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Thread: Peter Singer

  1. #1
    gertvegan's Avatar
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    Arrow Peter Singer

    For those in Australia:

    Professor Peter Singer will be interviewed on the ABC TV program 'Enough Rope' at 9:30pm on Monday 4th October.

  2. #2
    Geoff
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    I thought that it was a great interview and covered a lot of ground. I couldn't fault anything Singer said.
    I'm going to try and get my book club to read one of his books.

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    Thumbs up Peter Singer

    I thought we had a thread about a recent tv interview, but the search button didn't find it.

    On Thursday last, Philip Adams interviewed Peter Singer for a full hour on his radio national Late Night Live program, and it was damned good. While enjoying their conversation I just wished everyone could have listened in - though I must say that last week there were 47,000 downloads to ipods or mp3s of Late Night Live - get the download here - http://www.abc.net.au/rn/latenightlive/

    The interview started off about Singer's latest book as he is at the Writers' Festival now, but he spoke about veganism mainly, and about the benefit to the planet of a vegan diet, etc.
    Last edited by Korn; Jan 28th, 2007 at 10:25 AM. Reason: Thread merged with other, similar thread
    Eve

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    Default Re: Peter Singer

    I'm reading his new book right now - it's very well written. He is very convincing in a calm, reasonable way. And, wow, he really zeros in on what meat production is doing to the environment- shocking!
    Everyone needs a little mercy.

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    Default Re: Peter Singer

    I've just come back from the Sydney Writer's festival talk/interview with Peter Singer. It was excellent. Unfortunately I did not have enough money on me to purchase his book and get it signed.
    Singer seems like such an amazing, passionate man and I am keen to read his latest book as well as get my hands on his older books.

  6. #6
    Kevster
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    Default Re: Peter Singer

    This is a better place for this article, rather than 'The Guardian' thread:

    'Great apes deserve life, liberty and the prohibition of torture

    Misunderstandings and moral failings lie behind opposition to the extension of basic rights to man's closest relatives

    Peter Singer
    Saturday May 27, 2006
    The Guardian

    In his History of European Morals, published in 1869, the Irish historian and philosopher WEH Lecky wrote: "At one time the benevolent affections embrace merely the family, soon the circle expanding includes first a class, then a nation, then a coalition of nations, then all humanity and finally, its influence is felt in the dealings of man with the animal world ... " [...]'

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/animalrigh...784296,00.html

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peter Singer

    Too bad he's not a vegan...

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    Default Re: Peter Singer

    It interesting that his isn't considering how many vegans he has influenced along the vegan pathway as a result of his work.
    "if compassion is extreme, then call me an extremist"

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    Default Re: Peter Singer

    Peter Singer: I don’t eat meat. I’ve been a vegetarian since 1971. I’ve gradually become increasingly vegan. I am largely vegan but I’m a flexible vegan. I don’t go to the supermarket and buy non-vegan stuff for myself. But when I’m traveling or going to other people’s places I will be quite happy to eat vegetarian rather than vegan.
    Mother Jones interview with Peter Singer

    http://www.motherjones.com/interview...er_singer.html

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    Cool Re: Peter Singer

    Quote Korn
    Too bad he's not a vegan...
    Yes, it is a pity he's not a vegan, especially as he often has the media in his thrall, and influences people. I notice in the current issue of ALV (Animal Liberation Victoria), Patty Mark says: "... Singer is letting many animals down and turning a blind eye to their brutal slaughter, rubber-stamping their death by cautiously trying to keep the status-quo happy." The point is that he advises readers on what "meat is the most humane to eat" (farmed or wild fish, etc.)

