On the SHAC convictions, I've had an email from an animal rights group expressing disappointment with my (partial) support for vivisection, as discussed in the previous post.
I've suggested they post their email on my blog, as I have no problem with them making their criticism of me public. What I do object to, however, is the suggestion that my position must be based on ignorance of the scientific arguments.
The email writer says "Being vegan, I would have thought that you would know more about the scientific arguments that underpin the lack of utility of animals for human disease. I would urge you to read up on these arguments before deciding to defend animal research." Well, how do they know I haven't?
The fact is, I have. Over many years.
As I've mentioned several times on this blog, I think there's always a danger that people (and politicians in particular) will sniff out the science that confirms their prejudices, and focus on that at the expense of other scientific research which doesn't back up their point of view. (And yes, smokers, that does include you, and no, I'm not going to let this turn into another debate on smoking).
In this instance, my prejudices would lead me to support a total ban on all animal experiments. When I read the research I'm wanting to be convinced that such experiments are a complete waste of time, that the differences between humans and other species render them completely irrelevant and of no scientific validity. But - sorry - I'm just not convinced by what I've read.
And that means I don't feel I can turn round and say to, for example, parents of kids with chronic genetic illnesses that I don't think scientists should be allowed to continue their research. Limit the research as much as possible, cut out all the unnecessary testing and the duplication, ban the use of primates, develop alternatives to animal testing - yes, yes, yes. But I can't go the whole way yet. And it's not because I haven't done my homework.