I’m rather fascinated as to how Colin Blakemore seems to have been socially constructed as an evil monster. I suppose it was inevitable that he would be within the anti-vivisection movement, especially the flesh and dairy-consuming parts of it, but that does not explain why he often appears to be the number-one hate figure among the wider animal advocacy community. Not if physical animal suffering and “cruelty” is the main issue, which seems to be the case for many animal advocates.
Blakemore has claimed that the cats he experimented on did not physically suffer - during the experiments at least - because they were anaesthetised throughout and were not allowed to recover; they were “sacrificed” as vivisectors like to put it while still unconscious. Of course, from an animal rights point of view, these are gross rights violations even in cases where there is little or no suffering. Account should also be taken of how the cats came into being, how they were confined, and the fact that their lives were deliberately cut short. Furthermore, they were also regarded as items of property, as “things” and of course, “models,” during their lives and deaths.
Vivisectors do not stop being the users of other animals once they step outside of the laboratory - and I think we can safely assume that most consume flesh and dairy, wear leather and wool, and engage in a whole range of practices that harm nonhuman animals. However, Colin Blakemore is opposed to a range of animal-using activities that many all people happily support and engage in, such as an “innocent” visit to the zoo or the circus, fishing, and going hunting.
I am not suggesting that this opposition wipes his moral slate clean. Not at all – but then, who has a clean one anyway? However, I’m forever told that virtually all activities, such as the childish and sexist antics of PeTA, are acceptable if they get people to at least begin to think about the ethics of society’s routine and systematic use of nonhuman animals. So many, we assume, think little or nothing morally as the truck off the McDeath’s every week, or when they eat ham and cheese pizzas, splash calf food on their cereals, visit zoos, circuses with nonhuman animal “performers,” and when they frequent commercial aquaprisons. Moreover, many defend most uses of other animals on public forums. Odd, then, that many animal advocates fail to acknowledge Blakemore’s position in this regard, and heaven forbid that he may be given credit for the fact that he does think ethically about animal use, both his own and more widely.
While one of Dave Warwak
’s “corpse munchers” will be praised by some animal advocates for taking part in “meat-free Mondays,” the fact that Blakemore does not eat some animals due to moral considerations apparently must be ignored. Now, we need to be careful here, because “not eating mammals” is not doing overly much from a vegan-based animal rights position, especially if that means that more fishes, shellfishes and dairy are consumed – however, many animal advocates would nevertheless declare it “a step in the right direction” in the case of the average Joe on the street.
Perhaps we need to appreciate a little more that the real world is not as black and white as we might like – it is not filled with easily identified “goodies” and “baddies.”