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Jan 15, 2006

Caught in the Line of Fire: Animal Rights Activists Take Over Oxford

When I walked outside this Saturday, January 14, it was clear that something was going on in Oxford. Although the heavy gray sky, cold wind, and wet ground were nothing out of the ordinary, a sea of fluorescent yellow police uniforms dominated the landscape. The entire science area was gated off, entry only allowed at two highly guarded points. Tension was in the air.

Actually, I didn’t even need to leave my building to know what was going on, as I was greeted at the door by a new poster:

SERCURITY:
DUE TO ANIMAL RIGHTS PROTESTS THE RED DOORS ARE TO STAY CLOSED TO TODAY.
THANKYOU
[sic]

Later that afternoon, the animal rights group SPEAK would be holding a national demonstration in Oxford, and a fear of potentially violent activity had motivated the extensive security presence. Although the numbers would be much larger than normal, animal rights protesters are a common site in Oxford, and have been since March 2004, when construction began on a new biomedical research center where animal research will take place. Although progress on the building had stalled for 18 months—due to intimidation tactics by the animal rights groups, including threats to the contractor and its workers—construction resumed at the end of November 2005. Although the University of Oxford claims that the new building will only consolidate current research and provide more humane facilities, the protesters have latched onto this new more tangible symbol of animal research.

The presence of such security, although excessive, was understandable, since animal rights groups in Oxford have resorted to destructive tactics in the past. Last year, on July 4, the Animal Liberation Front burned down an Oxford boathouse causing damage estimated at ₤500,000, later warning in its statement claiming responsibility for the attack that nothing the University of Oxford owns is off limits. Although the SPEAK leadership denied involvement, it also refused to condemn the action. SPEAK could be construed as showing additional support for violent acts by publishing photos online of the construction workers (who mask their faces to protect their identities) and writing threatening letters to contractors and others associated with the building project.

If repetition alone were enough to spur someone into action, turning on his or her own peers, the new research center would have long ago been torn down by a clambering mass of biochemists, chemists, environmental scientists, pathologists, and plant scientists—following the incessant cries of “Stop the Oxford Animal Lab!” repeated over and over again through a loudspeaker just outside their windows all day every Thursday. So far that hasn’t happened, though, so the demonstration went on as planned.

At about 12:30, I turned the corner onto Broad Street, where the demonstrators were gathering. I was immediately struck by the boundary of yellow-clad police officers surrounding the protesters. In fact, the number of security personnel, members of the media, and casual observers may have surpassed that of actual demonstrators, but more protesters arrived over the next hour, carrying signs with such slogans as “vivisection is scientific fraud” and “we cannot cure humans by torturing animals.”

“It’s just people taking photographs of other people taking photographs of them,” noted Charlie Taylor, a graduate student studying biochemistry at Oxford, observing the large proliferation of cameras at the demonstration. In addition to the media and the protesters trying to document the occasion, even a few police officers sported some very nice cameras that succeeded in giving me an acute case of camera envy.

Then the speakers began, with the leader of the protest attempting to rile up the crowd. “We can think for ourselves, be unpredictable, and take the fight to you,” he yelled. “If you think I’m trying to incite people, that’s exactly what I’m doing.” After the crowed had been excited, the organizers lined the protesters up to begin marching.

By the time the march began, I estimated a crowd of about 300 to 400 people, well short of SPEAK’s stated goal of 600 people. The march proceeded at a lazy pace down Broad Street and on to Park Road, boxed in by police officers, but somehow I was swept away with it—an Oxford scientists’ worst nightmare.

Things didn’t get interesting, though, until the demonstration turned onto South Parks Road, the street leading to the biomedical research center construction site. Blocking the street halfway down South Parks Road was a makeshift metal fence backed up by about 25 police officers, some on horseback, with more on the way. The protesters had different plans, though, and as soon as they reached the fence things really heated up. The fence went down almost immediately as clashes between officers and protesters broke out. The protesters succeeded in driving the line back 10 to 20 meters before their progress halted.

The speakers soon started again, including the leader of the protest, two other animal rights activist, and an Oxford alumnus. While alumnus Matthew Simpson was more philosophical and insightful, the other speakers focused most of their energy toward inciting the crowd, insulting the police, and even making thinly veiled threats.

“I’m going to use telepathy here because I want them to think about what’s got us here, and I’m not just talking about demonstrations and listening to speakers,” said speaker John Curtain, describing the success the animal rights movement had in stalling construction on the building. “I have to use telepathy because I can’t say these things out loud, since they have an injunction against us.”

