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On Token Gestures for Nonhumans and a PPS Opportunity

"Great Apes Debate Leads to EU Testing Ban Proposal" (Reuters) begins with:

"Europe's environment chief plans to ban laboratory tests on mankind's closest relatives — chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans — in a clampdown on animal testing by the drugs industry and other laboratories."

The funny thing is that there haven't been any great apes used in research in the EU in six years.

At first I thought: This is like what happened in the states in the US that banned greyhound racing after the sport had already died and there were no operational dog tracks in those states (that happened with every state but Massachusetts). And it does help because it virtually prevents racing from being revived. But the analogy isn't a good one for several reasons:

  1. The EU proposal stipulates that:" Great apes could only be used in experiments if the survival of the species itself was at stake, or in the case of an unexpected outbreak of a life-threatening or debilitating disease in human beings." Ah, the old we're-doing-this for-your-own-good rationale (the good of apes or people, so they've got everyone covered). Translation? If researchers want a reason to experiment on great apes, my money says they'll be able to find/create one that fits the criteria. I don't see the proposal communicating respect for the natural life of great apes. It says: Sure, we respect you and think you should be spared experimentation–until we don't.
  2. Monkeys are not included. This is like if the ban on dog racing included only greyhounds, which could easily spark a whippet racing industry (if anyone cared about dog racing anymore, and the industry's real problem is lack of interest). I do think it's wonderful to ban the use of an animal, but it's not really anything to write home about if another animal will be abused in the place of the banned one. This reminds me of the people who stop eating "red meat" and just eat more chickens. That's great for cows, but not so great for chickens.

The proposal "is considered by many animal advocates as something of a token gesture." And that's animal welfare groups! You know a proposal doesn't do anything significant if welfare groups don't even like it.

As for Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary, you may know that they have the opportunity to expand the sanctuary by 35 acres and acquire a 4,000 square foot home (to be used as an Education Center, volunteer housing and for sanctuary visitors). $70,000 of the $100,000 needed has been raised and PPS needs $30,000 before the end of the week to make a cash offer on the property, which will be used to exploit and enslave animals if they don't raise the money!

I'm overnighting $1,000 today (of the money allotted for my SEP-IRA, as I'm not exactly rolling in extra cash this year).

Please donate whatever you can (click on "Make a Donation" on the left side, below the word "Go").

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nick #

    That's too bad about the "ban" in the EU. At least it's just ineffective and pointless, rather than the alternative: regressive and harmful.

    I wish I had enough money to send a significant donation to PPS.

    November 11, 2008
  2. I'm so happy you brought attention to this PPS opportunity. I don't have much to give myself, but I'll give a bit. I think if we could all just give at least 10-30 bucks, they could reach their goal. Mary, your donation was very generous. I'm even more hopeful than ever they'll get that land.

    November 12, 2008

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