Yet another prominent animal rights activist has decided to weigh in with a nutty diatribe linking the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States with the plight of animals. This time it’s Michael Fox of the Humane Society of the United States who circulated a brief appeal, “Forms of Violence and the Attack on America.”
After an introductory paragraph in which Fox hopes that the terrorists attacks don’t lead to an ongoing cycle of violence and “a world at war,” Fox offers the following,
Where I do my volunteer work in India, I have killed rabid dogs with compassion, sadness, and precision, and I continue to seek donations from caring people to vaccinate them to prevent outbreaks of this natural horror of rabies. But what vaccine is there to prevent outbreaks of evil from rabid human souls? What are caring people to do? I would say that our faith, hope, and salvation are in simple acts of loving kindness, and in finding less harmful, and often less violent ways of satisfying our needs and wants.
. . .
Our collective violence against Nature and against human nature, from the plight of endangered cultures, wildlife and the environment, to the sufferings of indigenous peoples and of domestic animals, especially in factory farms and commercial laboratories around the world, needs to be acknowledged. Until we find atonement with Nature and all beings, human and non-human, how can human nature find peace an not annihilate all that our better natures embrace?
Apparently animal rights not only offers a way to alleviate suffering, but now we’re all going to find atonement and perhaps even a bit of redemption! All pray at the altar of animal rights.
Aside from Fox’s bizarre pseudo-religious view of Nature, it is odd that he mentions efforts to vaccinate against rabies in the same piece in which he complains about “our collective violence against Nature” and the suffering of animals in “commercial laboratories.”
Vaccination against rabies goes back to the late 19th century and the great French scientist Louis Pasteur. As early as 1804, researchers in Europe had hypothesized that something in the saliva of rabid animals caused the disease to pass into those bitten. In 1879, Victor Galtier became the first man to successfully pass the disease from dogs to rabbits and then from rabbits back to dogs, confirming that rabies was some sort of infectious disease.
Only two years later, researchers working with Pasteur proved that rabies infected the central nervous system and, in numerous animal experiments, proved the disease could be transferred by injecting material from the central nervous system of an infected rabbit into the central nervous system of an uninfected rabbit.
And those researchers noticed something else which would change the face of human health forever. If, instead of injecting material from an infected rabbit to an uninfected rabbit directly, they desiccated the material first and waited a period of days, the virulence of the disease declined rapidly. They had discovered a method whereby animals and humans could be vaccinated against rabies.
Pasteur himself demonstrated that vaccination would work by exposing 50 dogs to his vaccine and then exposing them to the virulent form of rabies. On July 6, 1885, Pasteur did something that no one else in human history had every done — he vaccinated a young boy who had been bitten more than 14 times by a rabid dog. The boy survived, and within 15 months more than 2,500 dog bite victims had received Pasteur’s inoculation.
Pasteur’s discovery was a godsend. The last known case of a human being contracting rabies in France was 1924. Although people still contract and occasionally die from rabies in the United States and other developed countries, their numbers are extremely small (almost all people who die from rabies in the United States do not realize they have been bitten by a rabid animal until the disease has progressed too far to halt the infection).
Thank goodness Pasteur did not have to contend with folks like Fox, who has said not only that, “The life of an ant and that of my child should be granted equal consideration,” but that genetic research, which promises to help rid us of other horrible diseases, violates “the sanctity of life and may be regarded as an act of violence.”
If Fox feels he needs to atone for his sins against nature, that’s his businesses, but some of us would prefer life saving medical treatments, like the rabies vaccine which he has no problem using despite its origin, which the animal rights movement is actively trying to prevent. Human society will “find peace” when the animal rights movement gets out of the way and allow biomedical researchers to get on with their jobs.
Forms of violence. Michael W. Fox, Undated e-mail communication, Accessed: September 24, 2001.
General information on diseases: rabies. Aventis Pasteur, Undated, Accessed: September 28, 2001.