You Can’t Just Ignore Evidence When it Doesn’t Suit Your Point.

On the whole, I’ve found that a lot of people can’t debate. We try and keep a debate going on the forum, more often than not it goes round in circles or fails completely. Other times, it melts down into complete chaos (usually over abortion and other such inflammatory topics). But today, I’m actually not talking about the forum.

I’ve encountered a new type of person – the person who holds odious views other than one good viewpoint. My last post has quite a lot to do with this. I started following a new person on twitter, who posted a link about debunking an animal rights activists’ unsourced points on facebook. I usually avoid facebook like the plague, but I felt intrigued enough to read. I’m now wishing I didn’t, though not for the reason you may think.

A man debating the pro-testing corner began insulting anti-vivisectionists, calling them “P.C. do-gooders”. Why it had to result into petty name-calling, I really don’t know. Perhaps it struck a nerve with him, but we’ll see. This genius then ventured the point

Don’t get me wrong, if I had my way, we wouldn’t test on animals we’d test on pedophiles etc

You’re kidding me on, right? To take a person’s human rights away purely for the fact they committed a crime is ridiculous. A person who winds up in prison is not suddenly sub-human. And to make things worse – anti-vivisectionists started agreeing with him! So these people are now arguing the point that criminals are worth less than animals. The mind truly boggles. People who want to be tested on, that’s great, but you can’t force that onto prisoners. The only thing they should be losing is their right to liberty (given that’s what prison is for).

This genius then came back to me, proclaiming

Since when have convicted pedophiles earned the right to be called a human being? A person should forfeit their human rights when they fail to recognise some 1 else’s human rights. Especially that of a defenceless young kid. U r the kinda PC waster that I was referring to. Let’s all hug a criminal!!!!!

I don’t respond well to being called a waster, let’s say from this point my back is up. People like this are the reason the death penalty still exists in the US. Western justice has failed, it’s easy to see and source facts for. Look at Scandinavian countries, who see the person, not the crime and do not see them as sub-human. Their focus on rehabilitation has been proven to work. Their recidivism rates are among the lowest in the world, and why? Because their prison does not build the criminal culture which exists in prisons in other countries in the Western world. You can’t just lock people up at the state’s expense and leave them. That’s no good for anyone.

This man believes in animal testing. He quotes facts from the Speaking of Research page, quotes sources and then conveniently forgets his love of evidence when it came to discussing rehabilitation of offenders. He then took to trying to utterly insult me, which truly, I laughed and fumed at in equal measure.

I’m not talking about rehabilitation… I wouldn’t waste time and tax payers money trying to! Pedophiles and murderers convicted beyond reasonable doubt deserve only to be put out of their misery!!! It really is twats like u that would wana send a “rehabilitated” pedophile back out into society to destroy another persons life all over again. Would u have a “rehabilitated” pedophile as ur neighbour? Would u have 1 teaching YOUR young family members? Would u be cool with 1 running a sweet shop? No u wouldn’t! This is where I disprove ur faith in “Rehabilitation” and show u for just another P.C hypocrite do-gooder…. And if ur answer to my above questions are YES, then I truly hope u never have the responsibility of any minor in ur hands. Would u trust a convicted rehabilitated pedophile alone with ur child???

Bad spelling and grammar aside, I wanted to facepalm on his behalf. It’s easy to see that rehabilitation is not a waste of money or time. People (aside from those who’re fighting to be euthanised) do not deserve to be “put out of their misery”. Committing a crime does not take away a person’s right to a life. Then, the truth becomes a figment of his memory, forgetting fact altogether! Anyone convicted of a sexual offence against a minor would not be given a job in a school (surely that would just be common sense). So, because I believe in rehabilitation of offenders of any sort, I’m not safe to have children?

For the record, if someone convicted of a sexual offence with a child involved has been proven to be rehabilitated – why should they be treated with distrust for the rest of their lives? Marginalising people isn’t going to keep them from re-offending.

For a bit of shameless promotion, the latest post on diaryofafailedhuman basically backs up my point. If you’re going to debate facts and then forget them, you’re really not worth bothering with. I’m tolerant to a fault, but if you insult me, prepare to feel the wrath of my tongue.


Animal Testing – Cruel, Corrupt or just Current Testing Procedure?

This is an inflammatory subject. If you don’t agree with what I’ve said here, that’s just fine. Just don’t get in my face about it. Reasoned debate doesn’t come from flinging insults. Be civil, inform others of how you feel, and take on board what they have to say too.

