea of the death toll of animals in combines and other farm equipment used to harvest your yummy, vegan tofu?

    By all means, we should not take the suffering of any animal lightly. We should try to tread lightly on the planet. Sometimes, however, people do things the way they do because there is no alternative.

  73. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Still nothing but sloganeering from the Animal Rights people. If you can’t/won’t give a citation for a claim, it is sloganeering. Which means you shouldn’t even make the claim if you are honest and have integrity.

    Otherwise, it all boils down to “I don’t like it, and I’ll imagufacture baseless assertions to support my feelings.”

  74. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    hillaryrettig@67,

    in the medical sphere, we’d get far more bang for our buck by investing a lot more in disease-prevention strategies (environmental, food, etc.) as opposed to disease remediation.

    Your other two points are well-taken, but are you actually saying no research into disease remediation should be undertaken? Because I’d prefer resources to be switched to disease-prevention from spending on weapons, imprisoning people who are no danger to others, etc..

  75. ryanb says

    hillaryrettig – Europe is ahead of the US in adopting non-animal models for testing. Other models include chemical and cellular. There may be others.

    I’m not sure what you mean by chemical and cellular specifically. I’m a biologist and I’ve not heard of a medicine or medical device that hasn’t gone through a phase of in vivo testing on human cell culture before progressing to animal models. There are developments as I said up thread in making 3d tissue cultures for testing but this isn’t a one-size fits all solution. A method for growing lung tissue for testing that gives better results for certain tests than animal models isn’t applicable to many others.

    I am reasonably confident that researchers in these fields will come up with a plethora of such protocols that will reduce or even replace animals for some testing but the idea that this is imminent and that animal testing is obsolete (as I’ve heard people argue) is flat out false.

  76. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I am in favor of imposing much stricter regulations for zoos. Some get away with keeping animals in horrible conditions. Of course, that should include proper funding from cities, in case of city zoos. Our city zoo tries to improve animal habitats, but they can only do it very slowly, thanks to the ever shrinking slice of the budget allocated to them.

  77. Anoia says

    First off, except for a few drugs like penicillin for example, most new drugs don’t work or are only needed because we want to take a pill rather than eat right and take care of our health.
    Must be the placebo effect then that keeps my rheumatism at bay.

  78. hillaryrettig says

    @ibbica 68

    I see plenty of photos of animal research; they show up in my FB newsfeed most days. They are horrible, but I look. And you never see these types of images in the popular press, including the popular science-oriented press. Scientists are very careful about the images of animal experiementation they release to the public.

    I do know that when I try to share them with nonactivists (i.e., the general public) who are nominally pro-animal-research, those people recoil.

  79. hillaryrettig says

    >Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    re abortion, that’s a legitimate question. I did see a movie called Ring of Fire (?) where a late term abortion was graphically portrayed.

    my views on abortion have gotten more complex since becoming vegan. I don’t really want to discuss them here, but as I said your question was legitimate and I wanted to answer it.

    > are you actually saying no research into disease remediation should be undertaken?
    another good point

  80. ryanb says

    hillaryrettig – “I do know that when I try to share them with nonactivists (i.e., the general public) who are nominally pro-animal-research, those people recoil.”

    Of course many images will make people recoil, they can make many scientists recoil. But is that an argument against it really? I’ve had conversations with people that have seen images of animal research and whilst they found them hard to stomach they asked the important question of “is this necessary?” and were willing to talk about the issue. It’s a minority of people who think that the suffering of animals outweighs the suffering of humans. In the same vein it’s a minority of people who don’t object to poor experimentation that leads to unnecessary animal suffering.

    Popular press might limit the type of images shown but I would be willing to bet that this is because they fear over-the-top backlash from animal rights extremists than a negative response from the general public.

  81. Who Cares says

    @Hillary(#82): Put them on Flickr and give us a link then.
    Then put up a nice annotation what the research was for.

    Also seeing the fairly strict regulations with ethical boards and such your claim of pointless research on animals (#67) is bullshit and baseless unless you back it up. Then seeing that you call it plenty you have upped the burden on yourself by having to show that this is a structural defect. Have fun (and yes that is sarcasm).

  82. hillaryrettig says

    @Beatrice 80

    Here’s an article from that radical organ the Wall Street Journal about how many zoos routinely overbreed animals to they can have a profitable “cute zoobaby” event – only to slaughter the cute baby when it grows up and is inconvenient and expensive:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123689895056312923.html
    Swiss Zoo Has One Too Many Hippos, So Little Farasi May Have to Go

  83. brizian says

    I’m vegan. I don’t like animal testing (which does not mean I don’t understand the need for it).
    Scrambling the data is fucked up on so many levels, I can’t even comprehend what would have led to thinking that was a smart or righteous thing to do. But I especially don’t like PZ’s fucking headline. Seriously, you think we have standards for the ways animals are treated now in spite of animal activists?

    Yes, these activists were wrong. Period. But there are plenty of us out there volunteering at shelters, caring for helpless animals, doing whatever we can to help ease the suffering that is largely caused by our own existence.

    You don’t like it when people make these broad generalizations about atheists or scientists, so why do it to another group?

    @a_ray_in_dilbert_space #75
    We get it, it’s fun to call out vegans for being hypocritical and it makes you feel better about your own choices.

  84. ibbica says

    *a lot of animal research is used for pro forma testing of new cosmetics, household products, etc. no one needs these new products

    Do you have any numbers to back up that claim? My experience is with basic science research, and my understand is that (with the exception of pharmaceutical products), commercial animal testing is actually a very small proportion of the in vivo research being done.

    *in the medical sphere, we’d get far more bang for our buck by investing a lot more in disease-prevention strategies (environmental, food, etc.) as opposed to disease remediation.

    People, including of course those involved in funding decisions, aren’t typically so great at comparing small-but-many benefits to single-but-big benefits, or at considering the long term (i.e. longer than the 2-4 years it takes a political party to be at risk of getting voted out of power). Preventative research is more likely to be funded by public/governmental funding that private/corporate funding (for what should be fairly obvious reasons), so if you’ve got a way to convince politicians that prevention is worth funneling more resources into, please go nuts with it.

    People who are suffering with an illness NOW are still very likely to be interested in “mediation”. Are you going to be the one to tell them we’ve put the kibosh on finding a cure or working out better management strategies because we’re all busy working out how to reduce the number of people suffering from their disease or disorder? Don’t forget: more often than not, ‘prevention’ results in a reduction, NOT complete elimination, of the occurrence of a given disease.

    *and in any research field there is plenty of research that is valueless, misguided, badly conducted, etc. // And don’t forget that every drug that was administered to humans and later found deleterious was tested and found safe on animal “models.” (Assuming the manufacturer didn’t cook the data, which also happens.

    There is no doubt that animal models aren’t perfect replicas of human bodies. We may also be missing out on some drugs that would be safe and effective in humans because the animal model used showed a poor reaction! Would you prefer we skip the in vivo stage and move from pharmacology straight to clinical trials? Or forgo research into disease mediation entirely, sorry Jack but I’m currently healthy and/or you didn’t prevent yourself from getting sick, so screw you?

    IMO this concern is actually more a result of using one (or a very limited set of) model(s) than of using an imperfect model, but expanding our model base would involve using even more animals in the short term. Just considering both sexes in one study at least doubles the number of animals needed (actually more than doubles, if you want/need to consider estrous cycle interactions with whatever you’re examining).

  85. thumper1990 says

    @hillaryrettig

    Scientists are very careful about the images of animal experiementation they release to the public.

    And you think your mysterious Facebook sources aren’t? Hilarious!

  86. hillaryrettig says

    RyanB –

    >And how many drugs that didn’t make it to humans did so because of animal testing? And how many drugs that do work were made possible because of the increased understanding of biology that came through animal testing?

    Those are quite legitimate questions to ask, so I will have to say the ends don’t justify the means. I myself, like everyone here, am the beneficiary of plenty of animal research

    Your other questions are probably googleable. The question of what % of animal research is for medical versus commercial product use is interesting, and I will ask around.

  87. Acolyte of Sagan says

    I seem to recall that back in the 1980’s some ARA’s released (not ‘adopted’, but just released) a load of dogs – beagles, if memory serves – from a lab involved in cancer research here in Britain. The dogs were being used in some context regarding smoking, and for a long time afterwards I had a picture in my head of a pack of dogs roaming the countryside craving cigarettes.
    It tickled me at the time, but the truth is that the activists can’t know what the animals they ‘save’ may be addicted to – or be infected with.

  88. Brandon says

    Scientists are very careful about the images of animal experiementation they release to the public.

    Nope, images of disease models are shown in journals regularly, as they’re important for validating the model. Gratuitous gore shots aren’t regularly snapped because there’s no real reason for them.

  89. hillaryrettig says

    Hi Everyone – I have to sign off, so please don’t feel ignored. I appreciated the (mostly) polite tenor of your comments and questions. Animal research is *the* most challenging issue for me many vegans, including me. If there’s a question you really want me personally to address please email me at hillary@hillaryrettig.com .

    Brizian 87 – Great points! Pls. check out my article on nonperfectionist veganism.

  90. kayden says

    For people like Lydia and Hillary, isn’t there a middle ground where we as compassionate human beings can acknowledge that we don’t like animal research, but agree that unfortunately, it may be necessary for medical advances until better alternatives are developed?

    I would prefer if animal rights activists put more efforts into closing down puppy mills (here in the US) and increasing the number of no-kill shelters.

  91. ibbica says

    I see plenty of photos of animal research; they show up in my FB newsfeed most days. They are horrible, but I look. And you never see these types of images in the popular press, including the popular science-oriented press. Scientists are very careful about the images of animal experiementation they release to the public.

    Seconding the request to provide links to these ‘horrible’ images, with descriptions of the procedure being done and the goal of the research in question.

    Yes, these activists were wrong. Period. But there are plenty of us out there volunteering at shelters, caring for helpless animals, doing whatever we can to help ease the suffering that is largely caused by our own existence.

    Working to ease suffering is animal welfare activism. The group we’re talking about here are animal rights activists, i.e. people who work to prevent humans from interfering with any animal’s own ‘natural’ state.

  92. brizian says

    Working to ease suffering is animal welfare activism. The group we’re talking about here are animal rights activists, i.e. people who work to prevent humans from interfering with any animal’s own ‘natural’ state.

    When I am working to prevent the needless slaughter of animals for fur, which am I doing?

  93. brizian says

    ^ Quick note: That was not sarcasm. I am honestly curious as to how this fits into your view (which appear to be shared by many here).

  94. says

    I don’t think the goal here is so much to help these particular animals, but to create an environment where animals testing can’t be count on to produce results since there’s a high risk of sabotage, which means no one will do those studies anymore.

  95. David Marjanović says

    The question of what % of animal research is for medical versus commercial product use is interesting, and I will ask around.

    …I’m just stunned that this idea didn’t occur to you long, long ago.

  96. dianne says

    If aliens (this is just hypothetical of course) came down to Earth and decided we were beneath them and could use us for research purposes we wouldn’t think that was good or ethical.

    Would we? To make the analogy work, we’d need to assume that the aliens were as much more intelligent than us than we are to mice. Or maybe chimps, but probably mice. Anyway, suppose the aliens are running some sort of experiment on us right now and the “cage” we’re in is called “Earth.” Would we be grateful to the Human Liberation Front if it swept in with a Higgs boson suppressor and drastically decreased the Earth’s gravity so that we’d die free in the vacuum instead of being used for research on Earth? Personally, I’ve got to say no to that one…

  97. mythbri says

    @hillaryrettig

    @Mythbri #57- (Sorry for earlier misspelling!) >Why should I not hope that [zoos] educate, raise awareness and inspire others to take up the cause of conservation?

    Because there are more effective (cost and otherwise) ways to achieve the same – e.g., national parks and sanctuaries – and because the animals suffer.

    Do you have access to studies that were conducted regarding the efficacy of national parks vs. zoos in relation to increasing awareness and education? I would very much like to see those numbers.

    And how is it the same – will I get to see caracals and black-footed cats and ocelots and Parras cats and clouded leopards and tigers on my next trip to Yosemite?

  98. mythbri says

    @me #102

    Excuse me. Pallas cats. Which are incredibly elusive, even in zoos. I’ve been to two zoos with Pallas cat exhibits, and couldn’t find any of them!

  99. dianne says

    The phrase “necessary evil” (no matter how trite and cliched it may have become) may as well have been invented for animal research.

    Is it? I’ve done animal research. I’m not active in the area now, but have been. Most of my animal research looked something like this (sorry but I don’t have any literal photos for much the same reason that few people who work at Planned Parenthood take pictures of their workplace): Go into a room full of racks of cages. They smell like sawdust and mice. If they smell like poop, call the caretakers and tell them that they need to clean this room right now. Pull out a cage of mice. See a bunch of mice, usually playing or snuggling in a corner. I think the cages should be bigger and have more toys, but that may be a primate thing. They had things to gnaw on and I’m not sure mice want anything else. Take out mouse. Draw blood from tail. Put mouse back in where it gets sympathy from its sibs (white mice are nice animals.) Occasionally kill mouse that is in intractable pain. Occasionally have mouse die, usually because it’s a transgenic animal lacking something critical but sometimes from simple old age.

    So, the mice have company, food, shelter, and live to an age past that which most mice live in the wild. Where’s the horror? Ok, I doubt that they enjoyed getting their blood drawn, but they seemed to get used to it and didn’t get too upset once they did. A mouse that isn’t pooping on you is a mouse that isn’t upset so the ones that just sat there must have been reasonably ok with it.

    There are things I’d like to change. I’d like the mice to have more room and more stimulation (of the non-frightening type.) I’d like them to get care even when they aren’t useful for research any more and retirement after use like chimps rather than being euthanized. But I don’t see how the average lab mouse’s life is really worse than the average house mouse’s life. Few lab mice die of coumadin or starve in glue traps or get eaten alive by hawks.

  100. cactusren says

    hillaryrettig said:

    I do know that when I try to share them [pictures of animal research] with nonactivists (i.e., the general public) who are nominally pro-animal-research, those people recoil.

    I’m sure the average non-surgeon would recoil at pictures of surgical procedures. This doesn’t mean we should stop performing surgeries.

  101. ibbica says

    Working to ease suffering is animal welfare activism. The group we’re talking about here are animal rights activists, i.e. people who work to prevent humans from interfering with any animal’s own ‘natural’ state.

    When I am working to prevent the needless slaughter of animals for fur, which am I doing?

    What is the specific outcome you’re working towards? What outcome(s) would you find acceptable?

    I’d expect an animal welfare activist/advocate to be concerned with the treatment of the animals involved. What specific farming/trapping/hunting methods are used? Are the animals treated humanely while alive? Is pain and suffering minimized? Are they receiving adequate and appropriate food, water, and shelter? Are their behavioural and social needs being met? Are natural populations of the species adequately supported, or are they being relentlessly hunted to extinction? If the animals are appropriately cared for and/or collected, an animal welfare advocate/activist would be content with people using fur.

    OTOH, I’d expect an animal rights activist to assert that no-one should use fur for anything ever. Farms producing fur should be shut down, and hunting should be outlawed. An animal rights activist would be content with nothing less than (maybe) the use of fur collected from dead animals who were killed by something other than human intervention (also assuming you weren’t chasing off scavengers to collect the skin). Such goals are dangerous because they allow no room for compromise* or allowances for others’ views.

    (*Note that not compromising on facts is not at all the same as compromising on issues for which relevant facts are incomplete or unavailable, e.g. whether a given rabbit would prefer to live ‘in the wild’ or in a fur farm).

  102. mythbri says

    @cactusren

    I’m sure the average non-surgeon would recoil at pictures of surgical procedures. This doesn’t mean we should stop performing surgeries.

    Or abortions, her position on which hillaryrettig said had changed after seeing a late-term abortion performed in a film.

  103. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    What’s with all the vegan hating on here? Are vegans forcing anybody to stop eating meat?

    Yes, the meat industry does drive up the price of food and it does lead to people starving. It is also fairly cruel to the people employed in that industry. The effect on the environment is fairly awful too. Alot of vegans are not vegan solely because of the plight of the critters. They also do it in order to cause less suffering for other people.

    Sure animals get killed by harvesters. Being vegan is still a more ethical choice than meat eating if the suffering and deaths of the animals is what prompted a person’s choice to be vegan. Foxes will still eat bunnies and cars will still squish raccoon too. There is nothing at all wrong with wanting to do less harm when you can. Suggesting that because animals are accidently killed in harvest makes it ethically inconsistent to be vegan is just daffy.

    As too domestic cattle and pigs no longer being bred if the world were to miraculously go vegan. (As if that’s a thing that might actually happen.), who cares? It is not as if the ecosystem needs domestic cattle. If people choose to keep them as pets in this scenario or preserve the the breeds as they do today with heritage breeds I guess they wouldn’t disappear completely. But should the need for the domestic animals we eat go away, there is no reason why they should continue to be bred.

  104. Brandon says

    @Diane 104 – As someone that’s doing mouse work presently, that’s the vast bulk of my experience too. Disease models have some suffering on occasion, but it’s for a short chunk of the mouse’s life and the amount of suffering allowed is fairly tightly regulated and has to be justified to a committee. Most of the time, they’re just doing plain old mousey things.

  105. Brandon says

    Are vegans forcing anybody to stop eating meat?

    Some of them seem interested in doing so. I’m wildly uninterested in what other people put in their bodies, I have no problem with someone choosing to not eat meat (although I think hardline vegans are a bit silly).

  106. ibbica says

    Or abortions, her position on which hillaryrettig said had changed after seeing a late-term abortion performed in a film.

    “Gotten more complex” is actually how they put it.
    “Pregnancy doesn’t negate your right to bodily integrity” doesn’t seem complex to me at all, which leads me to believe that hillaryrettig is demonstrating a nice example of why ‘graphic’ films and photographs don’t necessarily help un(der)educated or un(der)experienced individuals reach informed conclusions. Eliciting an emotional response can be a good debating tactic precisely because it can interfere with assigning appropriate weight to any factual evidence presented.

  107. brizian says

    @106 ibbica

    I would like to see the killing of animals for fur abolished. I’ve yet to see a good use for fur that cannot be reproduced with synthetics. If you can point me to a good (necessary) use of fur that could not be accomplished without synthetics, I would gladly take that into consideration.

    In the case of fur, the slaughter and often torture of the animals is done because “I want”. This is fundamentally different than medical testing, where we are weighing human suffering against animal suffering, and forced to make an ethical judgement call. I cannot (and won’t) speak for all animal activists, but I do not find it surprising or even terrible that we side with our own suffering, although perhaps it is a bit unenlightened at times*.

    Often economic reasons are given for why we must continue the fur trade; People would be out of jobs, this would cause economic depression in areas and thus cause human suffering. I do not buy into these arguments as they are sliding into the territory of “animals are worth less to the world than money” and they presuppose that we could not combat the economic problems if we truly wanted to – and combating economic disparity is another passion of mine.

    *How many chimps are worth one human? How many mice? I don’t know, and I tend to avoid those debates, as they are almost never objective. I can only say that I do not believe that the answer to both (or either) is objectively “infinite”.

  108. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    hillaryrettig But the amount of suffering that will be eliminated in the long term by the elimination of animal agriculture will be vast.

    Your assumption is that we will be able to grow enough crops to provide an adequate diet. When cows, goats and sheep do a stellar job of converting the grass on unplowable areas to high-quality protein (milk, cheese, and even meat), why do you want to go to converting huge swathes of land to soybean fields?

    Also, although you decry “animal research” … how about eschewing the common medical tests that require animal products. Pregnancy tests, blood typing, snake anti-toxin … there’s a long list of them. Will you accept death rather than a transfusion done with cow’s serum as one of the test materials? Will you tough it out with tetanus or a scorpion sting rather than accept the anti-toxins that are made in horses or goats? Will you skip the throat culture because it requiresfresh sheep’s blood?

    http://voices.yahoo.com/vegan-beware-animal-products-used-common-medical-1325615.html

  109. w00dview says

    Do you have any idea of the death toll of animals in combines and other farm equipment used to harvest your yummy, vegan tofu?

    I’m not even a vegetarian but I have to say this type of argument is complete daftness. It is no different than a wingnut dismissing environmental concerns because Al Gore flies in a plane. Vegans are correct to say that the point is not perfection but to reduce harm. Same with environmentalists, we all have a strain on the earth and it would be next to impossible to cause zero damage to the environment but reducing the damage is an admirable goal. This pointless gotcha of “Aha! You killed an animal accidentally, you vegans are such hypocrites!” is a Fox News-type talking point and not what I expect to hear from the Pharyngula crowd.

    Oh yeah, animal testing is unfortunate but necessary and these activists are a bunch of ignorant gobshites.

  110. says

    What a sewage of a thread.

    This is why you have nuts like this – because there is no middle ground. When the animal-lover shows up and says ‘we should spend more on making alternative ways of testing’ instead of ‘yeah!’ they get ‘into the vats with you!’

    What tools we have here instead of a conversation, an argument. But it’s a bit one sided, don’t you think?

  111. mythbri says

    @Crissa

    I love animals. I really do. But how do you have a conversation with someone who says, in conjunction with “We should find alternative testing methods”, this:

    First off, except for a few drugs like penicillin for example, most new drugs don’t work or are only needed because we want to take a pill rather than eat right and take care of our health. Most advances in our human health and increased life span comes from better sanitation and living conditions and not medical research. There are exceptions of course but in this is true.

    This is not an informed conversation.

  112. Brandon says

    But it’s a bit one sided, don’t you think?

    Well, no. I think this is an Overton Window situation where the most extreme pro-animal research people are already in favor of harm reduction, institutional animal care and use regulations, and developing alternative methods where available. There’s simply no one advocating increased animal research at all, which results in apparent middle ground positions actually just being a restatement of what you’re deriding as too extreme.

  113. gmacs says

    This is why I ask people to donate to the SPCA instead of groups like PETA who support these “liberators”.

    And this is also why it pisses me off when people conflate “animal welfare” groups with “animal rights” groups. There is a huge difference, but a lot of folks don’t seem to get that.

  114. says

    When the animal-lover shows up and says ‘we should spend more on making alternative ways of testing’ instead of ‘yeah!’ they get ‘into the vats with you!’

    You must be reading rather different thread than this one. People here are all for spending on making alternative testing, what is condemned into the vats are ignorant assertions of existence of alternatives where there simply are none.

  115. DLC says

    Wow. lookit them flyin’ Logical Fallacies and unsubstantiated anecdotes. This may be the first sighting of this magnitude in months! Danger! Danger! get too close an’ the stupid could knock ya down an go for the jugular, and you’ll bleed out in a couple minutes! Crikey!

  116. omnicrom says

    What tools we have here instead of a conversation, an argument. But it’s a bit one sided, don’t you think?

    Indeed it is. On one side we have the scientific reality that animal testing is decreasing, that there are strict standards for animal testing, methods open to ensure that animal testing remains humane and minimalized, people saying animal welfare groups have every right to be concerned about the conditions of test animals, and overall a general agreement that there is a humane position that can and should be adopted on animal usage.

    There’s even healthy disagreement on what said position should be, see Brizian at 113 arguing that the fur industry should be abolished. I’m not sure I agree with Brizian but I’m much more willing to listen to them because they have demonstrated understanding and thoughtfulness. Brizian is a sharp contrast to the Animal Rights activists from this thread who provided unevidenced assertions about how animal testing is a worthless sham by big business that needs to be ended and whatever happens to the test animals when released into the wild is just the circle of life.

  117. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Your assumption is that we will be able to grow enough crops to provide an adequate diet. When cows, goats and sheep do a stellar job of converting the grass on unplowable areas to high-quality protein (milk, cheese, and even meat), why do you want to go to converting huge swathes of land to soybean fields? – Tsu Dho Nimh

    This is just ignorant. It is true that there are areas that can best be used for grazing, but at present, vast areas of forest are being trashed, and huge amounts of fossil fuels usedso that soya and other crops can be grown to feed livestock, and in addition huge amounts of methane are produced by the cattle and sheep raised to feed people. There is really not the slightest doubt that if people in rich countries ate far less meat and dairy, this would be very good for the environment, reduce animal suffering, and benefit their own health.

  118. orchestrator says

    I’m completely on board with PZ here.

    I’m reminded of conversations I’ve had with animal rights extremists about the proposal to end all domestication of animals, as if that would be something great for animals. What it essentially would mean is the mass extermination of many species and breeds of animals that cannot survive in the wild – literally tens of billions of individual animals. All domesticated sheep, cattle, swine, goats, dogs, cats, and so on. No, we could not “let them live out their normal life-spans” – such a strain on the economies and ecologies of countries to support that amount of livestock with no return would be phenomenally injurious. There’s nothing for it – being merciful would mean the end of all such creatures.

    And of course, if culture changed its mind someday and went back to domesticating animals, it would have to start all over again, taking hundreds to thousands of years to develop new breeds. Because there’s no way we could reduce huge populations of livestock to small representative populations without sacrificing genetic diversity.

  119. Anthony K says

    When the animal-lover shows up and says ‘we should spend more on making alternative ways of testing’ instead of ‘yeah!’ they get ‘into the vats with you!’

    That was me. Don’t blame the thread.

    And if you’d read any of my other comments on these sorts of threads, you’d know I generally side with the animal-lovers on this one. Death to people! Into the vats!