As the speeches went on, protesters continued to clash with police, causing the police to eventually bring in backup officers in riot gear. Although the clashes demonstrated a need for a police presence on South Parks Road to prevent the protesters from attacking the biomedical research center, the enormous numbers of officers present in general seemed unnecessary, and probably intended to intimidate the protesters. With that said, the police showed great restraint in the face of constant taunting. I did not even witness any arrests, although the BBC reported five.

Eventually, the leader instructed the protesters to head back into town, toward the Oxford town hall. Tensions had decreased considerably by this point, and I was able to talk to several of the protesters and observers. Earlier, I had noticed that although there were some people of roughly university student age in the demonstration, the average age of the protesters was about 40. None of the protesters I talked to were students at the University of Oxford, but I did find some who were watching the protests.

“I understand what they’re trying to say,” one student said, “but I’m not personally against animal research.”

According to another student, the protest was “quite powerful.” However, she noted that she believes the decision comes down to whether we are going to cure cancer or not, and she chooses the former.

The first student later added “I’m amazed at their dedication, but I would like to see it directed somewhere else.”

Amanda Sullivan had traveled to Oxford from London for a different reason: she was here to keep an eye on her daughter, Hanna, a secondary school student who wanted to participate in the protests. Although she was not an active participant in the protest and was not sure exactly where she stood on the issue, she added that “nobody wants an animal to suffer.” Sullivan was unsure whether the protest would be effective because the protesters were so aggressive. Instead, she thought the way her daughter, a vegan (someone who does not consume or use animal products), had gone about it was much more effective, constantly approaching her mother with new information.

“See, I’m even wearing vegan boots today,” Sullivan said, pointing at otherwise unremarkable footwear. When asked what they were made of, though, she conceded that she didn’t know. Still, her point is interesting, since some studies have demonstrated that fear, a tool used extensively by the animal rights activists, can be effective at compelling people into action, but only those already converted. Those who are undecided or against a cause are rarely won over using fear tactics.

That’s bad news for the animal rights activists, since a recent poll conducted in December 2005 by the Research Defense Society showed that 55% of people in the United Kingdom support the use of animals in medical research. The support at The University of Oxford is much higher. A poll conducted by the Cherwell, an Oxford student newspaper, in November 2005 found that 86% of students support animal research and 84.8% believe that the new biomedical research building should be completed. If one of the goals of SPEAK and other groups is to win people over, then they are not likely to enjoy much success, at least not if they continue using the same tactics. Of course, if they are only interested in achieving goals by intimidating researchers and workers, then they might enjoy more success in that arena.

I was able to interview several protesters, although all but one insisted on remaining anonymous. With a few minor differences, they shared similar views on most of the issues at hand, although they varied in some key ways from the leaders of the demonstration. All of the protesters I talked to were vegetarians or vegans, and they attended the protest because they were against almost any use of animals in general.

Since SPEAK heavily features primate research in its literature, using particularly graphic pictures, I assumed that the demonstration participants would make a distinction between primate research, which is fairly rare, and mouse research, which is much more common. That wasn’t the case.

“All animals are the same. All animals are capable of feeling suffering,” said one anonymous protester.

Although this view is consistent with their personal philosophies, it brings up an interesting question. Why does SPEAK rely so heavily on attacking primate research? This is especially misleading, since according to the University of Oxford, 98% of the animals in the new biomedical research center will be rodents or fish. This is true for animal research in general, the vast majority of which is conducted on mice.

I also expected that many of the protesters would have a bias against funding scientific research in general, but this was not the case either. In fact, the protesters I talked to seemed worried that animal research was taking away funding from more important research. Since less than one-fourth of biomedical research involves animals, though, that is unlikely, especially since animal research yields important information that scientists cannot find in other ways.

When asked whether they would take medications that had been developed through animal testing, most of the protesters I talked to said that they would.

“Refusing medication doesn’t do anything,” said one anonymous protester. “If that person died he couldn’t protest anymore.” Another said that she would have to take the drugs due to a lack of alternatives. On the other hand, Anne Ram, a protester from Bedfordshire, said that she refuses to take medications in general.

The protesters I interviewed were not particularly enthusiastic about the use of violence and intimidation in the animal rights movement, although one woman said that it has been “both effective and ineffective.” This puts many of the protesters at odds with the leaders of these organizations, who openly advocate intimidation tactics and who focused much of their speeches at the rally on intimidating and taunting the police.