I’m an animal lover. When I was little, that love was for horses, although I was brutally allergic to them and would sneeze whenever one was close, I’d always take any offer to go up to the stables and look after a family friends’ horse. Now, I’m a dog lover. I can’t wait to have one of my own. I love nature documentaries, seeing monkeys happily swinging from tree to tree, and the animals on the forest floor foraging.

Reading that, you’d think someone like me would be completely against animal testing. I’m not, I’m actually pretty supportive of animal testing for medical purposes. Testing cosmetics on animals is plain wrong, it’s not necessary.

Animal testing has been something discussed at length in so many ways. The debate thread on the forum has come back to some semblance of activity, and I feel as if I’m the only one debating from the medical advancement viewpoint instead of “oh, those poor animals!”.

Animal,Porkey Pig, Lobund-Wistar

Animal,Porkey Pig, Lobund-Wistar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I will make my apologies now, this post will be far longer than most of my usual posts, and it will be dry. If you stick with me from this point, I thank you. You’ll get a little phrase near the end to comment me with, and I’ll jump around with glee that someone’s finished my blog!

I’m a biological sciences student at a university in Scotland. In my first and second years, we did some experiments involving animals – the first experiment we did was a live dissection of a mussel, so we could see how its breathing apparatus works. Prior to starting the experiment, the director gave the option for anyone opposed to this sort of experiment to leave (with no detriment to their grade) and then proceded to give us a lecture about how to treat this animal with respect, and that we absolutely must avoid hurting it more than was necessary for this lesson. Prior to beginning any courses which contain working with animals at the university, you must sign a welfare form, saying that you will adhere to all rules laid out by the university. All demonstrators (postgrad students who knew what they were doing) watched over us like hawks, making sure we did not insert the scalpel far enough to touch the mussel when opening the shell gave us their time to show what proper practice when dealing with any animal is.

Worldwide, animal testing is broadly participated in, simply because in-vitro testing is not financially viable for underfunded scientific facilities to practice. Scientists who use animals in their testing though, adhere to the “Three R’s”:

The three Rs are a set of principles that scientists are encouraged to follow in order to reduce the impact of research on animals. The three Rs are: Reduction, Refinement, Replacement.

The three Rs are a set of principles that scientists are encouraged to follow in order to reduce the impact of research on animals.

The three Rs are: Reduction, Refinement, Replacement.

Reducing the number of animals used in experiments by:
Improving experimental techniques
Improving techniques of data analysis
Sharing information with other researchers
Refining the experiment or the way the animals are cared for so as to reduce their suffering by:
Using less invasive techniques
Better medical care
Better living conditions
Replacing experiments on animals with alternative techniques such as:
Experimenting on cell cultures instead of whole animals
Using computer models
Studying human volunteers
Using epidemiological studies

The 3 R’s are posted here to show that research using animals is only conducted when necessary, and minimises suffering in all ways possible. Scientists don’t just randomly think to themselves that they’re going to use and hurt as many animals as possible.

In the USA, the IACUC gives very clear guidelines as to how experiments should be carried out, such as linked here at Cornell university, here at Harvard, and here at Penn State university.

In Canada, the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) is setup to act in the interests of the people of Canada to ensure through programs of education, assessment and guidelines development that the use of animals, where necessary, for research, teaching and testing employs optimal physical and psychological care according to acceptable scientific standards, and to promote an increased level of knowledge, awareness and sensitivity to relevant ethical principles. At the inaugural meeting on January 30, 1968, the CCAC adopted the following statement of objective: “to develop guiding principles for the care of experimental animals in Canada, and to work for their effective application”.
The provinces have jurisdiction concerning that area. The federal government, however, is involved in three areas: the criminal law power, the health power, and the spending power.

The Criminal Code of Canada Section 446 and 447 of the Criminal Code protect animals from cruelty, abuse and neglect. This section of the Criminal Code has been under review for several years.

The Health of Animals Act (1990) and its regulations are aimed primarily at protecting Canadian livestock from a variety of infectious diseases that would threaten both the health of the animals and people, and Canadian trade in livestock with other countries. This act is used both to deal with named disease outbreaks in Canada, and to prevent the entry of unacceptable diseases that do not exist in Canada.

Spending power – the other mechanism through which the federal government has lent its support to the humane treatment of animals is not strictly speaking legislative in nature, but in many respects it is one of the most powerful instruments available to the federal government for setting national standards. The federal government’s power to provide for grants subject to conditions imposed on the recipients, be they provincial governments or individual or corporate recipients, may take a variety of different forms. One form is that of the conditional federal grant or contract. This manifestation of the federal power is what currently underpins the imposition of CCAC standards on facilities receiving funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Where the government itself awards a contract on an academic or non-academic institution, clause A9015C of Public Works Standard Acquisition Clauses and Conditions Manual imposes conditions related to the care and use of experimental animals in public works and government services. All of the provinces in Canada have created and passed laws that pertain to animal welfare, but only certain provinces have made their own laws. Universities in Canada also follow strict guidelines, as shown here from the University of Toronto.

