Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Animal Extremism

I was reading an article about a man, Justin Thind, arrested for threatening and harassing a group of animal researchers over at UCSF [[that's where I wanted to go to Dental School]]. Apparently, he's been given six months of jail time [[more here]], and it's probably six months well deserved.

Back when I lived in California, there was an animal "terrorist" group that would threaten UC Berkeley Labs, and I'd hear about it and think, what a bunch of idiots. Can you really justify an animal's life over a human life? This not being routed in any sort of religious specie-ism, rather rooted in the idea that any one species will actively fight to preserve their own over another. And in the months following when I became vegan, my ideas about that really haven't changed. For me, being vegan is based on the idea that I don't have to eat meat to survive; if I did, I'd eat it. Sure, protecting animals from suffering is part of it and in a big way, environmental factors. And much less, the health benefits. But when it comes to medical research-- I'm stuck. I can't think of a better way to study diseases, and I can't honestly say I'd rather a rat not die and some else die of cancer.

And when it comes to Thind, I think he's an absolute moron. Harassing the researchers won't do shit. You have to get to the route of the problem-- it's the way we do things. Change the way we do things, and these researchers won't have to test on animals. It may sound like a weighty task, but someone with the time and commitment to actively harass a group of people should be able to handle it. Over dinner, after watching the movie Milk , Andy and I were discussing what life would be like if vegans had a community like gay people in SF; if vegans-- or anyone today-- had the hope and ingenuity to create a movement and a war against wrong-doings. It's funny to think about-- I can't imagine anyone caring like that any more. Lately, all the people that care seem to be wacko extremists. It's saddening and a hard realization to come to-- that the era of change and hope in the US has faded away.


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