Although I thought I might be able to find some common ground between protesters and researchers, I came away empty handed. By calling animal research “torture” and “vivisection” the protesters preclude themselves from participating in any rational discussion on ways to improve animal research to ensure even further that it is humane. Surprisingly, a common sentiment among the activists is that the researchers actually enjoy hurting animals.

“They go in there because that’s what they want to do: kill animals,” said Ram.

Although the protesters made many good points at the demonstration, this viewpoint regarding the motivation of scientists demonstrates a sharp disconnect with reality. I am not sure what would lead people to this point, believing that every scientist who does any research on animals does so because he or she wants to hurt and kill animals—not because he or she wants to cure diseases in humans and animals—but regardless of whether they are just extremely pessimistic or have just listened to too much propaganda, it will be extremely difficult or impossible to reach a compromise with people who hold such unyielding views.

By the time the protest march had made its way back to Broad Street, on its way to the town hall, I was tired. The three hours I had been at the demonstration had been exhilarating, but also exhausting. I don’t know what happened after I left, but the protest had been slowly dying down since leaving South Parks Road, so probably not too much.

I had learned a lot by this point, though, and much of it was unexpected. I was surprised that the motivations and goals of the protesters seemed to differ so much from those of the protest leaders. Despite the temptation, we should not globally label these activists as violent. In fact, the protesters were for the most part very peaceful, although the leaders succeeded in inciting some of them. Still, in the end it is up to these more peaceful people to wrestle control of their organizations away from the more violent leaders.

Based on the tactics they use and the message they send across, the leaders in particular do not appear interested in winning over new supporters, instead focusing on using the manpower they already have to intimidate. If this strategy continues, the animal rights movement will probably not grow but will instead decline.

Most importantly, I found that the protesters were firmly set in an extreme ideology. They were not there to protest what they thought were particularly inhumane types of animal research, and they were not even necessarily there to protest animal research in general. Instead, protested because they disagree with most uses or “exploitation” of animals, including eating them, regardless of how humane the methods are. Although I admire them for having such a consistent philosophy, this indicates that negotiations or compromise with these organizations will be virtually impossible. Although the science community should not ignore these protesters, scientists should not try to win the animal rights activists over and should instead focus on helping the general public understand their science and the motivations behind it.

In the past, animal rights activism has done great things for society, insuring that animal research is conducted to a reasonable ethical standard. The United States, the United Kingdom, and many other countries have specific laws governing the conditions under which research on animals or humans can be undertaken. In addition, individual universities have their own ethical review boards for the same purpose. Although I believe the ethical bar could be set even higher, I don’t believe that calling for an end to all research on animals, and using intimidation or violence to achieve those means, will accomplish that. While activists have spurred important changes in the past, the current animal rights activists probably will not. In the meantime, the University of Oxford has presented the protesters with a better symbol to direct their energies against than they could have ever asked for.


Additional Information

This article from the Cherwell provides background on the current controversy.

Adventures in Ethics and Science has recently published several good discussions on animal research:
“Professional Duties, Personal Convictions”
“Just Because They’re Out to Get You Doesn’t Mean They Don’t Have a Point”
“Is All Animal Research Inhumane?”


Update 24 February 20:42 GMT: I have made one correction to this post, based on information I came across when I was adapting this post into an article for Oxford’s ISIS magazine. I had thought I heard speaker Matthew Simpson introduced as an Oxford professor, but I later learned after reading multiple accounts in The Oxford Student that he was in fact just a graduate of the university (although he claimed to speak for the entire university).

23 Comments:

  • Dear ScientificActivist,

    At the heart of your posting is a line of your own thought that perhaps gives insight into the mind's instinctive course in pursuing the means for change.

    "...it is up to these more peaceful people to wrestle control of their organizations away from the more violent leaders."

    May I ask if your choice of the word "wrestle" was meant intentionally as an allusion to the physical nature that the protests you are reporting on have taken? Or perhaps it was an unintentionally ironic piece of advice for the "peaceful people" who are as unimpressed by direct action activism as the rest of us? Maybe at heart you would also consider less eloquent courses of action if you wanted to see circumstances change in an arena close to your heart. When "words have failed", a common cry from those keen to propagate illegal infringements, it seems a popular recourse is to convince oneself and others that the only alternative is to attack the very bricks of the target establishment. And if people get hurt when the bricks fall, so be it.

