World Lab Animal Day

Just learned that today is  World Lab Animal Day.

World. lab animal. day.

What a sad world I live in that there is such think at World Lab Animal Day.

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know how deeply I feel about animal welfare. I do not think we’re all that special that countless lives may be sacrificed so we can find new ways of healing ourselves.

What we are is really good with weapons. And we’re bigger. And we are amoral. And very fond of ourselves too. We think so highly of ourselves we don’t even flinch at the suffering, the torture we inflict on lab animals every day.

Being accepted at graduate school was a big deal for me. It was the culmination of a life long dream and hard work. And yet, I took a whole year and a half between acceptance and start.

Why? Because I would not settle for just any lab for my research. I would NOT do animal testing and that was final.

Oh, there were many interesting lines of research, many good labs. But they all tested in animals. Rats, mice, monkeys, rabbits.

Not a chance I would compromise my values.

You can imagine how ecstatic I was when I found a lab that not only did amazing research, but they did it on human cells in culture!

And! [for those who are in science] Because it was done in human cells, it was actually considered in vivo research instead of in vitro. Double win!

It was a short stint, my time as a graduate student. In the end, I did not become doctor doctor Petrilli *

But I will always have the satisfaction that, when the test came, I proved myself worthy of my ideals. I can hold my head up and walk away proud

5,000 years

I can live 5,000 years and never understand people.

Geek & Sundry, a page I follow on Facebook, posted this picture, which I found very disturbing.

Naturally, me being me, I immediately posted this:

Um… How is killing innocent animals just to see how they work inside geeky?

To which someone replied:

Science is geeky. Biology is science. Dissection teaches about how things live (biology). Therefore dissection is geeky.

And that, my friends, makes me very sad. Yes, you can say I am a dreamer but I know I am not the only one (on top of Spanish, English and Italian, I am perfectly fluent in movies and songs quotes). But how is it even remotely possible that people can still think dissection ==> science ==> geeky.

As you can imagine, I had to reply.

Two things:
1. It irks me to think about all those “Natural philosophers” as they called themselves, doing the vivisections depicted here. Yes, way back when “scientists” opened the poor animals when th
ey were still alive in order to see how bodies work. These knitted animals are a perfect representation of the original illustrations on old biology [zoology, back then] books, which of course were faithful reproductions of what the illustrator saw on the tray. These knitted reproductions are so perfect they even have the pins to hold the animals down.
2. I am a medical doctor and a molecular biologist. I am as scientific as scientists come. Science runs in my blood. I was a geek and a nerd way before being a geek and a nerd became cool. And I am telling you. Dissection doesn’t teach biology. Dissection teaches torture and murder. Why is it okay to kill animals just to show kids how things live? Anything that needed to be learned, has been learned. There is no need to kill any more poor animals. Even as a seventh grade student I refused to kill any frogs in my biology class because anything I needed to learn I could learn it from the books. As a med student, I refused to kill a dog for my Physiology lab. Again, anything I needed to learn was already in the books and we also now have computer animations to teach new students.
 
I apologize if I appear patronizing or confrontational. I don’t have anything against you. But I have everything against animal cruelty. I am all for ethical treatment of animals. Even for my PhD research, I chose a lab and a project that did not do animal research. And I am telling you – and anyone else that cares to listen: Dissection is NOT geeky, says the geekiest of all the geek girls on the planet!
I have no hope I will change anyone’s mind with my little soapbox moment.
As I said to one of my son the philosopher’s colleagues the other day: I am both a humanist and a misanthropist, if you can believe it. The funny thing was that he not only could but he did. Believe it, that is. Even quoted another philosopher who wrote about the very same dichotomy. Of course, I should have seen that coming. There was bound to be a philosopher who had philosophized about it already. I suppose I should add to it that I am also a philanthropist, sans the money part, obviously.
Long story short, I both love and hate humans. I care about people and their suffering. Why, I became a doctor, precisely because I wanted to heal people. But by George I hate people too. The things they do. The hurting they cause. The damage. The carelessness. And the stupid. THE STUPID.
I can live 5,000 years and never understand people.

Good Morning World

Last night, I cry myself to sleep. I was pinteresting and there was this pin on my feed, about animal cruelty. A monster had nailed a sweet little angel cat to a fence. Just writing about it makes my insides churn and I can feel the tears coming back.

And then I wake up today and this what I see. The scene took my breath away. The picture hardly does any justice to the landscape. The sunshine on the grass and on the leaves giving everything a lovely golden touch… the bright autumn colours… the blue sky…

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My view as I sip my delicious Colombian coffee

I hear the sound of the running water, the adorable goofy honking of the geese, the chirping of little birds, the music of our little wind chime.

I know life is difficult. For some more than others but everybody, nonetheless.

I know I am blessed. Lucky till no end. I have love. I am safe.

My heart still weeps for those who are suffering, furry and non-furry alike. My body still burns with wrath for the all injustice, the cruelty, the ugliness of this world.

But there is a soothing calm in my soul.

I will continue to bathe in the peacefulness of my surroundings, allowing myself to grow stronger so I can be the change I wish to see in the world