Posted by on 4 April 2006 at 11:45 pm  Uncategorized
Apr 042006

Luka Yovetich sent me this NY Times article on Laurie Pycroft, a 16 year old geeky British blogger fighting animal rights terrorists with the help of some Oxford University undergraduates, under the banner of “Pro-Test.”

The shift from geekiness began on Jan. 28, as Mr. Pycroft watched animal rights demonstrators in Oxford marching to protest the planned testing facility. He tucked in behind them chanting, “Build the lab!”

“They got quite hostile,” he said. So he went to a stationery store and bought a large square of cardboard and a pen and wrote: “Support Progress. Build the Oxford Lab.” When he started waving the sign on the street, someone compared him to excrement. Another person tore the sign apart, he said. He went home and shared his experience on his blog. The result was a new movement, called Pro-Test.

Young Mr. Pycroft’s has since received more than his fair share of death threats. Here’s a bit more about his views:

“I have always believed that humans should ethically and morally come above animals as far as science is concerned,” he said. “I believe that if a human can be saved by animal research, all the evidence I have seen points to it being extremely useful.”

That belief is not rooted in religion, although Mr. Pycroft recalled verses in the Book of Genesis that support his belief. “I’m strictly atheist,” he said. “Reading the Bible is the strongest advertisement for atheism.”

In his campaigning, Mr. Pycroft has drawn a “distinction between people who just disagree — they have a full right to protest — and the animal rights terrorists” who have threatened scientists and damaged buildings.

But the response from his adversaries has been remarkably personal — ad hominem, as Mr. Pycroft likes to say, using the Latin phrase for an argument that attacks the speaker rather than the issue.

Best of all, he’s making a difference:

John Stein, a professor of physiology at Oxford, told Pro-Test’s first demonstration on Feb. 25: “This is a historic day. We are drawing a line in the sand.” And Tipu Aziz, a prominent neurologist, told the Pro-Test rally, “We are seeing a return of reason.”

The good doctors conducting medical testing to advance human knowledge need a whole lot more moral support than they’re getting these days. Just think about it: Your life may someday depend upon medical testing done — or not done.

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