    Is that so wrong?

  120. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What tools we have here instead of a conversation, an argument.

    Converse with who and what? Folks who do nothing but spew unevidenced slogans, or those who actually understand what the facts are? People who come here ready to argue facts, and can do so, aren’t dismissed. Those who sloganeer and preach without listening, like all proselytizers, get dismissed. Iinstead of griping about the factual folks, and get on the case of those sloganeering to argue in good faith, and maybe even seriously consider they might be wrong.

  121. Eristae says

    Holy crap! We’ve been invaded and we now have over 100 comments! Wah! I don’t know what’s going on any longer!

    I’m just going to put it out there that I’m an animal lover and I’m pro-responsible animal testing. So please, don’t say, “When the animal lovers show up.” They’re already here.

  122. brizian says

    @omnicrom

    First of all, thank you.

    …Animal Rights activists from this thread who provided unevidenced assertions about how animal testing is a worthless sham by big business that needs to be ended and whatever happens to the test animals when released into the wild is just the circle of life.

    I think part of the problem is that people, and I get this impression often from PZ, present their view on animal testing as “what we have now is good enough and that’s that”. Now, I don’t think PZ really believes that; I think that he, and most others on this thread want to minimize animal testing as much as possible. I just think that that’s not how it comes off. When people who’ve dedicated a large portion of their lives towards fighting a perceived injustice hear “things are good enough”, it’s going to set them off. I think anyone who’s a regular reader of Pharyngula can identify with that.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that there’s more common ground than people on both sides realize, but PZ’s inflammatory headline didn’t help things: It set off even the moderate activists like myself (who rarely comments) and sent others into full-on make-fun-of-vegans mode.

    Ultimately though, if someone really thinks that all animal testing is a sham by big pharma…well, they’re not really worth arguing with. Just as the people who respond to me telling them I’m vegan with “animals are killed by tractors harvesting soy” aren’t worth arguing with either. I have to believe that the average Pharyngula reader is smarter than that, and this thread is just drawing in people from elsewhere.

  123. A. R says

    As regards “alternatives” to animal use anyone care to suggest an alternative for hemorrhagic fever vaccine testing? I’m all ears.

  124. Ruby says

    I remember once, I was at my local zoo, on a tour of our Africa exhibit (an open-air area designed to resemble a particular area in Africa, inhabited by multiple (non-carnivorous) species that would normally live together in that area). The guide was explaining how impala can jump 10 feet high and 30 feet across.

    At this point people in the group started looking at the grotto/wall that surrounded the enclosure to keep the animals in and realized that there was no way the impala could jump out if they tried. The guide explained that this wasn’t actually a problem. For one, the ground was uneven in a way that would make it hard for them to make the jump. But even if it wasn’t, or they found a spot where they could do it, they wouldn’t do so anyway.

    In the wild, most animals (like impala) only leave an area for two reasons; not enough food/water and/or too many predators. In their comfortable exhibit, with a constant, uninterrupted supply of food and water and complete lack of predators (or anything else harmful to them), they had absolutely no incentive to try to escape, so they never did (even though they possible could).

    Said zoo also participates in several “Species Survival Plans” and is currently one of two places in the world where a particular species of toad can be found, since said species is now extinct save for the few hundred taken to the two zoos to try keep the (then endangered) population alive. (On a broader note, there is a reason the classification “extinct in the wild” exists. Because sometimes, animals being kept in captivity is the only thing that keeps them in existence.)

    *

    On a separate note, here’s something I ran across yesterday:

    just goes to show you that not consuming animals does not mean you are supporting a system that is cruelty free

  125. hillaryrettig says

    107 mythbri

    1) abortion – not quite – I said my position is evolving (somewhat) after being vegan, not the movie. the images in the movie were data but the change is motivated by the ethical imperative of nonviolence.

    2) re effectiveness of sanctuaries and national parks via zoos. I don’t have this information, although sanctuaries do preserve species. here’s one link where an ecopreserve / ecotourism project increases a gorilla population 1%/year: http://www.wcs.org/news-and-features-main/good-news-for-gorillas.aspx

    do zoos do anything even comparable?

    the link I provided earlier mentioned a zoo that spent $3.5MM on a gorilla exhibit and speculated on how much those funds could have done in the wild.

  126. microraptor says

    No, it’s a passionate love of animals combined with ignorance.

    This quote, which was so far down the thread I can’t find it anymore, is incorrect. Animal Rights groups aren’t passionate animal lovers- they’re passionate lovers of a hyper idealized version of nature that has as much to do with how nature actually works as Intelligent Design does.

  127. Amphiox says

    Regarding “alternatives” to animal testing:

    There is no way to reliably develop such alternatives without using animal testing in that develop process.

    That is all.

  128. Eristae says

    I’ve never understood this whole, “It looks awful so no one should do it.” Watching a woman give birth in my high school health class had a really good chunk of the girls in that class swearing off giving birth, but that didn’t say anything about the morality of giving birth.

    Animals do pretty gruesome things to each other, and that means both human and non-human animals. Going into biology made me realize how incredibly brutal nature is, and that we really can’t stop it without wiping out, well, everything.

  129. mythbri says

    @hillaryrettig

    abortion – not quite – I said my position is evolving (somewhat) after being vegan, not the movie. the images in the movie were data but the change is motivated by the ethical imperative of nonviolence.

    My apologies. I didn’t mean to mis-paraphrase you out of context, as I clearly did.

    Why is abortion considered to be violent? Are appendectomies or gall bladder-removals also considered to be violent?

    re effectiveness of sanctuaries and national parks via zoos. I don’t have this information, although sanctuaries do preserve species. here’s one link where an ecopreserve / ecotourism project increases a gorilla population 1%/year

    do zoos do anything even comparable?

    I visit sanctuaries, national parks and zoos – quite often, whenever I have the opportunity. I find them all to be informative and educational, and all of them increase my respect and admiration for different kinds of animals. All of them inspire me to support conservation efforts.

    the link I provided earlier mentioned a zoo that spent $3.5MM on a gorilla exhibit and speculated on how much those funds could have done in the wild

    So the gorillas living in that zoo exhibit don’t deserve that kind of money to be spent on them? They don’t deserve a realistic habitat for the purpose of enriching their lives in captivity?

    I don’t doubt that such a sum could do much for conservation efforts, but I don’t find this kind of argument convincing. I donate money to a local no-kill animal shelter. I’ve been asked/chastised by other people wondering why I’m not donating that money to help humans. Is that a fair argument for them to make? It certainly hasn’t had an impact on my charitable donations.

  130. hillaryrettig says

    There are some people in the thread who are all

    *animal rights people do this…
    *animal rights people are that…
    *animal rights people want this…
    blah blah blah

    For the most part, facile stereotypes, and, for the most part, promulgated by enemies of AR.

    You’ve got actual animal rights activists on this thread. I would think that those of you who pride yourself on your inquiring scientific minds would be asking questions rather than just labeling.

    For the record, animal rights activists are the best people I know – the most visionary, the most committed, the bravest. And they are winning. Animal Rights will be THE rights struggle of the new millennium (not that the human rights struggle will go away – and they’re linked, anyway). And, btw, the idea that there’s this insuperable barrier between humans and others – from which derives the other idea that “anything goes” in how you treat nonhuman animals – is most strongly promulgated in our culture by the Abrahamic religions. So nice that you’re in bed with those guys.

    Here’s another one of the despised animal rights activists whom some of you might be familiar with:
    http://boingboing.net/2011/06/30/richard-dawkins-on-v.html

    Judging all animal activists by what happened in Milan is like judging all 1960s activists by the Weather Underground. And PZ you should retract and apologize for that damned headline.

  131. hillaryrettig says

    @Mythbri (and others)

    Now I want a citation. Everyone is laughing off the idea that increased longevity came mainly from sanitation and diet, etc., not medical advances. I’m not sure that’s wrong. According to Wikipedia, lifespans are hugely multivariate – just reducing smoking levels provides an uptick. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

    I’m not saying medical advances don’t play a part- but I would like to see the citation that says they are the major part, as many people here seem to believe.

  132. mythbri says

    @hillaryrettig

    I didn’t assert that medical advances are primarily responsible for the increase in average lifespans. I asked lydia to provide a citation that sanitation and better living conditions were primarily responsible for that increase.

    I asserted nothing, therefore I don’t need to provide citations.

  133. hillaryrettig says

    > I donate money to a local no-kill animal shelter. I’ve been asked/chastised by other people wondering why I’m not donating that money to help humans. Is that a fair argument for them to make? It certainly hasn’t had an impact on my charitable donations.

    Thank you for donating! I’m arguing in favor of effectiveness (if gorillas are your thing, donate to the org that helps them most). Moreover, I distrust zoo’s mixing of “business” and do-gooder goals the way I would distrust the mixed motives of any other business entity – and with some justification, as per the WSJ article I quoted.

    Also, we’ve been discussing mainly the creme of zoos – I’m sure you’d agree that there are many that are simply dreadful and have no redeeming value. They need to be part of the discussion.

    The “why not help humans” comment is so commonly used against people who care about animals. It reflects a zero sum attitude, or simply a lack of understanding (not to mention corporate anti-AR propaganda). Many animal activists I know are deeply concerned about humans as well.

  134. John Morales says

    hillaryrettig:

    Judging all animal activists by what happened in Milan is like judging all 1960s activists by the Weather Underground. And PZ you should retract and apologize for that damned headline.

    So your problem is that the headline wasn’t “Some Animal-rights activists are the danger to animals”?

  135. hillaryrettig says

    Someone asked earlier about the percentage of animal research conducted for medical versus commercial use. Here’s what my friend at http://www.PCRM.org told me (she seems to be talking mainly about commercial use but I can’t be sure):

    “Unfortunately, this is an impossible question to answer. Because rats, mice, birds, and fish (the most commonly used animals in testing) are not considered “animals” under the Animal Welfare Act (the only act that addresses animals used in labs) we have no idea how many of them are actually used in testing because experimenters are not required to report anything on them. I am not as familiar with practices on the medical side of things, but I just emailed a colleague. PCRM says that worldwide appx 115-130 MM animals are used in labs but many people say that is a major underestimation.

    [2d email] my colleague just reminded me that a breakdown of the kind you are looking for would be impossible because not only are most animals not considered animals but for the animals that are “covered” (primates, dogs, etc) labs just give total numbers to the USDA, they do not have to break it down by purpose…

  136. mythbri says

    @hillaryrettig

    Also, we’ve been discussing mainly the creme of zoos – I’m sure you’d agree that there are many that are simply dreadful and have no redeeming value. They need to be part of the discussion.

    Absolutely. The welfare of the animals should be the zoo’s top concern, all the time. I’m not in favor of abolishing zoos, however, because I think they provide an opportunity for education that is more accessible than ecotourism, which is accessible almost only to very privileged people.

    Many animal activists I know are deeply concerned about humans as well.

    As am I, which is why I also donate to Planned Parenthood and participate in microlending.

  137. hillaryrettig says

    @John – that would sure have helped, and for those of us activists who value effective strategy it is the absolute truth!

  138. hillaryrettig says

    >I asserted nothing, therefore I don’t need to provide citations.

    You called Lydia “uninformed,” so what is your basis for saying that?

  139. hillaryrettig says

    @Mythbri

    > participate in microlending.

    I worked in microlending for more than a decade!

  140. mythbri says

    @hillaryrettig

    lydia said this:

    First off, except for a few drugs like penicillin for example, most new drugs don’t work or are only needed because we want to take a pill rather than eat right and take care of our health. Most advances in our human health and increased life span comes from better sanitation and living conditions and not medical research. There are exceptions of course but in this is true.

    The portion that I put in bold strikes me as extremely ill-informed, would you not agree? Such a sweeping statement to dismiss the life-saving medical advances, including pharmaceuticals, that have improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people – perhaps billions.

  141. ChasCPeterson says

    I’ve been ignoring this thread because it’s one of those subjects that makes me unpleasant to others.
    But this?

    And, btw, the idea that there’s this insuperable barrier between humans and others – from which derives the other idea that “anything goes” in how you treat nonhuman animals – is most strongly promulgated in our culture by the Abrahamic religions. So nice that you’re in bed with those guys.

    is a pile of noisome, steaming veganshit.

  142. Anthony K says

    I’ve been ignoring this thread because it’s one of those subjects that makes me unpleasant to others.

    Stand back, everyone. I sense a trap.

  143. Eristae says

    Whenever this whole animal rights things comes up, all I can do is look at my cats and think about how incredibly evil they are to other living (non-cat) things.

    Also, I don’t know about the sanitation vs medicine thing. I do know that sanitation has had a massive influence on human longevity . . . but so have things like vaccinations. I haven’t looked too hard, but I can’t find a reputable source that tries to figure out which is more important.

  144. says

    My customary, yet never answered, question to the militant(*) vegan: is it worse to kill 1 cow or 1000 mice?

    Fur: I will cheerfully wear fur from pest species. NZ possum is amazing – so light and warm. And the animals are wreaking havoc on the ecosystem. I’d wear Aus rabbit and fox, also. And I’m happy with sheepskin and leather, because IMO if you’re going to kill an animal you should not be wasteful about it. Use all of it. I wouldn’t mind farmed fur, if I were sure the animals were ethically treated. Is it *really* so much better to use synthetics made out of oil?

    * If you choose to be vegetarian or vegan because you think that’s the best way that you personally can address your ethical issues, fine. If you recognise that it’s a complicated system, and there are multiple approaches to ethical living, then we have no quarrel. I go for local free range pastured meats in moderation, but I am lucky to have access to these and the money to afford them.

  145. ibbica says

    rats, mice, birds, and fish (the most commonly used animals in testing) are not considered “animals” under the Animal Welfare Act

    Point of clarification: the exclusions are not limited to those animals; as far as I can tell, farmed livestock and poultry are also excluded (I’m not in the US, so I’m not über-familiar with US laws). The AWA does include many animals *used* in research (including rats and mice); I point out the distinction here because some researchers actually do work with ‘wild’ individuals of those (and other) species.

    Nevertheless, while the AWA may be the only federal act in the US to deal with research animals, see:
    http://awic.nal.usda.gov/research-animals
    http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/olaw.htm
    http://www.nsf.gov/od/ogc/regulation.jsp

    i.e. other organizations and major funding agencies have requirements for animal welfare above and beyond those of the federal government. The implications for researchers or research institutions of a (often relatively small) federal fine vs. cessation/revocation of research funding or effectively torpedoing one’s career should also be considered when discussing the consequences of violating any regulation or law.

    Just to complicate things, note too that of course the situation is not identical in all countries. Animal welfare in Canada, for example, is primarily the concern of provincial governments (and non-captive populations of pest/invasive species like Rattus norvegicus, R. rattus, and Mus musculus are often exempt from any regulation at all), while in Europe there’s further regulation at the international (EU/EC) level.

  146. darric says

    @ 47 yazikus

    There would be plenty of humans who would argue that it is better to live free and die than live longer but suffer. Its a pretty standard story in litrature and movies these days. So why cant this be the same for animals?

    Why can’t we just test on humans bred for the purpose? Logically speaking, whats the difference between this and testing on animals. The main difference I see is that while animals can feel pain and suffering they cant communicate this as effectively as humans can. So we can more easily ignore it.

    I also like the alien analogy, if an advanced life form came here and decided to use us to test on because we were to them as animals are to us, we would be rightly pissed.

  147. says

    I once did an internship at INSERM where teams were working on malaria, AIDS and other diseases. I found the idea pretty scary that some idiots might come to “liberate” the animals. How do these “animal rights activists” know they’re not unleashing a public health hazard?

    @Anthony K

    But where do you want the first in vivo test of a new drug. In you or a rat?

    Hi, fallacy of the excluded middle! I was waiting for you to show up.

    When you’re developing a new medicine either the first animal to take it is human, or it’s some other species: there isn’t a third option. I’d sooner it was tested on a rat than on me. Or are you volunteering?

    I would prefer if animal rights activists put more efforts into closing down puppy mills (here in the US) and increasing the number of no-kill shelters.

    Seconded.

  148. Denverly says

    I guess I just don’t have the proper sympathy meter installed. I feel bad for the researchers who lost their work, and the patients who may never be able to benefit from research that was needlessly delayed. Hopefully they will manage to salvage something from the mess that was left. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have something some must consider their life’s work stolen because of a petty and useless protest like this. Money, time, data, resources, all lost.

  149. yazikus says

    Why can’t we just test on humans bred for the purpose?

    Yeeaaahh.. That is kind of horrifying, I hope you aren’t suggesting that as an actual alternative?
    As for the die free thing, others have said it better, but why do you get to choose freedom for the animal? You don’t know if the animal wants to be free.

  150. Holms says

    What tools we have here instead of a conversation, an argument.

    You must be new here.

  151. Ruby says

    ………….we DO all understand that, while a lot of animals are quite intelligent, they do not have the same level of self-awareness/sentience as humans, yes?

    Most animals wouldn’t “prefer[to “die free”] to whatever was being done to them in the lab” because most animals don’t have the intellectual capacity to have a fucking preference in the first place!

    THAT’S a large part of *why* it’s considered morally/ethically permissible to use them in research in the first place.

    There’s a whole lot of animal personification going on here, and I really don’t think letting it slide is helpful.

  152. A. R says

    hillaryrettig: I don’t think that cancer patients would appreciate your sentiments very much, nor would those suffering from any number of chronic diseases.

  153. escuerd says

    Anthony K:

    But where do you want the first in vivo test of a new drug. In you or a rat?

    Hi, fallacy of the excluded middle! I was waiting for you to show up.

    The other option is… what, exactly? Not testing drugs in vivo?

    You got it. That’s at least one.

    That’s the same as testing on humans unless you mean either not creating new drugs, or not paying attention to their effects. Those are both middles I’m fine with excluding.

  154. Pteryxx says

    haven’t caught up yet, but:

    I would prefer if animal rights activists put more efforts into closing down puppy mills (here in the US) and increasing the number of no-kill shelters.

    Thirded, loudly.

  155. says

    Nick Gotts

    vast areas of forest are being trashed, and huge amounts of fossil fuels usedso that soya and other crops can be grown to feed livestock,

    This is actually something of an oversimplification; in the U.S., EU, and numerous other countries soya and staple grains are heavily subsidized, to the point that far more is grown than anyone will buy for human consumption even when it’s morphed into hundreds of processed snack foods (also a problem, but not related to animals other than humans per se); this glut on the market makes the stuff cheap enough that CAFOs buy it up as animal feed; if those subsidies weren’t present, it’s likely that CAFOs wouldn’t exist at all (We’d also eat significantly less meat, because it would cost more). On my veiw, feeding things that people could eat to livestock kind of defeats the purpose of having livestock, which is to turn non-food into food. My broader point is that the way that animal agriculture is primarily practiced today is not the be-all and end-all of stock raising.

    Mythbri

    Are appendectomies or gall bladder-removals also considered to be violent?

    I’d call them violent; someone’s taking a series of sharp knives and removing bits of your flesh. That’s serious violence right there. It’s not wrong, though. Regarding the topic, which has come up a lot in the thread, I personally have an utter horror of surgery of any kind. I can’t think about getting surgery myself without freaking, and I have trouble thinking about other people having surgery. My personal revulsion, however, says nothing whatsoever about whether surgery is useful, ethical, or generally a good thing.

  156. Denverly says

    So quick question, why are humans the only acceptable animal to test on (for those that think other animals should be a no-go, obviously)? Humans are animals, so does no animal testing REALLY mean no animal testing or what? Human-only testing is still animal testing, yes? No?

  157. dianne says

    Because rats, mice, birds, and fish (the most commonly used animals in testing) are not considered “animals” under the Animal Welfare Act (the only act that addresses animals used in labs) we have no idea how many of them are actually used in testing because experimenters are not required to report anything on them.

    I’m having trouble with the legalese, but I think that the AWA was amended to include all warm blooded animals and all animals used in research at various times since its initial passage. And there certainly are restrictions on the use of mice, rats, and fish (never used birds-couldn’t tell you for sure about them) in labs including reporting requirements. Labs are required to keep track of how many animals they have and how they are used. They are not allowed to use any animals in experiments without IACUC permission. Besides which, animals are expensive. No one in their right minds would keep more than necessary.

  158. Pteryxx says

    hillaryrettig @141, quoting your friend:

    “Unfortunately, this is an impossible question to answer. Because rats, mice, birds, and fish (the most commonly used animals in testing) are not considered “animals” under the Animal Welfare Act (the only act that addresses animals used in labs) we have no idea how many of them are actually used in testing because experimenters are not required to report anything on them.

    I can say flat out that the last is bullshit, because I worked in an animal colony and one of my jobs was to report the exact numbers of mice and rats that my lab used – for experiments, for breeding, culls, death loss, *and* living animals down to the newborns – every year. I kept records such that at any time, I could produce those numbers up to the current half-week if a random inspection requested it. That level of recordkeeping is required for research universities like mine to maintain their NIH permissions to conduct animal research. Similar numbers are kept for each lab’s cage billing requirements, so the facility’s veterinary staff who oversaw colonies for all the labs could tell at a glance if any major fudging was going on.

    Also confirming dianne @164.

    I don’t know what the requirements are for, say, corporate funded research or products testing (which has nothing to do with NIH) but in my personal opinion they should be at LEAST as strict.

    Best estimates from Speaking of Research:

    In 2010 US government statistics put the number of laboratory animals used in research at 1,136,567. The above graph shows the breakdown of different species used. It is important to note that these statistics do not include rats, mice, birds and fish, as these animals are not covered by the Animal Welfare Act. Precise figures for the number of rats, mice, birds and fish do not exist, but it is estimated that approximately 25 million of these animals are used every year. This would account for over 95% of all animals used for such in the US, as the graph below shows us.

    http://speakingofresearch.com/facts/statistics/

  159. says

    That’s incredibly idiotic and short sighted. If their goal is to minimize suffering of animals, releasing them and messing up the studies only ensures more animals will have to go through the experiments.

  160. brizian says

    So quick question, why are humans the only acceptable animal to test on (for those that think other animals should be a no-go, obviously)? Humans are animals, so does no animal testing REALLY mean no animal testing or what? Human-only testing is still animal testing, yes? No?

    Yes, human-only testing is still animal testing. It would only be acceptable to test on humans who had given their consent, but even that is fraught with ethical dilemmas. See: Human history.

    Since animals cannot give consent to be tested upon, we must assume they do not give consent. However, we tend to intrinsically view human suffering as worse than animal suffering, so we test on animals anyways, whether this is objectively ethical or not.

    It should be therefore obvious that our goals should be as follows:
    1) Eliminate and minimize animal testing wherever possible.
    2) Take the best care of the animals we need to test on as we possibly can.
    3) “Retire” animals whenever possible, instead of killing them
    4) Put as much money and research as possible into alternate testing methods.

    I would say they only one of these we are largely failing at, to my admittedly limited knowledge, is #4. I am aware that work is being done, but I would argue the most ethical thing to do would be to put at least as much into finding alternative testing methods as we do into animal testing. How you go about implementing such a policy is beyond me, and I prefer to focus my efforts elsewhere, where I am more knowledgeable and can help most.

  161. erik333 says

    @158 Ruby

    So, if we breed/find stupid enough humans – they would be acceptable as mouse substitutes? Just trying to find where your argument leads. I’m all for eating animals, they are tasty.

  162. Brandon says

    Hillary@141

    I’m going to be blunt – your friend is either so woefully ignorant that you should not request information from them in the future, or an outright liar that you shouldn’t trust at all. I do work with mice, and I absolutely do have to track the number of mice used, report that number, report how many were euthanized, how many were infected with the pathogen I work with, how many were euthanized, how many had pain, and how many died from the infection. Logbooks certifying that the mice were examined for sickness and discomfort are kept and checked. This is fairly standard for any lab operating under NIH research guidelines.

  163. Pteryxx says

    re hillaryrettig @131:

    2) re effectiveness of sanctuaries and national parks via zoos. I don’t have this information, although sanctuaries do preserve species. here’s one link where an ecopreserve / ecotourism project increases a gorilla population 1%/year: http://www.wcs.org/news-and-features-main/good-news-for-gorillas.aspx

    do zoos do anything even comparable?

    Again, there need to be *both* sanctuaries of protected wild space and protected populations, and zoos for teaching, for training handlers and vets in how to deal with specific animals, in conducting research to better protect wild populations, and to keep potential breeding populations safe from poachers and external threats. Which is “better” than the other is such a simplistic question it’s pointless. Any given species’ situation might be better addressed by veterinary research, by relocation, by captive breeding, by population or habitat preservation, by ecosystem restoration, or some combination of multiple tactics including all of the above and more.

    For instance, one rather straightforward example: preserving Tasmanian devils from the contagious cancer that’s wiping out wild populations. They’re trying to develop a vaccine, which might protect the remaining wild population, *while* breeding devils in captivity to return to the wild when it’s safe for them.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130311173627.htm

    See also Lyme disease, or efforts to combat white-nose in bats. All the options need to be on the table.

  164. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I would say they only one of these we are largely failing at, to my admittedly limited knowledge, is #4.

    If your knowledge is limited, don’t pretend or presume knowledge. That is the problem I have with many folks who try to pretend there are tests to avoid animal testing. Here’s how you get rich. Find a test you find unnecessary, and make an in vitro test that accomplishes the same thing. Don’t have the background? Quit second guessing those that do. Animal testing is the last resort, not the first.

