with Chris Hedges
RT America on Feb 10, 2022
On the show, Chris Hedges discusses veganism and mass incarceration with educator and poet, Gretchen Primack.
These pictures may contain images depicting the reality and horror of violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.
[Author’s Note: I’m dedicating this piece to the courageous animal defenders and rescuers comprising the ALF, the Justice Department, the Animal Liberation Brigade, and the other militant direct action groups who are taking the fight to vivisectors and the rest of their ilk comprising the animal exploitation complex. Given the relentless nature of the systemic torment and slaughter of millions of other sentient beings that take place day after day, violent responses from nonhuman animal lovers are inevitable and are a morally acceptable means of extensional self-defense on behalf of the voiceless, defenseless victims. As my close colleague, Dr. Jerry Vlasak, surmised—and I back him 100% on this—the assassination of a vivisector or two would probably save millions of nonhuman animal lives. And given the escalating situation at UCLA, who knows what may happen?
Employing myriad tactics and strategies, those of us pursuing empty cages will prevail, and, as another steadfast ally of mine, Dr. Steve Best, stated in a speech he gave at Oxford in 2005, “wipe vivisection off the map.” I yearn for that day.]
“The physiologist is not a man of the world, he is a scientist, a man caught and absorbed by a scientific idea that he pursues; he no longer hears the cries of the animals, no longer sees the flowing blood; he sees only his idea: organisms that hide from him problems that he wants to discover. He doesn’t feel that he is in a horrible carnage; under the influence of a scientific idea, he pursues with delight a nervous filament inside stinking and livid flesh that for any other person would be an object of disgust and horror.”
Legislatures in Pennsylvania and Illinois are considering bills that would reduce or eliminate what animal welfare advocates call mutilations, and what breeders and American Kennel Club (AKC) call “breed standards.” Because dogs are considered by state laws to be property, individual owners may currently cut and shape dogs’ ears (cropping) or amputate part or all of their tails (docking), often without a proper sterile environment or anesthesia.
Ear cropping and tail docking, according to the AKC, are “acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed standards, enhancing good health, and preventing injuries.” Of 158 pure-bred breeds recognized by the AKC, about 50 kennel clubs have “breed standards” that require or strongly suggest tail docking or ear cropping. The AKC claims standards are established by individual clubs—all of which deduct points for dogs that don’t conform to their “standards”—and that the AKC has no restrictions to register or to show a dog. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), which includes national kennel clubs of 84 nations, forbids cropping and docking of rottweilers and other breeds. The AKC is not a member of the FCI.
President Bush, as has every president since his father began the practice in 1989, annually pardons a Thanksgiving turkey.
Amid hundreds of spectators, most of them members of the media, the president makes a few cute comments, issues a pardon for the turkey and a “runner-up” (in case the Main Bird can’t fulfill all the duties), and then sends the turkeys off to a petting zoo or ranch, where they live about a year. Why they live only a year is because domestic turkeys are bred to become so pleasingly plump so quickly that disease takes over their bodies if not slaughtered. A domestic turkey has a 26 week life span; wild turkeys, if not killed by natural predators, have a 12 year life span. Continue reading
By Dr. Steven Best
“Animals are those unfortunate slaves and victims of the most brutal part of mankind.” John Stuart Mill
In South Africa, the elephant has emerged at the center of heated political debates and culture wars, as the government and national park system maneuvers to return to the practice of “culling”—a hideous euphemism for mass murder of elephants. Culling advocates—including government officials, park service bureaucrats, ecologists, “conservationists,” large environmental organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, farmers, and villagers—argue that elephants have had deleterious effects on habitat and biodiversity and their herds need to be “managed” and reduced. Farmers and villagers complain that elephants are breaking reserve fences, destroying their crops, competing with their livestock for food, endangering physical safety and sometimes attacking and killing humans. The consensus among these parties is that biodiversity, ecological balance, and human interests trump the lives and interests of elephants, and that the most efficient solution to the “elephant problem” is the final solution of culling thousands of lives.
Opponents of culling include animal activists in South Africa and the world at large, ecologists, and thousands of Western tourists fond of elephants and the desire to see them in their natural habitat. In addition to the moral argument that elephants have intrinsic value and the right to exist—quite independent of their utility for humans—critics dismiss the claim that elephants threaten habitats and biodiversity. They emphasize that numerous alternatives to controlling elephant populations other than gunning them down exist, such as contraceptives and creating corridors between parks to allow more even population distribution. Against hunters and villagers alike, many culling opponents argue that elephants are worth much more alive than dead, and that elephants and humans alike win by developing the potential of ecotourism. The ethically and scientifically correct policies are not being adopted, critics argue, because government and “conservationists” are allied with the gaming, hunting, and ivory industries, and all favor a “quick fix” over a real solution. Animal advocates worry that the resumption of culling will reopen the global trade of ivory and argue that the ivory industry is driving this policy change.