    Patty quotes Francione who clearly states: "Veganism is the one truly abolitionist goal that we can all achieve - and we can achieve it immediately, starting with our next meal."
    Eve

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Peter Singer

    It's surprising that - based on his views on factory farming, milk production etc - he says that he's happy to eat vegetarian ( = lacto-vegetarian) rather than vegan when he is traveling (I heard that he is traveling a lot) or ao other people's places). It was after I saw the interview above that I started this thread. He is some kind of authority - at least for some people in the AR movement - so he is in the position to influenced people ie. to ask for vegan meals when they eat at restaurants, but instead I guess he has the opposite effect on his followers...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Peter Singer

    He's a "flexible vegan"

    Is that out of convenience? Surely it's not a lack of conviction? Perhaps a lack of commitment?

    Antony

  13. #13
    BRobinson
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    Default Re: Peter Singer

    Quote Korn
    It's surprising that - based on his views on factory farming, milk production etc - he says that he's happy to eat vegetarian ( = lacto-vegetarian) rather than vegan when he is traveling (I heard that he is traveling a lot) or ao other people's places). It was after I saw the interview above that I started this thread. He is some kind of authority - at least for some people in the AR movement - so he is in the position to influenced people ie. to ask for vegan meals when they eat at restaurants, but instead I guess he has the opposite effect on his followers...
    You sure do offer up a lot of condescension for the man just because you disagree with him about how strict a vegan should be when in public situations. As far as I'm concerned, Peter Singer is a god among humans when it comes to contributions to the AR movement, and given that he probably spends well over 2/3 of the year traveling, I wouldn't dare fault him for not being too picky when eating out, especially when being exacting would be painfully bland in 95% of the cities in the US (don't know about Australia). Besides, he's a utilitarian, so he would never take the sort of moral absolutist approach you seem to be advocating...

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    Default Re: Peter Singer

    When I heard him interviewed he stated "I am predominatly vegan but will resort to a vegetarian diet if there are no other options such as if I'm on an aeroplane and have no choice of vegan food". Well I can't count the number of times ive found myself in a situation with nothin to eat, so I can see where he's coming from. I think he's saying he makes as many vegan choices as he can which is all most of us can do.

  15. #15
    veggiewoman
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    Angry Peter Singer backs monkey testing (Monkeys, Rats and Me: Animal Testing Documentary)

    DocumentaryMonkeys, Rats and Me: Animal Testing
    Monday 27th November 2006
    9:00pm - 10:20pmBBC2VIDEO Plus+: 1847640
    Subtitles, widescreen
    Is it right to experiment on animals if you believe it will benefit a patient in the future? Does the harm done to animals in the name of research justify the tactics of the animal rights campaigners? This riveting documentary, in an attempt to be even-handed, talks to both sides of this controversial subject: Mel Broughton, a committed activist who's trying to stop Oxford University from building a new animal research laboratory, and Professor Tipu Aziz, one of the few scientists who's prepared to speak out in favour of such research. And we're introduced to Sean, a youngster whose condition could be helped as the result of animal research. But it's not all talking heads. There are scenes that will distress, no matter which side of the fence you sit, and a considerable amount of strong language.

    RT reviewer - Jane Rackham

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    Angry Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    THE father of the modern animal rights movement has endorsed the use of monkeys in research by an Oxford professor at the centre of anti-vivisection protests.

    Read more here

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    "provided ... that there was no other way of discovering this knowledge."

    That clause, at least, negates a lot of animal experiments - probably these ones as well. Another way of discovering the knowledge, would, for example be to experiment on people with Parkinsons.

    He has done the whole area of animal rights a huge disservice there, though.

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    Peter singer is also known to be affiliated with the Rockfeller drug empire

    http://whale.to/b/ruesch.html
    http://www.animalvoices.org/ADAV/singer.htm

    the truth is coming out

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    I haven't read Animal Liberation. But I don't see how these experiments differ from any that Peter Singer has previously used to construct his anti-vivisection arguments around. So why is one set of experiments causing him to change his mind? I don't understand.

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    fiamma, he has never been for the abolition of vivisection

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    Alright so maybe not against vivisection as such (I haven't read any of his works as I said). But surely the core message remains the same - not doing harm to animals? I just don't see how one set of experiments can have changed his mindset.