  165. says

    Radicals, like PETA, including Ingrid Newkirk, an atheist, don’t think, at least not rationally. I’m a vegetarian, but I’m not dumb enough to invade a science lab and release experimental animals. Lab rats are lab rats, pet rats are pet rats, and wild rats are rodents. They multiply like rabbits and two out of three often carry dangerous diseases. The third group, may or may not be suitable or healthy enough for humans to play with. However, other apes, who are endangered should not be used for experiments, but the ones still in labs need to be in facilities that can care for them properly, not released into the wild. The only exceptions might be those like Koko, who seem happy, well cared for, and treated with respect for their feelings (ie Koko and her kittens, as well as her feelings for her kittens). Even Jane Goodall, who fights against apes used for AIDS experiments knows better than to release HIV infected apes into the wild. She goes through the courts, unlike Newkirk who uses radical means and insanity to gain rights for other animals. Newkirk even once said she’d blow up labs if she had the guts and admires those who do it, which makes her insane, IMO, because she harms other animals, not just humans, which makes her a hypocrite too. If you want to see welfare and rights for other animals, you don’t do it in a manner that causes harm. You go through proper channels, as you mentioned, PZ, using as much rationality as humanly possible, without endangering the welfare of anyone (including other animals). It’s shear stupidity do what this group did.

  166. says

    One more thing, animals rights activists, like PETA, give animal welfare activists a bad rap. I can’t stand them and those who believe milking a cow harms her and her baby (mostly vegans) are full of shit. Milking them doesn’t kill them, but rather helps them and most I’ve grew up with and known, seem to appreciate it. Drying up is extremely painful, esp if you have too much milk for your off-spring. Sorry, PZ, your post got me started on one of my pet peeves as an animal lover.

  167. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    I don’t know if this will further anyone’s understanding of this sort of thing but I can tell you what it’s like to be on the periphery of ALF activism.

    In 1992 I was housemates with a guy who was charged with breaking into a lab on the local uni and ‘liberating’ a bunch of cats. The also trashed all the records they could find and the computers. An attempt was made to set fire to the place by putting a stick of incense in a pan of gasoline, but of course they had no idea about flash points and such so it didn’t work. The day after the event I jokingly asked him “Where were you last night?” and he replied “Don’t even joke about that, they’ll be coming to talk to me.”

    To be clear, it’s my opinion he did this act of terrorism. I do not know this for a fact, and the charges against him were stayed for a year and then dropped due to lack of evidence. And yes, it was treated as an act of terrorism, even in the early nineties. When they searched my home one of the oh so polite, armed plainclothes cops was introduced as the RCMP’s anti-terrorism liaison. There was also one guy who didn’t get introduced who we were pretty sure was CSIS.

    The reason it’s my opinion that he did it was because his best mate eventually admitted to it. The mate had spent a year and a half in remand, he was denied bail because they found an unlicensed handgun when they searched his place. He eventually confessed expecting that time served would be the sentence, but the crown appealed and he was put away for another two years.

    These guys were not great thinkers. My roommate was smart, but he was the sort of person who couldn’t sit still. He always had to be doing something and his thinking was very scattered at the best of times. His mate was sly, I always had the feeling that he felt himself above others, more pure in his politics. It always felt like he was constantly judging you, and that he was sure that you didn’t notice him doing it. Sly, but not good at it. That said, he never had much to do with me, I didn’t eat meat but I wasn’t a vegan and had leather shoes and that was enough for him to avoid me. I used to grate cheese into the big vat of pasta sauce I’d make so they wouldn’t eat it while I was away.

    My roommate never talked to me directly about animal rights. Never. He was also a member of the local SHARPS (Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice), anti-nazi skinheads if you will. That was a much bigger concern for most of the time we lived together because the nazi skinheads in town were organised and eager to make trouble.

    They eventually assaulted a old Jewish teacher on his doorstep, blinding him in one eye. My roommate was beaten up and his stuff stolen a number of times. He eventually got a hold of some hollow-point handgun slugs, just the heads, no cartridge, and put them in the bottom of his bag. When I asked why, he told me it was so the next time he got beaten up and his stuff taken the nazis would find them and think twice about doing it again. This was a good example of his thinking, clever enough, and resourceful enough to carry it through. But he didn’t think it through deeply, my first thought was that if they believed he had a hand gun they were more likely to shoot him the next time there was a confrontation, rather than content themselves with fists.

    It was a strange way to live for me. I wasn’t to tell anyone who I lived with or were we lived, and if the door bell rang unexpectedly the whole house turned out to answer it, bats and bars in hand. Which is what happened when we were raided by the cops, but either they didn’t notice all the bludgeons tossed behind the couch and down the stairs before the door was opened, or they chose to ignore it.

    My roommate was political, radically political in every facet you could be radical in. He was sincere about it, but it always felt to me like this was a product of his need to DO something, anything, rather than sit still even for a moment. Radical politics and direct action suited his personality perfectly and I suspect he was recruited into this sort of thing for just that reason. It seemed like a case of someone who was predisposed to rash actions being pushed into a particular form of action rather than someone coming to the realisation that the only way they could effect change was through direct means. Mind you, this could all be retroactive fitting. We were friendly but never really friends.

    There was minor splash damage to his involvement. A condition of his bail was that he had to live with his parents and suddenly we all had to move. I realise that that is a pretty minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things, but as a 26 year old with no motor vehicle and no savings moving with only two weeks notice was really stressful. I ended up having to move into a less than ideal situation that turned out almost as badly as this one did, though the police involvement with those roommates came from relationship difficulties rather than politics.

    Anyway, I’m not sure all that gives any insight to these sorts of folks. I suspect that it just shows how stupid I was about my living arrangements as a young m an. :)

  168. Ichthyic says

    my colleague just reminded me that a breakdown of the kind you are looking for would be impossible because not only are most animals not considered animals but for the animals that are “covered” (primates, dogs, etc) labs just give total numbers to the USDA, they do not have to break it down by purpose…

    I’d point out that I was there when animal rights groups put pressure on CA universities to adopt animal welfare protocols that would be overseen with a directorate composed of animal rights activists.

    it was THEY who originally decided that lizards, fish, insects, etc were “not animals”. It wasn’t the scientists, nor the universities.

    In fact, it was the participation of the scientists themselves in these animal welfare protocol meetings that prompted the activists to amend their own definitions!

  169. Ichthyic says

    4) Put as much money and research as possible into alternate testing methods.

    I would say they only one of these we are largely failing at, to my admittedly limited knowledge, is #4

    the reason 4 fails, is because there isn’t even enough money for the research that requires animals to begin with, let alone money for research into alternatives.

    bottom line, if you are really concerned about animals in research, you should be working hard to get your government to put more funds into research in general, period. The rest will take care of itself.

  170. Ichthyic says

    NZ possum is amazing – so light and warm.

    *looks down and admires possum socks*

    best socks ever!

  171. Ichthyic says

    I can’t imagine what it’s like to have something some must consider their life’s work stolen because of a petty and useless protest like this. Money, time, data, resources, all lost.

    you don’t have to imagine.

    You can hear those directly affected talk about how it affected them:

    http://www.nature.com/news/animal-rights-activists-wreak-havoc-in-milan-laboratory-1.12847#comment-57606

    “I’m a PhD student in the department where the attack took place.
    I don’t want only to repeat how much we’ve lost in terms of time, work, efforts and perspectives; how much money have been wasted, that came from foundations and, even more importantly, from the solidarity of many families with children affected by autism, mental retardation or Rett syndrome; and how deep is their and our frustration!
    What I really want to become clear is that we DO think that animals HAVE rights. We DO RESPECT them, and treat them with as much precaution and attention as we can, often much more than what is legally required, in order to minimize their suffering and improve the quality of their lives. We DO try to use as less animals as is compatible with research aims and we work hard not to waste their lives.
    Finally, making this kind of attack DOES NOT help animals. Many of the stolen mice will die soon outside our facilities because they have a weaker immune system (the ones that didn’t die during the transport, since tens and tens of mice of both sexes were mixed up in boxes by the animalistâ), and moreover as much animals will be needed to compensate their loss to make the reasearch go on.”

  172. dianne says

    There are a lot of parallels between the animal rights movement and the anti-choice movement.

    1. Lots of members of each movement are genuinely concerned about what they see as a terrible abuse.
    2. The slogans of each movement are simple and heartrending. Killing babies and puppies? Awful! Someone ought to put a stop to that! Who could argue?
    3. They often seem to see themselves as better than others. Usually, more “pure”–so sensitive to the possibility of preventing a baby from being born that they won’t use birth control because it might, maybe, cause a failed implantation, too concerned about animals to eat meat or milk or honey. Or wear leather.
    4. Their “purity” leads them to ignore the damage they do to real people-women who are at risk from pregnancy, people who need medical treatments not yet discovered.
    5. They rarely seem to actually know much about those they say that they are helping: the average anti-choicer becomes confused easily when discussing fetal biology and the average radical ARA doesn’t seem to know enough to at least “liberate” animals to a place where they’d have a fighting chance of surviving.
    6. They’re often willing to commit crimes in the name of helping their object of interest.
    7. The being that they say they are helping can’t talk back. Any feeling can be projected on them. (Fetuses even moreso than animals-an unhappy animal can bite a fetus has literally no volition.)
    8. They excuse violence on the behalf of their object by claiming that the “bad guys” are truly horrific: The “abortionist” who kills 39 week old fetuses for fun, the “vivisectionist” who tortures mice because they can get away with it.
    9. They ignore things that they really could do to help their object: Radical ARA don’t show up to scoop poop at animal shelters and anti-choicers don’t vote for politicians that increase welfare funding.
    10. The sensitivity to the rights of the object that they want to protect often masks nastier emotions: hatred of women, jealousy of scientists, a desire to control others.

    I could keep going, but I’m going to stop here. Seriously, I’m sure that there are plenty of sincere animal rights activists who really want to stop harm to animals. But this is completely not the way to go about it. Adopt a pet. Serve on an IACUC board (in the US at least they’re required to have a community member, so don’t feel shy about joining if you’re not in the biomedical field.) Lobby for better regulation of farms. Please. Eat less meat-it’s not very good for you anyway. But don’t try to stop people from finding ways to treat schizophrenia and autism.

  173. says

    To all the people wondering why animal-rights-activists are making a fuss about lab animals and meat production instead of puppy mills, abandoned pets, etc: Why is it appeals to bigger problems become valid when it’s an issue you don’t care about?

  174. Anthony K says

    When you’re developing a new medicine either the first animal to take it is human, or it’s some other species: there isn’t a third option. I’d sooner it was tested on a rat than on me. Or are you volunteering?

    I’d sooner it was tested on a rat than on me.

    I think that’s pretty much the GOP’s M.O. As long as I got mine, baby!

    But this is exactfuckingly what I’m talking about. Volunteering for what, exactly? Testing some drug so your grandmother or grandfather can have an extra few years? Of what? Unemployment and poverty? Republicans fucking with their livelihoods? What’s the upside of longer life, really, here and fucking now, in this world, in this society, today?

    That’s the excluded middle. The one that says we might not consider deciding other things need to die just because we’re selfish assholes.

    No, I’m not volunteering for a fucking thing. You want grandma to live into her 100s? That’s on you. I don’t owe you longevity. And neither do the rats.

    So far, I’ve had four decades. I’m not looking forward to whatever shit years I have more, and it’s primary other fucking humans who are the cause of my suffering, and the suffering of others.

    Fuck them all. Into the goddamn vats with people, the shit-eating fuckers that they are.

    This topic always brings out the nihilist in me. Burn it, the whole fucking thing.

  175. dianne says

    tens and tens of mice of both sexes were mixed up in boxes by the animalistâ

    Strange male mice transported together in the presence of possibly ovulating female mice? Bloodbath.

  176. mythbri says

    @Anthony K

    My step-dad only had five decades. My next-door neighbor didn’t even have two.

    Yes. I would have wanted something that could have extended their lives.

    Because I’ve felt that pain and wouldn’t wish it on anyone, I’m registered as a volunteer bone marrow donor. I’ll give if I’m needed.

  177. Rob Grigjanis says

    dianne @181:

    There are a lot of parallels between the animal rights movement and the anti-choice movement.

    There are lots of parallels between any two movements you care to name, including demonization of other movements. How do you know that radical ARA don’t scoop poop?

  178. Eristae says

    @Anthony K

    As someone who wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for drugs that had been tested on animals

    . . . awkward. *twiddles thumbs*

  179. dianne says

    How do you know that radical ARA don’t scoop poop?

    Because they take dogs from shelters and kill them. Because their rhetoric says that any use of animals by people is slavery, including companion animals. Enough reasons?

  180. Ichthyic says

    Why is it appeals to bigger problems become valid when it’s an issue you don’t care about?

    maybe because there actually was no problem existing where the animal rights activists interfered?

    how can one care about a problem that does not exist?

    maybe people sympathize with the concept of animal rights, but think the efforts of those involved in this case would be better utilized elsewhere?

  181. says

    Anthony:

    You want grandma to live into her 100s?

    As a complete side note*, I recently finished a book called The Postmortals. Quick and dirty synopsis: A “cure” for aging is found. Society collapses.

    *I think you’re totally wrong here, by the way. No, I don’t think that extending life without extending quality of life and making birth control extremely accessible is a moral thing to do. On the other hand, painting all medical advances in this light is pretty fucking disingenuous.

  182. brizian says

    the reason 4 fails, is because there isn’t even enough money for the research that requires animals to begin with, let alone money for research into alternatives.

    bottom line, if you are really concerned about animals in research, you should be working hard to get your government to put more funds into research in general, period. The rest will take care of itself.

    I totally understand that, and am very supportive of more research funding. As I said in my original post, these are goals we should be working towards.

    If your knowledge is limited, don’t pretend or presume knowledge. That is the problem I have with many folks who try to pretend there are tests to avoid animal testing. Here’s how you get rich. Find a test you find unnecessary, and make an in vitro test that accomplishes the same thing. Don’t have the background? Quit second guessing those that do. Animal testing is the last resort, not the first.

    Who is talking about getting rich? Who is second guessing anyone? Who is claiming animal testing is the first resort? I simply said that as an ethical ideal we should be putting just as much effort into developing alternative tests as we are into animal testing. If you disagree with this, I would love to hear why. If you have evidence that we are already doing this, I would very much like to see it.

  183. Ichthyic says

    I think that’s pretty much the GOP’s M.O. As long as I got mine, baby!

    …and your MO here is to use poor rhetoric instead of addressing the reality of the choice that was put before you.

    Testing some drug so your grandmother or grandfather can have an extra few years? Of what? Unemployment and poverty?

    …and that would be their choice, not yours. stop projecting your depression. It’s unseemly.

  184. klatu says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space #75

    Do you have any idea of the death toll of animals in combines and other farm equipment used to harvest your yummy, vegan tofu?

    Ugh, not this ‘argument’ again!

    Some numbers

    If you care to take a look, you’ll see that annually around 280 million tonnes of meat are produced using up roughly 1520 million tonnes of plant-based food (cereal, wheat, coarse grains).
    Which simply means that for every tonne of meat 5,4 tonnes of plants have to be harvested, meaning that the more meat is produced, proportionally more cute lil’ bunny-wabbits are horribly torn to shreds.
    If an additional 280 million tonnes of plants were produced instead of the meat, that would mean 1240 million tonnes less plant production overall, leading to a fewer mangled bunny corpses.
    So there.

    As for these activists, they clearly care for neither man nor mouse. Not only will this hinder the alleviation of human disease, it also means that the ‘rescued’ animals now find themselves in an environment that lacks qualified care-givers.

  185. Anthony K says

    My step-dad only had five decades. My next-door neighbor didn’t even have two.

    Yes. I would have wanted something that could have extended their lives.

    Because I’ve felt that pain and wouldn’t wish it on anyone, I’m registered as a volunteer bone marrow donor. I’ll give if I’m needed.

    Yeah, I’ve no doubt that you, and most others here would.

    I’m kind of having a mental health fail today, and I’m lashing out. I’m going to withdraw from this thread for the evening, if that’s okay.

    I should apologise specifically to Nerd before I truck out, since his comment in response to a specific scenario was not an excluded middle fallacy. I anticipated, and read something that wasn’t actually there.

    And I should apologise specifically to Lydia, for my comment calling her an idiot and suggesting she go into the vats. That was super shitty and downright horrible. I’m sorry.

    Sorry.

  186. Ichthyic says

    I simply said that as an ethical ideal we should be putting just as much effort into developing alternative tests as we are into animal testing. If you disagree with this, I would love to hear why.

    I just told you why, and you agreed.

    so why are you making the argument again?

    hypothetical arguments are pretty useless, don’t you think?

  187. Anthony K says

    stop projecting your depression.

    Yeah, you nailed it there, Ichthyic.

    I’m really sorry.

  188. Ichthyic says

    no worries, just figured it would be best to cut to the chase, so to speak.

    we’ve all been there.

  189. Eristae says

    @Anthony K

    Aww. I’m sorry you’re having a hard time right now.

    *offers up consolatory e-hugs*

  190. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    If you approach a scientist and say, “That test that you do that requires the use of 12 mice can be done with 3 just as well,” they will say, “Prove it.” If you prove it, they will happily accept your protocol and use it.

    If you approach a scientist and say, “That test that you do that requires the use of 3 mice can be done with cells in a petri dish just as well,” they will say, “Prove it.” If you prove it, they will happily accept your protocol and use it.

    Tell a scientist that animal models are imperfect and fail and you will get agreement.

    Want to stop animal research? Come up with something that works at least as well. You don’t even need to prove better – as good is good enough.

    Every time I hear talk of IUCAR, they’re saying, “Explain why you’re using 30 mice. Could you do this experiment with 20?”

  191. hillaryrettig says

    Hi Everyone, I’m checking in as promised. I can’t answer everyone individually but here are some answers to some of the questions people raised:

    1) I’ve asked my contact for clarification on the “no need to record #s of animals used in research” point that people are rebutting, and will report back what she says.

    2) Yes, I do use some medical products that were tested on animals. I am not happy to do this and seek alternatives whenever possible. I look forward to the day when more meds are made and tested in a cruelty free manner. Researchers in the US and esp. Europe are already working on these methods–thanks to pressures applied by animal activists. Unless you like gratuitious suffering you should applaud their efforts, since even some animal testing proponents on this thread have called it a “necessary evil.”

    3) Plenty of animal testing is used in the development of gratuitious commercial products (cosmetics, cleansers, etc.). Maybe some of the pro-medical-testing people would agree that it’s unethical to torture animals for this end.

    4) I want to remind people that this began not as a discussion of whether animal experimentation was justified, but when PZ, with uncharacteristic lack of precision, smeared a whole range of activists. That was the initial thing I objected to. Animal models in research is a difficult issue, and I know there are good people on both sides of this issue.

  192. A. R says

    Anthony K: SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU ABELIST MOTHERFUCKING ASSPIMPLE! Have you considered that some off us might only get two or three of normal function before our bodies fucking give out? I have an 80% chance of developing Parkinson’s Disease within the next 30 years. My body will JUST STOP FUCKING WORKING while my mind will be intact until I finally die after decades of having to have someone DO FUCKING EVERYTHING for me. My only hope of avoiding this is the research being done with mouse and rat models. Why don’t you just GO FUCKING DIE IN MOTHERFUCKING FIRE!

  193. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    Hillary, it is not pressure from animal-rights activists that are driving researchers to seek alternatives to animals. It is the researchers themselves. Seriously.

  194. Rob Grigjanis says

    dianne @188:

    Because they take dogs from shelters and kill them.

    “they” are pretty horrible, whoever “they” are. Are animal rights activists a monolith, like atheists?

  195. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    but when PZ, with uncharacteristic lack of precision, smeared a whole range of activists.

    They all deserve it. We don’t deserve your holier than thou attitude thou. You don’t decide how the discussion goes.

  196. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    I do not know where the meme of the maniacally giggling vivisectionist got started, but it is absurd. Every time I have even heard of a real-world example that even vaguely verges on something like that, it was couched firmly in “that’s why we don’t do ___ nowadays” or “here is why ___ got fired” language.

  197. brizian says

    @Ichthyic

    I just told you why, and you agreed.

    so why are you making the argument again?

    hypothetical arguments are pretty useless, don’t you think?

    Sorry, that wasn’t directed at you. It was directed at Nerd of Redhead, who I thought was attacking me personally.

  198. Eristae says

    3) Plenty of animal testing is used in the development of gratuitious commercial products (cosmetics, cleansers, etc.). Maybe some of the pro-medical-testing people would agree that it’s unethical to torture animals for this end.

    I know that a lot of people accept that it’s wrong to test things like shampoos and cosmetics and so forth but I’m not sure why. I mean, people use shampoo even more than they use medication. If shampoo is going to cause some terrible side effect like cancer, wouldn’t we want to know about that? It’s not like I’m going to be happier if I get cancer from my shampoo than if I do from my anti-depressants.

    Maybe someone could enlighten me?

  199. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    Eristae, I think it is rooted in the idea that there’s already a wide range of perfectly effective cosmetics/cleaners that have been tested for every conceivable thing, and there’s no need to develop new ones.

  200. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I simply said that as an ethical ideal we should be putting just as much effort into developing alternative tests as we are into animal testing.

    Money and effort doesn’t matter if the science isn’t there. That is what moralists like you forget. Often, more background work is required to make things work in vitro, and that requires animals.

    I’ll give you an example. Back in the ’50’s when I was a lad, then phrase “the rabbit died” was a euphemism for being pregnant, confirmed by looking at rabbit ovaries (killing the doe in the process). Once monoclonal antibodies were discovered and methods generated to make them in bulk in the ’70s. Now, home pregnancy kits use those monoclonal antibodies for a relatively cheap and more reliable in vitro test. But the technology had to be developed first. Stop presuming everything is already in place for such things to happen. That is my point. There is a huge difference between should and can.

  201. says

    How about wanting to test a potential new cancer treatment (for example) on a cat or dog who has cancer? That’s just an example. The one problem I can see with that is, dogs and cats aren’t humans and sometimes what works on them doesn’t work on us and vice versa. What is lethal to them (ie chocolate) isn’t to us. Be that as it may, such medical experimentation on animals who develop cancer, which they do without humans triggering it, could potentially help us humans.

  202. Eristae says

    @211/Esteleth

    Huh. I suppose that’s possible, but it’s not like companies will stop making new products even if there is no way to effectively screen against their dangers.

    Ponder ponder.

  203. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    Eristae, I’ll point out that the cosmetics and cleaners we have are not all exhaustively tested.

  204. says

    They all deserve it. We don’t deserve your holier than thou attitude thou. You don’t decide how the discussion goes.

    @Nerd of Redhead, with all due respect, neither do you. I know you’re a well-respected regular, and I think your contributions are generally interesting and valuable, but you also have this nasty habit of striking out against people you disagree with in rather childish terms and also claiming to speak on behalf of the Horde, generally.

    Calling other people “abject losers”, “liberturds” and so on really isn’t cool, and it’s become such an obsession with you lately that it’s gotten really tiresome, and it also makes you sound like a very angry and unhappy person. Acting like you speak for the entirety of the horde and casting pronouncements on the validity of other people’s opinions — *floosh*, dismissed without evidence — makes you sound like an asshole and an arrogant hypocrite, because I can just as easily *floosh* dismiss your opinion on the validity of the other person’s post.

    And you can *floosh* dismiss my opinion and keep on commenting like you’ve been doing. One more thing, though: speaking as someone with depression and low self-esteem, you cause a bit of splash damage when you insult other people with personal attacks. Even though I know you’re not talking about me, or even aware of my existence when you’re posting, there’s a part of me that gets depressed when I hear someone being berated *as a person*, rather than for their argument, and being called worthless, abject loser, abject *anything bad*, etc.

    So I would personally have a better time reading the comments if you could tone down the “abject loser liberturd” repetitive tics because I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been thinking similar thoughts but hasn’t wanted to bring it up. I might post something about the actual topic, but I just needed to get that off my chest, as it’s my one gripe about any of the commentariat here who I otherwise like and respect.

  205. says

    I raise my own animals. They live happy, healthy, carefree lives with plenty of food, fresh air, lovely Minnesota weather, and lots of land to roam around. Those raised for meat are given quick, painless deaths. Those raised for dairy or fiber are spoiled rotten and if you suddenly invented a device that actually could ask for their opinion on the matter, they’d tell you flat out they greatly prefer living in a place with 3 squares a day, shelter, protection, grooming, and all the carrots they can con.

    Four times now, I’ve had to deal with these PETA jackanape ‘Vegans’ coming by and messing with my animals. Four times now, it has resulted in the horrific deaths of the animals in question, via starvation, getting hit by a car, and being torn apart by the local coyotes.

    Being a vegan is a life choice a lot like religion. It may be what you think is best, but that doesn’t give you the right to come preaching it to me or forcing it upon me. And sure as fucking hell don’t go messing with my quality of life and ability to get decent healthcare because of your ‘beliefs’.

  206. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    The DaughterSpawn had to have post-exposure rabies prophylaxis a few years back. She has had animal rights activists tell her, explicitly, that it would have been better for her to die of rabies than to use a vaccine developed from and originally manufactured using lab animals. She’s read enough about rabies to have a very good idea of what that would entail, for her and for her family and friends.

    I love the compassionate ethics of animal rights activists.