    In fact the demand for alternative means is not the sole province of these protesters. While the protesters call for the exploration and exploitation of alternative experimental procedures, those affected by the violent and threatening behaviour of activists would advise protesters to pursue alternative avenues of protest. In the case of animal experimentation, attacking the building where animals would be used makes no difference to the law that demands the testing of new drugs on animals as part of the drug development process. While the protesters are no doubt aware of this, it is a point worth mentioning that their focus is on the end-providers rather than the sources of demand - ultimately the consumers, whether they be pet owners, meat eaters or medicine users. I would be surprised if amongst some of the protesters there were not several owners of dogs and cats bred exclusively for the amusement of their owners, owners who I would bet use drugs for their ill pets that were tested on other animals. The fact that pet-lovers frequent these protests is one that highlights the spectrum of views held within the protest march. Maybe they would be best advised to make an alternative protest organisation where they could explicitly state their aims rather than wave banners while watching on as life-threatening behaviour is carried out in their name.

    I would finally ask if you could imagine a circumstance in which using violence would be a justified means to enforce a change in your opponent. I imagine some protesters will read your posting and would be interested to know if you find violent rebellion untenable per se or just unjustified in this case.

    Many thanks,

    ArmchairInactivist

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jan 16, 03:44:00 PM  

  • Nick,

    Thank you for your extensive report on the animal rights protest. I agree with your observations that violent forms of protest and the use of intimidation and fear tactics rarely succeed in winning the undecided over to one's cause. I also agree that if the aim of the leaders of the animal rights protest was mainly to incite the faithful instead of making reasonable, supported arguments, then it seems these leaders are sorely misguided. However, I think your characterization of the protesters' beliefs as "extreme ideology" might be one worth questioning. There is an excellent article by philosopher Peter Singer which shows that the view that animals deserve equal moral consideration is no more radical than the view that all humans deserve equal moral consideration. This article provides what, according to your report, the animal rights protest lacked: a reasonable, well-supported argument that animals deserve equal moral consideration. Although I have been pondering it for quite some time, I have not been able to come up with any salient objections to Singer's argument, but I would be interested to hear if you, or any others, can think of any. Thanks again for your article, and keep up the good work! ;)

    Carolyn Wills
    Jesus College, Oxford

    link to Peter Singer's article, "All Animals Are Equal"

    By Anonymous Carolyn, at Mon Jan 16, 05:49:00 PM  

  • You bring up some interesting points. In regards to the use of the word "wrestle," I did use it intentionally, although obviously metaphorically. I thought the irony might make people stop and think about the nature of change and struggle in general, peaceful or not—it was not necessarily used to prove a point.

    I too have been involved in my fair share of activism for a variety of causes and by a variety of means--whether by organizing, campaigning, protesting, or raising awareness in general. I am proud to say that I have never resorted to violence, or even intimidation tactics and I have been consistently outspoken against those who have. At one of the organizations I led while I was an undergraduate, for example, I was under quite a bit of pressure to use more radical techniques to push our agenda. I refused, primarily for ethical reasons, but also because I generally do not find those type of tactics effective in the long run.

    With that said, I can understand why someone would turn to intimidation or violence when other means seem ineffective. The question of whether violence is ever justified, though, is obviously one that has been debated for ages and I’m sure will be for a long time to come, and I cannot give a definitive answer on that. If violence is ever justified, I think we can agree that the standard for justification would be very high. I do not think the animal rights activists, for example, have come anywhere close to reaching that standard. Even in these cases where violence seems justified, it is generally difficult or impossible to prove that there are no nonviolent alternatives.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Mon Jan 16, 06:05:00 PM  

  • Hey Carolyn,

    Thanks for your comments and for sending along the article. I enjoyed it and found it much more compelling than most animal rights literature, but I did find some fundamental issues that bothered me as a scientist. I've written about them in my next post.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Mon Jan 16, 10:56:00 PM  

  • I always find it interesting that many animal rights protesters are absolutely convinced that there is no scientific or medical benefit to animal research - and they are encouraged in this view by the likes of Ray Greek. This probably explains why many people you met were convinced that scientists only did the work because they were sadists.

    I think this position stems from a, perhaps subconscious, recognition that the majority population, while they may recognise and respect the animal liberation position, ultimately will deliberately sanction the suffering of animals for the benefit of mankind in general - i.e. the argument is unwinnable.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jan 24, 10:41:00 PM  

  • Carolyn,

    I find Peter Singer's article interesting, but his essential thesis is that nobody has found a standard by which humans have a legitimate claim to rights which animals do not. He might argue otherwise, but I don't consider this necessarily an argument in favour of animals' rights, merely an attack on the formulations of human rights which he considers. This isn't a great failing on Singer's part, since his main purpose seems to be to provoke rigorous consideration of the issue in mainstream philosophy.