This essay supports the rights of elephants to live and thrive in suitable natural environments and opposes all justifications for culling elephants and exploiting African wildlife in general. My purview is much broader than elephants, hunting, and the ivory trade, however, as I see the human-elephant “conflict” as a microcosm of the global social and ecological crisis that involves phenomena such as transnational corporate power, state totalitarianism, militarism, chronic conflict and warfare, terrorism, global warming, species extinction, air and water pollution, and resource scarcity. The approach of the South African government and people toward the “elephant problem” has global significance and is an indicator of whether or not humankind as a whole can steer itself away from immanent disaster and learn to harmonize its existence with the natural world.
Paul Watson interviewed by Jason Miller
“Well, as usual, you people have everything all upside down and turned around and back to front.”
–Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon 2
As a species of beings that reflexively and unequivocally identifies itself as “superior,” we human animals have taken self-deception to a level of inimitable brilliance. And we Americans who have self-servingly cast ourselves in the role of moral beacon to the world (while engaging in industrialized wholesale violence against humans, animals, and the Earth on a breath-taking scale) are the living embodiments of the word hypocrisy.
Need proof of the systemic rot eroding the very cores of our souls? Look no further than the meteoric rise of the grossly under-qualified, hyper-ambitious, morally retarded narcissist who still has a realistic chance to be one heart-beat away from ostensibly ruling the most powerful nation in the world. Palinesque tendencies to “drill, drill, drill,” exploit obscene technological advantages to “cull predatory species,” employ our “justice” system to accelerate the extinction of yet another species (to advance the interests of Big Oil no less), and perpetuate the murderous “sport” of hunting with the intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt justifications of “necessity” and “cultural tradition” serve to shred our ridiculously thin façade of humanity and reveal the truly barbarous nature of Western “civilization” and the “American Way of Life.”
While the speciesism and capitalist obsessions with property, growth, and profit that contaminate nearly all aspects of our cultural and social modes of being are not unique to Western industrialized nations or the US, we wield the most power in the world, and hence inflict the most pain on other species. And while our economic and technological advantages endow us with the potential to shift the paradigm and significantly reduce the unnecessary suffering our non-human animal brethren experience as a result of reification, greed, and exploitation, we choose to fight tooth and nail to preserve our “right” to dominate, torture, and slaughter for profit and pleasure, while portraying those who dare to take direct action against our murderous system as ‘eco-terrorists.’
Frightening and dangerous as it may be, let’s get inside the head of a leading member of the radical environmental defense and animal liberation movements, which the FBI continues to target as America’s “number one domestic terror threat.”
Here is the back and forth between Captain Paul Watson (animal defender extraordinaire, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and courageous practitioner of extensional self defense on behalf of marine animals) and Jason Miller (associate editor of Cyrano’s Journal Online and founding editor of Thomas Paine’s Corner):
Jason Miller: You were reportedly expelled from Greanpeace in 1975 for your refusal to embrace their dogmatic adherence to non-violence. What were the events prior to and during your expulsion?
Captain Paul Watson: I was not in fact expelled from Greenpeace. I was voted off the Board of Directors because Patrick Moore had just replaced Robert Hunter as President. The excuse he used was that I had broken the law by grabbing a sealer’s club and throwing it in the water thus stealing and destroying his “property”. I then resigned from Greenpeace however the proof that Greenpeace was not opposed to my methods can be found in two pieces of evidence. (1) After I hunted down and rammed the pirate whaler Sierra, Greenpeace published my story as their headline article in the Greenpeace Chronicles. And (2) I was one of the 8 signatories for the formation of Greenpeace International in October 1979. My main reason for leaving Greenpeace was because I was tired of protesting and seeing whales and seals die. I established the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society not as a protest organization but as an interventionist organization to specifically target illegal operations. We remain non-violent. Since I founded Sea Shepherd in 1977, we have never injured a single person, we have never been convicted of a felony crime and we have never been sued. That’s a better record than Greenpeace has.
Graphic photos at the original source.
