GUEST COLUMN
A New Approach for The Prolife Movement

January 2003By R.T. Neary

R.T. Neary is the past President of Massachusetts Citizens for Life. This column is adapted from a piece that originally appeared in that organization’s newsletter.

It all started with an article in which a doctor at a prestigious medical center in Boston was quoted as saying that “every effort is made to minimize pain and suffering.” On its face the statement certainly falls within our expectations of the medical community.

What propelled me into mental gymnastics was another quotation in the article which read, “In part because of animal-rights advocacy, increasingly stringent regulations have been adopted to protect lab animals, particularly non-human primates.” The special reference to non-human primates set my cerebral processes churning.

Yes, this was another deferential piece on the animal-rights movement with which I share some feelings — but only to a certain point. As a Right to Lifer, I have always been fascinated by the groundswell of support for animal rights.

I couldn’t help but drift off to the thought that the Endangered Species Act protects 170 species of creatures, from mammals to crustaceans, subjecting a violator to a $50,000 fine and/or a year in jail. In addition, there are hundreds of laws at the state and local level that are aimed at protecting the animal population. Bald eagles, grizzly bears, and snail darters have diverted road construction, stopped tree removal, and interfered with energy harvesting. And a town close to mine holds up traffic to allow environmentalists with high-powered flashlights to assist salamanders to cross a road during mating season.

“Animal Rights” and “Animal Law” courses were introduced at Harvard and Georgetown as we moved into the new millennium, and an article in Campus Report entitled “Higher Ed Going Ape Over Animal Rights Courses” stated that these courses will “explore the philosophical justification for animal personhood.” Personhood!


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