  207. says

    hillaryrettig and company,

    I have a male Toggenburg goat kid that I am planning to raise for meat. He will be well fed and cared for the entirety of his life. He has a nice little playground with items for him to climb on, some playmates, good quality feed plus plenty of browse and treats, and he will be given proper grooming including hoof trimming.

    If this is unacceptable to you, simply paypal me the $300 it would cost to increase my garden size and buy more plants for it, and I will immediately drive this little goat up to the local state park and turn him loose, where he will no doubt be eaten by coyotes or wolves, or be hit by a car, thus ending his life of loneliness, hunger, and ill health.

    Show us how much you care about animals. Make the right decision here.

    (note – no, I won’t turn an animal lose at the park, I’m not an inhumane fucking jackass which is why I’m currently spending a gajillion dollars a month in cat food feeding the poor things the city folk drop off because it’s ‘nicer’ to just dump an animal out in the country to starve than it is to take it to the vet and have it put down or drop it off at a shelter. Dumb fucks.)

  208. Brandon says

    I’ve asked my contact for clarification on the “no need to record #s of animals used in research” point that people are rebutting, and will report back what she says.

    Yeah, you wouldn’t want to just fucking admit that you had bad information. You better go check with the lying sack of shit that gave you the incorrect information and see if that individual can cover their ass and you can maintain the cognitive dissonance needed to hold your views.

  209. Rob Grigjanis says

    WithinThisMind @220:

    I have a male Toggenburg goat kid that I am planning to raise for meat. He will be well fed and cared for the entirety of his life.

    Well good for you. When everyone else stops using gestation crates, you’ll sound a bit less like a pompous twerp.

  210. consciousness razor says

    I love the compassionate ethics of animal rights activists.

    Bullshit. If you don’t want to say I’m for “animal rights” so you can make your silly claim about what those scary other people are like, fine. Just don’t act as if it’s not a fucking silly, pointless claim.

    Show us how much you care about animals. Make the right decision here.

    I wouldn’t put myself in their company, but you’re just being an ass and you know it.

    So much taunting in this thread, with very little actual thought. Depressing.

  211. benco says

    @Withinthismind

    I’m sort of fascinated by the idea of having a long term emotional connection with something that you intend to eat. I’m not against it at all, just not a mindset that I have seriously considered.

  212. Koshka says

    WithinThisMind

    Being a vegan is a life choice a lot like religion. It may be what you think is best, but that doesn’t give you the right to come preaching it to me or forcing it upon me. And sure as fucking hell don’t go messing with my quality of life and ability to get decent healthcare because of your ‘beliefs’.

    I have known only a few vegans in my life and none of them have preached to me and as far as I know none have let loose animals as described. I have probably met a shit load more of them and never knew because it never came up.
    Sure – some vegans are arseholes, same as some atheists, but to equate veganism to religion does not sit right with me.

  213. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    So having someone tell my14 year old that she should have died a horribly painful death is what, exactly?

    I see most animal rights activists as just another instance of human beings striving to be clean and pure and separate from the realities of animal existence. Pretty much like a standard religious fanatic obsessed with ritual purity.

  214. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    To be clear, I mean animal rights activists like the one who told my kid she should have just died, or the ones who break into labs or “free” domestic goats. (The freeing of goats is an iffy thing, since every time mine got free, they came straight into the house because that was where the rest of the herd was. It was most annoying to be rousted out of a warm bath by a kid shrieking “Mom, the goats are in the house!!”)

    Just because one is a vegan does not mean one is religious about it. It’s the insistence on purity and perfection, and the violence that such insistence can prompt, that makes me classify adherents as religious.

  215. consciousness razor says

    So having someone tell my14 year old that she should have died a horribly painful death is what, exactly?

    It’s horrible. That’s exactly what it is.

    I see most animal rights activists as just another instance of human beings striving to be clean and pure and separate from the realities of animal existence.

    If by “separate from the realities of animal existence,” you have some naturalistic fallacy in mind, why not come out and say it?

    If by all that you mean striving to do good (rather than “clean” or “pure” or “separate” since those are metaphors), then you must have no argument against it.

    Pretty much like a standard religious fanatic obsessed with ritual purity.

    Useless, empty rhetoric.

  216. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Wait, how about we find some other way to do research period!

    Feel free.

  217. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    it’s a hatred of inhumane torment, and an often pointless, self-perpetuating research-industrial complex that perpetuates it.

    and, as an animal rights activist, let me say that your sensationalist, painting-with-a-broad brush headline stinks.

    Make up your min…oh. There’s the problem.

    i’m guessing that they’re going to try to home many of the animals, so those animals will be better off than in the lab. and, who knows, maybe even the ones that wind up dead would prefer that fate to whatever was being done to them in the lab.

    Based on what?

  218. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    Living organisms that don’t photosynthesize must consume other organisms to live and sometimes to obtain shelter. Please explain why this is evidence of the naturalistic fallacy.

  219. consciousness razor says

    Living organisms that don’t photosynthesize must consume other organisms to live and sometimes to obtain shelter. Please explain why this is evidence of the naturalistic fallacy.

    Not all organisms are animals. Are you implying eating animals is the only way to survive or that they’re the only kind of organism?

  220. Ichthyic says

    Researchers in the US and esp. Europe are already working on these methods–thanks to pressures applied by animal activists.

    LOL, is that what you think?

    in fact, aside from any personal concerns, scientists know that research having to use animals is messy, prone to unwanted variability, and requires a ton of valuable lab space.

    in fact, it’s the scientists themselves that are always looking for good alternatives.

    activists always give themselves undeserved credit. Reminds me of creationists claiming to have exposed the “Piltdown Hoax”, when it reality it was scientists themselves that figured out what was wrong with Piltdown.

  221. consciousness razor says

    Hell, I’ll even grant you that humans are omnivores. Fuck, even carnivores — makes no difference to the argument if it’s true. You’re saying that we should be simply because we are?

  222. says

    If by “separate from the realities of animal existence,” you have some naturalistic fallacy in mind, why not come out and say it?

    If by all that you mean striving to do good (rather than “clean” or “pure” or “separate” since those are metaphors), then you must have no argument against it.

    I have a feeling what he means by “separate from the realities of animal existence”, he means that (and in my experience, it’s true of radical ARAs) they don’t have the foggiest notion of just how brutal animal existence in the wild really is.

    Often, they’ll strive to “liberate” animals from what they see as intolerably cruel or unethical circumstances in laboratories without knowing just how much less violent and painful that existence usually is compared to what happens in nature (IIRC several people actively involved in research have already pointed this out).

  223. says

    @Anthony K

    I’d sooner it was tested on a rat than on me.

    I think that’s pretty much the GOP’s M.O. As long as I got mine, baby!

    So preferring my own species over a distant cousin is a bad thing?

    That’s the excluded middle. The one that says we might not consider deciding other things need to die just because we’re selfish assholes.

    So your “third” is to stop doing research and allowing all those human animals who suffer from incurable diseases, from chronic pain etc. to go on suffering without moving a finger to try and help them? Because any kind of research, if it ever led to a new idea or product would eventually be tested used for the first time.
    .
    @Ace of Sevens

    To all the people wondering why animal-rights-activists are making a fuss about lab animals and meat production instead of puppy mills, abandoned pets, etc: Why is it appeals to bigger problems become valid when it’s an issue you don’t care about?

    It’s not an appeal to a bigger problem, but to something where people can do good rather than harm.

  224. jagwired says

    Jake Hamby @ 217 says:

    And you can *floosh* dismiss my opinion and keep on commenting like you’ve been doing. One more thing, though: speaking as someone with depression and low self-esteem, you cause a bit of splash damage when you insult other people with personal attacks. Even though I know you’re not talking about me, or even aware of my existence when you’re posting, there’s a part of me that gets depressed when I hear someone being berated *as a person*, rather than for their argument, and being called worthless, abject loser, abject *anything bad*, etc.

    So I would personally have a better time reading the comments if you could tone down the “abject loser liberturd” repetitive tics because I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been thinking similar thoughts but hasn’t wanted to bring it up. I might post something about the actual topic, but I just needed to get that off my chest, as it’s my one gripe about any of the commentariat here who I otherwise like and respect.

    I finally had to break down and make an account just to say how much I agree with this. Thank you.

  225. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    consciousness razor –

    Are you saying it is possible for any animal to live without killing any other living organisms? Without killing any other animals? (And yes, I am aware that not all living organisms are animals. Plants that don’t photosynthesize are also parasites, as are many that do,,,).

    I don’t think it is possible to live without harming other individual organisms, and that reducing the amount of suffering involved should be the goal. I think it is reasonable to cause suffering to mice in order to learn about disease mechanisms and treatments, and that such suffering should be minimized through proper animal husbandry. I think that animal rights advocates who insist that any research using animals is ethically wrong are deluded fools in search of an impossible purity, just like any other fanatic obsessed with purity,

  226. Ichthyic says

    The one problem I can see with that is, dogs and cats aren’t humans and sometimes what works on them doesn’t work on us and vice versa.

    animals are never used for human medical research under conditions where the variable under consideration would have no application to humans.

    In vivo experiments are specifically set up so that the protein reactions, for example, will predict directly what will happen in humans. Differences in end biochemical pathways are well known and obviously factored in when deciding which things are appropriately tested for each animal. They aren’t just chosen at random. In fact, sometimes there are predictable protein precursor reactions in mice, for example, that are triggered by specific chemicals that DON’T hurt the mice at all (since they don’t follow the same complete pathways), but would rather end up doing significant harm to humans since the end pathways are different.

    so, actually, the very fact that there ARE differences does not make a particular species a bad choice for a specific experiment, instead it can actually be a good thing, for both the animal and the humans.

    think about reversing your chocolate scenario. Eating chocolate releases certain precursors in our systems, but ends up not causing us any specific damage (well, unless we were to eat pounds of it at a time), but those same precursors in a dog end up leading down a very destructive pathway. Knowing that the same precursors exist in both dogs and humans make HUMANS the better choice to study the effects of “toxic chocolate” if we were to want to try and create say, a preventative medicine for dogs!

    works both ways :)

  227. alwayscurious says

    relatedly, I love how scientists (not nec. you PZ) will do everything possible to support animal research except show photos of what it really looks like. Oh, that’s right, “the public” is too emotional and sentimental to evaluate the images rationally. (Because scientists are a superior race who are always rational and always have a superior moral code, yeah.) Or, maybe they’re afraid the public will recognize a horrorshow when it sees it…

    I’ve been on several tours of various animal research facilities, both public tours & private tours. So what was your point again? Oh yeah, it was about how your emotions cloud your ability to think straight…

  228. consciousness razor says

    cr: You’re being an arse, shut the fuck up.

    I have no idea why you feel that way or why I ought to shut up.

    Are you saying it is possible for any animal to live without killing any other living organisms?

    You can read: I distinguished between “animal” and “organism” since you shifted the argument in that direction without making such a distinction.

    In this case, it makes all the difference, since one or the other of us will be saying something completely absurd.

  229. says

    @Eristae

    I know that a lot of people accept that it’s wrong to test things like shampoos and cosmetics and so forth but I’m not sure why.

    It’s not just that we already have enough of them, but that very nearly all of them are bloody useless.
    I don’t want animals to suffer. When that stands against finding a cure for cancer, chronic pain, [insert condition here], I’m OK with animal testing, provided animals are treated as humanely as possible under the circumstances. When it stands against no real interest, just corporations selling more useless products to clueless consumers, I oppose animal testing.

  230. A. R says

    Is anyone here opposed to C. elegans research on ethical grounds? How about fruit flies, zebrafish, frogs? Where do we draw the magical line of “IT IS TEH UNETHICALZZZZZZ!!!!!!!”?

  231. Ichthyic says

    You can read: I distinguished between “animal” and “organism” since you shifted the argument in that direction without making such a distinction.

    uh, didn’t mattir start off by making a distinction between organisms that make their own food, vs those that do not?

  232. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    Why yes, Ichthyic, I did indeed distinguish between organisms that make their own food and those that take it from other critters. And was thinking of orchids (which parasitize fungus), parasitic non-photosynthesizing plants, and fungus themselves. Basically this life business is appallingly and unavoidably messy, and the best that can be done is to try to minimize suffering.

    I’ve met plenty of animal rights folks who insist that fruit fly and zebrafish and nematode research is completely unethical because ANIMALIA.

  233. A. R says

    Mattir: I’ve met ARAs who think that animal cell culture work is unethical because the cells had to come from somewhere. I’ve even seen protestors outside of the building that housed the fly lab at a university I attended a conference a year or so ago. These are not logically-minded individuals.

  234. consciousness razor says

    Is anyone here opposed to C. elegans research on ethical grounds? How about fruit flies, zebrafish, frogs? Where do we draw the magical line of “IT IS TEH UNETHICALZZZZZZ!!!!!!!”?

    Does it need to be magical or would non-magical ones work?

    What I’d really like to understand is how you think you’re making an ethical argument if one of the premises is that ethics itself is just bullshit anyway, so it’s worth mocking. Or are you not even trying to engage it as an ethical issue, is that it? Are you sure you’re not being an ass?

    uh, didn’t mattir start off by making a distinction between organisms that make their own food, vs those that do not?

    Sure did, but I fail to see the point in that. We’re the latter. That doesn’t imply the organisms we eat must be animals, just organisms. And it takes us away from the issues of animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism, etc., so I figure this is either intentionally dodging the issue or just plain confusion.

  235. Ichthyic says

    That doesn’t imply the organisms we eat must be animals, just organisms.

    so who gets to decide which organisms ethically qualify for eating?

    you?

  236. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    Why precisely does a mealworm have more of a right not to get eaten than a soybean does? Why is it better to experiment on a marigold than a fruit fly? There are line drawing problems, and drawing the line at Animalia because of having a nervous system seems just as irrational as drawing it at “we can dissect living, fully conscious chimpanzees because they’re not humans.”

  237. A. R says

    What I’m trying to imply cr, is that an ethical line can be drawn anywhere by anyone. So yes, I am mocking the concept of ethics as a universally applicable “this bad, this good” concept, which is the one many ARAs seem to hold. Yes, there are some hard ethical lines that we as a society have decided to adopt, such as minimizing suffering to the greatest extent possible within the context of an individual study, minimizing use, and gaining informed consent for research with unquestionably highly sentient and intelligent organisms (this is why I oppose certain types of great ape research). This is why IUCACs exist, to determine, based upon the potential value of a study, the ethical limitations applicable, and, if needed, suggest potential alternatives for exploration.

  238. consciousness razor says

    so who gets to decide which organisms ethically qualify for eating?

    you?

    We all decide. Ethics works by people deciding together what we should and shouldn’t do. Didn’t think I’d have to explain that, or that you’d assume I want to make myself pope or something. I know it’s been maybe a week or something since I’ve commented here, but not that much has changed about me. Just been busy.

    Why precisely does a mealworm have more of a right not to get eaten than a soybean does? Why is it better to experiment on a marigold than a fruit fly? There are line drawing problems, and drawing the line at Animalia because of having a nervous system seems just as irrational as drawing it at “we can dissect living, fully conscious chimpanzees because they’re not humans.”

    I don’t draw the line at Animalia, for the record. But because not everyone is entirely clear on where the line should be drawn, therefore what? Therefore there is no line?

  239. alwayscurious says

    Bullshit. If you don’t want to say I’m for “animal rights” so you can make your silly claim about what those scary other people are like, fine. Just don’t act as if it’s not a fucking silly, pointless claim.

    Many of the extreme animal rights activist groups propagate the notion that human rights are equivalent to animal rights. When your livelihood has been threatened/destroyed by such people or told that your family should needlessly die at the altar of animal rights, you too would be upset I suspect. I’ve met vegans that could give fundies xians lessons on logical contortions–if those were the only vegans I’d met, I would assume they comprised a nondenominational religious group (faith healing & all!).

  240. says

    Not everyone is entirely clear on where the line should be drawn, therefore it is open for sensible discussion, and not everyone who draws a different line from you is evil and should have their work destroyed and their children denied medicine?

    My own line tends to be around:
    a) endangered species should not be further endangered.
    b) both research use and food use of animals should minimise suffering to anything that can experience suffering.
    c) ecological damage should be avoided
    d) please don’t be racist and assume everyone eats like Americans

    Point c is where the pastured meat beats the intense rainforest clearance soy.And kangaroo is better than beef, and (humanely) killing pest species is a good thing. Death to cane toads!

    Point d makes me wonder, what do the animal rights people think of oxfam and kiva? I love all those “buy a goat/chicken/pig” donation & loan schemes, to help poverty stricken people to get more self-sufficient in food.

  241. vaiyt says

    Point c is where the pastured meat beats the intense rainforest clearance soy.

    Not always. Here the soy farms are quite a ways away from the rainforest, the main sources of deforestation are pastures and wood extraction.

  242. erik333 says

    @255 alwayscurious

    They are saying that human rights and animal rights should be the same, or simply that both should be considered rights rather than temporary priveliges that we allow when it is not inconvenient?

  243. John Morales says

    CR:

    But because not everyone is entirely clear on where the line should be drawn, therefore what? Therefore there is no line?

    Outside people’s belief-structures, no; within them, it’s usually a fuzzy line.

    For most products, replacements (including synthetics) are already available, for food products, in vitro technologies are being explored; the biggest problem as I see it is for science.

  244. erik333 says

    As for the arguments about vegetarian diets causing less impact on nature, thus being better able to feed the hungry – start by adressing overpopulation, i.e. the actual problem. We’d do well to lose some 6.5 billion people, if we actually cared about making a sustainable society.

    Having grazing animals on fields for a while helps replenish topsoil from what ive heard, going purely vegetarian doesn’t seem as helpful in the long run as properly maintained animal husbandry.

  245. says

    Delurking just to agree emphatically with Jake Hamby @ 217 . Nerd of Redhead seems to be often given a pass on behavior that non regulars would be excoriated for. @Nerd All animal right activists deserve derision ? Every single one ? really ? I am not even one , but fuck you very very much . A lot of your contribution is templatized self aggrandizement . Petulant attacks on people instead of their ideas , grandiose repetitive content free proclamations . The irony of you calling someone “holier than thou” is staggering. How many of your posts have “you are an idiot and I am not ” as the core and mostly, only theme ? I mostly lurk , but would like to think of myself as part of the community here . You most emphatically dont speak for me.

  246. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    As for the arguments about vegetarian diets causing less impact on nature, thus being better able to feed the hungry – start by adressing overpopulation, i.e. the actual problem. We’d do well to lose some 6.5 billion people, if we actually cared about making a sustainable society. – erik333

    I take it you’re volunteering to be among the first of those we lose? I mean, if you really care about making a sustainable society…

    Given that the human impact on the environment is a product of the number of people and the per capita impact, it makes sense to work on both at once, wouldn’t you say? The proportional rate of increase of global population has been declining for half a century, and has approximately halved. Since the 1990s, even the absolute rate of increase has fallen somewhat. Birth rate and number of children per woman have fallen considerably in just about every country, and in many are now below long-term replacement level. No grounds for complacency, of course, but considerable progress. OTOH, the per capita impact is increasing. With regard to food, current estimates are that global agricultural production needs to double by 2050, While global population will increase by less than 50%. The difference is largely due to an expected increase in meat and dairy consumption.

    Here’s an idea erik333 – why not learn a little about an issue before sounding off and displaying your ignorance?

    vast areas of forest are being trashed, and huge amounts of fossil fuels usedso that soya and other crops can be grown to feed livestock, – me

    This is actually something of an oversimplification; in the U.S., EU, and numerous other countries soya and staple grains are heavily subsidized, to the point that far more is grown than anyone will buy for human consumption even when it’s morphed into hundreds of processed snack foods (also a problem, but not related to animals other than humans per se); this glut on the market makes the stuff cheap enough that CAFOs buy it up as animal feed; if those subsidies weren’t present, it’s likely that CAFOs wouldn’t exist at all (We’d also eat significantly less meat, because it would cost more). On my veiw, feeding things that people could eat to livestock kind of defeats the purpose of having livestock, which is to turn non-food into food. My broader point is that the way that animal agriculture is primarily practiced today is not the be-all and end-all of stock raising. – Dalillama

    See here for example. It’s true, as vaiyt@257 says, that forest clearance for pasture is more important than for feed crops, but in both cases, it is the international demand for meat and dairy that is driving deforestation and pushing up methane production. As for your “broader point”, I noted in the comment you quote from that there are areas that can only be used (agriculturally) for livestock grazing. But according to the FAO, just over 1/4 of the ice-free terrestrial surface of the earth is currently used to raise livestock, either by grazing or to grow animal feed.

  247. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Sorry, blockquote fail, but I think it’s clear – at the end, I quote something I said, then Dalillama’s response, then respond to Dalillama.

  248. thumper1990 says

    @dianne #104

    Apologies for the late reply, I’d gone home by the time you commented. I just wanted to say, I’m aware most research involving animals is perfectly good on the welfare front. I am aware that in every case every effort is made to minimise the suffering of the subjects, and the treatment of the animals in your experiment sounds exemplary and does not phase me in the slightest. I am talking about cases where the suffering of the animals is necessary for the experiment; for example, PZ posted something recently about an experiment where kittens had their eyes sewn shut (I think the experiment was something to do with neuroplasticity), or experiments requiring the animals to be infected with a disease. I don’t like these experiments, but I am aware that they are necesary for medicine and science to advance. So, “necessary evil”.

  249. erik333 says

    @264 Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    I’m perfectly willing to not have two kids, yes.

  250. John Morales says

    [OT]

    erik333, tsk.

    “Losing” people is not the same as not creating them.

    (Also, you have any idea of what the global population pyramid looks like?)

  251. thumper1990 says

    @microraptor #132

    No, it’s a passionate love of animals combined with ignorance.

    This quote, which was so far down the thread I can’t find it anymore, is incorrect. Animal Rights groups aren’t passionate animal lovers- they’re passionate lovers of a hyper idealized version of nature that has as much to do with how nature actually works as Intelligent Design does.

    That is certainly much better said than I did, but I think we’re saying the same thing.

  252. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    erik333@267,

    It doesn’t really work here to pretend you’ve answered a point when you haven’t.

  253. thumper1990 says

    @darric #153

    Why can’t we just test on humans bred for the purpose? Logically speaking, whats the difference between this and testing on animals.

    Sentience.

  254. John Morales says

    [OT]

    thumper1990, you might care to look up the difference between sentience and sapience.

  255. says

    @Ichthyic Interesting hypotheses, but somehow I think there are problems with your chocolate scenario. If you were to run past a vet, s/he might not agree or s/he may point out where your hypotheses needs some work before testing it on a cat or a dog. I would find it easier for a scientists to test a potential migraine treatment on rats, found it possible to work on humans and then find human volunteers, who suffer horribly from migraines, to test whether it helped them or not.

    Here’s the thing though, most lab animals are killed after the experiment is finished. IF this is true, this makes lab rats and mice more viable for tests than cats and dogs. The other thing is, rats tolerate more substances than cats and dogs do. They eat almost everything and ABOUT the only thing that gets rid of them, short of euthanasia, a cat, some dogs, or a gun (unlikely use of a gun though), is rat poisoning.

    It must be strange for a vegetarian to pick on rats and mice, but it is more of a case of druthers than anything else. That and I really do appreciate the good mousers I’ve had over my lifetime. I currently have on who enjoys waterboarding mice, but using the drips from the bathtub faucet. She tortures them to death, which is an interesting behaviour in a cat who’s never seen torture and an unplanned animal behaviour observance. However, it is natural for them to be carnivorous, whereas humans are omnivores who can survive without meat and be vegetarians. Another pet peeve of mine- vegans forcing cats and dogs to be vegetarians.

    Where was I going with this. Oh yes. Cats and dogs systems just aren’t set up to be humanoid. No matter how one sets up an experiment, it won’t come near to how the end results would work on humans. Therefore, we still need humans to volunteer to be guinea pigs to know for sure how something will affect humans, esp medically. Be that as it may, the canary scenario does have some relevance and something we unfortunately still cannot get around today. What kills them will probably kill us- emphasis on “probably”, but I think we can limit experiments and avoid unnecessary ones- like the cat who’s skull was drilled into for some Nazi-like experiment and then killed in the end when there wasn’t much more damage they could do to him/her. It served no purpose for humans or any other creature, at least not one they could justify or admit to.

  256. thumper1990 says

    @Joh Morales

    Thank you :)

    I was under the impression it meant self-aware, but apparently that’s an archaic use of the word, and it now means “has senses”, which animals obviously do. Sapient means wise though, does it not? That’s not what I mean either. Hmm…

  257. John Morales says

    thumper1990, close enough.

    For the purposes of moral discussions, one can consider sentience to refer to the ability to feel pleasure and pain, and sapience to refer to the capacity for introspection.

    (And I feel the line is fairly blurry, certainly in our anthropoid cousins and possibly in other species; for example, I’m pretty sure dogs experience joy and sadness too)

  258. thumper1990 says

    @John Morales

    Well given those definitions, I would like to revise my #273 to “Sapience”. Many thanks for the lesson :)

  259. ChasCPeterson says

    Cats and dogs systems just aren’t set up to be humanoid. No matter how one sets up an experiment, it won’t come near to how the end results would work on humans.