By David Irving
We live with an inescapable dilemma. With each passing year we become more vulnerable to heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Animal researchers believe that the solution lies somewhere within the boundaries of their profession just waiting to be discovered. The media follows their lead jumping on every little report they put out telling us about the latest “exciting” research project that surely gets us closer to a cure for these killer diseases. But animal researchers have been saying this for as long as anyone can remember. Moreover, the public is growing ever more disenchanted with their research for a variety of reasons. One reason is that animal research is unreliable. The metabolism of animals is and will always be completely different than that of human beings. Tylenol, for example, kills cats. Countless, flawed drugs that passed animal tests have caused health problems for human beings, one of the most notorious being the infamous Thalidomide that caused babies to be born with deformities. Other examples include Methoxyflurane, an anesthesia that caused kidney malfunction; Flosint, an arthritis medication that proved fatal to humans; Opren, a cough medication that killed 61 people; Zelmid, an antidepressant that caused severe neurological problems for humans; and Practolol, a drug for emergency cardiac arrhythmias, which killed 23 people and blinded 78 others. Yet medical researchers continue to experiment upon animals knowing that this research often leads to dangerous applications and can at best provide only inconclusive theories since it cannot directly translate to human beings.
Animal research is also a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too, permissive, corrupt profession that largely ignores one of the most obvious causes of cancer, heart disease, and stroke – diet. Animal researchers thereby lull the public into the mistaken belief that it can continue the bad habits that are chiefly responsible for spawning these diseases under the misperception that animal researchers are busy in their laboratories finding cures that will protect it. This creates a somnambulant public ready to be bilked out of billions of tax dollars. As Linus Pauling wrote in regard to cancer, “most cancer research is largely a fraud.” Even those few researchers who are motivated by humanitarian impulses perpetuate this fraudulent enterprise by refusing to denounce the fake research in which their fraud-minded colleagues are engaged. This money could go to far more creative medical research that does not rely on animals and would lead to more meaningful results than animal research has ever produced since it would be aimed at the actual causes of these diseases.
This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.
Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund
Watch the Video — Then Tell Others
When you promote a grotesque program like Governor Sarah Palin’s Alaska wolf slaughter, you can expect gruesome results.
Many graphic photos at the original source.
By Sunil Potnis
Author’s Note: This article is intended for pointing out the atrocities of those involved. It does not mean I disrespect good people who have rich tradition and cultural values that promote equality and respect for every form of life.
I am convinced that we humans are worse terrorists to the animal world than those humans who are terrorizing other humans. For many years suicide bombings, other forms of asymmetrical warfare, and state terrorism (euphemized as ‘conventional warfare’) have been ripping our hearts out and slaughtering millions upon millions of people, but over that same period humans have murdered billions upon billions of non-human animals. Yet few think of the terrorism and havoc we have unleashed on the animal world. We weep and go to war when the World Trade Center is bombed, but what should members of the animal world do when their entire species is getting wiped out? What should dogs and cats do when their family members are skinned alive? Where will seals go when every year in Canada over 200,000 of them are killed (and half of them are two week old pups)? Fortunately there are some kind-hearted humans who have dedicated their lives to fighting against the real eco-terrorism meted out by animal exploiters and murderers.
I have been writing my heart and guts out for the last few years that China is one the biggest culprits for its cold blooded murdering of animals. The more the money flows into China, the more they abuse animals. We should make a serious attempt to stop buying anything that is “Made in China”. I don’t use anything that is made in that country. I just cannot accept that kind of disrespect for life. I have not (and never will) traveled to China and most Asian countries (i.e. Korea, Japan, and Thailand). I have never flown by an Asian airline like Singapore or Korean. Canada is another egregious animal murderer. I have relatives there yet I refuse to visit and boycott Canadian products because of that nation’s barbaric seal clubbing.
I am sure many of us would be appalled and repulsed if we saw these cold blooded murders happening in front of our eyes. We may have heard and seen this brutality against animals on television or the Internet, but many simply choose to look away. Why? Often due to apathy and indifference about the plight of the animals. Our attitude numbs our senses and lets us ignore all this savagery. Where is our compassion?
Remember that predatory exploiters don’t discriminate and when all the animal are eradicated, these eco-terrorists will be after us humans! But it will be too late then. So if you don’t want to get stomped, skinned, clubbed, electrocuted, or boiled alive, speak up and act on behalf of our animal brethren.
Take a look at the shocking photos and videos at these sites:
2) http://www.harpseals.org/ (Seal Hunting in Canada)
AN ANIMAL’S WORST NIGHTMARE
1. China’s dogs amd cats are boiled, stabbed, drowned, bludgeoned, strangled, poisoned, hanged, and electrocuted…experiencing unbearable pain as their legs are routinely broken while trussed up and hung in local markets for human consumption, or skinned alive and cast off like garbage– for the despicable fur trade.
2. Dogs [both owned and stray] are relentlessly hunted down by ‘police authorized’ roving mobs and savagely beaten to death by the hundreds of thousands–in the name of ‘rabies’ control.
