the dismay of many of my friends, I’m not unalterably opposed to vivisection.
In fact, I’d wholeheartedly support it, were vivisectors to make one
minor administrative change. It would be that scientists perform the experiments
not on nonhumans but on themselves and their colleagues. Scientists keep
telling us how beneficial the experiments are for Science with a capital
S, Progress with a capital P, and of course Man with a capital M. If the
experiments really are Necessary with a capital N, the scientists should
be willing to make this sacrifice (with a small s) for the greater good.
In any case, because of strict regulations, according to no less an authority
than Lord Sainsbury, British Science Minister, advocate of genetic engineering
and owner of a very large supermarket chain, experiments generally cause
no more than “moderate” suffering. If this is actually true,
scientists shouldn’t too much mind throwing their hats into this ring.
I’m sure you can spot the problem: too many important experiments
for the number of vivisectors. Just in Europe an animal is killed every
three seconds in a laboratory. In Britain it’s one every twelve seconds,
in Japan one every other second, and in the United States one per second.
I’m not sure even full-ride scholarships and high salaries will suffice
to bring in enough scientists to fill this bill. But that’s okay,
because every problem carries within it the seed of its own solution.
solution comes through the words of Sainsbury, or rather his existence:
add another category of those eligible to be vivisected. This would, of
course, be those politicians who speak or vote in favor of experimenting
on live animals. Given the importance of these experiments to everything
from the economy to national security to shiny-clean hair to new cosmetics,
I think the politicians will be glad to serve the public in this manner.
this won’t entirely solve the problem: I just don’t think we
have enough politicians (and I’ll bet you never thought you’d
hear someone say that).
I toyed with the notion of putting vivisectors’ families on the short
list, but decided to keep them in reserve in case they’re needed to
provide “spare parts,” as the xenotransplantation literature
so elegantly puts it, for those humans rich enough to afford their own personal
organ donors. The use of vivisectors’ families should eradicate the
technical and moral problems caused by the current planned use of pigs,
and should also bring in some extra cash for the corporations that hire
the vivisectors (and that’s always been the real point, hasn’t
it?): some estimates put the market for pig organs to transplant into humans
at $6 billion per year, just in the United States.
we still have the problem of numbers, don’t we? Not enough vivisectionists,
not enough politicians. Naturally, CEOs of companies that profit from vivisection
need to go on the list, and in these desperate straits—how could we
possibly live without draize eye tests?—I think we’ll just need
to add everyone who works for those companies, too. Certainly the stockholders.
Especially the stockholders.
however, that we still won’t have enough: our culture’s appetite
for subjects on which to inflict “moderate suffering” seems
insatiable. We need to forcefeed agrochemicals and drano to dogs through
tubes directly into their stomachs, and we need to transplant the hearts
and kidneys of pigs into the necks of baboons. We immobilize monkeys, lizards,
cats, dogs, take off the tops of their heads. We break the necks of baboons.
We addict macaques to cocaine, electroshock them if they will not use. We
create superviruses that kill everyone they contact. We cut out portions
of the brains of marmosets, and leave them as stupid as the experimenters
themselves. We cut off the heads of live animals using scissors, then study
their brains. We put live animals in freezers and let them try to claw their
way out. We teach chimps American Sign Language, then put them in cages
the size of cupboards: when they sign they want out, we ignore them, inject
them with pesticides. We separate monkeys from their mothers, give them
HIV, then put painful coils in their eyes to track where they look.
are simply not enough CEOs and stockholders. I’ll bet you never thought
you’d hear someone say that, either.
I’ve got a plan. Make vivisection duty mandatory for every human who
supports animal testing. We are, after all, animals. It will be just like
jury duty. You get a note from the county advising you your turn has come,
and you are to report next Tuesday. You call the evening before to see if
the experiment has been cancelled. It hasn’t, but you learn they only
want males. You are, so you show up the next day. You learn you’ll
be testing Viagra. Good, you say. I don’t need it (you hasten to add)
but what can it hurt? You soon find out. You take the drug. Instead of cutting
off your penis, as happened in experiments on beagles, rabbits, rats, mice,
and monkeys, the vivisectors (who at the very least have no testicles, else
they would surely refuse each time they were told to torture another) cut
open your penis and insert an electrode into a branch of the pelvic nerve.
They pass a charge through for a minute at a time, causing erections. They
then measure the blood pressure of the erection. Their hope is that viagra
will help maintain the erection. It seems to do that, but you and everyone
else concerned already knew that from many previous tests. Can I go home
now? you ask, your opened-penis smarting. Oh, sorry, they say. We forgot
to tell you: afterwards all subjects are sacrificed.
not too happy about that. But that’s okay, you can say as they put
the final needle in your arm. Animal experimentation is extremely important,
the suffering only moderate.
with Smash HLS (originally published in “The Ecologist” –
nonhumans could fight back, their tormentors would have expired long ago.
We have an obligation to expose the abusers. It is the LEAST we can do!
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