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    he's against most vivisection but he find that in some cases vivisection can be helpful.
    The problem with him is that he's not what he appears to be. He and other peoples are collaborating with the farmaceutical industry to "sedate" the animal right's movement. Here in switzerland it happened the same, one of the the most respected and important member of the anti-vivisectionist movement was actually paid by the farmaceutical industry to act secretely against this movement.
    Fiamma, if you have time watch what happened and is happening to the LIMAV (lega internazionale di medicci per l'abolizione della vivisezione), to the CIVIS, to Hans Ruesch (the author of Naked empress (Imperatrice nuda), the best and most documented book against vivisection) and to some of the most importants anti-vivisectionists in europe and in italy.
    Our enemy is within our movement.

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    Thanks for the info Tray, I'll certainly check those out.

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    It's strange that Singer would endorse a specific (or any) primate experiment simply based on a verbal claim made by a scientist in a conversation. It seems like either he is losing it or he was misquoted/edited manipulatively.

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    I don't think at all that he has been misquoted or edited because he never stated he was against vivisection, he only said that he was against most vivisection and that's all. Then it's a matter of fact that he's paid by the rockfeller foundation (one of the major responsible for vivisection). He also took in tribunal the anti-vivisection writer Hans Ruesch because he claimed that Singer was a "big phoney". So 1+1=2, For the farmaceutical industry is better to have someone like Singer in a debate than an anti-vivisectionist doctor because he's only able to talk about ethics and the vivsectionist can claim that a cost of some animal lifes you can save human lives, statement than is completely wrong if you watch the history of medecine and what vivisectionist did to it. Vivisection is not science, it only slows down the real medical progress, as it has been demonstrated by many anti-vivisectionist medics and authors. Peter Singer is only a puppet in the hand of the farmaceutical industry.

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    Quote John View Post
    It seems like either he is losing it or he was misquoted/edited manipulatively.
    I'm not sure, but I think it's a strong possibility that he's either misquoted or his comments taken out of context. I've seen it to be the case on the other end where people against AR have misquoted him and made him sound like a complete lunatic. Having said that, I don't agree with him in many things.
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    As a matter of related interest, it can be noted that Singer was the object of an article in UNIKEN, the paper made by the staff of the University of NSW, in Sydney, on October 25, 1991, which states in part : « Consistent with the view of a university as a place where polemic is set aside in favour of rational discourse, the seminar on 9 October by Professor Peter Singer (Professor of Philosophy at Monash University who was visiting UNSW to give a few lectures on ethical topics for the School of Community Medicine) allowed a useful interaction between a significant number of UNSW staff who use animals in their work and the 'guru' of the animal liberation movement – especially during question time. « The scientists were obviously gratified to hear Professor Singer say that the use of pound dogs in research could, with appropriate controls, be 'an example of the most defensible kind of experimentation because the animal presumably feels nothing, additional to what it would feel' when put down with a high dose of anaesthetic, something which happens to thousands of abandoned cats and dogs every week in Australia... »


    Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in so-called democracies, where a measure of freedom still remains to the citizenry, must wake up and assume the responsibility for the rot that has developed in society, while we, and our parents, and our grandparents were occupied, all of us, with our own little lives. If this wake-up does not happen soon, while there is yet the freedom to act and to reclaim control over our institutions and governments (a freedom which may, already, at this time, exist in theory only), the wake-up may come when it is too late, as we are being figuratively (and perhaps even literally) led to slaughter for the greater good of the greatest number, as defined by those who profit from every aspect of our existence, but who have lost their humanity along the way (if you think these words are an exaggeration, read up on Utilitarian Ethics --including calls for the euthanasia of handicapped and retarded children, justifications for bestiality, and even apologies for vivisection and medical experiments on 'useless' human beings, like tramps, the mentally retarded, the elderly... --all being propounded by these Utilitarian Ethicists (and prominent among them –a coincidence ?-- the aforementioned Peter Singer, today installed at Princeton University as a professor of bioethics).


