jseah wrote:Yes, the police are not pressing charges.
I don't imagine they're going to hand over more animals at the same time as pressing charges.The article in question wrote:No arrests have been made following the 12-hour drama, which took place on Saturday, although the university says that it will press charges against the protesters.
I also don't imagine the protestors had any illusions that they would hand over additional animals after they left.
Izawwlgood wrote:I am curious to hear hawks response to my post, because I'm under the impression that they have a very incorrect view of what animal testing actually encompasses and how it is conducted, as I indicated in that post.
... is the sole reason I'm replying. Defending a deeply unpopular position you're not particularly committed to feels pretty exhausting - but actually having somebody want you to? Sure, I'll give it a shot.
To be clear (in a way I didn't even attempt to be in my other posts): I don't really know what to think of animal testing for medically useful or potentially medically useful purposes. I've got too many conflicting intuitions, and conclusions either way in all but the most clear-cut scenarios leave me feeling incredibly, incredibly uncomfortable. I don't have any particular sympathy for the Stop Green Hill researchers. I'm also aware most reseachers aren't heartless, cruel monsters; more than one member of my family and more than one friend have or are currently involved in animal research. Each of them holds the completely functional attitude of professional detachment which is occasionally momentarily broken when, for example, noticing that the stomach of a pregnant, recently-euthanised mouse is still moving about a minute after said euthanasia. I would feel terrible if any one of them lost months, let alone years, of research. I'm being difficult and badly paraphrasing some chunks of Peter Singer's Animal Liberation not because I think I personally have anything worth contributing here, but because I find the whole attitude represented in the article and the smug, self-satisfied circle-jerk that is this thread deeply, deeply irritating. And yes, this is largely because I have a chip on my shoulder:
In grade 4, I watched a doco on the McLibel trial. Part of it inadvertently drove home the message that "burgers are the corpses of mistreated cows!", and fuck, my brain couldn't resolve that cognitive dissonance. So I stopped eating meat, and being the social fuckwitted child I was, decided to research, practice and deliver a 10-minute speech during class time on the ethically shoddy practices of McDonalds. During question time, somebody asked if I was a vegetarian, and I said I was.
This went down about as well as you'd expect. Even though I very, very quickly learned to not bring vegetarianism up and certainly not defend it, I immediately went from being a generic, well-liked kid to the subject of moderately serious bullying that extended, in one way or another, until the end of high school. This ranged from childish and annoying (shoving meat in my face, loudly remarking how delicious that meat pie was, constant attempts to prove me wrong through saying stupid shit like "you're going to die because you can't live without meat"), genuinely nasty (finding a bunch of pictures of dead and/or dismembered animals, name-calling, concerted efforts to get a rise out of me) and physically violent (the kind that leaves you winded, not the kind that leaves you bleeding.)
Since grade 3, every time I get asked why I'm a vegetarian I say something completely self-deprecating. The responses, though, are more often than not the same kind of idiocy I'd hear in primary school - "But don't you know that they are DEAD ANYWAY? Don't you know that animals don't feel pain? Don't you know that your choices are WRONG?" No matter how flippantly you explain your decision, most people just can't wait to let you know how wrong you are.
My mother-in-law, drunk, has shouted some stupid shit along the lines of "There's no way I'm letting my daughter procreate with a fucking vegetarian."
In my experience, I have never, ever met a vegetarian or vegan nearly as obnoxious as meat-eaters. It's just that you lucky meat-eaters only have obnoxiousness directed towards you by the tiny subset of the population that doesn't eat meat, and so we kinda stick out.
It also seems to me like these kinds of experiences leave you with a pretty shitty range of options. Either 1) give up on your beliefs and choke down meat until it feels normal again, 2) work hard to conceal them ("I just don't like the taste"; "It's a health thing") and settle for opting out of a system that seems straightforwardly evil rather than trying to change it, or 3) become increasingly angry and frustrated. I chose 2.
Even though I'm not condoning what the Stop Green Hill folks did, I can kinda understand why people who chose option 3 end up wanting to fuck other people's shit up.
Anyway. I wish there was somebody properly to make the case against animal testing posting in this thread. I'm not, because - again - all I've got is a mess of ugly feelings both ways. Still, in their absence I'll give it my best.
Izawlgood wrote:1 ) All animal experimentation goes through a review board. There are certainly examples of organizationis failing to meet those standards, but they are the outliers. If you wanted to make a factual statement, it should have read 'very few animal trials cause significant amounts of pain'.
I don't know how many behavioral experiments are around at the moment that involve inflicting pain for the sake of measuring behavioral responses - probably not very many? - but pain, sickness, per-euthanasia death seem pretty common in some of the experiments I'm familiar with. It's also not like animals undergoing experimental procedures, especially 'lower' ones like mice and rats, are routinely given analgesics or other painkillers when they undergo experimental procedures. Possibly partly because the expression of pain is so different in these animals? Mice, I know, tend to behave normally, but with some very subtle quivering.
(I think, though I could be misremembering, that this was determined by inflicting different degrees of injury on a cohort of mice, then examining their behaviors.)
izawlgood wrote:2 ) Review board; pain minimized, animals sacrificed humanely. The more you post the more I'm under the impression you get all your information from PETA.
Is this any different to point 1?
Oh, right, I see. The barbed insult about getting my information from PETA.
