Is animal rights “too
good an idea for the next century to be suppressed,” as Paul McCartney
claims? Only if people no longer want access to lifesaving medical treatments.
McCartney and his wife, Linda,
campaigned for years against the use of animals in medical experiments.
As spokespersons for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the
McCartneys parroted that organizations claims that animal
experiments dont lead to reliable treatments for human diseases.
When Linda McCartney was diagnosed
with breast cancer, however, she received chemotherapy a treatment
tested extensively in animals before ever being used in human beings.
This might lead some to accuse
Paul and Linda McCartney of being hypocrites, but after Lindas death,
Paul offered what he thought was a reasonable explanation of the seeming
contradiction. He claimed neither he nor Linda knew that the drugs she
was taking had been tested in animals, which in itself is an amazing admission.
In the United States all
drugs must be tested in animals before being tested on human beings. That
the McCartneys could campaign against animal experimentation without being
aware of the fundamental role that animal experiments play in the drug
development and approval process is typical of animal rights activists
who are often ignorant of even basic scientific and medical concepts.
On the other hand, some animal
rights activists do understand the importance of animal experiments but
just dont care. Consider another celebrity activist, Linda Blair.
Asked about actor Christopher Reeve, paralyzed after a 1995 horse riding
accident, Blair blamed Reeve for the accident and said she hoped a cure
could be found for his paralysis “but not at the expense of innocent
Reeves wife, Dana,
replied to Blair saying, “It’s too hard to watch 6-year-old children
with spinal cord injuries and say, ‘No, don’t do a medical experiment
on a rat'” Animal rights activists, however, are committed to doing
PETA president Ingrid Newkirk
once summed up this callous view by telling a reporter that even if animal
experimentation could find a cure for AIDS, “wed be against
it.” Without animal research, life saving treatments and vaccines
for everything from diabetes to polio would not exist.
Most Americans support and
benefit from medical research involving animals, however, so animal rights
activists choose to direct much of their activism at banning hunting and
the sale of furs.
As the number of hunters
nationwide has declined over the past few decades, animal rights activists
have made inroads convincing non-hunters to ban or curtail hunting. Similarly,
since the market for fur products is largely among wealthier Americans,
activists have been able to gain a lot of sympathy for their cause.
But the animal rights agenda
goes far beyond those narrow issues. Animal rights groups such as PETA
want a nationwide ban on fishing, for example, and an end to all meat
eating, which they consider cruel. Opposing hunting is just a way to get
a foot in the door.
Similarly, though animal
rights activists concentrate on fur, they are committed to ridding the
world of leather and other common products, such as down-filled jackets,
that are made from animals.
PETA is so committed to the
rights of animals that it even advocates an end to keeping dogs and cats
as pets. As a PETA fact sheet puts it, it is “important to stop manufacturing
pets, thereby perpetuating a class of animals forced to rely
on humans to survive.” PETA would prefer to see all breeding of pets
stopped so domestic animal species could gradually go extinct.
This is what Paul McCartney
thinks is “too good an idea for the next century to be suppressed”?
If blocking medical progress and eliminating pets is his best idea, McCartney
should stick to trying to revive his music career.