    That’s a ridiculous generalization. It totally depends.
    Confession: I was a teenage vivisector. Well, not really, I was in my early 20s when I worked for 2 years as a technician in a hospital-associated cardiovascular research lab. We were mainly researching some new ideas in treating heart attack victims to encourage recovery and healing of cardiac muscle tissue. We studied dogs. That’s because, contrary to your assertion, dog hearts are an excellent model for human hearts, responding to all stimuli in exactly the same way, as verified thousands of times. Most days my job was to make our dogs as happy as possible. Other days, yes: we killed them humanely (if sometimes heartbreakingly) and dissected out their hearts for tissue analysis. I have zero doubt that our research added many relatively healthy years to many, many lives. (My only regret is the real possibility that it kept Dick Cheney alive longer.)
    So but anyway. You’re wrong.

    the cat who’s skull was drilled into for some Nazi-like experiment and then killed in the end when there wasn’t much more damage they could do to him/her. It served no purpose for humans or any other creature, at least not one they could justify or admit to.

    yeah, this sounds exactly like you know what you’re talking about. *eyeroll*

  260. dianne says

    @thumper 266: Ah, got it now. I agree, but think that if you see your experiment as a “necessary evil” you should at least ask yourself if it’s really necessary or not. Maybe the answer is yes, but all efforts should be made to make the answer no. (And if you’re saying “duh!” in response to that comment, good.)

  261. Ink says

    *delurk*

    I work in video production for a company that makes methods videos in the biomedical sciences, so I probably see more “gore” than even a typical animal researcher does on a daily basis. Once I edited a video that was about modeling ischemia using rabbit ear blood vessels. I shit you not, it was a video about fucking up the ears of cute little bunny rabbits.

    It’s not easy to watch some of this stuff.

    We even have in-house regulations for how we frame our shots, such as “try to exclude the animal’s face and eyes when possible,” because of the emotional impact.

    Oh, and our viewers are researchers. You know, those heartless vivisectionists who don’t have feelings and love cutting up animals? Funny how they actually do have feelings and actually do feel bad for experimental animals even when the procedures in question are necessary and ethnically justified and performed with the absolute best veterinary oversight. Funny how we spend weeks putting every one of our articles through our own independent veterinary review (on top of the IACUC review that the labs themselves have already undergone), and how researchers tell us this is something they really like and appreciate.

    I’m really sick and tired of “animal rights” people insisting that researchers who use animals are all money-hungry kitten-stomping villains. And I’m really sick of the constant whine that “we” should develop “alternative methods,” coming from people who are not in research. Guess what: WE are working damn hard to do precisely that.

    WE are constructing microfluidic devices lined with cultured epithelial cells to simulate blood vessels, so that maybe at some point we won’t have to use actual vessels from actual animals to test treatments.

    WE are coming up with multielectrode recording set ups so that we can obtain more simultaneous recordings from a single brain slice, thereby cutting the number of animals we need to sacrifice by a factor of 12.

    WE are perfecting non-invasive imaging systems so that internal activities like brain activity can be more precisely measured without having to cut into an animal.

    We, the animal researchers, are the ones making these advances.

    What the fuck are YOU doing?

    *relurk*

  262. thumper1990 says

    @dianne

    Well I probably wouldn’t have phrased my response as “duh!”, but that’s essentially the gist of it :) Obviously causing suffering is something to be avoided if at all possible.

  263. Eristae says

    Eristae, I’ll point out that the cosmetics and cleaners we have are not all exhaustively tested.

    Well, yes. That’s my point.When I buy shampoo, pretty much my only option is to buy what’s in the store, regardless of whether or not it’s been exhaustively tested. Furthermore, even if it was a really high priority for me that I get such a productive, I don’t know how one locates such a thing. “Well, you could use one of the products that are already out there” doesn’t actually translate into anything in reality that I can tell.

  264. Eristae says

    It’s not just that we already have enough of them, but that very nearly all of them are bloody useless.
    I don’t want animals to suffer. When that stands against finding a cure for cancer, chronic pain, [insert condition here], I’m OK with animal testing, provided animals are treated as humanely as possible under the circumstances. When it stands against no real interest, just corporations selling more useless products to clueless consumers, I oppose animal testing.

    Nearly all of what are bloody useless? Shampoos?

    And as far as I can tell, the interest it always, “To keep [whatever it is] from harming humans.” As I said before, if I get some horrible reaction (like cancer) from my shampoo, I’m not going to be happier than if I get it from my anti-depressants. Do any of us care if our cancer comes from something used to cure our medical conditions or to clean our hair? Is there some kind of view that people shouldn’t be cleaning their hair because it’s frivolous and not worthy of being made safe?

    I don’t know much about animal testing for consumer products; the animal testing I’m familiar with is for medical purposes. So maybe there’s some clear, easy answer that I’m missing. I don’t know.

  265. thumper1990 says

    @Eristae

    I’m with you. At some point, that shampoo or eyeliner or whatever has to go on someone’s skin. Before that happens, it has to be tested to see if it will cause adverse reactions or diseases. I fail to see how that is possible other than testing it on a living animal which is physiologically similar to humans. People shouting “Just stop washing your hair then! You don’t need to!” is simply not offering a realistic alternative.

    I also find it laughable that people assume these tests automatically equal harm for the animal. Animal testing is the very last stage and is only done once every effort has been made to limit ingredients to those we are reasonably certain are safe. They are then tested on animals to make sure.

    Again, I don’t like those occasions that an animal suffers as a result of these tests. But if it’s going to be a person or a rabbit, I’d pick the rabbit.

  266. says

    Nearly all of what are bloody useless? Shampoos?

    Are you so unhappy with your current shampoo that dozens of cosmetic companies should be trying to create more?
    How many new cosmetics products are there a year? Thousands? New face creams, make-up-products, soaps and shampoos, hair sprays, shaving products, body lotions, whatever. Usually loads of very nearly identical products released by different companies.
    Is there a lack of them currently? Do we need more? Especially given the fact that usually there is no reason to believe the latest ingredient to be hyped (collagen, Q10, silk proteins, etc.) is even absorbed by our skin or hair.

  267. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Delft,

    All true. I’m not sure how are we supposed to stop companies from producing same crap with a different smell and a different label?

  268. says

    At some point, that shampoo or eyeliner or whatever has to go on someone’s skin.

    Why?
    Is there any actual need of yours not being met by any of the gazillion cosmetic products already on the market that would be met by a new shampoo or eyeliner?
    People are dying, people are in pain, or are suffering from drastic side effects of medication already available today. That’s a good reason to continue medical research.
    There’s no good reason I can see to continue researching new shampoos or eyeliners.
    .
    @Eristae

    When I buy shampoo, pretty much my only option is to buy what’s in the store

    Actually, no. You can make it yourself.

  269. says

    @Delft:

    Business is business. Companies will produce more crap with different ingredients every day. We don’t necessarily need them. We don’t necessarily want them, but by gum they’re coming.

    I’d rather these new products be at least partly tested on something to be sure that one of those ingredients won’t cause cancer.

  270. says

    @Beatrice
    Perhaps we could have some regulations for new products?
    When you do animal tests you need some kind of approval. Maybe before getting approval you should have to show evidence that there was a good reason to believe that your product is useful. Not just because “we want to make more money.”
    .
    @Katherine

    Business is business. Companies will produce more crap with different ingredients every day. We don’t necessarily need them. We don’t necessarily want them, but by gum they’re coming.

    Part of me agrees with you. But part of me thinks that consumer awareness can push companies towards doing the right things (if only for purely commercial reasons). A movement towards natural cosmetics, with as few ingredients as possible, would e.g. either make animal testing unnecessary or at least make it likely the animals involved weren’t going to suffer.

  271. dianne says

    Business is business. Companies will produce more crap with different ingredients every day. We don’t necessarily need them. We don’t necessarily want them, but by gum they’re coming.

    And companies are perfectly happy to put out new products without testing them on anything if they are allowed to. I read about one incident where a company put out an antibiotic marketed to children. They decided that it would sell better if they made it sweet so the kids wouldn’t object to taking it. Unfortunately, they chose ethylene glycol as a sweetener. Several children died. The company got fined $1000 for calling it an elixer when it didn’t contain alcohol. End of story for them. The chemist who made it couldn’t live with himself and committed suicide. The executives who profited shrugged it off. If they’d been required to test it in mice or rats they would have found that it was highly toxic to the liver and a dozen or so children plus a chemist would have lived considerably longer lives.

    Do ARA really want to go back to those days? That’s what’s going to happen if companies are allowed to put out products that haven’t been tested properly. If there are tests that are as reliable as animal models without using animals, great, let’s go with those. But no testing or testing on an unproven system? Um…no.

  272. dianne says

    A movement towards natural cosmetics, with as few ingredients as possible, would e.g. either make animal testing unnecessary or at least make it likely the animals involved weren’t going to suffer.

    Natural does not equal safe. Fewer ingredients might be safer, but not necessarily. Lead ground up in talc is pretty simple and I believe it’s a pretty effective face whitener, but it sure isn’t safe. I’d suggest reusing already tested and proven safe ingredients and new ingredients for which there is good theoretical grounds to believe that they are safe (for example, they look safe in computer modelling and in vitro).

  273. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    . But part of me thinks that consumer awareness can push companies towards doing the right things (if only for purely commercial reasons). A movement towards natural cosmetics, with as few ingredients as possible, would e.g. either make animal testing unnecessary or at least make it likely the animals involved weren’t going to suffer.

    Gee, you are somebody who has never read or understood the labels of cosmetics. Most ingredients are natural. Why do you think otherwise? But there is some ingredients that aren’t natural. They may be GRAS (generally recognized as safe), but, you do have to acknowledge, there could be synergistic effects even with safe ingredients to make the mixture itself irritating. Which is why testing must be done. Either you or the rat. Make up your mind, and you live with your decision.

    My decision is always the rat. I’ll live with that decision.

  274. says

    @dianne

    where a company put out an antibiotic marketed to children. […] they chose ethylene glycol as a sweetener.

    That is horrible.
    They added antifreeze instead of a food sweetener? No regulations for medication where this happened?

  275. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And for those who think “natural” is safe and non-toxic, one word: ricin. Micrograms in the blood stream can kill a human.

  276. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    A.R., can you please email me at mattir dot om at no spam dot net, replacing no spam with verizon?

    Thanks.

  277. thumper1990 says

    @Delft

    So your solution is to shut down the cosmetics and toiletries industries, and tell them to make do with their existing products?

    Meanwhile, in reality…

    But part of me thinks that consumer awareness can push companies towards doing the right things (if only for purely commercial reasons). A movement towards natural cosmetics, with as few ingredients as possible, would e.g. either make animal testing unnecessary or at least make it likely the animals involved weren’t going to suffer.

    Would it? I see no reason why it should. “Natural” products still need to be tested to see if they cause harm or irritation (poison ivy is natural, remember? So’s asbestos), and I fail to see why a product with fewer ingredients would not need testing.

  278. says

    @Nerd

    Gee, you are somebody who has never read or understood the labels of cosmetics.

    You know this how?
    The idea behind natural cosmetics is not “use anything provided by nature”.

    there could be synergistic effects even with safe ingredients to make the mixture itself irritating.

    There could be. But if you start from a very limited list of ingredients that have been used for this purpose for a long time the probability of happening on a bad combination is not that high. You’d have happy rats.

  279. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    Is there any actual need of yours not being met by any of the gazillion cosmetic products already on the market that would be met by a new shampoo or eyeliner?
    People are dying, people are in pain, or are suffering from drastic side effects of medication already available today. That’s a good reason to continue medical research.
    There’s no good reason I can see to continue researching new shampoos or eyeliners.

    Just because you’re a goddamned fool who can’t see a “good reason” to continue researching consumer products doesn’t mean there really is no good reason. Just a failure of your paltry thought process.

    Me, I want better sunscreen. I work outside all day every day and wear protective full length clothing even in 100 degree weather. I want sunscreen that doesn’t run off my face with sweat, doesn’t easily rub off when I push my hair out of my eyes, doesn’t sting, doesn’t irritate my skin when applied repeatedly, smells good (because I have to smell it on myself all day), costs less than an hour of my pay for each day’s worth of application, doesn’t degrade waterways when I rinse it off at the end of the day, doesn’t make me look like a clown if I forget to rinse it off, doesn’t contain any rare botanical ingredients that require trampling an already-endangered ecosystem somewhere … Yeah, I’d like it to be organic, yeah, I’d love it if it could be constructed solely of compounds already recognized as safe for use on humans and safe in combination with each other. But I’m not getting what I want; we still need to figure out how to create new chemical compounds or combine old ones in new ways to make an effective sunscreen that does everything I need it to, at a price I can afford to work for.

    Oh, and I’d like to be sure it didn’t give me skin cancer after years’ exposure. I want the new formulas tested on animals before testing it with my life.

    And then I encounter useless fools like you pretending that animal testing isn’t necessary for anything other than “medical research”.

    Fuck off, fool.
    .

  280. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Why is abortion considered to be violent? Are appendectomies or gall bladder-removals also considered to be violent?

    Or evictions?

    You’ve got actual animal rights activists on this thread. I would think that those of you who pride yourself on your inquiring scientific minds would be asking questions rather than just labeling.

    You’re clearly underestimating the number of times we’ve dealt with this shit.

    There would be plenty of humans who would argue that it is better to live free and die than live longer but suffer. Its a pretty standard story in litrature and movies these days. So why cant this be the same for animals?

    When you encounter one arguing for it, let us know.

    ………….we DO all understand that, while a lot of animals are quite intelligent, they do not have the same level of self-awareness/sentience as humans, yes?

    I don’t know, it looks like a lot of people in this thread are failing that standard. Darric may be on to something here… ;/

    As someone who wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for drugs that had been tested on animals

    Surely you’re not suggesting the value of your life might be consequential weighed against the ability of ignorant scumbags to feel self-righteous and better than everyone else? ;/

  281. says

    thumper@298

    So your solution is to shut down the cosmetics and toiletries industries, and tell them to make do with their existing products?

    I’m not happy with allowing companies to torture animals out of pure greed. I didn’t say I had a solution.
    Refusing to acknowledge a problem unless the person who points it out has a ready-made solution to fix it is neither helpful, nor logical.
    Eristae asked why it’s wrong to test cosmetics on animals. The fact that we don’t actually need new cosmetics is a pretty good reason. There is no real interest to stand against the animals suffering. The fact that we don’t control the companies doing it, makes it hard to change this. That doesn’t it make it right.

  282. says

    @hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Me, I want better sunscreen. I work outside all day every day and wear protective full length clothing even in 100 degree weather.

    If you have a real need for it, I don’t oppose research, and animal testing to make sure it’s safe before humans use it.
    I don’t think most new cosmetics launched every year come under that heading. Then I’m not happy with animal testing, even though I see it as less problematic than selling possibly dangerous products to humans.

  283. dianne says

    No regulations for medication where this happened?

    Not where so much as when. The US in the early 20th century. We’re moving back towards that sort of society, between the Republicans wanting businesses to self-regulate even when it’s perfectly clear that they can’t or won’t and various pressure groups making it harder to test medications properly.

  284. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    CR:

    I don’t draw the line at Animalia, for the record. But because not everyone is entirely clear on where the line should be drawn, therefore what? Therefore there is no line?

    No clear line. That’s the very definition of an ethical dilemma.

    I remember arguing with you along the same (bad) line as Mattir on a thread about vegetarianism. Since then I took an ethics class. It is very interesting BTW, I encourage everyone to do so.

    An ethical dilemma opposes different values which are linked to different emotions. You can arrive to different, and valid, ethical conclusions depending on how you, personally, rank those different values. There is no universal way to rank those values. You can arrive to a consensus, but there will always be people who disagree with that consensus, and they are not necessarily wrong.

    Since this consensus is essentially driven by emotions, it is entirely subjective and culture-dependant. It’s something that, as opposed to science, is decided by popular debate. That’s why it’s wrong to think of ethical dilemmas as things that can be definitively settled by an ultimate scoring scheme, with one side a “right” decision, on the other a “wrong” one – the scoring scheme depends on how you feel about different things, and not everybody feels the same.

    For instance, whether murder is bad or good isn’t an ethical dilemma. Whether euthanasia is bad or good, however, is one. Two different people, suffering from the same terminal illness, can come to opposite conclusions about it, depending on how they weight their desire to end their pain vs their desire to continue to live.

    A “good” conclusion, ethically, is one you’ve given some thought about – you know which values you’ve prioritized, and why.

  285. thumper1990 says

    @Delft

    I’m not happy with allowing companies to torture animals out of pure greed. I didn’t say I had a solution.
    Refusing to acknowledge a problem unless the person who points it out has a ready-made solution to fix it is neither helpful, nor logical.
    Eristae asked why it’s wrong to test cosmetics on animals. The fact that we don’t actually need new cosmetics is a pretty good reason. There is no real interest to stand against the animals suffering. The fact that we don’t control the companies doing it, makes it hard to change this. That doesn’t it make it right.

    If you can find a way that didn’t involve animal testing I’d be right behind you. And I am not suggesting you ignore something you consider to be a problem. I am merely pointing out the utter futility of offering ridiculous statements like “We don’t need new cosmetics”. The cosmetics industry is going to keep producing new products, and those products need to be tested before they are put on humans.

    And also, you are assuming the animals cosmetics are tested on suffer at all. Considering the animal trial is the second to last test done (human trial being the last) and taking into account the many tests it’s already been put through, and the fact that a profit driven industry would not even allow the product to get to that testing stage if they thought there was a chance of failure (trials are expensive) I would imagine that trials in which the animals are actually caused any injury by the product being tested are vastly in the minority.

    Disclaimer: These conclusions are reached purely by taking second-hand knowledge of the cosmetics industry gained from an aquaintance who works in it, and applying some logic. I have no figures. If anyone does, I’d be very interested to see them.

  286. thumper1990 says

    @kemist

    For instance, whether murder is bad or good isn’t an ethical dilemma.

    Oh, I dunno. I think it would be perfectly possible to debate the morality of someone, forwarned of the impending US invasion, murdering Saddam in his bed in order to stave it off. Think of all the lives saved by the taking of that single one.

  287. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    The EU is banning the use of animal testing for ingredients for cosmetics (see the quote below for a more precise specification of what is banned). Which would rather seem to contradict the claims being made here that this is impracticable.

    The Cosmetics Directive provides the regulatory framework for the phasing out of animal testing for cosmetics purposes. It establishes a prohibition to test finished cosmetic products and cosmetic ingredients on animals (testing ban), and a prohibition to market in the European Union finished cosmetic products and ingredients included in cosmetic products which were tested on animals for cosmetics purposes (marketing ban). The same provisions are contained in the Cosmetics Regulation, which replaces the Cosmetics Directive as of 11 July 2013.

    The testing ban on finished cosmetic products applies since 11 September 2004; the testing ban on ingredients or combination of ingredients applies since 11 March 2009.

    The marketing ban applies since 11 March 2009 for all human health effects with the exception of repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics. For these specific health effects the marketing ban applies since 11 March 2013, irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests.

  288. says

    I am merely pointing out the utter futility of offering ridiculous statements like “We don’t need new cosmetics”.

    The statement isn’t ridiculous, but true. Exceptions may apply, as pointed out by hotshoe.
    If there is no chance humanity will ever escape brainless consumerism, you are right that it is futile to make it. If there is a chance we can move toward more responsible behaviour, saying it is necessary. And perhaps the more people point it out, the better the odds that we learn to act more responsibly as a society.

  289. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Oh, I dunno. I think it would be perfectly possible to debate the morality of someone, forwarned of the impending US invasion, murdering Saddam in his bed in order to stave it off. Think of all the lives saved by the taking of that single one.

    Well, technically, murder != killing.

    But yes, it’s possible even for murder to be part of an ethical dilemma in a specific context.

    The point is, an ethical dilemma isn’t some scenario where you can easily classify a decision as “good” and the other as “evil”.

  290. dianne says

    @309: This statement sounds frightening to me: ” the marketing ban applies since 11 March 2013, irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests.” It basically says that testing is not permitted, regardless of whether there are effective alternatives or not. In short, it doesn’t prove in any way that effective alternatives exist, only that the EU has banned a known effective method.

  291. thumper1990 says

    @kemist

    Yes :) sorry for playing Devil’s Advocate, couldn’t resist.

  292. thumper1990 says

    @Delft

    If there is no chance humanity will ever escape brainless consumerism, you are right that it is futile to make it.

    You appear to have written my reply for me.

    Also, see Nick Gotts’ post (something I totally should have known, since I live in the UK). It would appear you already have your wish over here.

  293. says

    A movement towards natural cosmetics, with as few ingredients as possible

    Funny enough, the only foundation I ever threw away was “organic, natural”. Violent allergic reaction. Same with apples, nuts, carrots. Potentially lethal for me.

    But to come back to something hillary rettig wrote looong ago:

    Here’s an article from that radical organ the Wall Street Journal about how many zoos routinely overbreed animals to they can have a profitable “cute zoobaby” event – only to slaughter the cute baby when it grows up and is inconvenient and expensive:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123689895056312923.html
    Swiss Zoo Has One Too Many Hippos, So Little Farasi May Have to Go

    That’s a perfect example how this isn’t actually about the animals but about holier than thou.
    To summarize the story: European zoos let their animals breed and if there’s no place for them to go they’re slaughtered and fed to the carnivores. May happen to a cute hippo in Basel.
    I admit that my first reaction was “oh no, that’s horrible, not that hippo” (because yes, I’ve seen him. Cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute)
    American zoos don’t do that. Nonono, that’s unethical. Bad, bad Europeans.
    Makes you think what the carnivores in American zoos eat. Kellog’s Frosties because in the ad the tiger eats them all the time? What about the animals they eat? Which animal is going to have had a better life and suffered less? The cute hippo at the zoo? Nice fresh food and a pool and sunlight at its disposal. Or the factory farm pig?
    Yes I understand that a zoo needs much more meat than the occasional hippo. It’s about how this is framed.

  294. Eristae says

    Are you so unhappy with your current shampoo that dozens of cosmetic companies should be trying to create more?
    How many new cosmetics products are there a year? Thousands? New face creams, make-up-products, soaps and shampoos, hair sprays, shaving products, body lotions, whatever. Usually loads of very nearly identical products released by different companies.
    Is there a lack of them currently? Do we need more? Especially given the fact that usually there is no reason to believe the latest ingredient to be hyped (collagen, Q10, silk proteins, etc.) is even absorbed by our skin or hair.

    My shampoo is fine. I would be more than happy to keep using it without change. But I can’t even get companies to keep making things that I like even though I keep buying them. I change shampoos not based on my own preference but based on when I can’t find the old shampoo that I like in the store. If you can figure out how to get companies to stop taking out old brands and putting in new ones, I’d be more than happy to keep using the old.

    However, this may not be true for everyone. For example, I have sensitive skin. I’ve managed to find products that work for me, but this may not be true for everyone. Refer to what hotshoe said about sunscreen. I am, perhaps unjustly, nervous about the long term effects of the sunscreens that we use. Unfortunately, my pasty white skin means that I also fry like an egg if I’m not careful. I’ve actually tried to find information on safer sunscreens, but “safer” seem to be code for “no one has tested it” in the sunscreen industry.

    Actually, no. You can make it yourself.

    There are a whole load of assumptions in here that I don’t think I can even begin to unpack. I will, however, say that the ability make all your own things is a luxury that a lot of people don’t have. Do you have time? Do you have the ability to buy the ingredients? Do you have the time/money to deal with making something that you end up not being able to use because something is wrong with it? Do you have the materials to make and store what you made? Is whatever you made going to go bad after a time?

    To give a couple of examples, the shampoo recipes that I’ve found so far contain A) Lyre B) Castile soap C) Both. I have no freaking idea where to get either and I have no desire to get Lye.

    And while this may be too much information, I’ll share it anyway. I’m a grad student with depression. It’s a good day when I manage to get out of bed within an hour after I’ve woken up. It’s a good day when I’ve managed to shower. It’s a good day when I’ve managed to make food that isn’t from a box. The idea of adding yet another thing that I need to drag energy up to do is disheartening. Considering the amount of trouble that I have getting myself to wash my hair when I can buy it from the store, I’m not hopeful as to how I would do if I had to make the shampoo, too.

    It may be easy for some people to make their own whatever (food, shampoo, etc) from scratch. It is not easy for everyone. For some of us, its hard enough getting by as is.

    So, you know . . . *vague handwave*

  295. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There could be. But if you start from a very limited list of ingredients that have been used for this purpose for a long time the probability of happening on a bad combination is not that high. You’d have happy rats.

    And you know this with certainty how?

  296. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    In short, it doesn’t prove in any way that effective alternatives exist, only that the EU has banned a known effective method. – dianne

    It’s banned it as far as testing for cosmetic purposes is concerned. So if they can’t find an alternative way to test new ingredients for cosmetics, companies will have to stick with the old ones. Why does that frighten you?

  297. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    FDA position on testing of cosmetics:

    The FD&C Act does not specifically require the use of animals in testing cosmetics for safety, nor does the Act subject cosmetics to FDA premarket approval. However, the agency has consistently advised cosmetic manufacturers to employ whatever testing is appropriate and effective for substantiating the safety of their products. It remains the responsibility of the manufacturer to substantiate the safety of both ingredients and finished cosmetic products prior to marketing.

    In other words, it is all on the manufacturer in the US to prove safety. And I suspect the manufacturer’s liability insurance companies and quality departments push them to do proper testing.

