23 April 2011

Today, in False Dichotomy

I was driving the automobile yesterday, when I saw a distasteful (in my opinion) billboard.

I mean look at that!  A vermin escaped from a mad scientist's lab versus the cute white girl that cable news networks go nuts for when one is missing or down a well.  The social construction on this thing is crazy.  They even split up the word "RATHER" into "RAT" and "HER."

I have a few disparate responses.  First, it should be obvious to anyone who does not immediately believe every ad they see that real life isn't that black and white.  Much animal testing is avoidable, unnecessary, or pointless.  Much of it has nothing to do with life or death situations.  Much of it is like testing pomegranate juice to the point of brain damage to test any health benefits to humans.  I'd like to see that billboard.  Much of it has to be redone on humans anyway, or else if we tested chocolate on dogs or strychnine on hamsters we'd be in for surprises.

Plus, and I hate to invoke Godwin's Law so soon, just because research saves lives doesn't make it right.  If you click on those links you will be thinking of an even more absurd and grim iteration of the billboard above.  I could also go one step more and combine pointless experiments with those conducted on low-status humans and mention the Tuskegee syphilis experiments (and the associated ones in Guatemala).

Besides weeding out all those pointless or avoidable tests, many animal testing can be further minimized by testing on cell cultures, tissues, and the like first.  This won't catch every pitfall, but it will catch some.  It's also cheaper, and that's why more and more companies are using these tests and developing more.

Essentially, I'd like to see more resources put to developing tests to avoid animal testing.  Besides saving animals both human and non, it will mean I won't have to see this billboard.

So who would I rather see live?  Both the cute fuzzy and the brat, and while I'm making demands let's make her vegan.  :þ


  1. I'm curious to know who funded this ad campaign. In my stomping grounds a few months ago, an industry front group plastered the neighborhood with big yellow billboards screaming, "Protect Your Pet From Animal Radicals!" A bunch of other activists and I managed to track down the local woman who spearheaded the campaign, but we couldn't think of any way to counter it without spending a lot of money we didn't have. The local PETA office advised us to pick our battles, and we did. Still, the memory of it burns...

  2. Digging through their website, I found:

    Our Sponsers[sic]
    Foundation for Biomedical Research
    National Association for Biomedical Research

    Oddly, both pages link to each other and they list the same physical address.


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