Arguably the UK has the most strict laws and guidelines concerning animal testing. As all testing is governed by the Home Office, they publish data as well as the institutions involved (statistics from 2004 here).

Here’s a section of a piece written by Jess Smith and Aisling Spain who both perform animal testing at the University of Edinburgh:
The pressure on researchers to use alternatives is not adequately understood among the public and this is exploited by animal rights groups in their arguments. In condemning the use of animals in research, they make the point that animals are too dissimilar to humans for meaningful comparisons to be made. However, when making points about animal use for food PETA are quick to draw specious parallels between humans and animals. Despite high-profile failures in drug safety, there still exists a vast number of drugs on the market which have had their safety established in animals. Public perception of animal rights issues is further distorted by celebrity endorsements of certain issues, such as protests against the fur trade.

In common with other emotive science issues the most problematic issue for those defending animal research is public ignorance of the research itself and how it is controlled. This ignorance is compounded by some animal rights websites which inaccurately represent scientists as unwilling to use alternatives to animals in their research. It is time to end the silence on the part of researchers, to explain to the public what is done and why, and to open up laboratories and animal facilities so that their level of care can be clearly seen.

The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 link here requires experiments to be regulated by three licenses: a project license for the scientist in charge of the project, which details the numbers and types of animals to be used, the experiments to be performed, and the purpose of them; a certificate for the institution to ensure it has adequate facilities and staff; and a personal license for each scientist or technician who carries out any procedure. In deciding whether to grant a license, the Home Office refers to the Act’s cost-benefit analysis, which is defined as “the likely adverse effects on the animals concerned against the benefit likely to accrue as a result of the programme to be specified in the license” (Section 5(4)). A license should not be granted if there is a “reasonably practicable method not entailing the use of protected animals” (Section 5(5) (a)). The experiments must use “the minimum number of animals, involve animals with the lowest degree of neurophysiological sensitivity, cause the least pain, suffering, distress, or lasting harm, and [be the] most likely to produce satisfactory results” (Section 5(5) (b)). source here

During a 2002 House of Lords select committee inquiry into animal testing in the UK, witnesses stated that the UK has the tightest regulatory system in the world, and is the only country to require a cost-benefit assessment of every license application (source) There are 29 qualified inspectors covering 230 establishments, which are visited on average 11–12 times a year.source here

If you’ve made it to here – post “parsimonious” so I know you made it to here and I can squee that I haven’t killed everyone with boredom. Animal testing has brought about so much advancement in medicine, it’s truly been amazing. People have called it an archaeic practice, but how else are you supposed to test medicines? How many human test subjects are really going to volunteer? How reliable do you think the results would be from a very tiny sample size?

Until in-vitro testing is more affordable, animal testing will continue. It’s a sad fact, but there you have it. From my experience of both helping out in an animal shelter and being around animals who are being tested on – people outside of labs are far worse than the people who are trying to keep you, your friends and your family healthy.

A short list of things animal testing has helped provide treatment and cures for

Protect Yourself, There’s No Excuse

Supporters of Planned Parenthood

Supporters of Planned Parenthood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m going to make things clear from the outset here – I don’t want children. I don’t even want to be around the children my friends may or may not have in the future longer than I absolutely have to. They make me uncomfortable, and the thought of wrecking my body to bring a child into this world disturbs me. I won’t be having children.

Now, being of reasonable common sense, I know that to avoid falling pregnant, I must use protection when having sex. That seems more than obvious to me. Sadly, it doesn’t appear to be obvious to everyone.

There are so many different methods of contraception available, hormonal and non-hormonal there really is no excuse you can give that washes. I’m glad I live in the UK, and can have free access to birth control (here in Scotland, they abolished prescription charges, so it’s completely free). In the USA, you have access to Planned Parenthood, which I’ve read gives out free condoms when you go to ask for advice (if I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me). Also at this point I’d like to add how absolutely insane it sounds that American people and politicians want to take all funding away from Planned Parenthood.

In my own experience, and I’ve been through the awkward buying of a packet of condoms as a teenager – I’d rather go through that a million times than be landed with a child. Having a child would ruin my life, so I’d do anything in my power to avoid it. When I was single, I “doubled up”, using both birth control and condoms to avoid both pregnancy and STD’s. And now I’m with someone and we’re both happy neither of us have anything sinister floating around in our stuff, I use the pill only.

