Proud to Be a Speciesist Stephen Rose

1467 WordsMay 12, 20136 Pages
Dornan, E. A. & Robert Dees (2008). Four in one: rhetoric, reader, research guide, and handbook (4th ed.). New York: Pearson Education, Inc. Proud to Be a Speciesist Stephen Rose I research on animals. I study the intimate chemical and electrical processes that are the brain's mechanisms for storing information, for learning and memory. To discover those mechanisms, I analyse the cellular changes that occur when young chicks learn and remember simple tasks. An anti-vivisectionist once asked me whether my research didn't make me feel rather like Dr Mengele. No, it doesn't, though I can't resist pointing out that the only country ever to ban animal experimentation was Germany in the Nazi 1930s, showing a sensitivity that certainly didn't…show more content…
It was necessary to the generations of Christian philosophers who, following Descartes, wished to preserve the spiritual uniqueness of “Man” whilst accepting the hegemony of physics and biology over the rest of nature. And it was convenient to some 19th century physiologists in absolving them from responsibility for the consequences of their experiments. But if I believed for one moment that my chicks were mere clockwork, I might as well stop working with them at all, and go and play with computers instead. Unless, of course, I experimented on humans. And this, the privileging of humans, is the nub of the question. Just because we are humans, any discussion of rights must begin with human rights. How far are those rights to be extended -- does it even make sense to talk of extending them -- to the “animal kingdom”? The animal kingdom isn't composed only of cats and dogs, mice and monkeys. It includes slugs and lice, wasps and mosquitoes. How far can the concept of right be extended -- to not swatting a mosquito that is sucking your blood? To prevent your cat from hunting and killing a rat? Does an ant have as many rights as a gorilla? Most people would say no -- though I have met one activist who argued that even viruses had souls! I think most animal righters are really arguing that
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