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Jun 4, 2007

Lovelock: Speciesism from a Monkey's POV

My friend Mary loaned me a copy of Lovelock by Orson Scott Card and Kathryn H. Kidd, and I liked it so much I got my own used copy so I can add it to my little animal rights library. It's a science fiction novel about a celebrity scientist and her "witness," an "enhanced" capuchin monkey whose job it is to record her every waking moment for posterity. Though he's been trained to love his owner and to be her loyal servant, he becomes disatisfied with his lot and rebels.

The novel is set in a huge ship that's meant to find a new planet to colonize. I won't go into details, but let's just say I found the science bits questionable. You want a certain degree of realism in science fiction, a plausible backdrop for the action -- and this was somewhat lacking. I just didn't buy a lot of the colonists' plans or strategies or ideas, and thought Card and Kidd could have done a better job at either explaining the craziness or pushing themselves to consider more forward-thinking solutions.

That said, the weird setting and such are refreshing in their oddness, and the story itself make up for my criticisms ten times over. Lovelock, the monkey, is our narrator, and a complex little guy. He goes from rebellion against speciesism to unwitting participation in it, and has to go through a second, painful awakening to recognize his complicity in oppression. I found his story really moving, and thought Card and Kidd's decision to put out this message from the perspective of a non-human was 100% awesome. What a way to make these ideas accessible to non-speciesists.

Here, if you want a copy, buy it used and ship it carbon-neutral. Lovelock was named after James Lovelock, who invented the Gaia Hypothesis. Wouldn't want Mother Nature (or super-intelligent monkeys) to come give you a talking-to for doing environmentally-unfriendly mail-order.

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Posted: Jun 4, 2007 7:51am
Apr 27, 2007


Videos are at the end of the text
The images of the truth are quite disturbing.

In an extraordinary move Oxford University have exposed to the world
the real nature of animal abuse inside this world renowned
institution. In what would appear to be an own goal on the part of
Oxford University, the university late last year opened their doors to
a BBC2 film crew. It is clear that the university were hoping for a PR
coup as they showed the willing and rather gullible documentary film
maker Adam Wishart around one of their vivisection laboratories which
the showed the sanitized, 'acceptable' face of vivisection that
vivisectors want the public to see.

The BBC 2 documentary called 'Monkeys, Rats and Me', largely focussed
on the work of the vivisector Tipu Aziz, and in particular focussed on
one monkey who Tipu Aziz had named Felix. Perversely Felix's soon to
be tormentors have given him a name which in Latin means 'happy'. It
is believed his naming is a so called 'in joke' by Oxford University

For the first time in the UK, and probably worldwide, a vivisection
establishment, namely Oxford University, have exposed the name,
photographs and videos of the non human animal they intend to abuse
over a period of several years. They even disclosed in the film what
form the abuse would take.

In the film Felix was shown strapped to a restraining chair, being
conditioned by Oxford University technicians for his future life of
research. For the camera, Felix's 'conditioning' was allowed to take
place 'on his own terms': the technicians did not force him to sit in
the restraint chair or to come out of his cage if he appeared
reluctant. However, those who have themselves witnessed the harsh
realities of life in the laboratory when working undercover and
released their stories and their evidence to the wider public would
say that this was a falsified representation of what goes on in
laboratories, and biased media coverage at its most blatant. It is not
surprising then to find out that the producer of the so called
documentary was David Henshaw, a journalist who in the 1980's had
written a book called 'Animal Warfare' which purported to be story of
the Animal Liberation Front but in reality was a work of pure fiction.

The BBC2 documentary reported that Felix was destined to undergo
invasive surgery on his brain. The Home Office licence granted for the
long-term experiments on Felix allows the infliction of
severe/substantial suffering. It is also known that once the
experiments on Felix are completed, the university intend on killing him.

SPEAK Campaigns, the group campaigning against the building of
Oxford's new animal experiments lab on South Parks Road, has begun a
campaign to get Felix released. They have arranged for a sanctuary to
care for him and have conducted numerous demos in London and Oxford to
raise awareness. They have also added a page entitled "Fighting for
Felix" on their website, which includes a short video entitled "Felix:
Victim of Oxford University", a petition, articles, and downloadable
campaign materials.

SPEAK's website states, "For 3 years now SPEAK have been fighting
Oxford University's plans to build a new animal lab. Thus far what we
had been fighting was a concept, bricks and mortar if you like. Felix
brings the individual living being into this fight."

The website goes on to say, "At this moment, we are unsure how long
Felix will be allowed to live. It could be that his life will closely
resemble the pitiful lives of the 'Oxford two', two macaques who were
surgically brain damaged and forced to endure 15 years of abuse,
incarcerated inside Oxford University's laboratories. One thing is for
certain, however: if we don't act now, Felix will never see the
outside world or his own kind again. Felix will live, will be abused
and will ultimately die never having experienced the freedoms, which
are his birthright."

For further information about Felix and to view the video, please visit
what really happens:
& what they are willing to show:
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Posted: Apr 27, 2007 7:30am


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