Continuing on the point of doubling up as a single woman – you can’t just trust that the lucky guy is going to have a condom on him. You take him back to yours? Have a box hidden away in a drawer in your room. You go back to his? Have a condom or two in a little part of your bag.

There really is no excuse not to protect yourself properly. If you’re caught short one night, or the condom breaks, then there’s always the morning after/plan b pill, but you can’t use that as a viable means of stopping pregnancy. Those hormones kick your ass.

Look after your own interests, please.
If you’re not sure what sort of birth control would work for you – I found this brilliant thing to help you decide on the Planned Parenthood website.

It Appears I May Be Turning This Blog…

…onto what appears to be Feminist Highway. This wasn’t always the intention of mine, though recently, the men who’ve come to my attention in the past few days appear to have all lost their minds, and I couldn’t keep from writing about them.

It’s actually infuriating.

On certain nights on channel 4, they show a little five minute segment after the national news which is supposed to be informative and current. Last night was somewhat different. At just prior to 8pm last night, Reverend George Curry appeared on screen to ask whether showing skin is a sin. As he said “My naked body is for my wife to see, and her naked body is for me to see”, which seems like a reasonable enough statement to make (if he had stopped talking immediately after that). However, Rev. Curry went on to talk about how immoral it was for a woman to go out showing skin “baring skin is a sin”.

I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit on that.

As I posted on twitter during this man’s railing against women wearing skirts (OH MY GOD), I bet that Rev. Curry goes out without a shirt when it’s hot outside and shows off his burger nipples to the rest of the world.

Now, I’m not saying I’m going to walk around topless (I actually quite happen to like wearing pretty underwear and nice clothes, they make me feel more attractive, and thus I think I come across more confidently), but if women are expected to walk around covered from head-to-toe all the time, shouldn’t men? If it’s hot outside, I’m going to wear short shorts and floaty skirts because I like it and it keeps me cool. I’m not trying to attract a man or make him think about “impure” things. If I go out at the weekend with my female friends (albeit, not that often at the moment), we all go out dressed nicely, in short skirts, shorts, dresses and high heels. None of us are “inviting rape”, contrary to the opinions of several men who’ve crossed my twitter feed/TV screen/wordpress timeline have said. I honestly can’t believe the culture of rape apologists, “slut” shaming and victim blaming.

As I have said in my previous blogs, and in my letter to Missouri senate candidate Representative Todd Akin, no woman ever deserves to be raped. It’s nothing about the clothes she wears, it’s not about a woman flirting and giving the wrong impression. Guys can give the wrong impression too, you know? “I’ll call you”. Does that sound familiar, men of the one night stand game? Is the woman right to force herself onto you? No, right. So why the fuck can it possibly be a woman’s fault that you’ve taken advantage of her because she’s not strong enough to fight you off?

I think, with the weather taking a nice turn to sunshine for the first time since May, I’ll be taking full advantage of being able to show off my milky white flesh. Fuck you, Reverend George Curry, I’ll be wearing what I want.


I’m Now Not So Glad To Be Scottish

George Galloway

George Galloway, Assange Apologist who believes neither of the women were sexually assaulted by Assange, but instead he did things which are “bad sexual ettiquete” (Photo credit: DavidMartynHunt)

Ah, George Galloway. How much of a platform would you have had to defend Assange from if you hadn’t been on Celebrity Big Brother a few years ago, been hypnotised and made cat noises? Would you be seen as some kind of (vaguely) loveable buffoon like Boris? Or would the views you expressed in your podcast have come to light far sooner if another alleged rape case had come up in this country?

I feel I should point out my position on the Assange case (at this point I’m rather glad to be female, because my boyfriend has been called a “rape apologist” by women on twitter for telling people that presuming guilt can lead to a mistrial, and the man walking free). Obviously, I believe he should stand trial in Sweden for the crimes he is alleged to have committed in their country. Having read the statement from his own lawyer, which appeared to be a summation of the charges laid against him, the charges look pretty horrific. Particularly the charge laid by woman B, who Assange is alleged to have pinned down and pried her legs open to gain penetration into her.

However, I don’t believe the UK have any right to gain entry into the Ecuadorian Embassy to arrest Assange to extradite him to Sweden. The reason he has not answered these charges appears to be his fear of Sweden extraditing him to the USA to face trial over his Wikileaks site. If Sweden could give him some concrete answers as to his extradition, I’m of the opinion he would be there to face trial.

Anyway, this blog post isn’t about Assange. It’s about Mr Galloway, who I’m undecided as to email tonight over his viewpoints.

