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Carnival Against Vivisection — Sept 6th

NB: Links to Carnival entries are here

“What do strip mining and child sexual abuse have in common? Vivisection.”

That’s how I started my presentation on the “commonalities of oppression” panel at the recent AR2008 conference. I’ll post the whole talk next week as one of my two contributions to the blog “Carnival Against Vivisection” that I’ll be hosting here at SuperWeed. I’ll also be contributing a look at vivisection of chickens over at the new Eastern Shore Sanctuary blog.

Here’s what I want you to do: Blog about vivisection. Send me the link by 06 September and I’ll include and publicize your post in the roundup of entries.

I especially want you to do this if you’re an animal advocate who usually doesn’t think about vivisection. I especially want you to do this if you’re a proponent of veganism who usually focuses on food rather than animal-tested products. I especially want you to do this if you usually blog about environmental or social justice issues and haven’t written (or perhaps even thought) about the ways that spiritual and actual vivisection intersect with the problems on which you usually focus.

Why September 6th? As reported by Indymedia UK, “In solidarity with Sean Kirtley, who was imprisoned by the state for supposedly organising legal demonstrations against Sequani’s vivisection laboratories, activists will be making a stand for the animals with a march and rally against Sequani labs on September 6th in Ledbury, Herefordshire. ”

In Austria, the UK, and here in the USA, opponents of vivisection have been the targets of enhanced state repression — the subject of my next post — in recent years. At the same time, the mainstream animal advocacy movement seems to be swinging away from active struggle against vivisection and the mainstream anti-vivisection movement seems to be swinging away from animal rights. The anti-vivisection societies used to be at the national animal rights conferences — I don’t see them in the exhibit hall anymore. At AR2008 I heard one too many advocate of personal veganism as the path to animal liberation assert that farmed animals must be the focus of our activism because they represent the greatest number of exploited animals.

Now, I know all about that. I founded and run a sanctuary in the heart of a rural region where the local poultry industry kills and cuts up more than a million chickens every day. But we can’t afford to see activism as a zero-sum game in which attention to one problem detracts from another. What we all have to do is develop an integrated analysis in which we understand how all of the problems are linked and then find ways to show solidarity with those working on different issues (or by means of different tactics) while using not only utilitarian [bringing the greatest good to the greatest number] but also strategic [e.g., where can *I* do the greatest good, given my own resources and positioning? where are the best opportunities for decisive intervention right now? what needs doing that nobody else is doing? etc.] and compassionate [whose suffering is unbearably acute?] calculations in deciding how to spend one’s own limited supply of time.

At the GARC conference back in 2005, an activist I respect recalled the history of the US animal rights movement — in which initial focus on fur and vivisection often left out farmed animals — and wondered if we haven’t gone too far in the other direction, with the emphasis on farmed animals and on personal veganism perhaps driving out people who might have helped us to actually win the struggles against fur and cosmetics testing. We’ll never know what might have happened if different choices had been made in the past but, going forward, I’d like to see those who focus on farmed animal issues refrain from asserting that those are *the* issues on which we *all* should be working and those who focus on personal veganism to maybe be a bit more verbal about the aspects of veganism that don’t have to do with food (i.e., not only avoidance of animal-tested products but also avoidance of products produced by means that exploit human animals or despoil the habitats of nonhuman animals.)

There’s one more reason why I want to contribute something to the struggle against vivisection right now: The country vet came to my house last week for an extravaganza of examinations and vaccinations, in the course of which dog Madeline became very afraid. Soothing her so that the vet could draw blood, assuring her that this was to keep her healthy and only happens once a year, I suddenly flashed on all of the dogs in all of the vivisection labs who endure much worse procedures repeatedly, with nobody to comfort them, and for purposes that are decidedly not in their own best interest. I cannot adequately describe the mixture of empathy, nausea, and rage that surged through my veins.

Let’s do something for those dogs. To paraphrase my pal Livi: Ready… Set… Scribble!

Possibly related posts:

  1. Vivisection, Cupcakes, and Solidarity

11 Responses to “Carnival Against Vivisection — Sept 6th”

  1. 1
    Charlotte:

    What else can people do against vivisection besides blogging, both on September 6 and all the time? Besides donate to somewhere like aavs, I mean? How effective is letter-writing these days? How about for people who live in remote locations, can they do anything besides donate money?

  2. 2
    Rick Bogle:

    http://primateresearch.blogspot.com/

  3. 3
    Three Recent Links « Vegans of Color:

    [...] jones is starting a Carnival Against Vivisection. The deadline for the first carnival is September 6th. [...]

  4. 4
    Nikki:

    I think this idea is an excellent one, hopefully I will be able to post something about vivisection in time. I was anti-vivisection long before I ever became vegan actually, so my focus is anti-vivisection, anti-factory farms, anti-fur, anti-anything-done-bad-to-animals-at-all. I have avoided animal tested products for a very long time (since I became aware of what is really going on), and research things before buying it if they don’t clearly state “no animal testing”…hell, even then I check it out if it is not a company I trust (as much as you can trust a company these days!). The images of instruments in animals’ heads/brains, burnt eyes, body parts being removed while they are conscious etc. horrifies me to no end. I’ve had those moments like you had with Madeline before, and it just reaffirms my anger and commitment to anti-vivisection.

  5. 5
    against vivisection: ethics and science « Invisible Voices:

    [...] vivisection: ethics and science pattrice is hosting a Carnival Against Vivisection, and it is an important topic, as well as one that I don’t talk enough about, and so [...]

