Medical Research – Is it Vegetarian?

Breast cancer awareness

Breast cancer awareness (Photo credit: AslanMedia)

Recently I had a scare.  I found a lump in my breast and immediately buried myself and gave all my children away!  I confided in a friend who reassured me that breast cancer was “treatable” .  I was relieved as I waited for my Ultrasound and Mammogram appointment.

Mammography in process: Shown is a drawing of ...

Mammography in process: Shown is a drawing of a female having a mammogram. A mammogram is a picture of the breast that is made by using low-dose x-rays. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During one of my sleepless nights I thought how I had been a part of the research and discovery.  I had marched.  I had fundraised.

breast cancer walk, take 2!

breast cancer walk, take 2! (Photo credit: skampy)

I had friends involved in breast cancer research.   I remembered the bite marks where the rats, she used for her research, had bitten her.  I had visited her in the lab one day and she showed what she was working on.  She was thinly slicing the rat’s brains to examine.  The same rats that had bitten her were now dead.

Animal,Porkey Pig, Lobund-Wistar

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had forgotten the sacrifice of those rats.  And while I felt relief I could be treated I also felt like those rats were being taken advantage of.  It was obvious, by the bite marks around my friends finger nail beds, that the rat didn’t want to be injected with cancer needles or be cured of it’s deadly disease.  The rat was protesting without any voice.  Who was the voice of the rat?  Could I be the voice of the rat?  Could I say that a rat’s life was as important as mine or my children’s?  Could I refuse treatment?  I had children to live for.  And my parents, they had already lost a child (my oldest sister), how would they feel if I died from a “treatable” disease?

What about their feelings?

What about the rat’s feelings?  How many rats lost their mother or their sister or child?  The rat, like a slave, had been given no choice and like the Jews in Germany were forced into experimentation for the purpose of medical research.  No moral person could accept people being used in labs(even though we have forgotten where some of our modern medical research stems from).  How could I as a moral vegetarian ignore this rat holocaust?  I am sure God’s purpose for a rat was not research and I knew morally  it was wrong to use any of God’s creatures for that purpose.  How many had to die so that I may live a better life?

Unmarked grave in the Ukrainian Cemetery

Unmarked grave (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is there an answer?  When must one become a hypocrite?   In the face of death?  For our children’s sake?  For our parents or husband or family?  For our religion?  What would Daniel or Jesus or His Imperial Majesty Selassie do?  What would I do?  Could I listen to the teachings of the great Rastaman Prof I (a man of love and peace and tranquility within his heart) who after being questioned about being a vegetarian says “I don’t eat fish because I can’t afford to take a life to save a life.  Cuz’ a fish love him life just like how I love mine!”

Orginally found at flikr. Photo taken by user ...

Orginally found at flikr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fortunately I was relieved of my worries about breast cancer but not of my obligation to the rats who sacrificed their lives for medical research.  Is the cost of so many lives and the spilling of so much blood worth it?  Is medical research a vegetarian ideal?

Categories: Me, myself VeggieZ, warnings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Medical Research – Is it Vegetarian?

  1. I am so very relieved your scare has passed. Animal research should stop, but the fact that it happens shouldn’t stop you from using the treatments developed using the research. So few care as deeply as you. Do what you must to live so that you can continue to wake people up about the mistreatment of animals in research. Thanks for writing your blog. Be well!

    • thanks! Jah bless you!

    • Randal thanks for your kind words I have been meaning to write to you and express that I think YOU care very deeply. Research and science raises such ethical questions. Is it really worth it? It is kind of like cheese. I know that to make cheese they use the stomach enzyme of a calf, kid or lamb and when I think of the baby animal that dies for cheese I think is it really worth it. Well other people must have posed the same question and the solution that the cheese makers came up with was to produce synthetic enzymes to coagulate the cheese into curds. I then wonder do I really want to eat synthetic anything…especially when the enzyme was either grown on bovine skin or on gelatin…in a lab…is it really worth it? Is it really worth the sacrifice? When faced with the possibility of death I felt it really would be worth it…I have everything to live for! But I still don’t know how to thank a rat. Thanks again for you kind thoughts and you too be well. God bless you!