    However, to take an example which Singer does not address, consider Rousseaus's "social pact". Rousseau asserts that humans gain rights by virtue of wilfully surrendering their individual interest to the common good, and undertaking to abide by the decisions of the "body politic". Now, regardless of what you otherwise think of Rousseau, this provides a clear distinction between typical humans and all other animals: no other animal (as far as we are aware) has the capacity to enter into the social pact.

    That leaves the question, as Singer rightly points out for the systems he does consider, of why "imbecile" humans, such as the permanently and catasrophically brain-damaged, are granted rights despite having less capacity than (say) dogs. To this I'd suggest (on my own initiative rather than Rousseau's) that it is because the body politic has determined that it is to the common good that they be accorded rights despite their lack of participation. Such decisions are justified, according to Rousseau, because the will of the body politic is always justified (for reasons he goes into and which one can believe or not). It happens not to be the will of the social body that animals be granted rights, but if it were, then to do so would also be justified. Such things can change over time.

    You won't find very many modern philosophers citing Rousseau unmodified as their basis for morality, but he's probably fairly consistent as these things go, he just has "interesting" axioms. So even if you don't actually agree with him, he at least provides the possibility that a consistent scheme could distinguish between humans and other animals. This one happens not to agree with Singer, because Singer explicitly states that the basis for moral consideration is the capacity to suffer ("If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration"), whereas Rousseau doesn't - he dismisses man's "natural state" (without the social pact) as providing no moral justifications other than those given by opportunity and force, with suffering not entering into it.

    So Singer has clinched nothing - his conclusions hold if (and only if) your basis for moral consideration is the capacity for suffering. This is raw utilitarianism (and indeed Bentham shows up in quotation to this effect), which again one can take or leave. If you aren't a utilitarian, you certainly have no need to accept Singer's conclusions. Even if you are, you might find ways to apply Bentham's "happiness principle" favourably to humans, because Singer hasn't ruled out the possibility of such a scheme, merely asserted that he hasn't seen one.

    By Anonymous Steve, at Wed Jan 25, 02:31:00 AM  

  • Extremists, in any color you like, are people who have a narrow vision of reality and impose it on any who manifests different views, rejecting any evidence that contradicts them and highlighting any other evidence, however slim and vague as it may be, that support their views of life.
    Vegetarian and Vegan extremists, as well as fur-haters (people who throw red paint at people who wear fur) have a heavily intolerant view on animal testing, they firmly believe that any testing is inhumane, they pass pictures of animals in torture-like devices and are very active in trying to make meat-eaters and fur-wearers feel like murderers, just because they don't abide by the vegetarian/vegan extremist point of view.
    Extremist protestors don't want to dialogue, they form a mob. they become a force that will crush to get what they demand, listen to no reason, shouting, chanting, like a shapeless beast.
    It's this narrow-mindedness that will make dialog impossible. No matter how well arguments are presented there will be the same arguments; appealing to cruelty and what they view as murder.

    By Anonymous C. Augusto Valdés, at Wed Jan 25, 03:01:00 AM  

  • Very interesting stuff, and a subject close to my heart, having been at Oxford's biology labs during the 1998 protests and Blakemore incidents. I'd like to try to understand these protestors more, but I cannot forget the charming group who threatened Prof Blakemore's infant children in the school playground, with murder.

    I'm blogrolling you forthwith.

    By Blogger The Moai, at Thu Jan 26, 01:45:00 PM  

  • That must have been a pretty crazy time at Oxford, although things have really been heating up here now for a while, with SPEAK planning another big protest this weekend.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Thu Jan 26, 08:38:00 PM  

  • Oddly, I've noticed them protesting outside physics twice in the last week. Were they lost?

    By Blogger Joe, at Sun Jan 29, 12:17:00 AM  

  • > trying to make meat-eaters and fur-wearers feel like murderers

    Vivisectors, fur-wearers, meat eaters & milk drinkers ARE murderers.

    What dialogue is there for those of us that think like that ?

    Should I sit down with you and discuss your murder quota ?

    Shall we chat about who will live and who will die to make a pair of shoes ?

