Unlike many of the magazines and websites that we are proud to call our peers and inspirations, we at VPRComm are in the position (positively or negatively… the jury is still out) to be starting our journey in the midst of a turbulent, chaotic and uncertain world.
There is, to me, an opportunity to use the predicament that we find ourselves in to challenge, debate and explore the issues that our usual, everyday lives have previously allowed us to remain disengaged from.
On a daily basis, the lion share of us spend but a fleeting moment even contemplating the ins and outs of public health and the ethical implications surrounding it. This isn’t something to be embarrassed about, it is, simply, an honest admission. It is only when we are in extreme situations, backed into the darkest of corners or fearful of the unknown that our personal allegiances or beliefs are tested. Similarly, those in “the media” only seem to seek out those with extreme views in those situations.
It is my aim and my hope to explore and discuss ALL of those views that are evoked by the current situation. I want to be clear, this will not become a platform for hate or antagonism, nor will it be one of censorship and judgment.
It is not my intention to act as judge and jury over the current views, convictions and beliefs.
http://sazutech.com/services Picking sides…
Where would you expect to get your news from, as someone who lands squarely and conscientiously on the side of animal liberation and welfare?
The very first place that I reached out to for insight and comment was notoriously vocal and respected animal rights activist community, PETA.
I will admit that, my personal views do not often align with the organisation (we will revisit that later) but I’ll admit that my first shock came as I was awaiting a PETA response and was researching their recent activity in regards to the COVID-19 crisis.
To date of me writing this, the most recent press statements to be distributed by PETA:
• Asheville Ralph Lauren, Urban Outfitters and Guess get new shareholder, PETA – 7 April
• Tiger King News – 3 April
• Opposing Essex Chicken Prison – 3 April
• Gemma Collins isolates in a bathtub for new campaign – 19 March
As it turns out, the last statement made by the organisation was back in February. I will be honest; I was entirely underwhelmed and infuriated by the rhetoric that was being wielded while so many were looking for a relatable source of information…
“Here at PETA, we’ve been saying for years that experiments on animals are pointless – they slow down the search for treatments and cures for human disease. Moreover, all the poisoning, shocking, burning, and killing is unethical and cruel. Many other scientists and experts agree. But when it comes to a new coronavirus vaccine, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is finally heeding PETA’s call – according to BBC News, the agency isn’t waiting for the typical lengthy animal-testing phase that would assess whether it can trigger an immune response in animals and is instead heading straight for human trials. While this won’t stop all tests on animals for the vaccine, it should pave the way for safe straight-to-human vaccine trials from now on.
Unlike humans, animals can’t agree to being experimented on. And unlike the human volunteers in Seattle who get to go home and lead normal lives between their two doses of the vaccine, animals are born and die in a laboratory and spend the intervening time in small, bleak enclosures. If animals could give consent, they likely wouldn’t agree to being mutilated, poisoned, infected with painful and deadly diseases, burned, electrocuted, shot, addicted to drugs, or nearly drowned and eventually killed.
Refusing to condemn animals to a life of pain, loneliness, and terror shouldn’t be reserved for urgent public health priorities – it should be standard practice.
We work globally to end the use of animals in experiments. This includes working to prevent animals from being used in experiments, exposing the suffering that goes on out of sight in laboratories, and promoting the development and use of modern, non-animal methods. With the help of our members and supporters, we’re leading the way to the future – one that doesn’t include cruel, archaic tests on animals.
We do this partly because experiments on animals aren’t just cruel and expensive – they’re also overwhelmingly inapplicable to humans.
NIH itself reports that 95 out of every 100 drugs that pass animal tests fail in humans. Experiments on animals divert time and funding from better, non-animal methods.
We urge scientists to follow the good example of NIH and conduct safe, straight-to-human vaccine and drug trials to spare animals suffering and have the best chance of beating this outbreak”
It seems that PETA are not the only ones to be somewhat neglecting the issue of a present and urgent global threat for the sake of their own agenda.
The darling of activism, Greta Thunberg, has taken to social media to speak on COVID-19 and, in doing so, not only incited fear in those who follow the beat of her drum and tried to hijack the current crisis to suit her own beliefs but done so by contradicting and undermining herself at the same time.
In her posts, 17 year old Thunberg commented, ‘the coronavirus was the biggest crisis humanity had ever faced but that people should still “create public awareness” and “advocate for change” in regard to climate change.
In another tweet she continued: “So I personally recommend that we do as the experts say. Especially in high-risk areas. “We young people are the least affected by this virus but it’s essential that we act in solidarity with the most vulnerable and that we act in the best interest of our common society.”
She then added in two separate posts: “The climate and ecological crisis is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced but for now (of course depending on where you live) we’ll have to find new ways to create public awareness & advocate for change that don’t involve too big crowds – listen to local authorities.”
The clear blurring of lines came across not, as she may have hoped, insightful and socially conscious but as an opportunistic way of ensuring that the undoubtedly worthy campaign that the young trailblazer champions remains in the forefront of the public and governmental minds despite the other, dare I say, more pressing issues of the day.
There is, perhaps surprisingly, something that I and all of those minds above have in common. We all, in whatever sphere or belief, have questions and concerns that need and deserve to be addressed.
This is where I am going to seek out as many views and contradictions and where you will find fact, fiction and fake news being laid bare.
Please share your questions and reflections, frustrations and confusions and join the conversation via our Instagram
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