Look - I have no loyalty to PETA. I'm not familiar with them, outside of people loudly criticising such-and-such thing they've done - always, in the cases I'm familiar with, completely trivial things that people simply don't get outraged about unless it's PETA doing it. ("They advertise using scantily-clad women? I might have been seen 50 other examples of this today, I'm going to direct ALL my outrage at THIS one!") But that "you must read PETA" somehow counts as an insult seems, to me, to speak volumes on how completely marginalised even weak animal rights / strong animal welfare groups are.
More to the point: As many, many other posters have already pointed out, 'pain minimised' and 'sacrificed humanely' means very, very little if you believe we have about as much right to humanely euthanise and arbitrarily inflict (minimised) pain on animals as on people. It doesn't have to be a case of 'do it better' so much as 'don't use sentient beings in this way, unless - maybe - there's a really, really good reason to.'
izawlgood wrote: ) You seem to be under the impression that people go into science because experimenting on animals is fun. You are wrong. The claim that the vast bulk of experimentation is conducted with no intent to produce results of significance is a statement as ludicriously fallacious as the claim that 'most business owners enjoy lighting their inventory on fire'. Again, all animal research goes through a review board, and any research project that isn't supported by strong logic and previous findings isn't going to be approved for animal testing.
I don't think anybody is under that impression. They are, however, under the impression that the threshold that needs to be crossed before research on animals can be justified is far, far, far too low, and also that 'significance within a certain highly specialised field' =/= significant enough to justify inflicting harm on animals. The behavioral experiments I paraphrased Singer on? He (and I) put them forward as radical examples of non-malicious, genuinely curious people attaching practically no value on the suffering they were producing. This - not the high proportion of evil scientists - is the problem, and it's a problem that extends far beyond research.
Besides, it's not like there's anything particularly unique about publishing for the sake of publication and career advancements; some very successful academics I'm familiar with have made whole careers out of writing, essentially, very slight variations of the same thing in a broad range of first, second and third-tier journals. (Presumably, the manuscripts aren't always reviewed by somebody familiar with their work.)
Re: the last sentence -
ABC Radio wrote:Natasha Mitchell: So tell us about that epiphany you've had in your own field/research.
Mike Calford: Well this came about from analysis that my colleagues at National Stroke Research Institute Geoff Don and David Howes undertook, they were concerned that a number of animal experiments had suggested some drugs would be useful as first aid treatments in stroke, a particular sort of stroke an ischemic stroke, that's where a blood supply is stopped to part of the brain. And in a number of animal experiments it said yes, certain drugs would be useful but when these went to human trial they proved not to be useful. They went back and reanalysed the animal experiments using this meta analysis method and what they found is that really there was very little efficacy in those experiments. And that was essentially because of bad design in those experiments.
Natasha Mitchell: You're talking about something like nearly 8,500 studies and really no outcome, and quite a lot of animals, quite a lot of simulated strokes in various animal models.
Let's interpret this from the hypothetical perspective of somebody who might want to trash a research lab.Izawlgood wrote:4 ) Wrong; the worst the protestors did was destroy promising data that may have led new therapies. This represents more than just a few years of inconveniencing some people; ever see the movie 'Medicine Man'? We have no way of knowing (and now, never will!) if one of those mice had a mutation that could have unlocked part of the mystery of some human neurological disorder, and it is entirely possible that such a mutation won't pop up again when the lines are restored.
Your argument - which jseah made much better up here - is that... it's impossible to tell which research will directly or indirectly contribute useful, breakthrough knowledge we can use to help people. Therefore, even when the importance of animal research is not direct or obvious, we should carry it out.
We have 22 million people in Australia. We use almost 7 million research animals annually (excluding insects - the majority are fish, mice and rats). For somebody who cares about the wellbeing of these animals about as much as the wellbeing of these people, something seems pretty obviously wrong with this ratio.
izawlgood wrote:5 ) The problem with these activists is that they have thrust their morality in the livelihoods of others, and you're here getting bent out of shape because we have the audacity to condemn the activists for their actions. So, yes, what I would like to do is thrust that bunny in their face and demand to know why they think it's worth more than a human life; it is quite evident that they haven't thought about it very carefully.
Everybody hates people opposed to animal testing - so they are willing to smush together a mix of good, bad, staggeringly bad, and contradictory arguments together, then give themselves a nice little pat on the back for a job well done. This bugs me.
What bugs me more: The refusal to even attempt to figure out why people would act like this, short of - what - them being juvenile, idiotic and ignorant?
What bugs me the most: those repeated suggestions that the protestors / PETA / animal rights people in general are actually working against their interests by alienating people from their cause - and that they should, say, go ahead and get a job on an ethics committee.
But the cause they're alienating people from is your cause, not theirs. And people are already as alienated as they're going to get. Even the most cautious, watered-down animal rights stuff that filters through to the Australian media is automatically met with a barrage of abuse and outright hostility. Accordingly, most of the few essayists I've read on animal rights are so gentle, so thoughtful, so careful to raise questions but never make a point or conclude an argument - fine qualities, sure, but qualities we don't expect from people writing on any other issue. But animal rights isn't like any other issue - it's the kind of issue that makes you the subject of mockery, ridicule and violence from people who don't even begin to understand what your position is, or what it could be. The behaviour on display in that article and in this thread is, it seems to me, basically the exact same kind of behaviour that pushes people so far into the margins of a truly sick society that they are willing to predictably face relatively serious charges in order to deliver a neat little 'fuck you' to the people who have proven incapable of even figuring out what it is they're saying.