3. Bears, suffer a lifetime of excruciating pain as they are surgically mutilated and milked each day for their gall bile. Their paws taken as delicacies for the Chinese restaurant trade or ground into powdered ‘medicines’. The use of bear parts supplying the traditional Chinese medicine trade and exotic meat market is the major reason why bear species are declining around the world. Endangered species of bears are rapidly becoming extinct.
4. Rhino, both Black and White, are butchered for their horns and are now highly endangered.
5. Over 70-100 million sharks PER YEAR are ‘finned’ and their carcasses dumped into the sea– to accommodate China’s growing taste for shark fin soup.
6. 20 million turtles are devoured in China EACH YEAR. Slaughtered alive and fully conscious, their heads are decapitated and crushed. Even after a turtle’s head is detached from its body, if not crushed sufficiently to destroy the brain, it can survive up to ONE HOUR in agonizing torment. Two thirds of the world’s turtles are now threatened with extinction.
7. TONS of elephant tusks are carved into ivory trinkets–their feet are hacked off for stools and coffee table legs.
8. Animals are used as ‘dried’ ingredients in traditional Chinese medicines and killed by the billion–tiger parts, crocodile bile, deer musk, sea horses, lizards, sea cucumbers, powdered antlers, dog penis, pangolin (scaly anteaters), only to name a few on a seemingly unending list. ALL are considered no more than ‘products’ to be abused and murdered in the most monstrous ways possible, even if it means permanently wiping many of these species from the face of the planet in order to fulfill often frivolous, antiquated and selfish needs.
9. China plays a role in the largest mass butchery of marine mammals on Earth, the annual Canadian seal slaughter [which has taken over 1.25 million innocent lives in the last 3 years, alone]. This abomination happens in part so that dried seal penises can be turned into aphrodisiacs to “theoretically” increase the libidos of elderly men engaging in sex with Asian girls as young as 7 years old.
10. Live domestic pets, as well as cows and chickens, are fed to lions and tigers for the “entertainment” of visitors at Chinese zoos. Zoo officials encourage guests to buy domestic animals on the premises and feed them to the carnivores through special vending flaps fitted onto tourist buses, allowing individuals to throw chickens and other FULLY Conscious animals to the waiting predators.
CHINA’S GROWING WEALTH MEANS AN EVER-EXPANDING COLLECTION OF EXOTIC WILDLIFE ON THE MENU!
A. A Chinese chef describes how to cook pangolin [endangered scaly anteater]: “We keep them alive in cages until the customer makes an order. Then we hammer them unconscious, cut their throats and drain the blood. It is a slow death. We then boil them to remove the scales…cut the meat into small pieces and use it to make braised meat and soup. Usually the customers take the blood home with them afterwards.” [The blood is thought to have medicinal value.]
B. Live monkey brains are considered a delicacy: A “gourmet” can buy monkeys in the marketplace and send them to inns for cooking. The cooks first stuff the monkeys into tiny cages and force them to drink rice wine until they’re intoxicated. They are then pulled from the cage and bound by their limbs (preventing movement.) Their skulls are hacked open with a sharp knife to reveal easily visible, pulsing blood vessels. The white brains are then scooped out and served as soon as possible; eaten when still warm with seasonings. Monkey brains become pungent if they are not fresh…if the skull was opened too long ago. Thus it is best to open the skull and eat at once, while brain cells are LIVING and blood vessels throbbing.
C. It is not unusual in many areas of China, to see live deer in pens or crocodiles in tanks at restaurants. Buying and eating rare animals is a common way of SHOWING OFF. In southern China, rare meat is known as ye Wei (wild taste), and people believe eating exotic animals can endow them with bravery, long life or sexual prowess. The Cantonese brag that they will eat ANYTHING that moves!
D. China’s insatiable frenzy for non-human body parts is expanding, consuming and decimating everything in its wake. This ancient society of 1.3 billion people, many of whom appear to have no compassionate connection toward sentient beings, whatsoever, MUST BE STOPPED! WITHHOLDING MONEY IS THE SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY WE CAN FORCE POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE! Individuals engaged in animal abuse will NOT be immediately swayed by moral pressure, or legislation. Swift, significant change can come through economic losses to those who victimize! ALL of China’s exports must be targeted for boycott!
A) Get your community involved–ask friends, relatives, co-workers and groups to take the BOYCOTT CHINA PLEDGE and sign the petition linked HERE!
Tell STORE OWNERS AND MANAGERS of small businesses that stock Chinese products that you will no longer patronize their stores UNTIL they carry NON-CHINESE alternatives! They WILL listen–they need your money to survive! Remember change comes from the BOTTOM UP, not the top down! Target the small retailers FIRST, and soon Wal-Mart and others will take notice and follow!
