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Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

Animals With Human Parts

North Miami Beach, FL 04-10-2005
A.H. Schectman

There are increasing reports that despite the restrictions on stem cell research the researchers are probing the possibilities of injecting such cells into monkeys and other animals.  The reasons may be a little abstruse for me to understand but my sensibilities are for both humans and their experimental creatures.  Mice and Sheep have been mentioned along with monkeys.

Wily as a fox, eyes like an eagle, swift as a charging rhino and deadly as a cobra are some of the characteristics that we use to describe a friend or an enemy. I would hope that we could inject compassion and understanding as well as love and comforting in the same way the researchers are trying to cope with, say, Parkinson’s or diabetes. With the Righteous Right backing our Congress and President there are only a few voices that are calling for sensible research for cures of some of humankind’s scourges.  There is plenty of money to fight a war and rebuild a country inhospitable to us but the kind of money spent on trying to keep one brain dead woman alive and ushering a non-living Pope to be with Jesus would be better spent on trying to make those of us who are living with all kinds of problems have an easier time of it.

While I am at it, the moneys expended on areas designated as crucial by our leaders who ignore the plight of the many, could be put to better use on that stem cell research.  Even better, the schools of OUR country could be saved by thinking about them as for the PUBLIC and as places where we make better Americans not avaricious and selfish investors in an acquisitive society.

But, it really is interesting – this idea of animals with human parts – even if these parts are stem cells that we hope will add to the understanding of life. I am caught in a quandary that places me against killing, maiming and causing pain to animals in research facilities. I am all for finding cures and helping those whose problems seem too much for humans to have to bear. The cost of using up lives to save lives is the same in research as it is in war where you kill in order not to be killed.

It is my hope that the moral issues of to allow or not allow abortion on demand will not continue to dim the bright light focusing on helping people with intractable diseases. The tight pockets of people who have gotten theirs should be shared with the rest of us.  We used to be a people with a need to stop monopolies and cartels and tax the rich instead of rewarding them.  Let us start making ourselves human again by having compassion for the animals we sacrifice daily.




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