21 April 2008

On why I find PETA as disgusting as they find meat...

It's currently 4:04 AM and in the physics building, there is a campus security guard sitting in front of a door to a lab with a clipboard where people sign in to get access to the lab. So when I say "physics building", I mean the Biomedical and Physical Science (BPS) building... I'm just mostly lazy and that building means physics to me, not biology labs where they do research on glaucoma. This time, however, the B in BPS isn't so easily dismissed when there's a security guard on the floor where my office is located on a Sunday night.

PETA decided that it would be cool to have a "March madness" for the worst vivisectors, or something and chose the glaucoma research led by a lab at MSU as the worst. The research is done on cats, which involves (at some point) removing their eyes (under anesthesia) and then euthanasia. Glaucoma is a disease which causes the optical nerve to die and can lead to blindness. It's one of those fun side effects for many people with diabetes. Anywho, this lab has received threats because of the PETA story and they need security there to ensure that no one's going to destroy their research. I guess they're working on restructuring the lab security so that they don't need to physically guard it.

How does this fit into a food blog? Good question. I think it's mostly another example of why I hate "evangelism" of any sort (so... not food). How does making threats give someone the moral high ground over someone who's humanely researching a disease that affects millions of people? Would it be cool if they didn't have to kill cats to do it? Yes. Would it be possible to study glaucoma in the same detail? Definitely not.

I'm about as liberal/hippie as one gets; I believe in universal health care, that guns should be outlawed, and that capitalism is a terrible, terrible ism. However, I am also a human being and believe that the main goal of *any* species should be to ensure the propagation of the species. If we are to say that people are animals too, shouldn't we be doing what we can to make sure that things are better for us? I don't believe that we should kill for the hell of it, but I don't think that doing research to better the lives of millions of people and to find a way to prevent the number two leading cause of blindness is a bad thing.

PETA has recently put out a new initiative to award the group that comes up with a way to grow meat in a test tube. But is this really the best course of action for humans? There's a reason why some of our teeth are sharp and some of them aren't. People aren't meant to be herbivores, they're meant to be omnivores. How does one ensure that this is safe? Also, seriously, who wants to eat this stuff?

So that paper... that I have due soon. I should maybe work on that. Oops.


Franny said...

Actually most vegans also hate PETA because they're sexist and their tactics are dumb. FYI.

jkru said...

I don't specifically have a problem with vegans if they can respect the fact that I choose to use animal products. It's kind of like religion... it's a personal decision. I do, however, have a big problem with anyone who decides that threatening a research lab is a really good idea. Science research is feeling the squeeze all over, and scientists shouldn't have to use their grant money to put security guards in front of their labs at night so no one destroys their research.