B) Compile receipts from NON-CHINESE items purchased and send copies to your country’s Chinese Ambassador with a “Revenue Lost” boycott letter. The goal is to have millions of these receipts/boycott letters pouring in, EVERY SINGLE DAY, to all 165 Chinese embassies worldwide! An excellent ongoing project for school, community, civic and church groups!
C) MAKE COPIES of this petition page and hand them out as flyers everywhere you go!
D) Spread the word by posting this petition on websites, blogs and AR mailing lists!
HELPFUL LINKS: CHINESE EMBASSIES:
ALTERNATIVES TO CHINESE GOODS:
Do it for the protection of our endangered wildlife and for the millions of domestic and companion animals being tortured and killed as you read these words.
On behalf of the billions of voiceless souls desperately in need of your help to save them, thank you!
By Haralambie Athes
Using the word “strange” to describe the contemporary world is already overrated. Supposedly, we all live in a cultural environment where anyone is allowed to speak his/ her mind, has the right to protect property and individual freedom, and, above all, has the right to a future. And not only a future for him/her, but for the next generations. This is what nowadays is called “sustainable development”, and it is a highly praised concept in almost all fields of environmental research, as well as in the business area. Yet, one minor detail seems to have been lost along the way. The vast majority of the human population is too inept to think for themselves, let alone acting. Drowned in the everyday media propaganda, millions of individuals undergo the same routine existence every single hour, every single week, summing up a sad way of “fulfilling a destiny”.
Celebrating a meaningless way of life, based on consumerism and endless (and usually hopeless) attempts to rise up to the demands of society, lost in a sea of clichés and mottos, they try so hard to build a future that they forget an essential aspect of the whole matter: their inability to get out of their petty space-time-money continuum (meaningless movements meant to carry them “from rags to riches”, to adequately fit into the perversely designed image of success described by contemporary propaganda). What people ultimately forget is this whole “theater” of becoming someone and climbing up the ladder of social (read financial) success has one basic need, beyond all human-constructed rules, needs and strategies: it needs a stage.
As unbelievable as it would seem based on the humanist and anthropocentric views which coordinate people’s existence, we still need a proper place to make whatever dreams come true, a spacious environment for being able to pursue our ideals. Shockingly, the human heaven still needs the earthly ground, even though this basic fact is overviewed on a daily basis by obtuse, simple-minded, TV-addicted crowds, who seemingly have one primary goal, one final purpose: to consume as much as possible. In fact, the whole contemporary economic culture is based on a media-induced need to consume as much as possible, regardless of what we are leaving behind. That is, billions of tons of garbage, and a natural environment that starts to look like a wasteland.
While making every effort to make sure their children will have a “good life” (the degree to which life is good being calculated with a rather simplistic formula, generally involving money and nothing else), they actually deny their children and their grand-children the simple right of living a decent life, in a functional natural environmental. The arrogant detachment from nature has led to an ever-broadening disaster all across the planet, and things are changing for the worse with each passing second. Our relationship to the natural world (including animals) has never been so twisted, and its effects will soon become too potent to be mended by our highly praised science.
photos at the original source
By David Irving
When people think of an animal researcher the image of a well trained, highly skilled scientist surrounded by test tubes and flasks and wearing an immaculately clean, white coat often comes to mind. Looking up from a microscope he, or she, strokes a plump, white rat and converses about the latest medical discoveries being made with the help of animals. This is America’s favorite image of an animal researcher. But just how accurate is it?
The fact that most people are unaware that medical research represents only the tip of the iceberg of this diverse industry called animal research that stretches from coast to coast and border to border, indicates just how skillfully the benign image of the humanitarian scientist has been disseminated. But animal research requires the production and use of 22 million animals a year in the United States and 100 million world wide, conservatively speaking, most of which are killed after being experimented upon. Most of this research has nothing to do with finding a cure for cancer, stroke, heart disease, or other debilitating, life-threatening conditions. In fact, most animal research is done to satisfy various commercial requirements or to test concepts in the manufacture of industrial and personal use products like cosmetics and fluoride toothpastes.
The more the public gets a closer look behind the closed doors of animal research facilities, the more the senselessness of their work becomes apparent. We know that birth defect experiments on animals cannot be applied to humans, so why are they done? We know that better pre-natal care and helping women to quit smoking can reduce infant mortality by over 35%, so why does ineffective nicotine testing on animals continue? We know that chemical and agricultural product testing on animals is irrelevant to any health applications for humans and could be done using non-animal methods, which is the preferred procedure for testing these products in Canada and Europe, so why are we pursuing it? We know that computer technology already exists capable of putting an end to animal testing for drugs, so what is the necessity of testing for drugs? We know that heart attacks can be prevented through diet and exercise, so why are we butchering animals in tests for heart disease? Certainly there is no need for secretive military testing on animals except to satisfy military paranoia.