      • You are very kind. Thank you. As I understand it, there are very often ways to conduct effective medical research without using animals. When this is possible, this is what we should be doing. When we think animal research is the only way, maybe we should be doing more research to FIND a way to do the research without using animals! Still, if I needed medicine developed using animal research, I would take it. Food, though, is another matter. I know I can be healthy without eating animals (or eating food made using parts or products of animals), so I try hard to avoid eating animals. Cheese, too. I enjoy a cheese made with tapioca root. We all need to find our own way. My hope is that people think carefully about their choices and the impact of their choices on others. I also hope they let a little love color their decisions!

        Be well and keep sharing your loving heart!

  2. You pose some interesting questions. Many are disturbed by animals used for testing of cosmetics and beauty products: soaps, shampoos, etc because they use “pretty” animals like rabbits, dogs, cats and people have been appalled by the use of monkeys, chimps and other primates which are also used for testing – but rats are not often rallied for by animal rights activists. Tell me, how would you feel about slugs coming into your house and crawling all over your kids at night? What would you do about that – as a mother and as a vegan?

    • Slugs you found another weakness of mine…slugs and I have a sorted past…as a teenager I was doing cartwheels barefoot in the back yard…I felt a slimy thing between my toes and when I took it out it was a slug…the first slug I had ever seen…I didn’t even know they existed. I didn’t kill it but I didn’t go in the backyard until winter! Later I worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant and when mopping at night there was always slugs and I would get a huge wad of paper towel and take the slugs outside! I would do the same for my kids (especially if the were crawling in there ears…heheh) My daughter Lailati calls slugs SNUGS. If I was infested by snugs I would have to find the ewwww nest and take it outside and keep doing that until the snugs stayed outside. It is hard to balance being a vegan and being a mother because I am questioned a lot about the welfare of my children. When I think that I am doing the right thing for their physical or spiritual health another may think that I am mistaken. I try to look at the big picture…judgement…how I am going to be judged by this not by my peers but the Almighty – I am who I am – will I be punished for killing those flies on my van? Or for smacking that mosquito a little too hard? I hit a groundhog with my van and I will never forget the sound. The innocent creature had no reason to die. I killed it and it had no wrong. So I would like the answer to always be “How will I be judged for this?” but I have weaknesses and I sometimes forget or sometimes choose my peers instead of looking at the big picture. I don’t want anyone to die except by natural causes. It reminds me of a story of my Grandmother when she passed, her nurse went into her room and saw a glow (this is second hand story to me) above my Grandmother’s body when she went to check my Grandmother was dead. I marvel at the thought of Jah’s glory! I want to be a good student and not make mistakes but I do big time! How will I be judged?

      • You are your own harshest judge and Jah does not want you to be harsh with yourself, but to love yourself and allow that love to radiate out to others – and that’s what you do. I hate rats n slugs – :/ I put salt down to stop slugs and have never had to deal with rats. I’m not perfect.

      • you are funny!

  3. By the way, that’s an awfully cute white mouse in that third pic – or is it a rat?and like Randal, I am also relieved you don’t have breast cancer and like randal, I recommend you use the medical science derived from animal testing and thanks be to God and the animal and the animal’s family. You can build a shrine somewhere (in your home?) to pay respect and place offerings for the spirits and living relatives – maybe not food offerings in your home, you don’t want to attract rodents when you have kids and babies around. It sure is complicated being when feelings run as deeply as yours. Perhaps you could pray for guidance.

    • Truly…Give thanks to the Almighty for all my blessings and thanks for the reminder! The shrine is an interesting idea but really how can you thank a rat? Food might be the only answer. The reason this became such an issue was partly my dislike of rats. They scare me and I think that they are dirty however I do think that they are being murdered just like the Jews in the Holocaust. The real reason that I was worried about the ethical choice of treatment was because of the influence of Hitler in medical science and his abuse of humans for “medical research”. He murdered innocent people without a voice so that I could live. Sometimes I think how can I thank those Brethren and Sistren now? After I wrote that post I realized that it was Holocaust Rememberance Day. I think that you (and Randal) are so caring! You are truly blessed. And when faced with my answer (my best friend read that post and confronted me on it) I choose to live and hope that I am not judged harshly for doing so! Much love sister and thanks for your kind words they mean a lot…it is always nice to hear from you! Oh and are you glad to be home?

      • You have a big commitment to your beliefs. I admire that. A shrine to rats? Well, what do they like to eat? You could do a plastic version – like fake fruit, or cheese – so you don’t actually attract the real thing. 🙂 Very happy to be home – thanks for asking, I appreciate your ‘likes’ on my posts.

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