    The Campaign against Fraudulent Medical Research in Cabramatta NSW, Australia, issued a press release, at the time, in which they wrote : Professor Peter Singer, for years touted by animal liberationists as their 'guru', is suing prominent figure in the antivivisection movement, Hans Ruesch, after accusation of being a 'big phony'. Mr Ruesch made the accusation after a journalist accidentially disclosed in an Italian newspaper that Peter Singer's animal rights lecture tour of Italy at the time (1989) was being sponsored by THE ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION. The Rockefeller industrial complex owns over 200 pharmaceutical enterprises – a major user of animal experimentation. Hans Ruesch wrote to Rome's antivivisection society, Lega Anti-Vivisezione (LAV), pointing out the irony of this acclaimed animal lover's pilgrimage being financed by the pharmaceutical outfits. The editor turned it into a full page article titled 'PETER SINGER IS A BIG PHONY'. Consequently, Singer is suing Mr. Ruesch and LAV. Spokesperson for the Campaign Against Fraudulent Medical Research, John Leso, explains : 'In suing Ruesch, who is the world-leader of the abolitionist anti-vivisection movement, Professor Peter Singer has put himself under the spotlight, something he could ill-afford to do.' Mr Leso further states that ''... If Professor Singer is to sue everyone who claims he is a 'phony', then he would be a very busy man.' »

  28. #28
    veggiewoman
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    Default Re: UK: Interesting TV and Radio programmes?

    Just to remind people that the programme is on tonight.

    Just seen a tv advert for the programme, and well well well what a suprise NOT, the BBC using emotinal blackmail trying to claim how wonderful vivisection is . And using a child aswell.
    How low will some people stoop too try and protect their corrupt bank balance.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: UK: Interesting TV and Radio programmes?

    Well I've just watched it, and i'm bored with this standard 'Mel takes on the world' shit they KEEP churning out. I have full respect for Mel from SPEAK, but why o why do these biased programmes constantly pitch one passionate animal rights guy against most of the medical profession? When are we going to see a medicine 'v' medicine argument? People do get pissed off with aggressive AR supporters and for that reason, many give up or don't even start the crusade, maybe if they had positive evidence on the pitfalls and alternatives to animal experimentation, instead of the media portrayal of angry do gooding eco warrior, people could make a more informed judgement. Argue science with science and passion with passion, keep them seperate.
    And who was surprised by the emotional blackmail then??? Maybe if they had shown some 'real' experimentation, the debate would have been a little more objective.
    Grrrrrr.......

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    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: UK: Interesting TV and Radio programmes?

    i didn't watch this programme precisely because i knew it would be like that and would just p*ss me off.
    'The word gorilla was derived from the Greek word Gorillai (a "tribe of hairy women")'

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    Default Re: UK: Interesting TV and Radio programmes?

    Quote Gorilla View Post
    i didn't watch this programme precisely because i knew it would be like that and would just p*ss me off.
    Don't blame you Gorilla. Someone texted me to say it was on, I hadn't got a clue what it was about - I don't watch the telly, but I was surprised to hear Peter Singer in a debate with the surgeon (sorry name's aren't my strong point ) and after he described 'X' amount of people had been saved with only 100ish monkeys sacrificed in research, Peter Singer said he thought that was acceptable research??!?!!??!?

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    Quote Tray View Post
    Peter singer is also known to be affiliated with the Rockfeller drug empire http://whale.to/b/ruesch.html
    http://www.animalvoices.org/ADAV/singer.htm the truth is coming out
    Dismissive comments like these are only useful as fodder for people who don't think too deeply. Calling the Rockefeller organisation a drug empire is also a way of dissing the organisation. There are many honest and dedicated scientists and others who have received funding for their work, and in one case that I know of, the person was funded to oppose gm pharmaceutical companies and give their intellectual evaluation. I am also suspicious whenever I see the name of ruesch involved.

    This doesn't mean that I wholeheartedly support Prof Singer, because I don't, but let's not go ott.
    Eve

  33. #33

    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    I was disappointed by his offering up such a choice soundbyte quote in response to Tipu Aziz. They can't have believed their luck when he said that.

