Torch of Reason,
The Sword of Justice
Regans impassioned speech combined the gentle torch of reason
with the warriors sword of justice.
Bell, World Day for Lab Animals, 1988, on the steps of the Federal
Building, LCA Rally, Westwood, CA
are gathered here today to declare war on vivisection! Our shared
goal is not to reform this great evil but to abolish it completely!
It is not bigger cages we want, but empty cages! Anything less than
total victory will not satisfy us!
The position we hold
the abolitionist position is often said to be extreme,
and those of us who hold it are said to be extremists.
The unspoken suggestions are that extreme positions cannot be right,
and that extremists must be wrong.
But I am an extremist when it
comes to rape I am against it all the time. I am an extremist
when it comes to child abuse I am against it all the time.
I am an extremist when it comes to sexual discrimination, racial
discrimination I am against it all the time. I am an extremist
when it comes to abuse to the elderly I am against it all
The plain fact is, moral truth
often is extreme, and must be, for when the injustice is absolute,
then one must oppose it absolutely. And the injustice of
vivisection is absolute.
Which is why we are gathered
here today, to declare war on vivisection!
thing we are said to be those of us who are abolitionists
I mean, shame, shame, shame!
We actually have feelings. Like, dont dare love someone, dont
dare sympathize with somebody, dont dare care about anothers
hurt or loss, dont dare feel anger or rage because others
are the victims of injustice. I mean, grow up! Mover over, Mr. Spock.
All of this, of course, is utter
nonsense. A life without feelings and emotions is the empty shell
of a human life, not even a life at all. Of course we know this.
Even the apologists of vivisection know this. I mean, I've seen
some of them get mighty heated-up: red of face, swollen of tongue,
apoplectic of complexion, cardiac of heart, screaming of voice,
thumping of fist, wide of eye, on-end of hair... and wet-of-pants
So enough of this self-righteous
denunciation of emotionalism. It's time to understand that strong
emotions real deep anger, real deep rage, real deep hostility
are perfectly natural feelings to have in the face of real
Which is why we are gathered
here today, to declare war on vivisection, and we will not be
satisfied with anything less than total victory!
another thing were said to be those of us who are abolitionists
is ... ignorant.
I mean, we don't know nuthin'.
Ask us about DNA, and we think you're referring to some national
rifle lobby group. B12? That's a number what gets called in Bingo,
ain't it? In-vivo research? That's something funny those Eye-talians
are doing to get their wine to taste as good as Made-in-America
ripple. I mean, what we're talking about is your basic Stone Age
I love this part of our
group portrait the vivisection industry's picture of us
the picture they pay hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands
of dollars to put out in the media. The reason I love it is because
it's so demonstrably false you have to wonder if these people
live on another planet.
Don't they know about the Physicians
Committee for Responsible Medicine? Don't these people know about
the Medical Research Modernization Committee? Don't these people
know about Veterinarians for Animal Rights? Or Nurses for Animal
Rights? Or Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? Or
the 750 practicing physicians in the state of California who have
denounced vivisection categorically?
Don't these people know about
the philosophers Peter Singer, Steve Sapontzis, Bernie Rollin, Susan
and Lawry Finsen, and Sidney Genden? Don't these people know about
the theologians Andrew Linzey and John Bowker? Don't they know about
the legal theorists David Fauvre, Christopher Stone, and Gary Francione?
Don't the paid-for apologists
of vivisection ever come out of their cushy offices to see what's
going on in the real world? Don't they understand that all the people,
and all the groups I've mentioned representing the best,
the most gifted, the most informed minds of our generation
are speaking out against vivisection?
Which is why we're gathered
here today, to declare war on vivisection! We
won't be satisfied with anything less than total victory!
... that's another thing we're said to be; that's a $100 word that
means ... we don't like anybody... not our mothers or fathers, not
our husbands or wives, not our sons or daughters, not our friends
not even Mother Theresa or Bishop Tutu.
What we love are ... Lassie
and Bambi animals. And only animals, which is why
we want to stop research on animals, according to the medical industrial
complex. According to them, nothing would please us more than to
have more and more human beings suffer, more and more human beings
Whattya say, Marquis de Sade? Let's party ... at Forest Lawn!
Who are these people who think
they can get away with misrepresenting the truth? Don't these people
know about Tom and Betsy Gidux Betsy committed in her professional
life to helping the elderly, Tom, a medical doctor, helping people
of all ages? Don't they know about Dr. Bob Greenberg, a pediatrician,
who works to keep young children healthy? Don't they know about
David and Courtney Amman David, a school principal, Courtney,
a public school teacher? Don't they know about Shelley Shapiro,
who works in the emergency room of a major hospital, and who does
volunteer work counseling rape victims? Don't they know about Marly
Cornell, who has taken her own experience with her spina bifida
daughter, Cody, and used this as a vehicle for helping other parents
whose children are physically or mentally disadvantaged?
These are the people
the Tom and Betsy Giduzs, the David and Courtney Ammans,
the Shelley Shapiros and the Marly Cornells these are the
people who are the real heart and soul of the animal rights movement
people who stand as a part of, not a part from, the human
rights movement, people who work to promote good, and eliminate
evil wherever it raises its ugly head.
Which is why we are gathered
here today, you and I, to declare war on vivisection! And we
will not be satisfied until we've gotten every animal out of every
cage in every laboratory!
course, what's really ironic is how accurately the medical industrial
complex describes itself in efforts to describe its critics. Consider
the charge of ignorance:
When we find out that 34% of
post mortems reveal that the now deceased victim was misdiagnosed:
34% were being treated for diseases they did not have, 34% were
not being treated for the diseases that killed them;
When we find out that 60-80%
of the 250,000 coronary bypass patients, who undergo this surgery
annually in the U.S., gain no increased lifespan when compared with
patients who forego this radical surgery;
When we find out that of the
900,000 caesarean deliveries performed in 1986 a full 24%
of all infant births at least 50% were unnecessary;
When we find out that of the
120,000 pacemakers implanted during that same year, more than 50%
were not medically indicated;
When we learn all this (and
there is much, much more to learn) when we find this out,
even the most trusting among us must begin to understand where the
charge of ignorance really fits ...
All some people need to do is
look in the mirror.
is true in the case of ignorance also is true in the case of compassion.
When we find out that one in
every six Americans has no medical insurance, that one million Americans
annually are denied needed medical care, that the infant mortality
rate in the U.S. is among the highest in the world, that a black
child born in America is more likely to die before reaching the
age of one than an infant born in any Third World countries, that
some 300,000 black children are born in the U.S. every year without
their mothers having received a single minute of pre-natal care,
that black people who suffer from hypertension receive no medical
assistance and this for a simple reason: they can't afford
When we find out that what is
true of blacks in America, is comparably true of other minorities
Hispanics and Native Peoples, for example. If curative or
preventive health care exists, they don't get it because they cant
When we find out that the same is
true for most people who suffer from AIDS: precious few can afford
the $8,000 a month it costs for AZT, for example;
When we find out that for years
the people who received preferential treatment in the organ transplant
program at that Holy of Holies the University of Pittsburgh
were not working class people from the steel mills, not working
class people from the mines, but potentates from the Middle East
who donated hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars
to the medical school;
When we find out that there
are almost a million elderly people who have incomes of less than
$5,500 a year, two thirds of whom do not qualify for Medicaid!
When we find out that seven
in every 10 elderly who live alone face total impoverishment after
only 13 weeks in a nursing home (average cost: $22,000 a year; median
income for the elderly: $11,000);
When we find out where the truth
lies, we find out who lies. Come on, let's be honest!
on next page
of Page • Close