Friday, May 19, 2006

Commentary: Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Let the Animals Pick Up the Tab: Human Health Suffers When We Disregard Animal Suffering

Once again, an amazing commentary. She points out the obvious – that an animal-focused diet is the leading cause of chronic sickness and disease. But, even more, it’s illogical that those who expound on a fully animal-focused diet that makes humans sick actually are for animal testing in an attempt to cure these actual diseases! Yet, animal testing does not work, so it’s a vicious circle. The only true way to prevent them is jus that – look to living prevent ably vs. reactionary. Here is a quick quote from the commentary below:

“We never hear researchers or animal-testing advocates address this ethical question. Why not? Well, one answer is that there is not a lot of money in seriously promoting prevention, so doctors and pharmaceutical companies are happy to oblige their patients. An entire mega-industry is supported by this kind of irresponsibility and greed, and it rides on the backs of animals.”

Commentary:

Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Let the Animals Pick Up the Tab

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/
viewArticle.asp?articleID=9230

Gayle Dean

Gayle Dean is a freelance writer, outdoorswoman, and cruciverbalist. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post Magazine, L.A. Times, Simon & Schuster books, Dell puzzle magazines, River Runner and Men's News Daily. Gayle's puzzle book series (Wordplay Crosswords) was published by Merriam-Webster.

May 8, 2006

When animal-rights activists criticize animal-testing, and forums are provided for public response, someone always insists that animal-testing is vital for finding treatments for the millions with chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. They believe animal sacrifice is morally required to save these sick people. Setting aside whether animal-testing yields good results for treating human disease (and there is a lot of doubt about it), many people accept this moral justification without question. Inevitably, they will say: "Well, people with cancer and heart-disease wouldn't agree with you." Or they'll say, "I'll bet you sing a different tune when you get cancer!"

But there is a big problem:

The diseases that cause most of the illnesses and death in the United States are chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. And these diseases are most often due to lifestyle choices, which means they are largely preventable.

According to the American Cancer Society:

Tobacco use, physical inactivity, obesity, and poor nutrition are major preventable causes of cancer and other diseases in the US. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2006, more than 170,000 cancer deaths will be caused by tobacco use alone. In addition, scientists estimate that approximately one-third (188, 277) of the 564, 830 cancer deaths expected to occur in 2006 will be related to poor nutrition, physical inactivity, overweight, and obesity.

This means that roughly two-thirds of all cancer deaths are due to lifestyle choices and are preventable. Two-thirds! And those estimates don't even include the less deadly afflictions like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, cataracts, or common ailments like flus, colds, constipation, etc. -- many of which are also caused or exacerbated by diet and lifestyle.

The American Heart Association agrees that heart disease is "mostly preventable." The American Diabetic Association publishes similar estimates and analysis. In other words, the major killer diseases are largely self-inflicted.

People know all this, but they still refuse to stop smoking, change their diets, lose weight, exercise or make other beneficial lifestyle changes. Doctors suggest all these "cures" in a casual way, but they know that most people will not make the recommended changes. As members of the instant gratification generation, people would rather abuse themselves now, and call on doctors later, to prescribe the newest little purple pill or perform the latest heart-bypass procedure to treat problems that could have been prevented in the first place.

The serious ethical question is this: why should millions of innocent animals be tortured and sacrificed to find treatments for largely self-inflicted diseases in people who refuse to take responsibility for their own choices?

Granted, some people do make responsible lifestyle choices and still get disease. But if we accept scientists' estimates that two-thirds of the major diseases are caused by diet, nutrition, and other lifestyle choices, we could at least significantly reduce animal testing. The majority with self-inflicted chronic diseases must face the moral dilemma. It should not just be accepted as a given that when people are irresponsible, animals can be tormented and sacrificed to save them.

We never hear researchers or animal-testing advocates address this ethical question. Why not? Well, one answer is that there is not a lot of money in seriously promoting prevention, so doctors and pharmaceutical companies are happy to oblige their patients. An entire mega-industry is supported by this kind of irresponsibility and greed, and it rides on the backs of animals.

Gayle Dean is a freelance writer, outdoorswoman, and cruciverbalist. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post Magazine, L.A. Times, Simon & Schuster books, Dell puzzle magazines, River Runner and Men's News Daily. Gayle's puzzle book series (Wordplay Crosswords) was published by Merriam-Webster.

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