From the President’s Desk . . . October/November 1997

From the President’s Desk . . . October/November 1997

Wither courage and compassion?


By:  Date: 10/7/1997 Category: | From the Offices of NAIA |

I write this message on a dreary fall Saturday knowing that the animal-rights movement is all too alive and “unwell.” Friends and colleagues have been assaulted, and administrators have proven once again that “courageous administrator” is an oxymoron.

Starting with the latter, a local medical school recently held a mini-symposium at which two very, very well-known animal-rights spokesmen were to be paired with two from our community. One of those suggested was me. The response from one of the animal-rightists was that he would not come were I on the program. Guess who the administrators chose? Although I took the objection as a compliment and a victory of sorts, I still despair over the willingness of administrators to bow to force.

This same tendency may have entered the picture at Boystown recently. The research hospital of Boystown announced that two researchers, who had been targeted by PETA over a year ago and subjected to a disinformation campaign (and much worse) in spite of the quality of their work and full clearance by the government, were stopping their line of research on cats and shifting to another approach using rodents. I have looked into their work and feel certain that it was not “finished” but that it had become “inconvenient” to the administration, which was also subjected to harassment. Research doesn’t proceed that way anyway. Only a fool would take the announcement at face value and, say what you will about AR leaders, they may act foolishly but they are not fools. PETA announced that Boystown had not gone far enough, that stopping all animal research was the course they should follow

And the viciousness continues. A laboratory veterinarian at Michigan State, a fine and compassionate woman, was hung in effigy by some nightriders. A prominent researcher at my alma mater, Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has been named “vivisector of the month” and subjected to “vigils” at his home. He is doing very important (to most humans) work on the role of the brain in initiating labor. He has written a very readable book for lay people that I urge you to buy and read in his support.
His name is Peter W. Nathanielsz, and the book’s title is Life Before Birth and A Time to Be Born (Prometheus Press, Ithaca NY, 1992). Judge his humanity from his dedication:

“To my mother who shared my own life before I was born and taught me you should always aim to do your best; and to my father who picked up a brown paper bag containing a physically handicapped baby on the steps of Government House in Colombo, Sri Lanka (at that time named Ceylon), and decided to found the Ceylon Crippled Children’s Association.”

Adrian R. Morrison, DVM PhD
President, NAIA




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