    If it was you to be murdered for your skin what action by me on your behalf would you consider too extreme ?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 01, 11:25:00 PM  

  • For the benefit of everyone reading and contributing to these comments, could you please outline your views on the subject so we can have a dialogue? I don't think that using the word "murder" in all of its permutations forms much of a foundation for an argument.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Wed Feb 01, 11:38:00 PM  

  • I would suppose the disparity between the ideology and reality is why so many animal rights activity is violent. They passionately feel that they must change the world, save the animals, but only a minority believe them. And of that minority, only a small fraction are as strong in the beliefs.

    So nothing happens, and they feel helpless. So they do what very small radical groups do to be heard: they become violent. And in doing so, any rational point of their argument gets swallowed up in the irrational actions they show the world. You illustrated this well when you had to ask people AFTER the demonstration that should have been a tool of communicating and clarifying, just what exactly they believed and what their justification was.

    By Anonymous Amka, at Thu Feb 02, 07:41:00 PM  

  • In regards to what makes protesters turn violent, here is an interesting editorial that appeared in The Oxford Student in October 2005.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Thu Feb 02, 11:12:00 PM  

  • Just a side note, on certain parallels:

    “They go in there because that’s what they want to do: kill animals,” said Ram.

    I believe I have heard similar arguments before, along the lines that people only work at Planned Parenthood because they want to kill unborn babies.

    The people who make these statements are entirely uninterested in dialogue; they often believe exactly what they say, and consider it their duty to wipe out the evil that they believe is represented in these things.

    By Blogger luna_the_cat, at Sun Feb 12, 10:38:00 PM  

  • It seems the only 'dialogue' vivisectionists want is one that agrees with their career aspirations and profitability of drug research companies. I find it pretty extreme to do things to other species that you could find aborant to do to your own. What emotions would you go through if a child was subjected to the same experiments? Simple rule, if you can't do it to your own children, don't do it.

    By Anonymous John Speckling, at Sun Mar 12, 11:43:00 AM  

  • That's a major oversimplification and a misrepresentation of the facts. Animal researchers go into the field for a variety of reasons, and none of the ones I know are particularly concerned with profits for drug research companies. I find that most go into the field because of a deep interest in the science and/or a concern for improving human medicine. I'm sure many care about their future careers and some, who work for drug companies, might want to see their companies do well, but those aren't the driving motivations for the majority of people in the field.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Sun Mar 12, 11:57:00 AM  

  • How sad that all that vivisection on rabbits and monkeys for TGN1412 was of absolutely no benefit. I wonder how many primates go into extreme shock and comas every week? So how many hundreds of primates is 2% of all the animals used at oxford?

    Now we look at DNA sequences of humans vs. chimpanzees many beleave that Troglodytes belong with Sapiens in genus homo, rather than Pan. But this week they are really useful for rolling out as a defence for minimising risk in medical testing when it suits the scientific community.

    But oxford vivisectionists are right and antis are wrong.

    By Anonymous John Speckling, at Fri Mar 17, 04:09:00 PM  

  • So, are you saying that because a drug proved harmful to people, we should perform less animal testing? I strongly disagree, and I can only imagine how many examples of what happened this week would happen regularly if humans were exposed to completely untested compounds in drug trials.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Fri Mar 17, 07:37:00 PM  

  • You probably eat animals so using them for experiments must seem pretty normal - so long as it forwards your own career and species, eh? You wouldn't test it on your kids but a monkey is okay? You think you are that superior do you?

    Do you beleave that animals should be used for testing any drug that has a market, no matter how non-life threatening? Erectile disfunction perhaps? A competitor for a drug that is already on the market?

    By Anonymous John Speckling, at Tue Apr 11, 08:08:00 PM  

  • I'm having trouble following your argument here so I'll hold out for a more coherent case. I will note, though, that I do not perform any animal research, so whether or not animal research occurs really has no bearing on my career. You are correct to point out that I do in fact eat animals, although, having just returned from India, I think that if our society was as adept at making vegetarian meals as theirs, I could potentially be persuaded otherwise. Mmmmmmm....

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Tue Apr 11, 08:18:00 PM  

  • you eat meat because you can't cook a curry? How stupid must you be? Articulate yes. Intellegent no. That's about as thought through as your pro-animal testing arguments.

    By Anonymous John Speckling, at Sun Apr 23, 09:12:00 AM  

  • Wow. I see we're getting personal now. I think I'll leave that comment up there as an example of how irrational your movement has become.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Sun Apr 23, 12:08:00 PM  

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