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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 9, 2004 3:29 PM. The previous post in this blog was A Proclamation. The next post in this blog is The hits just keep on comin'. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, May 9, 2004

Shock the monkey

An interesting flyer showed up on our doorstep today. The folks who are trying to stop animal experimentation at the "primate center" of Oregon Health and Science University ("The Tram we am") are urging people not to go to OHSU for health care if they can help it. They also urge us to tell the president of OHSU why we're boycotting.

Moreover, these activists suggest that people withhold support from the March of Dimes, which funds some of the primate center's operations.

That sounds a bit extreme. But it looks to me like the situation calls for some light and fresh air. Head over here and here, and start deciding for yourself.

Comments (12)

I wonder if it's dawned on these people that it's awfully hard to stop going to OHSU as there are some things that you can only get there. Some of that is because of those federal dollars they're so insistent are being wasted...

More generally, we have talked about this in my psych classes, in terms of the ethics of research. Most psychologists and plenty of ethicists will tell you that since a lot of the research needs to be done, the choice is between doing the research on animals and on humans--and it's better to do it on the animals.

That being said, it's always been an open secret that OHSU's conditions for their test animals are horrible. They could be less inhumane, assuredly, and I'm not going to defend them.

The problem is that I don't think a general OHSU boycott or calling for the abolition of all animal testing is the solution.

When the hippies volunteer to stand-in for the monkeys, then I will pay attention.

Animal testing seems like a necessary evil.

Along with abortion, war and shopping at Starbucks.

Scott-in-Japan:
You might consider an alternative phrasing; if the researchers are so confident in their work, they should volunteer to test the products on themselves.

As someone who grew up on a commune, I can attest that we were rather isolated from outide events (deliberately so) and in any case far to occupied with getting the garden tilled and canning produce to spend time demonstrating against animal testing. Unless you equate the lifestyle choice with protesting, which for some it was.

Verde -
By "hippie" I mean the 2004 version. Which is someone who hypothetically espouses the virtues of 60s version, but doesn't have the brass to actually live on a commune. In other words, today's hippies are a bunch of fakers - using the words and shouting the slogans, but not walking-the-walk of a true person who is opposed to [insert topic here].

Scott-in-Japan,

It is sad how you stereotype a certain group of people because of what you think they believe. Your statement says more about you then it does about "hippies." What is you criteria for who is and who is not a "hippy?" Is there some type of organization you have to join? Or do you merely have to wear Birkenstocks, desire peace, believe in cleaner environment, have a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle and oppose the current power structure? If one of those criteria is missing, are you still a hippy?

Leaving the criteria of hippy aside, what makes you think you know what “hippies” think or believe? Did you take a poll perhaps? Or perhaps you are all knowing, and you can just read people’s thoughts?

I'm tired of hearing ignorant people bashing "hippies."

My use of "hippy" isn't a stereotype. It is a single term used to describe a large group of (according to them) people in somewhat different camps of thought. To clarify my point (with no ill will meant towards those who include themselves amongst the 60s style free-spirits) "hippy" as used by myself is to include the hypocritical folks who:
- complain about animal testing, but gladly use products derived there-from (I speak of medical products)
- complain about gasoline engines, but use one
- complain about gasoline engines, then hold "Critical Mass"-style protests which tie up traffic and waste gasoline for everyone stuck in the illegal traffic tie-up

So no, I don't mean any detriment towards those who follow the original incarnation of the 1960s radicals. Unfortunately for everyone that original school of thought has morphed into the 2004 definition.

What is truly sad is that folks automatically assume that I am talking about them (Verde) or get upset over not-much-at-all (timNE). For those of you who missed it, I was commenting on the original post by Jack. My remarks are discussing the folks who are protesting the hospital and are taking their protest ideas to an extreme that is counter-productive.

Yes, it's unfortunate that my 2004-definition of hippy is not the same as some folks' 1964-definition. No ill will towards the 1960s folks is meant on my part. Please stop reading your personal feelings into this. Unless you are one of the hypocrites I described in the list above - I'm not talking about you.

S-i-J: so why not just call them "hypocrites" instead of using a personal shorthand freighted with sociocultural baggage? If you instead make up an acronym or some sort of distinct neologism, you won't have to put up with people carping about your pejorative use of a non-pejorative term.

Put another way: "hippie" already has a meaning. Redefining the word to mean only negative things is picking a fight. And nobody wants to pick a fight, right?

The term 'hippie' is little used, to my knowledge, by or about those sorts of activists.

And it wasn't coined until '65 and not in common parlance until a couple years after that.

A lot more 'hippies' dressed than acted the part.

Activists (of various sorts) or at the extreme, eco-terrorists, would be a lingo update.

MattW - It's an age issue. The 60-s style-radicals are the minority now. 2004-style hippies encompasss 99% of the "clean environment" crowd. Some are sincere, but some are hypocrites. The unfortunate reality is that the peace&love movement has been high-jacked by folks who are less polite than their original namesakes. I know 2 folks who are honestly 1960s radicals. The rest are folks speaking the words, but going to undesirable extremes.

60's-style radicals have been replaced by the hippies of today. I appreciate that you feel "hippies" should be reserved for folks born before 1950 - but that isn't the case.

Scott-in-Japan,

You original post was one line and did not express anything but negativity towards "hippie volunteers." And the reader is supposed to get that you meant that the protest tactics are extreme and counter-productive? You have a strange way of communicating your ideas.

I guess that is consistent with you last post though, which I can't totally decipher. If you look at the 60s hippies, the vast majority ended up as baby boomers driving SUVs and selling out the hippie ideals for corporate culture. The 60s hippies were no different from the modern version, which brings us back to my point, which perhaps I did not make clearly due to my Socratic technique.

My original point was that some people are sincere about their beliefs and some are hypocrites. Take any belief and you will find hypocrites as well as those that are sincere. Because one person who espouses an idea is a hypocrite does not mean that everyone who espouses said idea is a hypocrite. This is as true of hippies today as it is of hippies from the 60s. Most of the 60s hippies were just jumping on the bandwagon. Being a hippy was cool in the 60s. Now being a hipster is cool.

Stereotyping is what you are doing when you idealize 60s hippies and demonize 2004 hippies. As usual the reality is more complicated than the oversimplification of stereotyping.

Speaking as someone who has worked at ORPRC, I view the website as distorting facts out of recognition.

The following page is particularly egregious, with a "hall of shame" of principal investigators:

http://www.boycottohsu.com/research-ohsu.html

I should note that their work is reviewed by an institutional animal care board as the National Institutes of Health. None of these scientists derive their funding from ORPRC; they have to compete for it with all other scientists in their discipline across the country. If their work was indeed "wasted tax dollars" or "animal cruelty", it would be found out and awfully fast.

Animal research is sad, but necessary. Ultimately, it's them or us.


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