  6. 6
    joshivore:

    pattrice, i love this idea. count me in. we’ve been talking a lot lately about some campaign ideas against the primate research lab here. this will be a good way to get a few things down on “paper.”

  7. 7
    Jessica:

    Thank you, pattrice for bringing this important topic up. Vivisection is near and dear to my heart because it was the very animal rights first issue that I questioned and opposed. Unlike the other atrocities which we inflict upon animals, the vivisectors admit that they are inflicting pain. Those who use animals for food, clothing, and entertainment will claim that they don’t hurt the animals–I believed them. Whenever I questioned animal experimentation, adults would explain to me that animals must suffer in order for the human race to survive. It seemed so wrong to me to justify hurting somebody else for our supposed benefit.

    I felt this way even before I understood why eating and wearing dead animals was wrong. I even thought that vegetarianism was kind of weird. Luckily, a local animal rights group recognizing that I got it on vivisection gave me some good literature explaining why we also shouldn’t eat animals.

    As you pointed out, it’s not a zero sum game. Abolishing the use animals in experiments compliments promoting veganism. Interestingly, I’ve heard on several occasions, activists state that if we treated cats and dogs the way we treated factory farmed animals, it would be illegal. On the contrary, it is completely legal to treat cats and dogs that way behind the walls in a laboratory.

    I feel that we should oppose vivisection on all of the following grounds:

    1. It’s intense cruelty to animals.
    2. It’s unscientific and useless. A drug may react one way in a nonhuman and completely differently in a human.
    3. It has caused harm to human health.

    Here are some reasons that I believe the animal rights movement has shied away from vivisection:

    1. A lot of the current government repression has focused on anti-vivisection activists.
    2. Proponents of vivisection are pretty clever at intimidating activists: they have PhD. or Dr. as part of their name; they constantly say “a rat or a child;” they are really good debaters; etc.
    3. Even activists take prescription drugs which been tested on animals leading them to feel hypocritical about speaking out.
    4. The percentage of animals suffering in laboratories is minuscule compared to those suffering on animal farms. They feel we’ll save more animals by only promoting veganism only.
    5. Some activists felt that they put in a lot themselves through protests and civil disobedience but did not see a return on their investment.
    6. Some of the welfare reform bills specifically state exemptions for vivisection.
    7. Some activists really aren’t convinced that vivisection is unnecessary and harmful.

    My purpose of the above list is twofold: I’d like to provide ideas on how to handle these roadblocks. In all honesty, I certainly suffer from some of those roadblocks too; I’m not saying that I have all the answers, but I’m hoping that other activists will read them and start thinking of solutions.

    For point #1, we need to be really smart about having effective protests. We should be aware of government repression but we shouldn’t let it intimidate us. We need to learn our legal rights and have legal observers.

    Points #2 and #7 can be addressed by educating ourselves. Groups such as PCRM, American Anti-Vivisection Society, In Defense of Animals, and Eastern Shore Sanctuary have great resources about vivisection’s uselessness. I also recommend the book Slaughter of the Innocent by Hans Reusch.

    I have always been disappointed that #4 has been used as a reason to not stand up for animals in laboratories. We need to take a holistic view of animal liberation and look at changing the whole world’s attitude about animals in addition to the number of animals that we have to save. Yes, it would be true that if we abolished vivisection before converting the world to veganism, it would be a small percentage. However, the number is still pretty large and it would be meaningful to each individual animal who does not suffer. Lastly, even if vivisection did end before the other atrocities, I believe a fundamental shift in society’s attitude toward animals will have taken place. We could take advantage of this attitude to end other atrocities.

    I understand that proponents of welfarist laws are sincere in wanting to reduce the suffering of the individual animals on animal farms. However, #6 needs to be addressed by really thinking over what we might be supporting if a bill makes exemptions for the use of animals in research.

    Regarding #3, we have no excuse not to buy cosmetics, household cleaners, shampoos, etc. that are tested on animals. I do feel that we should look for holistic methods of preventing and treating illnesses. However, I understand that in some circumstances, individuals need to take prescription drugs that were by law tested on animals. That doesn’t mean that the tests were necessary or even guaranteed to be protect humans. Groups including PCRM are pressuring the industry to use viable alternatives.

    I’m going to address #5 by ending in a positive note. Those who sacrificed their freedom for laboratory animals are starting to see a return on their investment. In the 1980′s, a student who refused to dissect an animal faced failing grades and ridicule from other students. There are now more state laws on the books allowing students to refuse. A few years ago, I had the honor of meeting Rooshin Dalal who was instrumental in ending animal experimentation at UVA around 2002. Sure, he deserves praise for his hard work, however, he stood on the shoulders of those who tried before him and failed. UVA has joined a growing list of schools that no longer experiment on animals.

  8. 8
    pattrice:

    Jessica, thanks for such a comprehensive comment… I’ll link to it as an entry in the carnival. Josh, let’s have it. Charlotte, I’ll try to address your question in a post I’m planning about strategy. Everybody, today’s the day but I was locked out of my blog for several hours yesterday, so I’m running a little behind. I’ll have my own entry and the roundup posted later today.

  9. 9
    Other Kinds of Bird Cages | Eastern Shore Sanctuary Blog:

    [...] is an entry in the Carnival Against Vivisection. See SuperWeed for [...]

  10. 10
    Carnival Against Vivisection | SuperWeed:

    [...] called for this blog carnival against vivisection today in solidarity with the UK activist imprisoned for organizing legal demonstrations against a [...]

  11. 11
    pattrice:

    Thanks to all who participated in the carnival. You can find links and summaries here.

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