Well, I don’t know, but I can tell you if it’s going to stand. A small difference, but actually a rather big one. Today’s IgNobel prize covers the question of whether or not the amount of time a cow’s been standing predicts when it will lie down. In fact, that’s the wrong question. A better question is whether or not the cow will stand predicts when it will get UP. Head over to SciAm to check it out.
Recently, one of my beloved SciBlings, Janet, was one of the speakers at a UCLA Dialogue on the ethics of animals in research. Although I was more than a little afraid for her (of course her name, address, email, and phone were instantly posted all over the activists websites), but Sci’s fears turned out unfounded and the dialogue apparently went off very well. You can see a full video here. Everyone remained respectful, the session was carefully moderated and educational for everyone.
Well, almost everyone.
Fast forward to last night, when I found out that one of the speakers, Dario Ringach, a neurobiologist, was being harassed again. Again. Harassment before got so bad that he stopped performing primate research in 2006. But he came out to speak, in a respectful dialogue about animals in research. He’s a brave man. And for his reward for his respect and his willingness to engage, he got this:
As the pictures indicate, neighbors came out from many of the near-by houses, took leaflets and talked to activists about how much they hate their neighbor Dario for doing “hellish primate experimentation.” One, in fact, gave an activist the name of the school one of his offspring attends! Activists plan on legally leafleting the school in order to educate fellow students what their classmate’s father does for a living.
They’re going to target his children. What they are doing is technically legal. They are going to frighten the crap out of his kids, possibly make them lose their friends, all because their DAD used to do primate research and SPOKE UP IN A DIALOGUE. Nice people. They’ve already done it before, banging on the windows of the house at night and scaring Dr. Ringach’s wife and kids. Ringach already has to have a hired guard outside of his house. This sort of thing makes Sci so angry that she’s almost incoherent. The very hypocrisy of it all makes me livid.
“They attacked all of neuroscience when they attacked me” -David Jentsch
This morning Sci attended the symposium on Animals in Research: Widening the Tent, a symposium on how to reach out and garner more support for animal research, and to encourage scientists to speak out. You’d think that would be a pretty easy thing, of course scientists want to support their own research! But it’s hard, and animal rights activists are determined to make it that way. It is very hard to speak out on the benefit of your research when you worry about your car being bombed, your children being threatened at school, your home being flooded, your laboratory attacked. When it happens to one of us, all of us feel the fear. And what can we do? For many years now, scientists have just kept their heads down. Keep your head down, don’t identify yourself, and maybe they won’t come after you.
But that is not helping. Without scientists speaking out in support of their work, the field goes to the small, but vocal animal rights movement, which hijacks our science and does their best to turn the public against us. They have money (PETA alone has a $120 MILLION budget), they have drive, and they have scared us into silence.
And that’s not going to happen anymore.
Sci has learned something important today: Mini-moos SUCK. I know my regular brand of coffee. I know it in all its dark, rich, spicy deliciousness. But today, it tastes like…like…I don’t know how it’s possible for a creamer to make expensive, fair trade, delicious awesome into watery stuff you could buy from the 7-11.
I want my REAL creamer back. Call me old-fashioned, but…
The other thing you should know is that the animal research debate has resurfaced. It’s going on at Dr. Isis’ and at Dr. Free-Ride’s, both of whom can talk about this much better than I can.
All I can say is this:
Usually, when I read a book for review, I come out firmly on one side or the other. Some pretty well suck, and don’t work well for the purpose they were written. Others, are just awesome, and appeal to a wide audience. Still more are awesome at appealing to exactly who they are supposed to appeal to.
And then there are some…like this one. It’s a good book. It’s a necessary book. But it left even Sci, someone who supports well-constructed and carefully performed animal research, very thoughtful. And this is a good thing.
“An Odyssey with Animals: A veterinarian’s reflections on the animal rights and welfare debate” by Adrian R. Morrison.