The wheels on the huge gravy train funded by the tax dollars of the citizenry that the animal research industry has been riding for decades are beginning to creak. The medical establishment itself hides behind its own image without the courage to acknowledge the corruption in the fake applications for fake medical animal research projects to the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies. These agencies squander billions of tax dollars in funding this fakery that has only pseudo-applications for human beings with few benefits, as described below. Linus Pauling zeroed in on the corruption when he wrote “Everyone should know that most cancer research is largely a fraud, and that the major cancer research organizations are derelict in their duties to the people who support them.”
Animal medical research is done mostly in conjunction with university research laboratories or medical facilities. There we find the researchers who are the standard-bearers for the animal research industry, the ones wearing those neat, white coats. But let there be no mistake. Even this group narrows to an even smaller minority when it dares to proclaim they are “legitimate” researchers. That is because the overwhelming majority of medical animal research is not legitimate. It is curiosity research in a ‘publish or perish’ kind of atmosphere where the researchers must design something unusual to capture NIH or other government agency funding. These agencies approve research projects on the bizarre premise that the more bizarre an experiment is the more scientific it must be.
Whoever doubts the above allegation needs only to take into account experiments in which chimpanzees have been locked in old refrigerators filled with cocaine smoke (New York University), cats have had their brains severed from their spinal cords after which anesthesia was discontinued while they were locked in frames and experimented upon for hours (Rockefeller University), cats have been forced to vomit 97 times in the space of three and one-half minutes (Rockefeller University), and primates have been subjected to a continuous three hour-long studio-generated sound that was10 decibels louder than a shotgun blast (New York University). The designer of that experiment, Lynn Kiorpes, has been drilling holes in baby monkeys heads for fourteen years while collecting $1.5 million dollars from the NIH for studying artificially created abnormalities. The babies are either killed and dissected instantly or are subjected to years of continuing experimentation. She works in secrecy behind the hallowed doors of New York University, one of the most notorious protectors of institutional animal abuse in the nation, which itself has been charged with more than 400 violations of the Animal Welfare Act and has been fined $450,000, the largest fine ever leveled by the USDA.
The thirst by government agencies to fund unnecessary, cruel experiments on animals seems unquenchable, and our esteemed university medical facilities continue to lap up public tax dollars with little sign that they are embarrassed by their display of greed as they walk hand in hand with animal abusers up to the cashier’s window. At the Oregon Health and Science University, researcher Eliot Spindel has been paid $7.6 million tax dollars by the NIH since 1992 (and will continue receiving funding until 2012) to literally rip baby monkeys from their mothers’ breasts to study nicotine effects on infant monkeys. Sometimes the babies are taken through cesarean section, while other times the mothers are allowed to keep them for several weeks before they are torn away, driving the mothers nearly insane. Losing their babies causes tremendous suffering to these primates who are operated on five times during their forced pregnancies to implant nicotine pumps in their backs.
In 2005 the Justice Department awarded a University of Wisconsin professor, John Webster, $500,000 to electrocute pigs with Taser guns to try to determine if stun guns are safe, a cruel project that could be done using follow-up medical studies of Taser victims instead—as many previous studies have.
In 2003 at Columbia University, a whistleblower exposed experiments in which mother baboons and their babies in-utero were operated on repeatedly to measure the flow of nicotine through the umbilical chord; baboons had one eye removed in senseless experiments to induce strokes before being abandoned in cages without care or painkillers; and monkeys had metal pipes implanted in their craniums driving them into a frenzy in irrelevant menstrual stress studies. The suffering these animals endured ended only when they died from the effects of the experiments or when they were killed by their researchers.
The foregoing list barely scratches the surface of the unbelievably sickening, bizarre, sadistic research which medical animal researchers in their clean white coats engage and which is routinely rubber stamped by the NIH and other government funding agencies, thus robbing the public blind.
Because of public “unease” more and more animal research scientists have begun to ask if their research is worth the few results, negative publicity, and community contempt. By now animal rights organizations and whistle-blowers have brought cruel animal research projects to light so often that university and medical research facilities are forced to defend their animal policies to the public. Columbia University, for example, has set up a Standards of Care website where it asserts that it “recognizes its scientific and ethical duty to treat animals involved in research humanely, and requires that all faculty, staff and students involved in animal research maintain the highest standards of care.” However, the undercover photographic evidence and other reports about the conditions in Columbia’s animal laboratories indicate that Columbia’s efforts to reassure a suspicious public are as much public relations as anything else, as proved by the barbaric stroke, tobacco, and menstrual experiments on baboons described above.