  298. says

    @Eristae
    sorry, I didn’t mean to imply you should make it yourself, only that there are options. Particularly useful for people who have allergies or want particular things included. I did it for years, as the ingredient shown to help with an issue I had wasn’t in the shampoos commonly available at the time. Today it is, so I just buy some.
    I don’t remember the recipe off-hand, but it didn’t contain lye.
    .
    @Nerd
    Common sense.
    After a certain amount of time the properties (i.e. adverse effects) of the ingredients are more-or less known and you can abandon the bad ones choose the safest ones, also then most of the combinations have been there before. Yes, it’s still possible that an exotic combination makes things go wrong, but it’s much less likely than if you throw in all sorts of new things of which you don’t know the properties, or use an enormous number of different ingredients.
    I made certain things myself for some years, did some minor experimentation to find what works for me. By using tested and harmless ingredients in unspectacular combinations I was reasonably safe in doing so. I didn’t need to try it on the dog.

  299. alwayscurious says

    @Delft

    Perhaps we could have some regulations for new products?
    When you do animal tests you need some kind of approval. Maybe before getting approval you should have to show evidence that there was a good reason to believe that your product is useful. Not just because “we want to make more money.”

    Funny that. The FDA originally was charged with enforcing proper ingredient labeling and safety. Efficacy of the drugs wasn’t added until later. Efficacy testing is FAR more involved (requires more animals) than mere safety testing.

    A movement towards natural cosmetics, with as few ingredients as possible

    Natural does not equal safe. Crude oil is natural, would you like some benzene in your eyeliner? Cyanide is natural, would you want that in your perfume? How about naturally occurring radium in blush to give your cheeks that healthy glow?

    You also touch upon an oft overlooked point: ingredients in products interact. Most often individual components are tested for safety & efficacy; whole formulas are generally tested less rigorously. Every time a safe composition changes, the safety of the resulting product may be deviate more from the previous product than theory would predict.

    While corporate profits are all the rage these days, it is also natural that they may want to tinker with the formulations for more mundane reasons: search out safer/cheaper/environmentally friendlier components (phosphates anyone?); discover of new mechanisms (what are these detergents you speak of?); desire to add a new function (dandruff control); assist a specific population with a specific problem/concern (anti-lice shampoo). Regulatory agencies only get to referee these kinds of things: there is too much happening for them to micromanage everything (especially with the lack of funds these days).

  300. jojo says

    I would be more than happy to keep using it without change. But I can’t even get companies to keep making things that I like even though I keep buying them. I change shampoos not based on my own preference but based on when I can’t find the old shampoo that I like in the store. If you can figure out how to get companies to stop taking out old brands and putting in new ones, I’d be more than happy to keep using the old.

    This issue is up there with the pockets in women’s clothing.

  301. dianne says

    So if they can’t find an alternative way to test new ingredients for cosmetics, companies will have to stick with the old ones.

    Or release new products that haven’t been tested in an equally rigorous manner. Which, as far as I can tell, has not been banned.

  302. alwayscurious says

    “Making your own shampoo” is a silly argument. I haven’t finished all the comments yet, but it seems that shampoo is a stand-in for a variety of “mundane consumer products, widely used & generally assumed to be safe & useful as labeled” (shampoo, soap, makeup, sunscreen, food, medicine, supplements, etc.). If this is so, it is reasonable that a person may choose to grow their own food or make their own shampoo, but this is NOT an appropriate solution for all items in this category nor for the entire population (hence businesses making & selling things, government regulations, etc.).

  303. says

    The idea behind natural cosmetics is not “use anything provided by nature”.

    So, how do you decide which “natural” ingredients are safe to use and which not?
    Ancient wisdom?
    Or would you like to test them. Preferrably not on your kids to see if the new sunscreen really protects them from turning the colour of a nicely cooked lobster…
    BTW, AFAIKT many diabetics are pretty happy with their “unnatural” insulin. Don’t see why we should get back to the “natural” alternative

  304. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Or release new products that haven’t been tested in an equally rigorous manner. Which, as far as I can tell, has not been banned. – dianne

    Don’t. Be. So. Silly. Do you really think the EU is going to allow untested ingredients to be used in cosmetics? Look here. Took me all of twenty seconds to find, starting from the URL I gave previously.

    Will cosmetic products remain safe for consumers after March 2013?

    Yes, the same safety standards as now apply. The marketing ban does not change the stringent safety assessment required under the Cosmetics legislation, an assessment which was strengthened in the new Cosmetics Regulation.

    In cases in which it will not be possible to carry out a conclusive safety assessment because data is missing and because new animal data cannot be created for the purposes of cosmetics use, the respective ingredient should not be used.

  305. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    BTW, AFAIKT many diabetics are pretty happy with their “unnatural” insulin. Don’t see why we should get back to the “natural” alternative – Giliell

    My Dad wasn’t: apparently he didn’t get the same warning of a hypo as with the old natural – and of course, pig-derived – insulin. But he’d been on the latter for around 30 years, so presumably he’d learned what the signs were, and was unable to re-learn after so long.

  306. lostintime says

    @327
    Very interesting link, thanks. Does anyone know if the US is going to ban cosmetics testing?

  307. says

    Nick Gotts
    Glad I didn’t say “all” ;)
    But yeah, humans, weird animals. Ibuprofen is widely accepted as a good and comparatively safe painkiller. I won’t touch that stuff again if I can avoid it.
    Which is another point of the whole problem: You can’t avoid all bad outcomes. Not with animal testing, not with alternatives. There will always be a weidro who has a strange, unexpected and potentially lethal reaction. Doesn’t mean that research and testing don’t work

  308. says

    @Gilliel

    Ancient wisdom?

    I mentioned an internship at INSERM, that’s a medical research facility, so: no.

    Or would you like to test them.

    There seem to be a lot of things around we’ve already tested. Why are you so averse to using those?
    Where there’s an actual need for improvement, I’ve already said I don’t oppose research.

    I don’t want animals to suffer needlessly. Is that so hard to agree with?

  309. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There seem to be a lot of things around we’ve already tested. Why are you so averse to using those?

    Nobody is averse to using known ingredients. FDA even has a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list for formulation. But, new MIXTURES may have properties not consistent with every single ingredient, and cause a reaction. Many folks have told you that truth. You refuse to see that as a possibility. There is no total safety without testing everything, singly and in every combination.

  310. says

    There seem to be a lot of things around we’ve already tested. Why are you so averse to using those?

    Who ever said I did?
    The question still remains why you’re bringing “natural” into this. The stuff we have that has already been tested isn’t any more “natural” than the new stuff that needs to be tested.

    Where there’s an actual need for improvement, I’ve already said I don’t oppose research.

    Hey, cool, so we’re fine there!
    Now again, what has this to do with “natural”? Why limit the avaible solutions unnecessarily by drawing some arbitrary “natural” line. That’s fucking ineffective.

    I don’t want animals to suffer needlessly. Is that so hard to agree with?

    Fuck you for insinuating that I don’t.
    All I’m saying is that you’re being naive and comminting the naturalistic fallacy.

  311. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I don’t want animals to suffer needlessly. Is that so hard to agree with?

    And I want assurance everything I use is safe. Is that so hard to agree with? You see, it works both ways.

  312. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Giliell@330,

    IIRC, he was by no means the only one to have that problem – but as I say, I think it was probably the switch after so long that caused it. And in the wider scheme of things, of course, he got an extra 35 years courtesy of numerous dead pigs.

  313. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    There is no total safety without testing everything, singly and in every combination. – Nerd of Redhead

    Which, of course, isn’t done now; and which becomes (literally) exponentially more difficult the more distinct substances you use.

  314. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Which, of course, isn’t done now; and which becomes (literally) exponentially more difficult the more distinct substances you use.

    Which is why you only test the formulations you intend to sell. I’m just letting Delft know the extent of what is required to be totally safe with their plan, which is unworkable in real life.

  315. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    There seem to be a lot of things around we’ve already tested. Why are you so averse to using those?

    Wife is now recovering from a potentially life-threatening infection. We still do not know if the bacteria was an anti-biotic resistant strain (most likely not as the sulfa drugs are working) or not, but Wife and I are definitely happy that, even if is a resistant strain, there are new drugs that can eliminate the infection.

  316. says

    Nick Gotts

    And in the wider scheme of things, of course, he got an extra 35 years courtesy of numerous dead pigs.

    ask me to put a limit on the number of mice that I would be willing to sacrifice so that should the little on need a new kidney one day they can just grow it in a dish and I say “none”.

  317. hillaryrettig says

    following up on my friend’s point about reporting of lab animals used:

    “there is no legal requirement to report those 3 species. A company or lab may require it ( though I have never seen one that done). I’m on my phone so I’m limited but you can google the bill and find that language if you really want to shut them up.”

  318. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    Hillary, legally mandated or not, I have never heard of a place that keeps lab animals that doesn’t require careful tracking of the number of rodents, birds or fish used. Flies I’ll give you as uncounted.

    Also, again, the animal use approval committees are very prone to demanding clear breakdowns for why the numbers you request are necessary, and for ruthlessly whittling down those numbers to the bare minimum.

  319. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    Also, while mice and rats are single species, “birds” is not. Neither is “fish” or “flies.”

  320. says

    @Nerd
    I’ve said very clearly that I agree with that.
    One good way to do that is to stick with what’s already been tried, unless there’s an actual need not to.
    .
    @Gilliel
    I’m not committing the naturalistic fallacy. I’m neither going back to nature, nor saying arsenic is good for you because it’s provided by nature. I’m saying it helps to use a limited number of ingredients, whose properties are well known, vs. bunging in every new-fangled molecule someone has managed to synthesise just because it markets well.

  321. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I have on my desk the 21 CFR for the FDA manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. A small booklet. The commentary on that small booklet, and what is really enforced by the FDA, is a stack of 8 1/2″ X 11″ paper several feet tall. Same is true with most regulations. It isn’t all spelled out in the law, but how the regulatory agencies interpret those laws. Same would be true for agencies overseeing the use and housing of animals for lab testing. And I believe those giving their experience with such agencies, compared to someone trying to insist the law as written says something else.

  322. says

    Benco #224

    I’m not sure ‘emotional connection’ is the right term. There is a difference between not wanting an animal to suffer and viewing it as a pet.

    I raise my own meat precisely because the conditions at ‘factory raised’ locations are so horrific. I’m fine with eating an animal, I’m not okay with torturing one. I’m okay with animal testing, I’m not okay with animals suffering needlessly.

    And the fact that humane methods actually produce much better quality meat is an interesting side benefit. In the long term, behaving ethically is better for everyone.

    The problem is a lot of animal ‘rights’ activists are somewhat hypocritical. For all their whining about lumping all animal ‘rights’ activists together, they don’t seem to understand the difference between humanely raising an animal for the ultimate purpose of eating that animal and crowding animals in together so tightly they can’t move and force-feeding them crud until they are big enough to massacre. They don’t understand the difference between a carefully controlled experiment in which the animals are treated as well as possible and tossing live rats into a fire to see how loud a squeal they can make. And many don’t see a difference between responsible breeders or pampered members of the family and backyard puppy mills or dog fighting rings.

    There is a middle ground, and it’s what the animal welfare activists are shooting for. I’m an animal welfare activist.

  323. says

    Delft
    A) Giliell

    I’m saying it helps to use a limited number of ingredients, whose properties are well known,

    B) Wrong
    You’ve been throwing the word “natural” around like they do with candy on the Cologne Carnival

    The idea behind natural cosmetics is not “use anything provided by nature”

    A movement towards natural cosmetics, with as few ingredients as possible

  324. says

    Clarification – a middle ground between torturing animals and this apparent ‘nirvana’ where humans never do anything at all to interfere with the ‘natural order’.

    Note – animal ‘rights’ activists also don’t understand the ‘natural order’. The hawk is supremely unconcerned with the ‘rights’ of the field mouse.

  325. says

    @Gilliel and Ogvorbis
    Your examples (antibiotics, insulin, kidneys) suggest you’ve missed the part of the conversation where we drifted to talking about cosmetics rather than medicine. Please don’t quote my words ré cosmetics to imply I’m lobbying against medical research.

    People are dying, people are in pain, or are suffering from drastic side effects of medication already available today. That’s a good reason to continue medical research.
    There’s no good reason I can see to continue researching new shampoos or eyeliners.

  326. says

    Delft
    Still Giliell
    Wrong. Most people here are capable to carry on several discussions at once. Not everybody is talking to you all the time. If that’s too much for you, you need to go and play with the small kids and leave the adults alone.

  327. says

    @Gilliel
    It’s true that the term “natural cosmetics” is neither clearly defined, nor regulated. So maybe I could have expressed myself better. I’ve repeatedly explained what I meant.

    btw. All three quotes are from me, and I used the word “natural” precisely twice, and then quoted myself once on it, so I guess you’ve never been to the Cologne Carnival.

  328. says

    Within this Mind

    Note – animal ‘rights’ activists also don’t understand the ‘natural order’. The hawk is supremely unconcerned with the ‘rights’ of the field mouse.

    This, so much
    The chances of a rabbit to see its second summer are a one digit number. We must be really cruel people by caring for ours so well they’re facing their third one now. And although I can clearly tell that they don’t appreciate it, we catch them every night and put them from their run back into their shed.
    Because only one of us can read the weather forecast and see that it’s still freezing cold at night and it’s not the one with the floppy ears.
    I’m utterly unconvinced by arguments about how we’re totally not different from all other animal species on the fucking internet. Especially if step two of the argument is then to proclaim that we must act like no other species on planet earth does with respect to other species.

  329. ChasCPeterson says

    while mice and rats are single species, “birds” is not. Neither is “fish” or “flies.”

    I assume you mean that only a single species of mice and one of rats are typically used in medical research?

    The fact is that there are something like 2300 species of rodents, and well over half of them are called ‘mice’ or ‘rats’ in the vernacular.
    data: all of the murids and cricetids are ‘mice’ or ‘rats’, and so are many of the smaller families.

  330. hillaryrettig says

    Catching up (sorry for the batching) –

    Esteleth 206 – ” it is not pressure from animal-rights activists that are driving researchers to seek alternatives to animals. It is the researchers themselves. Seriously.” Happy if the pressure comes from any direction! Why are the researchers pressuring?

    Estheleth 208 – ” the meme of the maniacally giggling vivisectionist got started, but it is absurd.”
    not sure anyone invoked this. I hope I didn’t. I worry more about “good people just doing their job,” which is also what i worry about in a lot of other fields (e.g., hedge funds, munitions, etc.) I also think there’s a research industrial complex (companies who supply lab animals who lobby for continued, unnecessary research and testing). I specifically said (and believe) that there are good people on both sides of this issue;

    Eristae 210 – “I know that a lot of people accept that it’s wrong to test things like shampoos and cosmetics and so forth but I’m not sure why. I mean, people use shampoo even more than they use medication….” Do you really not see the difference between a new cancer drug and a “new” shampoo? No one needs the latter, and it’s likely not even really new in any meaningful sense other than marketing.

    mrianabrinson 213 – “How about wanting to test a potential new cancer treatment (for example) on a cat or dog who has cancer?” A reasonable question and to be honest, it gave me pause, but I’m still opposed. I am probably more okay with testing drugs for dogs on dogs with cancer, but not drugs for humans.

    Jake Hamby 217 – agree, completely, re NOR

  331. says

    Delft

    So maybe I could have expressed myself better. I’ve repeatedly explained what I meant.

    Wrong. You could have admitted that your whole “natural” stick is bullshit and that you actually meant something else. Instead you tried to wriggle out of the hole you dug. But since you’re clearly too stupid to even write my name correctly after I alerted you twice I assume that you’re either lacking the ability or the necessary good faith for an honest debate, so, good night, have fun, live a long life.

  332. says

    @Gilliel
    When you lead with a quote from me, and then ask a question about it, I sort of conclude that you’re addressing me, yes.
    If I’ve upset you, I am sorry.
    @Ogvorbis
    I asked you please not to use my quote to suggest the opposite of what I mean and have said clearly in this thread. That doesn’t mean I telling you to STFU.

  333. hillaryrettig says

    Mattir219 – Unlike some of the anti-AR narratives here, yours rings true. I **may** know 1-2 AR activists who might have told your daughter not to use the rabies vaccine, but the overwhelming majority I know would not. You’re right, that’s not compassionate, and I’m ashamed on behalf of those vegans.

    I also appreciate your correcting the conflation of veganism with religion. When I think of religion I think of faith-based dogma. There probably are vegans who approach it that way, but most don’t and of course I strive not to. Veganism is simply an ideology just like atheism, liberalism, or any other -ism.

  334. consciousness razor says

    Alethea H. “Crocoduck”, #256:

    Not everyone is entirely clear on where the line should be drawn, therefore it is open for sensible discussion, and not everyone who draws a different line from you is evil and should have their work destroyed and their children denied medicine?

    It at least should be open for sensible discussion, whether or not it actually is. However, I don’t give a shit whether some person is “evil” just whether their actions are good or bad (or even “evil” if that word isn’t too loaded), and I’ve never condoned being destructive or denying people medicine (or food or whatever else you want to dream up), so cut the crap.

    ———

    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith, #306:

    An ethical dilemma opposes different values which are linked to different emotions.

    They are not all “linked to different emotions” in some special way. This is a relationship you have contrived yourself, and I see no support for it. From here, you switch from that to “values,” but those are not the same thing.

    You can arrive to different, and valid, ethical conclusions depending on how you, personally, rank those different values. There is no universal way to rank those values. You can arrive to a consensus, but there will always be people who disagree with that consensus, and they are not necessarily wrong.

    What does “not necessarily wrong” even mean? It’s not the case that they must be wrong, or it’s not the case that anyone is wrong, period, because there just isn’t such a thing as being wrong? Has anyone claimed they must, necessarily, be wrong for some reason or another? No? I only want to know what the point of saying this is supposed to be. If there is no point, well then….

    Since this consensus is essentially driven by emotions, it is entirely subjective and culture-dependant.

    And driven reasoning and factual information, which may also be subjective culture-dependent in some senses, but that’s irrelevant anyway. I don’t give any weight to carving up different kinds of thoughts into arbitrary categories so we can draw dubious conclusions from it.

    It’s something that, as opposed to science, is decided by popular debate. That’s why it’s wrong to think of ethical dilemmas as things that can be definitively settled by an ultimate scoring scheme, with one side a “right” decision, on the other a “wrong” one – the scoring scheme depends on how you feel about different things, and not everybody feels the same.

    I don’t think of anything as “an ultimate scoring scheme,” not science, not ethics, not anything else, so again I’m failing to see the point.

    I doubt you’d accept the kind of nihilistic sophistry above your comment from a racist, a sexist, a liar, a cheater, a murderer; or assuming there is anything at all which you think is actually wrong, from people who nevertheless defend that sort of thing. (Just to avoid misinterpretation, the point of comparison here is that these are in fact all ethical issues, not that they’re similar or equivalent in some other way.)

    If there were some reason why it’s relevant and why I should take it seriously in this particular case, that would be one thing; but I’ve seen nothing at all to support it, just like every other time this kind of apologetics gets trotted out. There are much better arguments* (even if they’re still wrong) one could use to defend animal research or meat-eating or whatever, which have actually pertain to the issues and aren’t some generic trump card to end all ethical discussions, so it’s just sad when people here reach for this kind of nonsensical bullshit.

    *I’d hardly call it an “argument,” since it’s still not even clear what the conclusion is supposed to be, except perhaps that none of us are right or wrong about anything, which tends to be useful only for people siding with the status quo.

  335. hillaryrettig says

    Mattier 247:

    “Basically this life business is appallingly and unavoidably messy, and the best that can be done is to try to minimize suffering.” Agreed, which is why I belong to this group:

    “I’ve met plenty of animal rights folks who insist that fruit fly and zebrafish and nematode research is completely unethical because ANIMALIA.”

    It’s also why Dawkins (and many others) came out against vivisection:
    http://boingboing.net/2011/06/30/richard-dawkins-on-v.html

    You might find this interesting:
    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/19/the-meat-eaters/

  336. says

    @Giliell
    Ah, the spelling. Sorry! (Need new glasses)
    .
    So it’s the expression that is annoying you, or it’s connotations. I’m not invested in the expression. I’ve known this group of ideas for decades under the term “Naturkosmetik”. It’s not regulated, as I said. I don’t know if there is any other expression for it, but I’m happy to use whatever.

  337. hillaryrettig says

    ChasCPeterson 279 “Most days my job was to make our dogs as happy as possible.”

    The part you seem incapable of seeing is that, despite your best efforts, the dogs were miserable. Or are you arguing that a life spent mainly in cages having your heart taxed in various ways is a great way to live?

    And those dogs might have been someone’s cherished and lost pet;
    http://www.lcanimal.org/index.php/campaigns/class-b-dealers-and-pet-theft/dealing-dogs-class-b-dealer-cc-baird-investigation

  338. hillaryrettig says

    Ink 281 “We even have in-house regulations for how we frame our shots, such as “try to exclude the animal’s face and eyes when possible,” because of the emotional impact.”

    Thanks for your post, which actually substantiates a point I made earlier (and which some disputed) about how researchers are very selective in what images of vivisection they present to the public, specifically because they know they are so emotionally repellent. Happy to have the independent validation. (And you mention they’re even careful about what images they show to *other researchers.*)

    I’m sure some AR people think researchers are money-hungry villains, but none on this thread have said that, to my knowledge – and I’ve personally disavowed that viewpoint a couple of times. So please don’t use a straw person. If anything, it’s the anti-AR people on this thread who have been insulting and name calling (starting with PZ himself).

    Glad to read the examples you mention of alternative models being developed.

  339. Eristae says

    @Eristae
    sorry, I didn’t mean to imply you should make it yourself, only that there are options. Particularly useful for people who have allergies or want particular things included. I did it for years, as the ingredient shown to help with an issue I had wasn’t in the shampoos commonly available at the time. Today it is, so I just buy some.
    I don’t remember the recipe off-hand, but it didn’t contain lye.

    Ah, I see. I was talking more personally and you were speaking more universally.

    I’ve thought about doing things like making my own shampoo and soap. Maybe someday when I’m better situated I willed.

    “I know that a lot of people accept that it’s wrong to test things like shampoos and cosmetics and so forth but I’m not sure why. I mean, people use shampoo even more than they use medication….” Do you really not see the difference between a new cancer drug and a “new” shampoo? No one needs the latter, and it’s likely not even really new in any meaningful sense other than marketing.

    No, as I said, what I really don’t see is why I should be any happier getting sick from my shampoo than I would be if I got sick from one of my medications. The fact that you think no one needs new shampoo doesn’t make me any more willing to become ill.

    Incidentally, older products that were tested on animals and have been deemed safe through such testing wouldn’t be able to put on a shiny label saying “not tested on animals,” and would thus be maligned by animal rights activists. This actually happens; companies decide to create new products that haven’t (technically; often their components have been) been tested on animals in order to to appeal to the consumers who care about this stuff. “Use older stuff rather than make new stuff” isn’t something that people actually do, including animal rights activists.

  340. hillaryrettig says

    @Katherine

    ” Companies will produce more crap with different ingredients every day. We don’t necessarily need them. We don’t necessarily want them, but by gum they’re coming. I’d rather these new products be at least partly tested on something to be sure that one of those ingredients won’t cause cancer.”

    Why even consider using a product where that’s even an issue when you don’t have to? Esp. where there are nontoxic products that do a good enough job, i.e., vinegar solution as a household cleanser.

  341. hillaryrettig says

    Delft 310

    >The statement isn’t ridiculous, but true.

    Of course you’re right – unless you’re a free market zealot who thinks all market choices are inherently good, it’s ridiculous to think we “need” more cosmetics. Can’t tell if the people arguing that point are truly free market zealots, or simply so committed to animal research they can’t help but argue for wholly unnecessary uses of it.

  342. Ichthyic says

    Here’s the thing though, most lab animals are killed after the experiment is finished. IF this is true, this makes lab rats and mice more viable for tests than cats and dogs.

    to be clear, the reason has nothing to do with anything other than space issues, costs, and reproduction rates for the most part, though there are some experiments where mice/dogs/other organism are simply more appropriate biochemically speaking.

    If you were to run past a vet, s/he might not agree or s/he may point out where your hypotheses needs some work before testing it on a cat or a dog.

    irrelevant to the point I was making.

    Cats and dogs systems just aren’t set up to be humanoid.

    you missed the entire point of my post. really. the ENTIRE point.

  343. Ichthyic says

    We, the animal researchers, are the ones making these advances.

    What the fuck are YOU doing?

    good point, Ink.

  344. Ichthyic says

    Can’t tell if the people arguing that point are truly free market zealots, or simply so committed to animal research they can’t help but argue for wholly unnecessary uses of it.

    I’m reasonably sure the FDA does not require animal testing for products that utilize already tested primary ingredients, but just change the color, for example.

    and your idea that there is any group of people “committed” to animal research sounds like so much fucking paranoia.

    seriously.

  345. Ichthyic says

    Esp. where there are nontoxic products that do a good enough job, i.e., vinegar solution as a household cleanser.

    guess what?

    “nontoxic” cleansers have to be tested on animals too.

  346. hillaryrettig says

    A silly point, actually. AR activists are doing AR activism and it’s working.

