- Yes -- and I support it if the animals are treated well
- No -- it's inhumane by definition and I don't support it
- Not sure
Only 67 votes as of this writing? I think this thing needs a larger sample size, don't you? I'm all about the science, you know. Just trying to help out.
Now, there's little need to get too worked up about web polls that don't do a good job of covering the likely response space, right? They all fail on this. I mean, yeah, I'm a little ticked about the concern trolling inherent in "if the animals are treated well", but that's not a huge deal.
Nevertheless, consideration of the poll options says something critical about the discussion. Somthing that people who constantly want advocates of animal research to "meet them in the middle" need to consider.
This is only part of the distribution of viewpoints, the middle and only one extreme.
Let us assume that much like many other human attitudes and traits, views on animal use in research are expressed in a distribution. For argument's sake, a normal distribution or bell curve.
Now, where might we place the LAT blog poll questions along the axis? Where might we place various discussion topics that have arisen on this blog, on Janet's and elsewhere?
(okay, okay, they didn't actually ask for the ARA terrorist response depicted on the left but they should've.)
I would argue that the vast middle of the distribution is captured by people concerned with Animal Welfare in some manner. Those concerned with Animal Rights are in fact already pretty far out on the distribution. The fact that the discussion, such as it is, is dominated by these two perspectives overlooks completely legitimate and arguable parts of the spectrum. [By "legitimate", this does not mean that I agree with them. In the sense that I consider them to be part of the discussion as much as the animal-rights perspectives are. Something to discuss, not something we necessarily endorse.]
The evidence is pretty clear that the not-discussed part of the distribution exists. Animal fighting came to huge awareness with the Michael Vick episode. You can sniff out certain "man has dominion over the animals" perspectives associated with religions. If you grew up rural you for sure know a certain mindset that is not overly concerned with the welfare of animals. I would argue that these are relatively rare positions and, please note, it is a distribution of attitudes. By the time we get to what we might consider an utter disregard for animals altogether we are pretty far out there on the tail.
Animal research science as an enterprise and the vast majority of scientists in my direct experience inhabit the middle zone of being very concerned about animal welfare. Firmly inhabit this zone. And most of us are as concerned about the complete-disregard-for-animals tail of the distribution as we are about the ARA nutter who firebombs a researcher's car.
Where do you place your marker on the distribution? Who are you asking to "meet you halfway"? Why is it not your extreme position that requires moderation?