Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Where are the vivisectors?

A question posted to an email list I'm on got me to thinking about the groupthink that leads to vivisectors' perceptions of themselves. If you've had the opportunity to speak with very many vivisectors you have probably heard them say that they consider themselves animal welfarists, or even animal advocates, that they consider it a privilege to use animals, that they respect the animals they use, or that they wish they didn't have to hurt and kill them.

The question posed to the list came from a vivisector. She wrote:
I'm a veterinarian and scientist at the University of [anywhere] interested in exploring the issue of compassion fatigue and burnout in people working with animals. I'm brand new to this list. A critical aspect of animal welfare is taking care of the people who care for animals.
Someone else on the list suggested that she ought to have used "dilemma fatigue" rather than "compassion fatigue." I'll wager that Dr. X genuinely believes that compassion fatigue is a more appropriate term; she probably believes that the people involved in the industry are genuinely compassionate people who have been forced by their love of humanity into hurting and killing animals.

But I've yet to run across one of these vivisecting animal lovers at an anti-cruelty protest or even a public meeting about some non-vivisection related animal cruelty issue.

When the possibility of a citizens' panel to investigate the ethics of the University of Wisconsin, Madison's use of monkeys was discussed at county committee meetings, the vivisectors turned out in droves to talk about how much they care about animals and how hard they work to keep them happy while they are experimenting on them. And how dare anyone assume that they don't care as much about animals as the people asking for the creation of the citizens' panel.

But when something else happens, like a fur protest or a county hearing about the use of elephants in circuses, these vivisecting animal lovers are nowhere to be found.

Makes one wonder. The answer is groupthink. The vivisectors tell one another how much they care, but in their bones, they don't. They're zombies reciting what they've been told.

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