  347. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    When I think of religion I think of faith-based dogma. There probably are vegans who approach it that way, but most don’t and of course I strive not to. Veganism is simply an ideology just like atheism, liberalism, or any other -ism.

    No surprise, on top of your sucky veganism ideology, you have to plaster your immoral lying about animal rights activism as if your kind were not the ones to blame for animal terrorists. Just like the anti-abortion terrorists, the ones who merely protest in front of health clinics are the ones who give cover to those who actually bomb clinics and murder doctors. Same as you, aiding and abetting terrorism against humans in the name of fluffy little bunnies. Repeating lies, perhaps believing them yourself as a result of your personal delusion or perhaps knowing them to be untrue but repeating them anyways in hopes of shutting down necessary science, that’s you. If you don’t like being tarred with that brush, then stop behaving that way. By protesting necessary science, you give cover to those who actually destroy research labs and sometimes even attempt to assassinate the researchers.

    Your kind suck, every one of you. You personally. Yes, you.

  348. ChasCPeterson says

    hillaryrettig, why do you presume to assert things that there is no way in hell you could possibly know?

    The part you seem incapable of seeing is that, despite your best efforts, the dogs were miserable.

    I knew the dogs; you did not. They were not miserable. I know that, and you could not.

    Or are you arguing that a life spent mainly in cages having your heart taxed in various ways is a great way to live?

    Well, I know several things you don’t, of course. One is the size and condition of their “cages”–most non-zealoty people would call them ‘kennels’–and another is the length of time they spent in them, and another is exactly how their hearts were “taxed”, and yet another is that they all got played with daily and walked twice daily (weather permitting, which being southern California it almost always did).
    And still another is the fact that our research dogs were obtained from city and county pounds on the morning that they were scheduled to be ‘put down’ with an OD shot of bright-blue euthanol. So I know for a fact that every single one of those dogs lived 6-8 months longer than they would have otherwise, and having known them well I must insist that they were not miserable at all.

    And those dogs might have been someone’s cherished and lost pet;

    I’m quite certain that all of them had been someone’s pet; we needed friendly cooperation for 6-8 months and our buyer selected for temperament. It’s indeed sad that the owners of these cherished and lost pets never thought to check out the local dogpound for the two weeks each was kept there before being saved by VIVISECTION from certain death.

  349. Pteryxx says

    hillaryrettig:

    following up on my friend’s point about reporting of lab animals used:

    “there is no legal requirement to report those 3 species. A company or lab may require it ( though I have never seen one that done). I’m on my phone so I’m limited but you can google the bill and find that language if you really want to shut them up.”

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=IACUC+university

    choosing one at random, U. Florida: (from pdf)

    All faculty planning to use vertebrate animals must obtain approval from the IACUC before funds can be released and teaching or experiments with animals begun.

    ANNUAL REVIEWS OF CONTINUING PROJECTS:
    Even though a project may be funded for more than three
    years, IACUC approval must be renewed annually.
    Investigators are sent reminders at 90, 60 and 30 days
    before the approval anniversary date.
    If the project is to continue, the IACUC will require information on the number
    of animals used,
    progress towards your experimental goals, and your planned animal use in the
    coming 12 months. Please submit the “New Renewal Form”
    at least 30 days prior to the expiration of your protocol.

    from the U. of Minnesota:

    http://cflegacy.research.umn.edu/iacuc/about/charge.cfm

    At the heart of the federal requirements is the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals in testing, research, and training. This policy provides the core of the operational guidelines for the University of Minnesota Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

    In addition, the University’s policies on animal use adhere to the following federal requirements:

    Animal Welfare Act;
    Code of Federal Regulations Title 9, the Health Research Extension Act of 1985;
    Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training;
    National Research Council’s Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals; and
    Federation of Animal Sciences Societies’ Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals.

    These policies cover, but are not limited to, the following: the acquisition, care and use of animals; efforts to minimize animal pain and distress; the training of personnel using animals; consideration of alternatives to animal use; methods whereby deficiencies in animal care and treatment are reported; and the charge of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

    The NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare:

    http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/phspol.htm

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Health Research Extension Act of 1985, Public Law 99-158, November 20, 1985, “Animals in Research ”

    U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training

    Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

    All of this stuff is public information. You could probably look up any university on that list, call their IACUC as a concerned individual, and just ask them what their reporting requirements are for the use of mice, rats, fish or flies.

    In fact, I just did: a very nice person at a west coast university (where it isn’t 5 PM yet) reminded me that any institution under the PHS (in the US) or with AAALAC accreditation (worldwide) has reporting guidelines for the numbers of vertebrate animals used, to comply with the requirement that numbers of animals used be minimized and justified.

    http://www.aaalac.org/resources/theguide.cfm

  350. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    silly point, actually. AR activists are doing AR activism and it’s working.

    You’re scum.

    Your kind are killing people and you call that “working”.

    That makes you scum.

  351. says

    @hillaryrettig

    Can’t tell if the people arguing that point are truly free market zealots, or simply so committed to animal research they can’t help but argue for wholly unnecessary uses of it.

    My impression was that it’s because they believe that it’s impossible to stop companies making new products even if they’re completely superfluous.
    .
    @Ichthyic

    guess what?
    “nontoxic” cleansers have to be tested on animals too.

    It’s already been done. So as long as we keep the recipe we don’t need more tests.
    .
    @Eristae

    “Use older stuff rather than make new stuff” isn’t something that people actually do

    There are people who do exactly that. And they also try to raise awareness that it’s a good thing to do, like recycling etc.

  352. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    …In fact, I just did: a very nice person at a west coast university (where it isn’t 5 PM yet) reminded me that any institution under the PHS (in the US) or with AAALAC accreditation (worldwide) has reporting guidelines for the numbers of vertebrate animals used, to comply with the requirement that numbers of animals used be minimized and justified.

    http://www.aaalac.org/resources/theguide.cfm

    Well done, Pteryxx.

    Thanks for providing the straight answer!

  353. ChasCPeterson says

    reduce
    reuse
    recycle

    is my mantra.
    (I noticed today that I was carrying exams in a manilla folder labeled–in my hand–‘Bio 5 labs Winter 1987′.)

  354. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Delft – you have the patience of a saint. :-)

    Yes, and the ideological yet naive unworldliness of one, too.

    (That ain’t a good thing)

  355. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    They are not all “linked to different emotions” in some special way. This is a relationship you have contrived yourself, and I see no support for it.

    I didn’t make this up.

    This is taught by an actual ethicist !

    From here, you switch from that to “values,” but those are not the same thing.

    I never said they were the same thing. But do you disagree that personal values are linked to emotions ?

    I don’t think of anything as “an ultimate scoring scheme,” not science, not ethics, not anything else, so again I’m failing to see the point.

    You want to see a line. A threshold. Hence a scoring system of values.

    How else can we achieve that ?

    In science we have facts – we all share the same facts. Hypotheses can be evaluated according to how well they fit facts.

    Ethics deals in values – some widely shared across cultures, others not so much. Ethical dilemma are solved by prioritizing values.

    I doubt you’d accept the kind of nihilistic sophistry above your comment from a racist, a sexist, a liar, a cheater, a murderer; or assuming there is anything at all which you think is actually wrong, from people who nevertheless defend that sort of thing.

    I specified that I was was talking about ethical dilemma, defined what that meant and specified that it doesn’t apply to things like murder (generally), because the vast majority of humans already agree about what’s the right thing to do in those cases – there is no dilemma.

    There are things I think are wrong, and most of them are shared with the vast majority of human beings – and who cares if we share those things because we share the same emotions and not because they are inherently good or bad ? (I don’t, but maybe that’s because I generally prefer consequentialist as opposed to deontological reasoning)

    Do you think emotions have no importance in ethical decisions ?

    There are much better arguments* (even if they’re still wrong) one could use to defend animal research or meat-eating or whatever, which have actually pertain to the issues and aren’t some generic trump card to end all ethical discussions, so it’s just sad when people here reach for this kind of nonsensical bullshit.

    I did not intend it as an argument for or against anything, or as a way to end discussion – good ethical reasoning actually needs input from different ways of seeing things.

  356. brizian says

    For all those asking “what the fuck are you doing?”, among other things, I donate regularly to Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing.

  357. says

    If there is no chance humanity will ever escape brainless consumerism

    if humanity can’t escape brainless consumerism, civilization will have collapsed in about 100 years and animal testing will be the least of our concerns.

    fucking hate it when people treat consumerist capitalism as some sort of unchangeable law of nature :-(

  358. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    Delft –

    guess what?
    “nontoxic” cleansers have to be tested on animals too.

    It’s already been done. So as long as we keep the recipe we don’t need more tests.

    Jesus fuck, you’re a goddamn little shit, aren’t you.
    ‘In your airy-fairy little world, no one should ever want anything better than whatever we’ve happened to discover up till now. MRSA victims who want a laundry detergent that might allow them to sterilize their bedding without at the same time damaging their future health? Nope, sorry folks, you’re out of luck, Delft thinks that’s merely a matter of convenience, or capitalism run amok, or something, and you can’t get your new detergent formula tested on animals for safety. Sorry, keep the recipe we already have. Don’t need more.
    Parents whose kids come home from camp with lice want a more effective shampoo so they don’t have to spend so many hours with kids screaming from getting their hair painfully combed, and the combing still isn’t completely effective? Sorry, folks, getting rid of lice is just a matter of convenience, it’s not medical necessity (not in the civilized world, at least, it’s not as if lice are a vector for typhus /sarcasm) and you can’t get your new shampoo tested on animals because that’s just plain not necessary, in Delft’s eyes, and of course, Delft knows better than you what risks you should take with your children’s health. Sorry.
    Office workers who are juggling family and work and too-little pay and too-much time required getting face hands and hairdo to look “office appropriate” who want a shampoo that makes their hair less frizzy so they can save 5 minutes getting ready every day? Oh, no, never, that’s purely cosmetic and you haven’t done anything to deserve having your life easier. Not according to Delft, you can just suck it up and stick with Grandma’s homemade shampoo recipe. Good enough for Grandma, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be good enough for you bitches. And you ought to be on your knees in gratitude that you don’t have to actually cook up a batch of shampoo in your kitchen and that Delft allows you to buy it at the store.

    Fuck off, Delft. If you don’t ever want anything improved, fine, you’re welcome to stick with whatever worked the decade you were born (if you can still get it). But fuck off telling the rest of us humans that we should never have any aspirations for better, for future improvements, and that the desire for improvements is immoral if they are only improvements in “cosmetics” or “cleaners” or other things that you personally don’t value. Fuck that noise. You’re no one. You’re no one with any right to judge.

    .

  359. John Morales says

    brizian, among those other things, do you point out to other AR activists that actions such as those perpetrated in Milan are less than helpful to the cause and perhaps should be repudiated?

  360. says

    @John Morales

    Yes, and the ideological yet naive unworldliness of one, too.

    Because I want to try to reduce suffering of animals and protect the environment?
    .
    @hotshoe
    Your reading comprehension sucks. I said if you have a need, I don’t oppose research.
    The majority of new cosmetics products is functionally not an improvement over existing products. Writing “improved formula” on the package doesn’t make it so.

  361. says

    @hillaryrettig
    Do you approve of ARAs taking animals from research labs?
    If not, what kind of activism do you approve of, or do?

  362. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Delft:

    Because I want to try to reduce suffering of animals and protect the environment?

    Because your comments exhibit that no less than “the patience of a saint”.

    (You want to discuss the wherefore of my opinions on Hillary’s utterance and my response to it, take it to Thunderdome)

  363. says

    @hotshoe
    fail, should be:
    If you have a need, I don’t oppose research and animal testing. Research alone, or in vitro testing that doesn’t cause suffering is obviously not an issue for the purposes of this discussion.

  364. brizian says

    John, yes I do. See my posts above for my long-winded take on the whole thing, but suffice it to say what pissed me off enough to actually comment on this thread is the lumping of all AR activists together. PETA doesn’t speak for all of us, nevermind the ALF.

    I also recognize that animal testing is a necessary evil. Most AR activists I know (and that’s quite a few given that I’ve been doing this a while) recognize this too. I know that’s anecdotal, and anyone actually working in medical testing has likely only (or at least primarily) encountered the PETA/ALF types. But it’s important to me that you don’t assume we’re all the same, just as I don’t assume that everyone working in animal testing is some mad scientist inflicting pain on animals for the fun of it as PETA would have me believe.

    If you (or anyone else) has any more honest questions about my AR activism, and what it involves and does not involve, I would be more than happy to answer.

  365. says

    @brizian
    I understand you disapprove of taking animals from research labs?
    So what kinds of activism do you approve of or do?
    (Will be back to read response tomorrow.)

  366. John Morales says

    brizian, thanks for the response.

    But it’s important to me that you don’t assume we’re all the same, just as I don’t assume that everyone working in animal testing is some mad scientist inflicting pain on animals for the fun of it as PETA would have me believe.

    I don’t think that’s at question, but the problem is not with individuals, but with organisations.

    If you (or anyone else) has any more honest questions about my AR activism, and what it involves and does not involve, I would be more than happy to answer.

    This is outside the scope of your invitation, but… Do you know what has been the public reaction to this incident from official AR groups?

  367. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    hotshoe
    Your reading comprehension sucks. I said if you have a need, I don’t oppose research.
    The majority of new cosmetics products is functionally not an improvement over existing products. Writing “improved formula” on the package doesn’t make it so.

    Not my reading comprehension, you fool. Your life comprehension. Your incomprehension that you are not some moral avatar who gets to decide who has “a need” and if their “need” is sufficiently deserving to entitle them to some new formula of whatever, which then requires new animal testing.
    You have absolutely no comprehension of what people “need” nor what would be a “functional improvement” nor any concept of how anyone – besides god – could draw those lines in advance of the actual research as to whether the results will turn out to be worth the impact on the animals tested. Which is exactly why everyone else in this thread has taken so many pains to explain to you, fool, that all animal research is always required to justify its likely benefits (no guarantees, but likely) to an oversight committee – who aren’t god, either, but who have the expertise YOU DON’T. But no, just like every other undereducated know-it-all, you can’t shut up and defer to the scientists and ethicists who actually work in animal-research labs and who are telling you that you’re wrong in your bizarre ideas about how much unnecessary animal work is done. You can’t shut up; you have to keep going on and on and on about how you don’t “oppose research”. No, you just oppose research that in your god-like omniscient judgement you deem “not needed”

    Fuck off, Delft. You’re the one who’s not needed. No one needs more of your presumptuous ignorance in our world.

  368. Eristae says

    “Use older stuff rather than make new stuff” isn’t something that people actually do

    There are people who do exactly that. And they also try to raise awareness that it’s a good thing to do, like recycling etc.

    You either missed my point or purposely dodged it, so I’ll reiterate it:

    Let’s say we have a perfectly good product, which we shall call X. X was tested on animals and has been found to be effective and safe. Animal Rights Activist who we shall call Y doesn’t want to use products that were tested on animals. Because X was tested on animals, Y will not buy it. Instead, Y wants a new product that hasn’t been tested on animals. The companies then create a new product to accommodate this.

    Animal Rights Activists aren’t using shampoos that were formulated 20 years ago and were found to be safe any more than anyone else is. They, too, drive the creation of new products.

  369. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    I also recognize that animal testing is a necessary evil. Most AR activists I know (and that’s quite a few given that I’ve been doing this a while) recognize this too. I know that’s anecdotal, and anyone actually working in medical testing has likely only (or at least primarily) encountered the PETA/ALF types. But it’s important to me that you don’t assume we’re all the same, just as I don’t assume that everyone working in animal testing is some mad scientist inflicting pain on animals for the fun of it as PETA would have me believe.

    Good, glad to hear it.
    Now it’s also important that you confront your fellow-traveler Hillary and set them straight on their more bizarre outbursts and lies about animal research.
    Or are you only here to complain about how mean people are for assuming you’re a terrorist like those others?

  370. says

    Or would you like to test them. Preferrably not on your kids to see if the new sunscreen really protects them from turning the colour of a nicely cooked lobster…

    do you smuggle new sunscreen in from outside the EU? because if not, then the new sunscreen you can buy in the store wasn’t tested on animals before it went into production.

  371. brizian says

    @Delft
    I do a lot of letter-writing to be honest. I was part of a letter-writing campaign to local councillors urging them to ban shark-fin from local restaurants last year. I write and communicate often with my MP and other Provincial and Federal representatives (I’m Canadian), mostly about the fur trade and pet trade (puppy mills are a known issue, but if you’ve ever kept fish as a pet you likely know that they are not always treated with any form of respect in their breeding, handling, or sale). I’ve also communicated with local pet stores and urged them to switch to more humane suppliers.

    In terms of actual physical protest, I have been to a few protests against the fur trade and seal hunts at parliament buildings in recent years, but am not as involved in that side as I used to be due to other commitments (job, marriage, other non-AR activism taking up more of my time).

    I think it is fine to protest outside businesses, as long as you are respectful of the clientele and of course the law. I may not like that you get your puppies from puppy mills, but that doesn’t give me the right to smash up your store and release the puppies into the wild, nor would that do any good. But I will stand as legally to close to your store entrance as possible and politely offer your customers a pamphlet that explains why it would be better if they adopted a puppy from a shelter. I find that approach is more successful than smashing things and yelling anyways.

    I’m probably forgetting things and a bit strapped for time right now, but I will add more later if I think of it. If there is some specific form of protest you’d like to ask me about, I’d be happy to answer that as well.

    P.S. Even we high and mighty vegan animal rights activists are imperfect, and I will admit to buying a pair of leather hiking boots recently when no suitable alternative could be found (my feet are a weird fit, and ordering $300+ non-returnable boots from overseas without being able to try them on is not really an option). It’s about doing the best we can.

  372. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    If anything, it’s the anti-AR people on this thread who have been insulting and name calling (starting with PZ himself). – hillaryrettig

    As someone somewhere in the middle on this bunch of issues, I have to agree with this.

    Animal rights/welfare, vegetarianism/veganism do seem to be issues which bring out a lot of absolutely crap arguments on both sides here.

  373. says

    @hotshoe

    Your incomprehension that you are not some moral avatar who gets to decide who has “a need”

    Strawman, if there ever was one.
    I never said I did. Because I want the bar to be greater does not mean that I want to dictate it: that’s simply stupid. If e.g. someone believes in legal punishments for crime, they can be perfectly happy to have courts decide on them.
    And yes, when you’re testing products for the market on animals, you do know what you think you’ve got, so it’s silly to argue that only God can know beforehand where research will lead. That has nothing to do with it.
    If you bothered to understand what people are saying before vilifying them, you might find the world less inimical than you believe it to be.

  374. says

    Delft

    I’ve known this group of ideas for decades under the term “Naturkosmetik”.

    So, you’re familiar with the German woo-terminology. I have a useful suggestion then: Just forget about it. It’s mostly bullshit. I’m not saying there ain’t nice products out there, I surely know because I use some of them, but I don’t pretend that they are so much better than the usual stuff. The basis is still a mix of chemicals.
    Oh, and let’s talk about those “old things that are working”. Dunno how old you are, but when I was a kid, there was this thing we called “stains”. Detergent wouldn’t get them out. For some there were special stain-removers, for some there was heavy bleach, and in many cases it simply meant that you just ruined an item.
    Nowadays my detergent simply removes them. Including strawberry stains. And it’ still much more environmentally friendly than the one that didn’t remove the stains when I was a kid. So, tell me again why I should keep using the old stuff. What do you think why the quality of our air and water actually has dramatically improved over the last two decades? Surely not by “sticking to things we know that work”.

    Jadehawk

    do you smuggle new sunscreen in from outside the EU? because if not, then the new sunscreen you can buy in the store wasn’t tested on animals before it went into production.

    See, that’s why I have a problem with such phrases: As multiple people have pointed out: to get to this point there was a whole lot of animal research. I’m pretty sure that everybody is glad that we moved beyond that stage and that we can now get our stuff without testing it on more animals, but I don’t pretend that there was a stage A when there was a lot of animal testing and then a stage B when there wasn’t and the transition was just magic and actual fluffy bunnies.

  375. says

    @Eristae
    It’s possible that ARA’s fall for that kind of reasoning, just like anyone else may. But a product that says it’s formula is unchanged since [long time ago] can also benefit.
    And any company that could advertise it does no animal testing whatever, could benefit from the same advantage for all products by advertising that fact, even if all their products had originally been through animal testing.
    Personally, I would much prefer the second alternative, and I suspect so would ARAs.

  376. says

    @Giliell,
    (sorry again for the spelling fail)
    Sure, we made progress in the last fifty years, nobody wants to throw that away. I just think we should reassess in what areas what we have is good enough that making animals suffer for new products is no longer acceptable. In the EU that seems to have happened.

  377. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    I never said I did. Because I want the bar to be greater does not mean that I want to dictate it. If e.g. someone believes in legal punishments for crime, they can be perfectly happy to have courts decide on them.

    You’re a fucking liar. You’re either lying to yourself or you’re lying to everyone else.

    You have repeatedly claimed (without evidence, mind you) that too much animal research is done for things that are not “productive” – but you’re either lying to yourself or lying to us, since it’s been made clear to you the absolute fact that already no research can be approved unless it’s productive enough to make it worth the physical effort and moral risk of using animal subjects. They’re already not doing too much; they’re already doing the minimum or even less than the minimum needed for public safety. But you don’t believe those people, even when they tell you that they are employed in animal labs and know how hard it is to get animal research approved, and know that it’s never employed for frivolous ends. Because you know better than everyone else with actual expertise, don’t you, you egotistical little shit.

    Your analogy about courts shows how fucked up you are. Your repeated claim that there needs to be more restriction (“the bar to be greater”) on animal research is exactly the same as you claiming that you are a more competent judge of whether the research is needed, or productive, or already carried on with sufficient safeguards, than the oversight committees and ethics reviewers who have approved those studies. You don’t believe them; you don’t think they can judge correctly. You think you can judge, and you’ve rendered your judgement: RAISE THE BAR. “Happy to have the courts decide”? No, you’re lying, that’s what you’re not happy to have them do; you’ve repeatedly said they’re not deciding strictly enough

    You are not the fucking judge, Delft. You are the fucking liar and you’re getting worse, not better. It’s time for you to go away and seriously think about the immoral things your position is taking you to.

    Also. you goddamn pompous ass, I don’t believe the world is “inimical” even a little, so it could hardly be “less imimical” than I believe it to be. What I do believe is that the world is filled with stupid egotists, like you. And there’s plenty of evidence for that belief!

  378. says

    @hotshoe
    Happily the EU has just raised the bar, so I’m not the only one who thinks it wasn’t high enough. They must all be stupid egotists, just like me…

  379. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    it’s been made clear to you the absolute fact that already no research can be approved unless it’s productive enough to make it worth the physical effort and moral risk of using animal subjects.- hotshoe

    It’s not an absolute fact: it’s an assertion based in part on value-judgements. Neither the current law (different in the USA and the EU, as Delft notes) nor the decision of an ethics committee is beyond challenge or criticism, and repeatedly calling Delft a “fucking liar” doesn’t change that.

  380. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    Sure, we made progress in the last fifty years, nobody wants to throw that away. I just think we should reassess in what areas what we have is good enough that making animals suffer for new products is no longer acceptable. In the EU that seems to have happened.

    Well thank god for small favors: you’ve backed off your stupid suggestion that working women should be happy to mix up a batch of Grandma’s homemade shampoo. But you’re still just as much of an ass to judge that what we have is “good enough” No, it’s not good enough yet. For every category that you might suggest we should settle for what we’ve got, you’re wrong, be it lip gloss, skin lotion, deodorant, shampoo, or toothpaste; we can do better.

    After the next 20 years, we could be as far ahead of what Giliell mentioned (e.g. stain-removers) as the current products are ahead of what we used when I was a kid. We need soaps, shampoos and detergents that are even cheaper so that every person on out planet can afford to wash their hands (and clothes). And simultaneously we need the formulas to have less ecological effect on our waterways when we rinse them off. And because we’re going to need new chemicals, or new combinations of old chemicals, to achieve these goals, we need animal testing to make sure we’re not causing fertility problems or cancer for a future generation of humans. Well, maybe we don’t need animal testing for new chemicals, or maybe not in every single case – but I’m willing to allow the scientific experts to decide that, unlike you (and the politicians) who claim you make better judges of whether animals should be used or not.

    As for the EU, their laws haven’t actually rewritten reality. New chemicals are still, in reality, either dangerous, or safe, or dangerous sometimes in some applications or combined with some other compounds … the law doesn’t change the facts, it just guarantees that we are forced into ignorance as to the facts of each specific new formula.

    The politicians passed the no-animal-testing law even though they were reliably informed there is no substitute (as of 2013) for animal testing for carcinogenicity or allegenicity. Great going, guys! Just condemned their populace to either 1) being the human guinea pigs for new, untested formulas or 2) no new formulas at all, settle for whatever is currently available from (tested in the previous century) generally-recognized-as-safe formulas.

    But that means no improvements in human health such as we would see if we could switch to a new compound that is tested to be less allergenic than the previous GRAS one, no improvements in ecological impact if we could switch to a new compound that has fewer polluting byproducts during manufacturing or uses a non-petroleum feedstock, no improvements in price value if we could switch to a formula that’s longer lasting – that is, if we could provide animal evidence that “longer lasting” is not synonymous with “carcinogenic”.