    I think many people misinterpret him though, he's utilitarian first rather than a pure animal rightist so if you tell him torturing ten monkeys produces good results for tens of thousands of humans he will always go with the overall picture.

    He has also made quotes that billions of chickens suffering and dying in slaughterhouses doesn't come close to the several thousand human deaths in 9/11. Because of the increased level of suffering amongst the human victims, the families left behind and the worldwide upset the event caused.

  34. #34
    veggiewoman
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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    I was really annoyed when I saw it for myself on the programme.
    Just last week I bought his Animal Liberation book.
    It was the 1st AR book that I have bought and was really enjoying it , until I saw that last night what he said. Now I jsut dont want to pick up the book.

    I was hoping that when I read it on the newspaper links that it might just be the papers lying agian but seeing him saying it himself just confirmed what the papers were saying.

    Anyone wanna buy a book from me? lol.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    Quote John View Post
    It seems like either he is losing it or he was misquoted/edited manipulatively.
    I think he answered intelligently. I don't think that it would have done him or the animal rights movement any favours if he had told Tipu Aziz to his face that his work to help sufferers of Parkinsons was undoubtedly wrong. Instead he hinted, as Pob said, that there may have been alternative methods of discovering the same knowledge, and that unnecessary animal suffering was wrong.

    I was annoyed that they only showed that extract. You could tell from his tone of voice that he had a lot more to say, and it would have been better if he had (and/or they had shown it).

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    There were all sorts of things not right about that show.

    Tipu Aziz was never quizzed over how essential the tests on live monkeys were. They weren't solely developed on live monkeys.

    It was assumed that without the monkeys the treatments could not have been developed. But Tipu Aziz never said that. Could an eeg of a human not have picked up which areas of the brain were firing wrongly?

    It wasn't mentioned how long the monkey would be in the head restraints with the electrodes inserted. Notice the rat was never freed after having the electrodes inserted - it was killed. The monkey was mentioned as facing a 3 year period of experimentation. Would it spend all 3 years immobilized like that?

    Tipu Aziz got away with a lot of wishy washy answers, that any unbiased and decent reporter wouldn't have allowed.

    I did think it was funny that it mentioned how scary the protesters are, with a pic of SaucyVegan on the screen. Ha ha!

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    I was completely shocked by what Peter singer said, but it did look like he had more to say that wasn't added. The whole programme was a sham though, making out that animal testing is neccessary to save that boy & the narrator supporting it in the final part. The debate about animal testing was stupid, with all the students going on about the campaign and extremism rather than the facts about animal testing. But at least it made Laurie Pycroft look like a twat because he just doesn't know what he is doing!!! They didnt show footage of the 1,000 people protest that happened @ oxford in the summer either.

    Just another attempt by the media to make us all believe that vivisection is needed.

    sickening
    Purple Monkey! :)

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    Quote Cherry View Post
    Instead he hinted, as Pob said, that there may have been alternative methods of discovering the same knowledge, and that unnecessary animal suffering was wrong.

    I was annoyed that they only showed that extract. You could tell from his tone of voice that he had a lot more to say, and it would have been better if he had (and/or they had shown it).
    That's what I was talking about. In my experience there are very few instances where prominent AR people are actually able to thoroughly explain their ideas and thoughts without being interrupted, misunderstood, edited or ridiculed. I recently saw a show with Howard Lyman (Mad Cowboy) where he was so ridiculed that it made him look like a wishy washy non-sensical figure. Very sad when in REALITY the man has so much knowledge and experience and is a great asset to the social debate.
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    Quote The_Lincoln_Imp View Post
    I think many people misinterpret him though, he's utilitarian first rather than a pure animal rightist so if you tell him torturing ten monkeys produces good results for tens of thousands of humans he will always go with the overall picture.
    That's right he's not an animal rights philosoper he just seems to give animals more consideration than most philosophers, based on the fact that they are sentient beings. It would have been a different story had Dr. Steve Best been there.

