animal research

Every year people adopt pet dogs, cats, birds, and other creatures and take them to their local veterinarians for all the usual vaccinations and exams. The usual vaccinations protect your pets from diseases like rabies, distemper, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, and Feline Leukemia. But it's not just pets that get protected by vaccines. Agricultural creatures: fish, chickens, sheep, cows, pigs, and horses receive vaccines and increasingly, wild animals are getting vaccinated, too.

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The first lab mouse I touched had soft white fur and a light pink tail. It looked cute enough to snuggle and take home as a pet and I was smitten. I slipped my hand into the cage, thinking the mouse would respond like my pet gerbils or my brother's pet rat. As my hand closed around its belly, that sweet little mouse sunk its teeth deep in my thumb. I screamed and shook my hand, smashing the mouse on the cement floor and killing it in an instant.

It's been many years now since I've been doing anything with mice or rats. There's much more oversight these days, as ... Read more

"Did you know," my friend whispered, "that the Humane Society funds terrorists?"

I was stunned. What? That's crazy! I've adopted pets from there. No way! How could those be the same people??

My friend and I were suffering from "brand confusion." In business, this happens when different companies use similar names for their products in order to confuse the marketplace. In the animal rights movement, brand confusion is used to misdirect the funds that would otherwise help groups who do genuine humanitarian work.

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When female bloggers get death threats for comparing a Batman movie to a poor business plan, and friends can have their lab fire bombed for doing plant genetics, it's sometimes a little scary to step into the fray and take a stand on controversial issues.

But that's the point. We have to speak out. Scary or not, unless we speak out against the animal rights terrorists who firebomb people's homes ... Read more

Reposted from the original Digitalbio.

About a decade ago, I took a fascinating summer course at the UW on bioethics. We read about the Nuremburg trials and the Geneva conventions. We learned about horizon problems and eugenics. And we discussed lots of challenging scenarios with genetic testing, autonomy, family relationships, and the problems faced by people seeking to have children, trying to get insurance, or looking for a job.

So naturally, when I started a biotechnology course for non-science majors (Biotechnology and Society) at our community college, I ... Read more