Friday, July 1, 2011

Drawing the the world black & white, or are there shades of grey?

I was involved in a conversation recently on Facebook. The topic "Monkeys found in Oregon" was an article about how researchers in Oregon found a link between a naturally occurring disease found in monkeys was linked to MS.  I did some further research on this, and discovered that the monkeys have been dying in Oregon starting in 1986 from an unknown disease.  This disease has since been identified as the monkey form of MS. Recently (in the last 5 yrs or so?) they have discovered a vaccine that prevents the monkeys from getting the disease.

To me, that is a sign of hope for the future, that a cure or vaccine will be available for humans.  Might be too late for me, but it could maybe save future people not even born yet.

Diane's post then started a conversation about whether it was right to use animals for research. One person felt it was very wrong. Using animals, is cruel, inhumane, and inexcusable. Doesn't matter that the outcome benefits future generations. It is just wrong. For her, it was very black & white.

I can understand that viewpoint.  I don't agree with it. I guess I think sometimes the ends can justify the means. I don't like to see animals hurt or tortured. I don't like to see any innocents hurt or tortured. But I also know that research can result in things that save lives. Do I value an animal's life more than a human's? The other person mentioned they valued the animal's life more than their own.  But would they value the animal more than an innocent child? where to draw the line?  My world is more grey.

M & I recently went on a bike ride organized to raise moneys for a local community park. The route went over some rural roads, through some farm land.  We past a farm house, which had a lady outside tending a flower garden in her front yard.  3 huge turkeys were walking up to the rode nearby.  We stopped to take pictures and talked with the lady.  The turkeys (2 toms and a hen) were beautiful.  The Tom's were strutting their feathers all puffed. The lady said they were very social.  That they follow them around and seem to like people.  She mentioned they had gotten the turkeys to raise and have for Thanksgiving dinner last year, then planned to have them over Christmas, then for Easter.  Finally they faced the truth that the turkeys were just pets.  They couldn't bear to eat them. She said the hen has sat on eggs, but that they take the eggs from her because they couldn't face having 20 some-odd turkeys following them around.

I could never be a farmer and raise animals to eat. M's dad W talked about having beef cattle for a period of time, but made the mistake of naming them.  Then he couldn't bear to take them to slaughter. They became pets, he did end up selling them. If I was to have cows, or pigs, or chickens or any other animal that I was trying to raise with the intent of eating their meat, I know I couldn't do it. I would get too attached. But that doesn't make me want to become a vegetarian. I still like to eat meat. See, grey.

I'm a softie when it comes to animals, and really any innocent. I don't really want to see anyone hurt. Although there have been people in my life that I wouldn't shed a tear for, and I really do think there are people that have no conscience and are pure evil.  I'm not sure I would care if they were the ones to get hurt.

I have written about our cats. They are part of the family. They were all rescue kittens.  And they have a good life. Diane mentioned about how it could be viewed very wrong that we humans try to domesticate wild things (cats) and that that could be considered just as cruel in some ways as keeping monkeys in Oregon. What about birds? People keep birds like canaries or parrots as pets. Keep them in a cage. Clip their wings so they can't fly off. Is that right? where do you draw the line?

I just don't see the world in black and white. I can't. There are so many shades of grey, I can't tell where that line is.  I think it might vary on the circumstance.  I just don't think there is any hard fast answer.


Have Myelin? said...

Interesting! I can't see things in black/white either. In today's news they were talking about how in some cultures dogs/cats were considered meat. As I type this, my sweet daschie is sleeping under my arm! No way is a dog MEAT.

But in Viet Nam they see things differently. In India, they think cows are sacred. We eat them.

We currently experiment on animals because it's better than experimenting on humans. So, is it really a tough call now? =(

Diane J Standiford said...

Yeah. I try to respect all views on this. I felt very conflicted about the parakeet I got, more so the more I came to see how human he would act. I loved him. But if I were dying for lack of food, I'd eat him. If my partner were dying for lack of food, I would urge her to eat me! With all our super duper brains (in OUR opinion) (coming FROM our brains) we forget we are just animals like the rest. Love. When love is around it is hard to consider hurting another or eating them, but we do it and keep distance. Animal research for vanity testing--I see black only, a big no. But to ease suffering--I see yes. There are laws now so that the animals are cared for humanely (well, as much as possible), I do wish computer models would hurry up so live creatures would no longer be needed. Yeah, my cat friend...she was SO solid about not using animals PERIOD, yet, really, cats were not meant to be shut up in a house--humans did that to them, dogs too--we put dogs to work for us, isn't that slavery? Does a wolf look like he would rather be walking downtown with a blind person? Or free? But dogs ease suffering as do cats, so I think it is okay, but don't get preachy about it. Ya know?