    But as has been said, in a programme that was remarkably better than i thought it would be, the most glaring error was to yet again, allow a scientist to hold his 'professional' and 'educated' opinion above others without scrutiny from different scientists on both sides of the debate.

  40. #40
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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    A long time ago I witnessed a situation as it was being prepared to be reported on the local evening news. What I saw with my own eyes at the scene, and what I saw it transformed into on the news that evening were so utterly and completely different I stopped paying attention to anything reported on television or in the papers ever again. The people in charge of production can and will make something look exactly the way they want it to, not how it really is.

    I will never accept without question any mainstream intrepretation of the views of people prominent in animal-positive movements, whether they work publically towards animal rights or animal welfare. There are too many powerful animal-exploiting industries to allow an unbiased, truthful presentation of the opinions of people who stand against them. It makes me sad to see that they are getting what they pay for, when I read some of the posts here. That's exactly what they want; to cause us to doubt the leaders of our movement.

    None of us can practice our chosen principles 100%; we should not allow an imperfect practitioner of vegan ethics to lower our opinions of the ethics themselves. Peter Singer's Animal Liberation is what made me go vegan. His philosophy for the most part is sound. The motivation of the opposition to make him seem like he can't stick to his own philosophy is too strong to be accepted without question. But even if he is not fully committed to living by the ideas he has developed, it doesn't mean those ideas are meaningless.

    QUESTION EVERYTHING!!! Peter Singer may not be what he seems, but decide that for yourselves, don't accept it from people with a vested interest in ruining his reputation and making him look like a hypocrite.

  41. #41
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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    Peter Singer was talking about animal rights back when nobody else was and he's a true pioneer, he started it all (correct me if I'm wrong here). If I had done as much for the cause of animals as he has done, I would be very proud of myself. He's also a longtime vegan which means that he also takes his theories and ideas to a practical level (already a lot more than most philosophers and scholars do). I respectfully disagree with many of his ideas, it's impossible to agree 100% with anyone regardless of common intrests and goals. I think his work is impressive and very important. Controversial - yes. Hypocrat - no, not more than every human being is.
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    sorry kriz, but he's not a vegan.
    Eve

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    He may have made some people go vegan, but seem very focused on the 'suffering'-aspect only. And for sure, with his views on killing disabled babies after birth etc., he has for sure made a lot of people think that vegans are nuts.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  44. #44

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    Quote John View Post
    It's strange that Singer would endorse a specific (or any) primate experiment simply based on a verbal claim made by a scientist in a conversation. It seems like either he is losing it or he was misquoted/edited manipulatively.
    If you read the full article where Singer was interviewed you'll find his backing of the tests was specifically qualified. His views seem to be utilitarian (the greatest good for the greatest number) rather than opposing all non human animal experiments uniquivocally.
    The scientist (Aziz) was interviewed by Fergal Keane on Radio 4 recently and he admitted he would support testing of cosmetics on animals. He said that the problem with the animal rights lobby was that many of them get their facts wrong and are "illiterate".

    Unfortunately if alternatives to animal testing are not funded by either governments, charities or corporations, people like Aziz will continue to do this sort of work. Scientists always go where the funding is. We should lobby for alternatives to animal testing.
    See my local diary ... http://herbwormwood.blogspot.com/

  45. #45
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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    Quote herbwormwood View Post

    Unfortunately if alternatives to animal testing are not funded by either governments, charities or corporations, people like Aziz will continue to do this sort of work. Scientists always go where the funding is. We should lobby for alternatives to animal testing.
    PETA has a group of scientists who are working on alternatives, as well as other scientists who are doing the same. (you are probably aware of this but I thought I'd throw it in)

    'Please write polite letters to the company's executives. Ask them to meet with PETA scientists, develop modern methods to replace the current flea-treatment tests that cause so much suffering, and submit the new tests to the Environmental Protection Agency for approval'
    http://www.peta.org/actioncenter/Act...em.asp?id=2082

    Singer is brilliant in many areas, but I will never support vivisection on any level.
    The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    A bit from Uncaged......