The same can be said of the University of Minnesota which advertises that their Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee works to assure that research and other activities involving animals are “justified by their benefits and minimize any pain or suffering.” The university must have forgotten about one of their researchers, Marilyn Carroll, who for twenty-two years (at a cost of nine million dollars to taxpayers) has been using food deprivation to forcibly addict monkeys and rats to drugs including cocaine, PCP, nicotine, heroin, amphetamines and alcohol. Protests by animal rights groups including the ALF and SOAR (Student Organization for Animal Rights) have been raised against Carroll’s lab over the years where primates are subjected to withdrawal so that they suffer seizures, nose bleeding, respiratory problems, skin infections, self-mutilation, incessant rocking, hallucinations, screaming, and depression. Some just give up and curl into a ball in a corner of their cage where they cower in terror. That the practice of torturing innocent animals in an effort to attend to the addictions human beings have created themselves might be considered unethical and unjust, not to mention Mengelian, seems not to have penetrated the consciousness of erudite, highly educated, researchers like Carroll.
The above examples, unfortunately, are par for the course. The University of California San Francisco is the fourth largest recipient of federal research grants, receiving over $420 million from the NIH annually. On a university webpage the text above a photograph of a cute white mouse nestled cozily in the pocket of an empty, purple surgical glove advertises that “the University has established policies on the use of animal subjects to promote their humane care.” The text continues below the photograph in a statement all too similar to those made by Columbia and the University of Minnesota announcing that the university oversees all “research and instruction that involves vertebrate animals, in order to ensure that the highest ethical and animal welfare standards are met.”
In reality, the University of California San Francisco has one of the worst animal care records of all university medical research facilities in the country. It has been in nearly continuous violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which in 2004 filed formal charges against UCSF for 75 Animal Welfare Act violations between 2001 and 2003. These included performing surgery on an ewe and her fetus without providing post-surgical pain relief; leaving monkeys and lambs unmonitored after surgery (which resulted in a lamb frothing at the mouth and gasping for breath); forcing marmoset monkeys to breed continually and give birth while still nursing infants (one marmoset mother gave birth seven times to fourteen babies in just over three years. Six of the babies died and the mother lost 70 percent of her bodyweight over that period); depriving monkeys of water resulting in severe weight loss, performing a craniotomy on a monkey without providing post-operative pain relief, and subjecting at least one monkey to multiple injections of a brain-destroying chemical through the carotid artery. Some of the most egregious violations were done by three of UCSF’s top researchers, all of whom conduct brain experiments on primates and have received major NIH grants.
The foregoing are examples of what the University of California calls the “highest ethical and animal welfare standards.” In July of 2007 the PCRM (Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine) filed a lawsuit against UCSF for its mistreatment of dogs, monkeys and other animals used in experiments.
In spite of the cruelty and hypocrisy associated with university and medical center animal research laboratories, it is still undeniable that a small minority of animal researchers actually do engage in animal research which they believe is for humanitarian purposes. They have made a deliberate, conscious choice that it is moral to put human health concerns above those of animals. It is doubtful, however, that even the most caring researcher would deny that experiments sometimes cause suffering and pain to the animals involved. Dr. Robert Kass, Department Chair, Department of Pharmacology at the Columbia Medical Center, wrote that “we test as humanely and effectively as possible,” indicating that there are times when it is not possible to test humanely or effectively. Even so, this group of researchers do sometimes make discoveries that are applicable to humankind such as reported by Dr. Eric A. Rose, Associate Dean for Translational Research and Chair of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University who wrote: “The concept of cardiac catheterization was born here—animal research allowed the idea to become an applicable technique.” Dr. Rose’s defense of cardiac catheterization indicates he is concerned about the morality of animal testing. What Dr. Rose apparently fails to take cognizance of is that this technique might never have been necessary without the meat-based diets responsible for the arterial problems requiring catheterization. It could hardly be more patently unethical to slaughter animals in cruel ways and eat them, acquire a disease in the process of digesting and metabolizing them, and then slaughter and torture more animals to try to find a cure for the disease caused by eating them.
Should the medical establishment be unwilling to take the above argument into consideration, it can only be taken as a refusal to probe in any depth just what is moral and ethical and what is not.
