We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Today’s lead editorial in the San Diego Union-Tribune,“Saving lives is the moral high ground”, validates the post I wrote February 24, "Pig Politics Vs Marine Lives". San Diego area congressman Bob Filner, one of the most liberal in Congress, along with PETA, seek to halt the training of Corpsmen using anesthetized pigs, claiming falsely that using simulators is better. The editorial may be traced not only to my piece but also to the correspondence I had with the reporter who admitted his articles in the newspaper were poorly researched. Kudos to the reporter for taking responsibility. The newspaper’s editor is an excellent, moderate and professional journalist. The editorial is evidence that there are such and they are to be prized and congratulated for upholding journalistic standards.
The newspaper editorial follows:
Saving lives is the moral high ground
by U-T San Diego Editorial Staff
There has long been a soft spot in the Editorial Board heart for animals great and small. We love the seals at Children’s Pool in La Jolla. We supported Proposition 2 in 2008 to ban the inhumane cages and crates used by many California farms to house hens, veal calves and pregnant pigs. We support efforts to protect California gray whales and to save the giant California condor from extinction.
But our soft spot hardens a bit when it comes to the controversy over the use of live pigs in the training of American military corpsmen to help save the lives of the men and women who tragically find their bodies shredded by roadside bombs or other armaments of war on far-off battlefields.
Rep. Bob Filner, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and a candidate for mayor of San Diego, has introduced misguided legislation to phase out the use of live animals in combat simulations by 2016 at training grounds such as the privately operated facility at Covert Canyon near Alpine in East County. Supported by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Filner argues that there are alternatives that simulate human body injuries just as well and that the use of live pigs is unwarranted.
But military officials argue that there is no substitute as realistic as live animals in helping corpsmen learn how to keep severely wounded soldiers alive in the stressful conditions of the battlefield. And they emphasize that the pigs are anesthetized throughout the training and monitored by veterinarians.
We hope a 2009 Defense Department report proves true that in years to come there will be high-quality and cost-effective alternatives to the use of live animals for this training. But, today, the lives of U.S. military personnel in combat are being saved in unprecedented numbers thanks to medical training at places like Covert Canyon. And that gives it the moral and ethical high ground.
I would hope that most of us by the time we reach puberty would have established a hierarchy of importance in regard to living creatures. Human beings are, and should be, the most important folks on the top of that hierarchy. I stand firmly on the side of the military here. Preserving pigs' lives is not as important as helping human beings to survive injury.
I remember my science course in college where we dissected embryonic pigs, whose similarity to human babies was disturbingly eerie, and frankly, it gave me the willies to do it. But it was good, realistic discipline for my thinking processes. And it pretty much convinced me for all time that any scientific process which protected the humans in this world, even at the sacrifice was worth it.
I wonder why the PETA people haven't figured it out yet.