    'Monkeying around with the truth

    TV Review: ‘Monkeys, Rats and Me’, BBC2, Monday 27 November 2006

    This documentary examined the ethics of animal experiments by using the SPEAK campaign and Professor Tipu Aziz’s research as a case study. However, there were a number of fundamental flaws in the programme that amounted to a systematic pro-vivisection bias. This may come as a surprise to reviewers such as Lucy Mangan in the Guardian[i]. But her lack of knowledge of the subject means that she doesn’t understand how the programme misled through omitting key issues, assuming controversial assertions were true, and by framing the debate in terms that directly reflect the perspective put forward by the pro-vivisection lobby.

    An axe to grind?

    Perhaps one of the most revealing comments made by the reporter, Adam Wishart, was that he had ‘no qualms about killing a rat he found in his kitchen’. It’s one thing to be prepared to kill an animal, but his total lack of compunction reveals his extremely unsympathetic attitude to animals. Wishart’s value judgements were also betrayed by his description of non-humans as ‘lower animals’. Wishart claimed that he ‘had no axe to grind’ – really?

    Presenting controversies as facts

    The concerns about underlying bias are exacerbated by the fact that Tipu Aziz’s claims regarding the validity and benefits of his research were not subject to even cursory examination. Indeed, from the very beginning the programme’s narrative worked on the assumption that Aziz’s vivisection of monkeys was valid, predictive and necessary. Repeatedly, the claim that there would be no medicine if it were not for animal research went unchallenged, despite such an argument being rejected by the pro-vivisection Nuffield thinktank [ii].

    Instead of exploring scientific critiques of Aziz’s work, Wishart presented researchers as infallible experts driven purely by altruism. There was no investigation of the role of economic and professional self-interest in motivating animal research, or the historical context that now structures researchers’ choices about experimental methods.[iii] Similarly, features of pro-vivisection activity likely to be particularly controversial were evaded. Thus Aziz’s extreme position, exemplified by his support for cosmetic testing on animals[iv], and the financial relationship between the Pro-Test group and the pharmaceutical industry (via the Research Defence Society) were overlooked.[v]

    Negative positioning of anti-vivisectionists

    In contrast, the show portrayed anti-vivisection campaigners as violent and irrational – no scientific or academic critiques of animal research were aired. There was even an attempt to undermine the moral basis of campaigners through the suggestion that the main motivation of activists was a sense of belonging to a like-minded network. Interestingly, Wishart never attempted to second-guess the motivations of vivisectors.

    The truth about vivisection secrecy

    This positioning of the anti-vivisection movement was designed to present it in an unpopular light, and fed into one of the documentary’s most misleading themes (once again unquestioningly reflecting Aziz’s claims): that the secrecy surrounding vivisection was due entirely to ‘extremist’ action. Was this lazy or dishonest journalism? For, the fact of the matter is that secrecy in this policy area predates animal rights militancy by about 100 years. The most detailed historical study of animal research policy is Richard French's (1975) Antivivisection and Medical Science in Victorian Society ( Princeton : Princeton University Press). Discussing his methodology, he notes:

    'My account of the administration of the [1876 Cruelty to Animals] Act is largely based upon Home Office ~156 letterbooks. It is a measure of the sensitivity of the vivisection issue that these documents remain under one hundred year restriction and I am most grateful to the Home Office for permitting me to examine the nineteenth-century letterbooks for the purposes of this study'.

