In my anthropology class on Tuesday the teacher wasn't in, so we watched a video and then left. The video was something about the link between humans and primates. To be honest, I couldn't watch the whole thing. I was seriously disturbed. They started out with some montage of children and then went into how primates were like children (mental capacity-wise). All well and good, but THEN they were like, 'well, we can't put children in controlled environments and test them....so we do it to monkeys instead'. It just got worse from there. Seriously people, can't do it to your own children but you don't mind doing it to other's children? Especially ones so close to humans, so you can see the pain in their eyes. It's sick.
They weren't testing anything like cosmetics, but they were doing psychological tests on them. They showed them after they had been ripped away from their mothers at birth and the only mother they grew up with was a piece of rag with a feeding bottle in it. They talked about security and 'oh, look how the baby monkey clings to the rag looking for comfort and security.' I would like to know how these people get up in the morning, how they live with themselves.
There were other tests where this group of monkeys had families and lived in a controlled, monkey 'utopia', in cages in a lab of course (utopia my ass). They put 4 of the little ones into a play room and they were fine. Then they put this baby monkey that had never had a iota of contact with any other monkeys. It was cowering in a corner with its arms over its head like it was trying to ward off pain. The fear was palpable, so human. How can someone look on that so impassively? Later they put in 4 baby monkeys who have only grown up together, still no mothers. They shoved them into this room and the monkeys clinged to each other in a little ball in the middle of the room, totally afraid.
It was disturbing, it was sad. Moments like that are when I am completely ashamed at humanity. These are the creatures you are studying because you evolved from them and look at the pain you are causing!
So, I brought it up in Thursdays class. We were talking about a code of ethics from anthropologists.
"You keep mentioned ethics towards humans, but I was wondering what the views of ethics are in respect to animals? I know the video was old, and I was just wondering if you still considered things like traumatizing baby monkeys ethical?"
And what a diplomatic answer she gave. They must teach these responses to people who are going to be around questionable ethical experiments. 'Well, we adhere to the stringent rules required of all animal experimentation' etc, etc. I feel like my teachers this semester are required feed us as much bullshit as possible. I haven't thought that since my strictly communist party line teachers I had back in Beijing. But that is what I've been feeling in most of my classes. Maybe I've just been on edge of something. I thought this video was disgusting and I don't think they should show something like this as being an ok way to treat animals. It made me sick. All for the sake of science, right? Tell me what these experiments tell you? Like we didn't know that youth seek comfort and security? Like we didn't know that being secluded hinders your social growth? What did they expect to learn from this? Just how much pain can you put animals through? Why not do it to humans? Why not? If you think it is so innocent, maybe they should put their children out there for psychologically damaging tests.
Had to get that out.