Now, Being Asleep Is Now Seen As Consent

Mr Galloway in his Good Night with George Galloway podcast, he defended Julian Assange, saying that as the woman had given prior consent and had sex with him prior to falling asleep, Assange was not raping the woman when he penetrated her whilst she was sleeping.

My views on this are that you are at your most vulnerable when you’re asleep, you can’t do anything to protect yourself. Galloway on the other hand, said “I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.” This may be true if you’re just changing position, but come on now. During how many one night stands have you woken up to the stranger penetrating you? In my case, never. I’m sure that’s pretty much the case for most people.

A magistrates court here in the UK has said that “What is alleged here is that Mr Assange ‘deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep, was in a helpless state’. In this country that would amount to rape.” And I’m pretty sure that in Sweden, the law is fairly similar.

In his broadcast Galloway said: “Some people believe that when you go to bed with somebody, take off your clothes, and have sex with them and then fall asleep, you’re already in the sex game with them. It might be really bad manners not to have tapped her on the shoulder and said: ‘Do you mind if I do it again?.’ It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning.”

Bankrupt the term of all meaning?! Come on to fuck. If you want a round two with someone you’ve taken to dinner and gone home with, you damn well better ask them if they fancy it. It’s not bad sexual etiquette, what is alleged is abuse of that woman’s trust. I bet she’s scared of going to sleep with a partner now in case she were to wake up to it again.

I just can’t believe that all this talk of rape, and morons defending the perpetrators (in Assange’s case, alleged perpetrator) has come up all at one time. It’s like feeding time at the idiot zoo.


I’m So Glad I’m Not American

Making the rounds on twitter today is this man, Mr Todd Akin. This man is running to be an elected member of the United States GOP Senate, and I honestly can’t believe he expects any female votes in the November election. Good luck!

As to why this man is such a loathsome piece of shit, he said in interview that victims of “legitimate rape” do not get pregnant because a woman’s body is capable of somehow shutting down her reproductive system. This is not true. Statistics from the US point to more than 5% of rape victims (though I’m not sure how many of these women count as victims of this “legitimate rape”) become pregnant after their ordeal. Surely no woman should have to live with a reminder of her attack.

This man is against abortion and even campaigned to take away access to the morning after/plan b pill, so any woman with the misfortune to get pregnant at all would HAVE to carry the baby to term.

Anyway, I’m blogging again tonight as I felt I just had to reply to this man. I wonder if I ever get a response, or if he has some more people to offend. Perhaps homosexuals, people of a different race to his own…who knows. It’s his prerogative.

Here’s what I sent.


Dear Mr Akin,
As I’m sure you may be aware now, you’ve made yourself a viral phenomenon. Some people say, like Oscar Wilde, that all press is good press. I don’t believe this is the case at all.
In fact, your interview in which you talked about “legitimate” rape (which I would like you to clarify in your email response, as I’m pretty sure that in ANY case where a woman says no, it’s rape) has made you come across as a misogynistic, twisted man who has no regards for a woman’s rights. Also, you appear to have no respect for actual scientific data. It can be easily found from reputable sources online that more than 32,000 women became pregnant as a result of rape.
This figure as a percentage is around 5%, which to you may appear to be small. But would those 5% of women really want to carry around and give birth to, even raise a child which would forever be a reminder of what happened to her?
A woman does not ask to be raped. It is never her fault (though a lot of members of your party including yourself believe this to be so).
So would you really remove any chance women in this situation in your state have to get over their abuse? I read you had petitioned to remove a woman’s right to the plan B pill also.
Here’s some news for you, Mr Akin. The pill is not 100% effective. Condoms aren’t 100% effective. Nothing is, apart from abstinence. So why should a woman who is raped and can do nothing about contraceptive use in that case be forced to keep a child she doesn’t want?
It said on your twitter profile that you have a wife. What if she were to be sexually abused in this way by another man and fell pregnant? Would you deny her an abortion? Would you raise the child fathered by a criminal?
And don’t use adoption as a legitimate option. From the millions of children in the adoption and foster care system of your country, only a tiny percentage actually make it into an adoptive home by the time they reach 18 and are left to make it on their own with very limited help.

I was shocked to hear such, honestly, woman-hating bile emanating from someone campaigning to be an elected member of the senate.
Surely you can’t hope to get any female votes at all in the upcoming election if your plan is to remove all of a woman’s rights?
Time to rethink, Mr. Akin.

Hannah Welsh

P.S. Right now, I’m so very glad to be living in Scotland. A country where if something this horrific were to happen to me, I would be able to receive the right help for it.