Nevertheless, the sincerity of some medical scientists in attempting to solve medical enigmas is hard to deny. They use animals in their research out of a sense of compassion towards human beings. To them, animals are inferior and deserve compassion only insofar as it does not interfere with their research. Donald M. Silver, author of over 40 books on science for children and teachers who did cancer studies on mice at Sloan-Kettering Hospital in the 1970s, said that when doubts about his work arose, he only had to think about the terminally ill patients in the children’s ward. As recently as two months ago, Doctor John Young, director of comparative medicine at Los Angeles Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in an interview on PBS, proudly pointed to a laboratory prisoner pig as an ideal subject for animal research because its cardiovascular system is similar to that of human beings. However, as proved by Dr. Dean Ornish, a regimen of diet and exercise can cure heart disease. He is the author of Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, Eat More, Weigh Less and has been featured on all major medical journals and news media including NOVA on PBS. Perhaps Dr. Young doesn’t agree with Dr. Ornish’s methodology. Certainly, he must be aware of it. So why should a pig forfeit it’s life for a human being with heart problems, especially those who developed heart disease by eating pigs or cows in the first place?
Dr. Young did not discuss that researchers at Purdue University have found that a pig’s IQ is comparable to that of a chimpanzee.
He also pointed to terminally ill children as a moral imperative for conducting animal research. Those who agree with him like to pose questions like, “what if it was your own child suffering from cancer?” Certainly most people would hardly deny terminally ill children the best possible chance for survival with the best possible care, or, for that matter, any suffering human being even if it has been derived by experimenting upon animals. This is the direction that the world has taken up to the present. However, those who object to animal research did not invent the medical technology that is used in medicine today, and if they had, the means would be entirely different. Because treatment is the way it is does not justify continuing on the same tired path which Dr. Young advocates which, in the view of many, is so narrowly defined by its reliance on animal research that it prevents the kind of research that could really lead to cures for cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other devastating and deadly conditions.
For example, Dr. Ornish discovered how to cure heart disease without animal research. Dr. Young, with his animal research, has not. Yet Young believes he has the right to continue his cardiac experiments on innocent, highly intelligent creatures in spite of the fact that a cure is available. Let the reader be the judge. What is moral here and what is not?
If animal researchers like Dr. Young, Dr. Kass, and Dr. Rose really are interested in finding cures they might begin by having the courage to denounce the fake research of their colleagues like Eliot Spindel and Lynn Kiorpes for the fraud it is, as Linus Pauling has done, in order to free up hundreds of millions of dollars for serious, alternative investigations that might lead to real progress in the fight against the major diseases. The path that Dr. Young follows in is the same that animal researchers have been following for decades, and the result is always the same. They have just discovered that such and such when applied to rats, or some other species, cures such and such. Meanwhile, the real cure is always just around the corner unless someone like Dr. Ornish comes along and finds it..
The abandonment of animal testing in favor of alternative methodologies has already yielded significant results when it is tried, and several non-animal tests are being used to replace animal testing. This includes embryonic stem cell tests using non-human cells; human skin testing on leftovers from surgical procedures; cell and tissue culture (in vitro) studies used to screen for anti-cancer, anti-AIDS, and other types of drugs as well as for producing and testing pharmaceutical products like vaccines, antibiotics, and therapeutic proteins; comparative studies of human populations leading to the discovery of the root causes of human diseases including demonstrating the mechanism of AIDS transmission and how it could be prevented; and sophisticated scanning technologies (MRI, PET, and CT). Pharmagene Laboratories, based in Royston, England, studies how drugs affect human genes and the proteins they make. They use tools from molecular biology, biochemistry, and analytical pharmacology in combination with human tissues and sophisticated computer technologies in developing drugs so that the supposed need to test on animals is eliminated.
Scientists are certainly capable of discovering and inventing many other alternatives to animal research. While some medical researchers agree that an exhaustive search for alternatives to animal research is the future direction for medical research, the profession in general shows little enthusiasm and drags its feet.
It seems clear that when human beings venture forth in uncharted waters based on an intuitive sense of the possibilities ahead, only profound discovery and adventure lie in wait. That is the history of humankind and it is so fundamental to human existence that humanity can surely rely upon it. When it comes to medical research, what else is there – eternal dependency on a weaker animal species that cannot defend itself against humankind’s cruelty and abuse? Surely we are capable of much, much more. Isn’t it time we left our primitive views behind and began reaching for a higher destiny?
Our future must include widening our circle of compassion to include all species which cohabit the planet. In the process, we will be creating a vital, new template to apply to societal relations between nations that can end warfare between them. We will have been led there by our compassion for animals. And the partnership between human beings and animals that has been wrested away by the infamous practice of animal research will have been restored.
David Irving is a Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude graduate of Columbia University, class of 1980, School of General Studies. He subsequently obtained his Masters in Music Composition at Columbia and founded the new music organization Phoenix in New York City.