Saturday, August 4, 2007

Animal Liberation Movement

I got an email yesterday from an old friend who was one of my roommates when I lived in California. I referred to her yesterday at my Omyword blog as the cream-faced Delila in my Burning Hands post. She can keep that pseudonym for now until she tells me she wants another one.

Delila was waaaaay more political than I was in those days. Of course, at that time in my life, voting for President every 4 years would have qualified somebody as more political than me. We had another roommate who loved to play devil's advocate with Delila, even though he leaned in the same direction as she did. That would be towards the left, or as the French say, vers la gauche. Their conversations were passionate, to say the least. I just hid in my bedroom.

Delila told me in the email that she had recently read a book and began to learn more about the Animal Liberation Movement and gave me a link and asked me to blog about it. This is the book that Delila just read:

My first knee-jerk thought was, Holy shit, these are those nutcases that harm other people and their property in the name of animal rights. This guy Keith Mann went to prison for his Animal Lib activities. But I have learned to allow those thoughts to bubble up while I plow into research to understand all the underlying or related facts. I haven't yet learned why he was arrested or convicted. Somebody said to me today when I mentioned what I was writing about, "Man, those guys are worse than PETA." I haven't done enough research to find out whether that's true.

There's no way I can learn everything about this issue in the next couple of hours. It's very, very deep.

And, for somebody like me who recently published a blog post entitled, I Like Meat, I sure as hell am not the best person to be opining about this issue, as I sit with my leather sandals on and my cat under my legs. Conflict!

But what the hell, conversation is what blogging is about. Investigation, reading, listening, talking, learning. So here goes.

The first time I learned something about animal testing was when I was VP of marketing for a skin care company. We were launching a men's skin care line and my boss taught me so much about the cosmetics industry. This education happened while he was roller blading through the office in skin-tight satin short shorts or when he wasn't loudly explaining the difference between man/woman sex and man/man sex while we were in a limo driven by a Middle Eastern guy in a turban. ("With women you need soft music and foreplay. With men honey, you just go wham! wham! and slam it in and Bam! you're done!")

ANYway...My boss was the one who told me that the "no animal testing" label on cosmetics meant that the manufacturer had merely used ingredients that had long ago been tested on animals and proven to be non-problematic to humans. The label was just saying that the manufacturer personally did not pay to have any of their ingredients or their final formulas tested on animals and that they just didn't use any new ingredients that had yet to be tested. That was an eye opener.

I read the two excerpt chapters from Keith Mann's book and although some things he said made me squint, it was a good read. He's a storyteller and this is a fascinating story. It's an insider's viewpoint and taken as such, it's incredibly revealing. It makes me want to buy the book to learn more.

Here's a question that came to mind: If animal testing for new drugs and disease cures is not a viable process (the premise is that animals aren't enough like humans so the tests are not accurate), then what is the replacement? How do we test new drugs/cures if we decided to ban animal testing for those purposes?

As I read more on the subject, I may come up with the answer and do an update.

And I don't want to hear the old dominion argument. That we big manly men were put on this earth by some guy with a beard in the sky called God and he told us personally that we were better than those animal things and that we could slaughter them and use them up and abuse them however we see fit. That's bullshit and we all know that. If you don't know it yet then you just need to get out more often.

Ok, so here's where the big fat hypocrisy comes in. If I don't believe in dominion then I don't have any right to buy and eat animals. Or wear them. If I take three seconds to think about it, by eating and wearing animals, I've only been able to do so because I've rationalized their death in some stupid way.

But I'm not prepared to throw out all my shoes and belts and purses and jackets. And I'm not prepared to stop eating animals.

So how can I ever get involved at any level of this issue without being a huge hypocrite? Can I dabble my toe in it and loudly proclaim against vivisection and only buy cosmetics that have never been involved with animal testing but at the same time keep eating murdered cows and wearing murdered cow hide purses, belts and shoes? I think at this point, all I can do is raise the questions and see what the answers are.


No_Animal_Testing said...

I'm impressed. Very thoughtful approach to the subject. And funny! You are really good.

There is a documentary "Behind the Mask" which covers a lot of what is in the book.

I also read a book called "In your Face" which is by the guy who started the group "Last Chance for Animals".

Anyway...I've always had an obsessive personality. It's no longer Paul B. and unfortunately exercise has fallen off the radar screen a little too much. But this topic has really gripped me. I gave up all meat January 1. I have slipped back into eating fish however. I gave away all my leather coats and try to only buy non animal products now.

That's interesting what you knew about animal testing for cosmetics. I guess that's better than new animal testing. When you learn more you will see what horrible things they do to animals to test things like household cleaners.