    And that’s the world you want, Delft, that’s the world you think we should reasonably accept as “good enough”, that world with no way to make safe improvements, the world where our children will have to pay more in money, time, and health than they would if people like you didn’t stand in the way. People like you with your flawed judgement that you know more than the people who work with the lab mice do.

  381. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    @hotshoe
    Happily the EU has just raised the bar, so I’m not the only one who thinks it wasn’t high enough. They must all be stupid egotists, just like me…

    Sure, EU politicians are stupid egotists, just like you. That’s nothing to be proud of, you know.

  382. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    Nick Gotts –
    I have no idea why you suddenly decided you have to stick your oar in, but you’re as sad a sack of shit as any bible-botherer who struts around claiming to be superior because the other guy uses Bad Werdz.

    Sucks to be you, huh? The only way you can feel superior is to complain that I called someone else a fucking liar? Aww, break my heart.

  383. says

    I’m pretty sure that everybody is glad that we moved beyond that stage and that we can now get our stuff without testing it on more animals, but I don’t pretend that there was a stage A when there was a lot of animal testing and then a stage B when there wasn’t and the transition was just magic and actual fluffy bunnies.

    neither has anyone else in the conversation. the point is that we have moved on, and that therefore it is possible to avoid testing for many “new” consumer products.

    – – – –
    and on a separate note: I’m quite surprised to see such ardent defense of consumerist capitalism all of a sudden. do people actually believe that the deluge of new toothpastes etc. is actually a continuous stream of genuine improvements? especially in the case of looking “professionally”, which seems to demand a higher standard at a pace faster than any possible product improvements (is it a requirement yet to have your teeth whitened, or is that still in the future?)

  384. says

    Jadehawk

    neither has anyone else in the conversation. the point is that we have moved on, and that therefore it is possible to avoid testing for many “new” consumer products.

    Not true. Delft has explicitly argued against innovation as such.

    I’m quite surprised to see such ardent defense of consumerist capitalism all of a sudden. do people actually believe that the deluge of new toothpastes etc. is actually a continuous stream of genuine improvements?

    No. I’m pretty well aware that the innovation of the new innovative toothpaste is mostly the same as the natural in the natural cosmetics. But I’m not willing to throw out the baby with the bathwater. And to deny that innovation has happened would be to deny reality. And to go with “good enough” would be to go with a largely unsustainable economy/ecology.

  385. says

    Delft has explicitly argued against innovation as such.

    incorrect.

    And to go with “good enough” would be to go with a largely unsustainable economy/ecology.

    to go with “not good enough” will do exactly the same. you want sustainable, the only available answer is “less”. some of that will be accomplished with innovation, but a lot is really just going to have to be “less”, and consumer capitalism doesn’t do “less”.

  386. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My impression was that it’s because they believe that it’s impossible to stop companies making new products even if they’re completely superfluous.

    Nice to see your OPINION that we don’t need anything new. I like new and improved products, like the laundry soap that needs a tablespoon instead of a quarter cup. Apparently you don’t.

  387. Ink says

    @hillaryrettig 362

    I don’t know why you’d need “validation” for the fact that animal surgeries are typically shown in a tasteful manner. So are human surgeries. It really underlines your bias and your ignorance on this subject, that you would ever have assumed that animal handling WOULDN’T be dealt with using the same level of professionalism, compassion, and thoughtfulness that other biomedical procedures are.

  388. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If folks like Delft are so hep up on static cosmetic line, start your own company and make such products. Be sure to advertise your purity. In other words, quit expecting other people to do your bidding, and put your money where your mouth is. That’s called being a responsible person.

  389. Eristae says

    It’s possible that ARA’s fall for that kind of reasoning, just like anyone else may.

    They don’t fall for it, they create it.

    But a product that says it’s formula is unchanged since [long time ago] can also benefit.

    Companies don’t do that, in part because people don’t want old formulas. The same people who push for shampoos that weren’t tested on animals don’t push for old formulas. Until they do, companies won’t do this.

    And any company that could advertise it does no animal testing whatever, could benefit from the same advantage for all products by advertising that fact, even if all their products had originally been through animal testing.
    Personally, I would much prefer the second alternative, and I suspect so would ARAs.

    I think that a company that actually did this (put “we don’t test on animals” on products that had been tested on animals in the past before the policy went into effect) would get in really massive trouble with ARA community for false advertizing.

  390. brizian says

    @John

    This is outside the scope of your invitation, but… Do you know what has been the public reaction to this incident from official AR groups?

    I do keep an eye on what PETA is up to (so I know what to expect when people ask me about their recent exploits), as well as check in on the ALF website now and again (same reason). PETA basically said it was great and they encouraged people to ‘liberate’ more animals: http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2013/04/25/5-easy-things-help-animals-laboratories.aspx

    Oddly, I expected ALF to be all over it, but they haven’t posted about it as far as I’ve seen. They’re busy applauding some guy who tried to blow up a McDonalds.

    Sea Shepherd hasn’t said anything as far as I’ve seen. It’s outside their mission, although I wish they would publicly condemn it, since they have the biggest and most public voice outside of PETA.

    Basically what you’d expect. It seems like it’s gone mostly unnoticed by the media. Pharyngula is where I found out about it, likely the same as you. Part of the problem is that PETA basically sucks up all the donation money, which no doubt a lot of people wish was being put to better use. They’re too big to stop, and basically try to speak for the rest of us who really don’t want them speaking for us.

    For the record, I’m not really involved with any large international AR organizations; most of my activism has been very local, since it’s where I feel I’m doing the most good.

    @hotshoe

    Good, glad to hear it.
    Now it’s also important that you confront your fellow-traveler Hillary and set them straight on their more bizarre outbursts and lies about animal research.
    Or are you only here to complain about how mean people are for assuming you’re a terrorist like those others?

    Yes, my primary reason for posting here was to say “hey, don’t lump me in with them”. Do you have a problem with that?

    hillaryrettig probably thinks I am the same as the people experimenting on animals, since I support them. How am I supposed to ‘set her straight’? What would you have me say?

  391. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I have no idea why you suddenly decided you have to stick your oar in, but you’re as sad a sack of shit as any bible-botherer who struts around claiming to be superior because the other guy uses Bad Werdz.

    Sucks to be you, huh? The only way you can feel superior is to complain that I called someone else a fucking liar? – hotshoe

    You’re not taking part in a private conversation with Delft, shitbag; and it’s not at all difficult to feel superior to someone too stupid to recognize that deciding when causing animal suffering is justified is a matter of value judgement and not a simple matter of fact. If you weren’t quite so fucking stupid, you would also realize that the vast majority of “new” cosmetic products are simply marketing hype.

  392. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Companies don’t do that, in part because people don’t want old formulas. – Eristae

    [citation needed]

  393. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    It’s rather amusing to find people who in other contexts would be appropriately sceptical of corporate claims and interests, apparently convinced that whenever they introduce a “new” cosmetic, cleaning or for that matter medical product, manufacturers have the good of the consumer at heart.

  394. alwayscurious says

    http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/sectors/cosmetics/files/pdf/animal_testing/ia_at_2013_en.pdf
    (About halfway down, p20ish)

    The EU acknowledges that animal model replacements for “toxicokinetics, repeated-dose toxicity, carcinogenicity and reproductive toxicity” are generally not available for most cosmetics and no timeline could be estimated. Part of the reason the ban went into effect was they didn’t feel it ethical to continue indefinitely testing animals with no alternative model in sight.

    Approximately 4% of the ingredients in cosmetics were tested each year–some of this may still happen if the compounds overlap with another category still requiring animal research (food, medicine, etc). Approximately 0.4% of the ingredients introduced each year were novel. Companies may still try to introduce them or they may decide to play it safe & omit them. Either way, it’s a fully recognized possibility that the animal research in Europe on cosmetics simply shifted to other countries–which facilitates the research required by some within the wider international community. {~9000 animals were used per year}

    Further, this leaves the industry in a bind for resolving problems with existing materials–parabens were given as a class of compounds recently discovered to be troubling. But with the ban in place, the EU doesn’t have the ability now to actually test to see if they are a problem in cosmetics. Finally, this would ban virtually all nanomaterials because the regulatory bar is higher on nanomaterials (explicitly requiring those toxicology studies that have no alternative models). I’m not sure why you’d want nanomaterials in cosmetics, but the EU is giving them the cold shoulder for as long this law remains in effect.

    Slow clap for EU on cosmetics.

  395. David Marjanović says

    Nerd of Redhead seems to be often given a pass on behavior that non regulars would be excoriated for.

    That’s because we’re so used to it we just scroll through.

    Also, I think we got him to stop being ageist at least.

    Confession: I was a teenage vivisector. Well, not really […] Other days, yes: we killed them humanely (if sometimes heartbreakingly) and dissected out their hearts for tissue analysis.

    Well, if you did it in this order, you weren’t a vivisector.

    Also, while mice and rats are single species, “birds” is not. Neither is “fish” or “flies.”

    Well, for lab purposes, “mice”, “rats” and “flies” are all single species, and “birds” and “fish” maybe 2 or 3. There are plenty of species of mice and rats, just only one of each is used as a model organism (house mouse Mus domesticus, brown rat Rattus norvegicus – distinct from the house rat and the Pacific rat for instance).

    all of the murids and cricetids are ‘mice’ or ‘rats’

    The cricetids are hamsters. At least Cricetus itself is.

    It’s also why Dawkins (and many others) came out against vivisection:

    Vivisection means dissection while alive. Has that been done in the last 50 years?

  396. Anri says

    Jadehawk:

    neither has anyone else in the conversation. the point is that we have moved on, and that therefore it is possible to avoid testing for many “new” consumer products.

    …probably.

    And hey, that’s good enough, right?
    The new product doesn’t have and significant changes. And we know that because, even though it’s not tested or anything, we can trust corperations’ better judgement to determine if the change warrants a round of testing.
    Can’t we?

    and on a separate note: I’m quite surprised to see such ardent defense of consumerist capitalism all of a sudden.

    I suspect that it’s less a defense than a recognition of the reality of it.

    do people actually believe that the deluge of new toothpastes etc. is actually a continuous stream of genuine improvements?

    Given that fact that innovation itself appears to be a pretty good hook to sell products – even if the innovation itself is meaningless (or hopefully meaningless – if untested), it is an improvement from the company’s point of view: it sells better.

    especially in the case of looking “professionally”, which seems to demand a higher standard at a pace faster than any possible product improvements (is it a requirement yet to have your teeth whitened, or is that still in the future?)

    Well, I dunno.
    If you were to hire someone, would you be more inclined to hire the person with whiter teeth?
    Make certain you take unconscious bias into consideration when answering.

    It may not be a requirement, but it may very well be an advantage. Is that a silly, superficial, knee-jerk reaction towards an arbitrary goal of ever-shifting ‘professional appearance’? Yes.
    Does it make it more likely you get hired and therefore can cover your car payments/student loans/grocery bills if you cater to it?
    You tell me.

  397. Anri says

    bluh type fail

    …doesn’t have and significant…

    *any

    – – –

    …therefore can cover your…

    *able to

  398. Ichthyic says

    It’s already been done. So as long as we keep the recipe we don’t need more tests.

    you clowns don’t actually read what I write before responding, do you?

    go back and read all my posts in this thread again, Delft.

    then tell me what you missed.

  399. Ichthyic says

    AR activists are doing AR activism and it’s working.

    what this tells me is that animal rights activists are delusional.

    is that your take home message for us?

  400. Ichthyic says

    Or are you arguing that a life spent mainly in cages having your heart taxed in various ways is a great way to live?

    I can tell you the fish we worked with lived longer, had more mates and higher reproductive success than the average comparable individuals would have had in “the wild”.

    all you have to go on is projection.

    get yourself a real world measure objective measure of happiness, for ANY animal, and come back.

    until then, you have nothing but anthropomorphism going for you. Which, really, is what 99.999% of the animal rights activists DO have going for them.

    Guess who are the ones that actually DO try to get objective measures of what might constitute “happiness” for any given species?

    If you guessed animal rights activists, you’d be wrong, as usual.

  401. Ichthyic says

    I think that a company that actually did this (put “we don’t test on animals” on products that had been tested on animals in the past before the policy went into effect) would get in really massive trouble with ARA community for false advertizing.

    FWIW, I did some research on that a bit a few years back. It’s very very common for companies to claim “not tested on animals” for products that contain chemicals that already had been tested on animals before they were used in that company’s product.

    yes, it is false advertising, imo.

    no, I haven’t seen ARA groups bother with it.

    I have my suspicions as to why that is, but they would tend to be on the insulting side towards ARAs so I’ll just stop there.

  402. Ichthyic says

    do people actually believe that the deluge of new toothpastes etc. is actually a continuous stream of genuine improvements?

    you mean… 5 blades AREN’T better than one?

    nooooooo!!!!

  403. Amphiox says

    get yourself a real world measure objective measure of happiness, for ANY animal, and come back.

    To do that would require animal experimentation and testing….

    Vivisection means surgery while alive.

    ALL surgery is done while alive! “Surgery” done while not alive is dissection or necropsy (or autopsy for humans).

    Which is why the animal rights extremists are so dishonest in the use of that term.

    To have any distinct meaning at all, “vivisection” would need to be restricted to surgery without anesthesia.

  404. Ichthyic says

    Animal rights/welfare, vegetarianism/veganism do seem to be issues which bring out a lot of absolutely crap arguments on both sides here.

    says the man who has no argument at all.

  405. ChasCPeterson says

    The cricetids are hamsters.

    oh, right; I forgot about hamsters. So not all cricetids. But the Cricetidae does include all of the New World mice and rats–deer mice, cotton rats, woodrats, etc. etc.
    Also, now that I think about it, voles. (Which most folks would also call a ‘mouse’.)

  406. ChasCPeterson says

    ALL surgery is done while alive!

    ha, excellent point.
    (yeah, we did surgery. Really cool surgery.)

  407. Rob Grigjanis says

    Amphiox @431:

    Which is why the animal rights extremists are so dishonest in the use of that term.

    To have any distinct meaning at all, “vivisection” would need to be restricted to surgery without anesthesia.

    What exactly is dishonest, and where did you get your definitional restriction from? Vivisection includes, among other things, surgery on healthy animals, and surgery on deliberately injured animals, both for teaching purposes. I was merely correcting Marjanović’s mistaken notion that it means only dissection of living animals. If you object to the definition, or to the word, feel free to offer an alternative.

  408. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Vivisection includes, among other things, surgery on healthy animals, and surgery on deliberately injured animals, both for teaching purposes.

    Citation needed, or where did you get your definition?

    If you object to the definition, or to the word, feel free to offer an alternative.

    One supported by real evidence, not just personal OPINION. Which is why you should have linked to your source.

  409. Rob Grigjanis says

  410. John Morales says

    [semi-OT]

    Rob, ARAs are clearly using that specific term because it connotes torture and is thus emotionally charged, and present it as typical of animal experimentation.

    Pfft puts it well:

    Vivisection (from Latin vivus, meaning “alive”, and sectio, meaning “cutting”) is defined as surgery conducted for experimental purposes on a living organism, typically animals with a central nervous system, to view living internal structure. The term is sometimes more broadly defined as any experimentation on live animals (see animal testing.)[1][2][3] The term is often used by organizations opposed to animal experimentation[4] but is rarely used by practicing scientists.[2][5] Human vivisection has been perpetrated as a form of torture.

    I was merely correcting Marjanović’s mistaken notion that it means only dissection of living animals.

    You quibble about the term ‘dissection’ because it can refer to surgery, not just dismantling, but not about it only applying to the living.

  411. Rob Grigjanis says

    John, your definition of “quibble” interests me, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. :)

    We abuse other species for our benefit. Do we really have to “quibble” about what words we use for that? Fact is, we generally treat lab animals much better than we treat the animals we eat. Any description of how our food is treated would have to be preceded by “trigger warning”.

    BTW, Nerd, my response to you is “awaiting moderation”. Citation needed for what that means.

  412. Amphiox says

    What exactly is dishonest, and where did you get your definitional restriction from?

    It is dishonest because the term “vivisection” carries with it historical emotional implications linked to torture of humans without anesthesia which the animal rights extremist seek to exploit, in contrast with how animal surgeries are currently done.

    This “definitional restriction” you blather about is what would be necessary to make the use of the term intellectually honest. Note that I said intellectually honest, NOT “definitionally accurate”. Note also that I said would need to be in my original post, not “is”. In other words I applied NO definitional “restriction” whatsoever. I only described the conditional context in which the use of the loaded term “vivisection” would be considered intellectually honest. In the absence of this conditional, the term is NOT definitionally restricted, merely dishonest.

    YOUR use of the phrase “definitional restriction”, though is quite intellectually dishonest, in the manner in which you deliberately ignored my conditional and tried to construe an absolute to my words.

    I kindly request that you apologize now for deliberately misrepresenting me in this fashion.

    If you object to the definition, or to the word, feel free to offer an alternative.

    I already have. The alternative term is “surgery”.

  413. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Rob Grigjanis:

    We abuse other species for our benefit. Do we really have to “quibble” about what words we use for that?

    Actually, you were the quibbler. :)

    (But yes, words matter because meaning matters)

  414. Rob Grigjanis says

    Amphiox @439:

    This “definitional restriction” you blather about is what would be necessary to make the use of the term intellectually honest.

    “necessary” and “would need to be” don’t not imply any restriction. Right.

    I kindly request that you apologize now for deliberately misrepresenting me in this fashion.

    Fuck off. Kindly.

  415. Amphiox says

    Do we really have to “quibble” about what words we use for that?

    Right. Because the difference between intellectually honest and intellectually dishonest language is just a “quibble”.

    And racist code-words are just a “quibble”.

    Pro-life code-words like “unborn child” and “baby killer” are just “quibbles”.

    Because that is exactly what the term “vivisection” as used by the animal rights extremists is. A code word.

  416. John Morales says

    As Amphiox notes.

    Example: VVV.animalliberationfront.com/Practical/Shop–ToDo/Shopping/BoycottTestedProduct.htm

    Here’s a representative sample:

    Besides legally protecting their monopoly, vivisectors have tried to suppress unorthodox treatments, as seen in the recent ‘announcement that 13 eminent scientists had sent a circular letter to National Health Trusts to persuade them not to fund “complementary” medicines’ (Arkangel).

    To ensure that the public accepts the pro-vivisection view unquestioningly, ‘[t]he Department of Health even recommends the RDS in its response to public inquiries into animal testing!’ (Lyons); informing us, for instance, that ‘the Research Defence Society, whose membership comprises medical researchers, doctors and vets, supports the use of animals in medical research. The Society’s website is ” (Corbett). Not satisfied with its own propaganda plus media bias, the government has resorted to censorship.

  417. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    BTW, Nerd, my response to you is “awaiting moderation”. Citation needed for what that means.

    Gee, what an unobservant person. If you had a post go to moderation, either you had six or more links, which is general knowledge, or you had something that set off PZ’s spam filter. I occasionally run afoul of that myself, and its hard to figure out since PZ doesn’t publish what is in his spam filter. In fact, there is no citation because of that, not because I haven’t looked.

    But it does indicate your citations may be from questionable sources, not standard dictionary sources.

  418. Rob Grigjanis says

    But it does indicate your citations may be from questionable sources, not standard dictionary sources.

    This place could field a world class conclusion-jumping team. Yeah, it’s probably six or more links. How is that general knowledge? Oh yeah, because it’s in comment 45 in the “commenting rules” thread. How could I not have caught that until just now? Maybe there should be a General Knowledge link.

  419. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @440:

    Actually, you were the quibbler. :)

    (But yes, words matter because meaning matters)

    I was the quibbler, according to you. Yes, meaning matters. If you don’t like the emotionally charged use of “vivisection”, come up with something that describes pedagogical operations on healthy or deliberately wounded animals, and distinguishes them from investigative/corrective operations on members of our species. Wouldn’t that be the intellectually honest thing to do?

  420. John Morales says

    [OT + meta]

    Rob Grigjanis:

    I was the quibbler, according to you.

    Do you deny you were quibbling? :)

    If you don’t like the emotionally charged use of “vivisection”, come up with something that describes pedagogical operations on healthy or deliberately wounded animals, and distinguishes them from investigative/corrective operations on members of our species.

    When you wrote “Fact is, we generally treat lab animals much better than we treat the animals we eat”, you evinced that you are a vivisectionist.

    Wouldn’t that be the intellectually honest thing to do?

    The intellectually honest thing to do is to keep the usage to actual vivisection and vivisectionists, and not employ it as a metonym for animal experimentation or those who don’t unequivocally and universally outright reject animal experimentation.

  421. Rob Grigjanis says

    Do you deny you were quibbling?

    Yes.

    The intellectually honest thing to do is to keep the usage to actual vivisection and vivisectionists

    John, you’re way too subtle for a peasant like me. How do you define “vivisection”?

  422. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Rob Grigjanis:

    [1] John, you’re way too subtle for a peasant like me. [2] How do you define “vivisection”?

    1. So subtle that I couch my subtlety as straight-forward statements.

    (My #444 was intended to be the opposite of subtle)

    2. See, when @438 I wrote “Pfft puts it well: [Vivisection (from Latin vivus, meaning “alive”, and sectio, meaning “cutting”) is defined as […]]” I was ever-so-subtly endorsing that definition.

    (Too subtly for you, apparently)

  423. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @448:

    The intellectually honest thing to do is to keep the usage to actual vivisection and vivisectionists, and not employ it as a metonym for animal experimentation or those who don’t unequivocally and universally outright reject animal experimentation.

    John @450:

    I was ever-so-subtly endorsing that definition [@438]

    From definition @438:

    The term is sometimes more broadly defined as any experimentation on live animals

    John @450:

    (Too subtly for you, apparently)

    Obviously!

  424. Ichthyic says

    Fact is, we generally treat lab animals much better than we treat the animals we eat.

    you say this as though it is unexpected, given that typically in research, the best results are obtained by consistent application of good animal welfare protocols.

    meat production is an entirely different thing in many cases.

    that said, I think there is growing awareness that animal welfare (or at least the popular perception of it) DOES come into the bottom line calculations, even in meat production. Pushes for free range chickens and eggs, for example, allow producers to charge more for their products which more than cover the increased costs of allowing more room for chickens to move about, etc.

    hell, even the idea that somehow brown eggs are “better” or “more natural” than white eggs has entirely driven the industry here in New Zealand towards nearly complete brown egg production, and the idea that free range eggs are also better than cage production eggs (it’s really just differences in feed mostly) is also pushing egg production methods in different directions.

    People can move the marketplace themselves, in whichever way they choose. Well, provided there’s a choice, anyway. Doesn’t have to even be a sound idea (like the brown eggs vs white eggs).

  425. Ichthyic says

    The term is sometimes more broadly defined as any experimentation on live animals

    amazing how popular definitions can transcend the originals, eh?

    doesn’t mean it should be the one used though, unless argumentum ad populum is fiat.

  426. John Morales says

    Rob:

    The term is sometimes more broadly defined as any experimentation on live animals

    Why yes!

    Sometimes, by some people, and I provided a neat example to which you are yet to comment upon.

    (When I buy my dog “beef-flavoured” crunchy treats to see if he likes them better than the regular ones, I don’t really think I’m vivisecting him. Do you?)

  427. Rob Grigjanis says

    I don’t really think I’m vivisecting him. Do you?

    No, but I wonder whether he might sometimes think of it as an option.

  428. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Rob:

    No, but I wonder whether he might sometimes think of it as an option.

    You’re projecting; I haven’t done to him what I am doing to you, so there’s no reason for him to think as you do.

    (You’re also trying to evade the apprehension of its metonymic usage, and it’s sad to see you thus reduced)

  429. Rob Grigjanis says

    It was a joke, John. What you’re doing to me is simply avoidance, with smoke and mirrors. You contradicted yourself, and can’t admit it.

  430. John Morales says

    Rob, your attempted levity and my retort to it aside, do you or do you not accept that using ‘vivisectionist’ to refer to someone not against all animal experimentation is intellectually dishonest?

    (If so, do you deny that’s how it’s frequently employed polemically?)

  431. Rob Grigjanis says

    do you or do you not accept that using ‘vivisectionist’ to refer to someone not against all animal experimentation is intellectually dishonest?

    It’s either dishonest or illiterate, but why are you asking me? It’s not what I was addressing. I don’t read ALF sites, so I don’t know how frequently it’s used in that sense.

  432. punkypine says

    I’m saddened and dismayed that so many people typically capable of a respectable level of eloquence and thoughtfulness in their arguments have so utterly failed in this thread.

    (and like the wimp she is, she bows out of the conversation without contributing anything more than her words of disapproval.)

  433. says

    I’ve only skimmed over the discussion, so excuse me if this or something similar has been said before…

    Returning to the question of what do those people think they achieve in the original blog post: I don’t think they’re as deluded as to believe that those particular animals they “freed” will have a long and happy life after that. What they probably want is for the opportunistic cost of animal testing to become prohibitive. They reckon that’s what would happen if a lot of other people took to their example (they don’t seem to realise that intrusive animal testing is pretty much always a last resort as is), and they reckon that a lot of people might take to their example because they’ve subscribed to the old, and long disproved, anarchist theory of “propaganda of the deed” (look it up on wiki for an overview).

    Whatever you think about his later role, Leon Trotsky pretty much said all that needs to be said about that theory’s foundations years before he became famous, in an article for a local party paper while in exile in Vienna.