    The underlying reason for secrecy in this policy area is to minimise public awareness of animal suffering and thus control the political agenda. In reality, what is happening at the moment is that a tight-knit network comprised of government policy-makers, animal research industry leaders and some in the media with a fairly extreme pro-animal research agenda are promoting the storyline of 'animal rights extremism' as a way of positioning and discrediting anyone critical of the status quo in animal research policy, and to suppress legitimate freedom of information. The Research Defence Society’s internal newsletter gives the game away. Contradicting their public statements, they state: ‘it is very safe to speak out in the media’.[vi]

    Hiding animal suffering

    To complete the set of pro-vivisection myths, the programme promoted the idea that animal experiments were not painful. Once again, Aziz was permitted to make false assertions with impunity. He claimed that pain ‘was not part of the process of his research’. Yet anyone with any knowledge of his research knows this is untrue. The programme showed the initial stages of his research, where Felix the monkey was forced to spend hours in a tiny cage as he was trained to perform certain movements. This was disturbing enough in terms of the severe behavioural limitations imposed on the monkey and resultant psychological suffering. However, the later and most severe stage of the experiments – which were not broadcast - involved the artificial induction of ‘Parkinsonism’ (NB this is not the same as human Parkinson’s Disease) through damaging the brain of the monkey, resulting in a range of significant disabilities and illnesses. Similar earlier experiments were recognised by the Home Office as having to cause ‘substantial’ pain and suffering[vii].

    The inaccurate, sanitised image of animal experimentation presented by the programme typified its general pro-vivisection agenda. Interestingly, Aziz’s denial of animal pain in his experiments suggests that he is incapable of fulfilling the legal responsibilities of a licence holder – not that the Home Office is genuinely bothered about compliance with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

    In conclusion, ‘Monkeys, Rats and Me’ presented a heavily one-sided and distorted perspective on this most heated of controversies, a manifestation of the boasts of pro-vivisectionists about their privileged access to journalists. Ironically, in a context where pleas are made for rational debate as a means of resolving the more extreme aspects of this conflict, this piece of propaganda will do nothing to encourage a reduction in the ‘extremism’ it purported to highlight.

    Uncaged
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  47. #47
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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing

    Quote herbwormwood View Post
    We should lobby for alternatives to animal testing.
    I agree, herbwormwood. That's why I advocate stem cell research every chance I get. We might have a shot in this country of getting it approved once Bush is out of office.

  48. #48

    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing (Monkeys, Rats and Me: Animal Testing Documenta

    Those who claim that Peter Singer meant something else are the ones misunderstanding Singer's philosophy. In Singer's own words, published in Behavioral and Brain Scienece (1990):

    "I certainly would never deny that we are justified in using animals for human goals, because as a consequentialist, I must also hold that in appropriate circumstances we are justified in using humans to achieve human goals (or the goal of assisting animals). I am not the kind of moral absolutist who holds that the ends can never justify the means. Nor have I said that no animal experimentation is ever of use to humans (though I do think much of it is of minimal or zero value) or that all animal experimentation involves suffering. (If I seem testy here, it is because such oversimplifications are bad enough when they come from the popular press; when they come from people who teach at distinguished universities, they may well cause even highly sophisticated folks to wonder about the worth-whileness of a college education)."

    For Singer it is all about a reverse form of hedonism: reducing the worst suffering, as opposed to promoting the greatest happiness. Singer does not believe in rights, including life or liberty. Singer also doesn't support veganism as a movement (in fact, Singer has called vegan advocacy "counter-productive"), nor does Singer even oppose humans sexually assaulting nonhumans.

    Inevitably Singer's philosophy collapses into totalitarianism. The book Animal Liberation is a misnomer, because Singer is not at all opposed to control, force or exploitation -- all of which Singer thinks can and should be done without suffering. The Times article calls Singer the "father of animal activism," and, indeed, Singer promotes a disturbing form of paternalism. One of Singer's progeny is the notorious Norfolk, Va.-based organization that rounds-up healthy nonhuman animals and kills them under the pretense of "freeing" those animals from suffering.
    The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men. —Alice Walker

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing (Monkeys, Rats and Me: Animal Testing Documenta

    A friend of mine debated Singer in some kind of academic context some years back. Singer was advocating euthanasia of severely disabled infants with normally functional minds.

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    Default Re: Peter Singer backs monkey testing (Monkeys, Rats and Me: Animal Testing Documenta

    Why does Singer consider vegan advocacy to be counter-productive, Daniel? Can you expand on that?

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