From the President’s Desk ... May/June 1997

From the President’s Desk ... May/June 1997

Sons and renewal

By: Staff  Date: 05/8/1997 Category: | From the Offices of NAIA |

Writing this message in April, a time of renewal, I am inspired to look at various glasses as half full rather than half empty. This contrasts with my attitude when writing a message for the last issue. You will recall I had to report the foolish action of a fine magazine, Scientific American, which permitted on its pages a grossly distorted piece of medical history written by two animal-rightist physicians.

A letter from one of my sons has helped has helped elevate my mood this spring. It's one he had written to the Washington Times in response to a crude misrepresentation of my scientific work in another letter sent by a representative of and animal rights organization. This is what hit me like a spring tonic:

“Displaying a strength of conviction and personal courage that I did not know he possessed (indeed, I viewed him during much of my 'know-it-al' teenage years as a kind of mild-mannered, befuddled Mr. Magoo-type who could barely sit through an entire Eagles football game without falling asleep), my father worked tenaciously to combat the lies and intellectual sophistry of the animal rights movement — despite threats to his personal well-being and the well-being of his family.”

In a strange way, I can be grateful to the animal rights movement. Without them, I would have passed my life ignorant of a number of things — most importantly some aspects of myself. One has a certain character that he only dimly sees as he passes through life. Others may see us clearly, but generally we cannot or maybe we avoid looking carefully. Only when we are really tested are we forced to see ourselves in sharp focus. One hopes the picture will be pleasing to the eye, not to mention the eyes of his children! Hence, the particular joy in my son's letter.

Beyond this admittedly egotistical insight, the animal rights movement has engendered an enlargement of my intellectual world in unforeseen ways. My bookshelves would tell you so. They now sag because of the many books that would not have found a place there previously: works on ethics, history, and sociology of science, laboratory animal medicine, agriculture, and hunting, to name a few. Of course, there is also the full range of animal rights literature (but how I hate to buy it!).

Having been stimulated to enter a new field of study (and with the luxury and obligation of a professor to follow through), I find myself with a second career: attempting to define the proper relationship between man and animals or, put another way, exploring the boundaries of humanity.

Thus some good can come out of awful circumstances. I am mindful, though, that some of you continue to lose income and worse because of the animal rights movement. So, while I report here my own pleasure in gaining some good out of a bad experience, I do so mindful that others may not yet have that opportunity. That is why we must keep working here at NAIA.

Adrian R. Morrison, DVM PhD
President, NAIA

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