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animal rights and abortion – the connection

February 24, 2010

A while ago I mentally split the group of people against abortion into two groups: pro-life and anti-choice.  The difference is this: a pro-life person honestly believes abortion is wrong, and hopes to change minds by discussion and protests.  An anti-choice person doesn’t want to change minds, but rather to force behavior through threats and use of force.  The line isn’t necessarily always easy to see, but I find it a useful way to think about the extremes of the group. The one group consists of people who I’d like to talk to and who I respect, even if we disagree. The other group are infuriating, frustrating, and some of them (Dr. Tiller’s murderer) are terrorists.

Animal rights protesters have a similar breakdown. There are people who are interested in discussion, in changing minds, in passing laws and influencing ethics codes.
Then there are these people.
These are the analogs of the anti-choice group discussed above. They aren’t interested in discussion, and in my mind they have thrown away the right to argue from morals, because their actions are reprehensible.
See, don’t get me wrong, a lot of animal research makes me sick. I have seen a particular set of research that involved giving rats strokes for the purpose of testing an imaging systems. That’s just torturing rats for no purpose, as the imaging system could have been tested in a bunch of other ways, without you know the whole forced stroke thing. But no way would I ever think of going to this researchers home and threatening this person, let alone their children. I want to have a dialog. I want to read up of the current codes of ethics, and the current laws, and then have a discussion about what I know about animals. I want to be made to think about the consequences of different restrictions on research, because I know an incredible amount of modern life is dependent on animal research. I think this is an important dialog to have. I think that having enough respect for someone you vehemently disagree with to have a discussion is important. I think that the more we disagree about something, the more important it is to be able to talk. And I think it should be a continuing discussion. To do that, the two sides have to be willing to be in the same room as each other. To do that, we can’t threaten each other. To do that, we actually have to respect each other.
There is no place in this dialog for people who use coercion.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 24, 2010 10:52 pm

    Violence is never the right answer to violence. These people really bother me. They are just…hypocrites.
    Respect really is the key word here. I’m absolutely convinced that all the world’s problems could be solved by people having more respect for others.

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