Comments for Skywritings Stevan Harnad Thu, 27 Jan 2022 12:15:00 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Drawing the line on human vital necessities by Stevan Harnad Sat, 22 Jan 2022 17:06:10 +0000 In reply to Veda Stram.

My reply to Veda Stram is here.

Comment on Drawing the line on human vital necessities by Veda Stram Sat, 22 Jan 2022 00:15:40 +0000 “Try to pretend to be more optimistic.” REALLY? Reasons and justifications to not be DISGUSTINGLY upset and opposed to breeding, confining, depriving individual LIVING beings of anything AND EVERYTHING that could be natural to them, slitting their throats in front of their family and friends for ‘food’ that only happens to satisfy a few moments of ‘human tastebuds’? Optimism? BE VEGAN. Or be cruel.

Comment on Drawing the line on human vital necessities by Stevan Harnad Sat, 15 Jan 2022 12:29:58 +0000 In reply to Karen Davis.

I agree with Karen. And that’s why I can’t agree with Marthe, even though I admire and value what Marthe does for the animals she helps.

Comment on Drawing the line on human vital necessities by Karen Davis Sat, 15 Jan 2022 11:51:04 +0000 In reply to Dr M Kiley-Worthington.

With all due respect, if there is one thing animal advocates should never do, it’s disparaging veganism as a force for good. Choosing to remove animals from our mouths and our meals is a self-empowering first step (as Tolstoy argued in his essay “The First Step”) to rid ourselves of preventable violence and complicity in preventable suffering.

If we assume that changing our own consumer behavior and encouraging others to do so is futile, why then should we assume that government agencies and food corporations will change their policies and practices for the better? It isn’t a matter of either/or. But one thing it is a matter of, in my opinion, is taking responsibility for what we personally CAN DO, in our own lives right now, without waiting for somebody else to do “something” about the tragedy and misery our species is inflicting on the inhabitants of this planet.

Of all the comments posted on social media sites, none is more exasperating than this passive formulation: “I eat meat, but I believe animals should be treated humanely.” Well, good luck with that.

Comment on Drawing the line on human vital necessities by Karen Davis Sat, 15 Jan 2022 11:04:38 +0000 In reply to Stevan Harnad.

A reader of this discussion wrote on our Facebook page, January 14:

“I believe it is critical to simultaneously acknowledge the horrors AND relentlessly hold a vision of what’s possible. We need to work in single minded service to the vision, and remind ourselves frequently of all the things we once thought were unattainable that are commonplace today. I truly believe that focusing more on what we are building instead of only on what we are fighting will be a powerful force.”


Comment on Drawing the line on human vital necessities by Stevan Harnad Fri, 14 Jan 2022 22:08:09 +0000 In reply to Karen Davis.

All true, all too horribly true.

(And I agree that “animal science” is largely a service discipline for the agribusiness industries.)

But note that that’s all -H (driven by consumer demand for taste, fashion and fun).

And much of supposedly +H biomedical research is not life-saving research either, but driven by bandwagons, funding, careerism and curiosity.

Not all of +H, though, and that is a tragic but undeniable fact. The -H/+H distinction is there, for the truly life-saving +H research.

And it cannot be treated as if it too were just bandwagon-, funding-, careerism- or curiosity-driven.

Comment on Drawing the line on human vital necessities by Karen Davis Fri, 14 Jan 2022 21:02:17 +0000 In reply to Stevan Harnad.

In the U.S., land-grant universities like the University of Maryland and other publicly funded university systems have entire animal science departments, including a chicken slaughter facility at UMD, College Park, where I earned my PhD in English in 1987, and founded the Animal Rights Coalition in 1989. I became well acquainted with the animal science department there. I once encountered a flock of very young “broiler” chickens who had been genetically engineered to be as large as small turkeys.

Cruel and repetitive experiments are routinely conducted on chickens, turkeys, cows, etc. at land-grant universities; e.g., in the University of California system: UC-Davis, for example. Farmed animal “science” projects get funding from corporate agribusiness and from taxpayer dollars. From all that I have heard, read, and seen since the early 1980s, I am satisfied that there is indeed an animal-research industry that includes university animal-science departments, and more.

In addition to agribusiness departments, there are all the other university departments in which monkeys, rabbits – you name it – are revealed by undercover investigators to be treated horribly and to suffer mercilessly. Just close your eyes and pick a place, and you’ll see.

Comment on Drawing the line on human vital necessities by Stevan Harnad Fri, 14 Jan 2022 12:38:49 +0000 In reply to Dr M Kiley-Worthington.

I can’t entirely agree with Marthe Kiley-Worthington, although I admire her work.

But it’s certainly true that just about everyone is selective in their supporting references. In scientific journal articles this is an important shortcoming, but as science publication is open and collaborative, readers and critics can remedy inadvertent or deliberate omissions and biasses with published commentaries and critiques. On the other end of the spectrum, however, highly biassed and tendentious selectivity is what feeds climate-change-denial, anti-vaxxing and conspiracy theories, and so far the anarchic global social networks unfortunately seem to have no effective way (or will) to constrain, regulate or remedy this.

Comment on Drawing the line on human vital necessities by Stevan Harnad Fri, 14 Jan 2022 11:24:46 +0000 In reply to Bill Crain.

Many thanks to Dr. Crain, developmental psychologist, animal activist and provider of sanctuary for his very valid observation that there is increasing interdependency between universities and industry, hence academic scientific research and industrial scientific research.

Universities need to find new ways to support themselves, but when it comes to the lives and well-being of sentient organisms this is not just a material matter but a moral one.

The few laws and regulations governing the “use” of nonhuman animals in research, whether academic or industrial, are woefully inadequate; and even such as they are, they are monitored and enforced only minimally and pro forma. The quis custodiet? problems in university labs are serious enough, but in proprietary industrial labs they are virtually insurmountable – short of a police state. Animals are almost completely defenceless in the Anthropocene, with as yet no standing in court, and little scope for standing for their advocates. Moreover, the very concept of “using” animals for human ends needs is being called into question, as it should be.

But meanwhile the victims keep suffering.

Comment on Drawing the line on human vital necessities by Dr M Kiley-Worthington Fri, 14 Jan 2022 10:43:54 +0000 In reply to Bill Crain.

I entirely agree. Science is an industry; and even the results of researchers are “helped” to conform to what ever the sponsors want. Indeed, even “animal welfare” activists sponsor and use only the results that help them along in their “activism, whether or not it is seriously ethical considered from all angles.

Re. optimism and pessimism about animals — which I have spent all my life trying to improve the lives of. I am not sure it really matters that much, as it is reduction in species diversity that threatens the living system — and that means humans as well; and that is the result of most of farming — “food for humans” whatever it is, animal or plant — so vegans are not helping generally.

The other question was why should many pigs, rats or whatever be sacrificed for the possible survival of one person when there are too many people consuming too much anyway? Until this is solved we dont have much hope. Yes, it might be a good idea to be pessimistic: face the problems and do something serious about it rather than just tweaking!!