The Edinburgh International Science Festival this April is planning to conduct an autopsy of a cow at Edinburgh Zoo as a part of its programme. The cow – killed for this autopsy - is being donated for this event, though its source has not been revealed.
The festival programme is describing the proposed autopsy as an opportunity to see, “What makes a cow interesting? …” and to “find out more exciting facts as our zoo vets perform a cow post mortem!” which suggests that it is acceptable to kill and cut open a mammal for nothing more than the curiosity of the public and, contrary to the claims of the Festival Director, does not advocate respect for animals. The fact that there is nothing to be learnt by this entire horrific event only amplifies the gross disrespect to animals and mocks the Festival’s theme of Biodiversity this year.
Ethical Voice for Animals (EVA), an animal rights group based in Edinburgh, have asked for the event to be dropped from the programme. Hundreds of people have sent emails to Simon Gage, the Festival Director and other stake holders and funders, including the City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government. Several hundred supporters have also joined the Facebook page to stop this autopsy from going ahead.
In his response to EVA Simon Gage the Director admits that " ...the purpose of this event is not to learn anything new about the anatomy of a cow...." The Evening News described it as “One event likely to raise a few eyebrows”.
A spokesperson for EVA said “The killing of yet another cow cannot provide any information which has not already been studied and documented. The Science Festival should highlight and celebrate the achievements of science over the years and the benefits they bring; instead, this reckless waste of life takes us back to the dark ages. We urge anyone who is concerned and wants to stop this event going ahead to contact the Director at: Simon@scifest.co.uk”
Your emails are needed - please email Simon Gage and others at the science festival asking them to stop the event from going ahead. See email and addresses below. Simon@scifest.co.uk,email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
By dissecting the cow for public entertainment you are infact demeaning life and suggesting to the public that it is acceptable to kill and cut open a mammal for nothing more than the curiosity of the public. The fact that there is nothing to be learnt by this entire horrific event only amplifies your disrespect to animals and biodiversity.
This event does not celebrate biodiversity
but is simply a show for commercial public entertainment and its shock value. I urge you to take action and stop this dissection from going ahead.
Sent by Simon Gage, Festival Director on 26th Feb., 2010
Thank you for taking the time to send me an email expressing your concern that a Cow Post Mortem will be part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.
First of all I can reassure you that the cow is not being slaughtered specifically for the purpose of this event. No life is being taken to support this event. It is destined to be slaughtered regardless of whether we carry out the Post Mortem. Furthermore, I can reassure you that its termination will be carried out under the strict conditions of the current slaughter of animals legislation. I’d also like to clarify that the purpose of this event is not to learn anything new about the anatomy of a cow it is to provide a learning opportunity for the public.
At a broader level, may I explain that the purposes of the Science Festival and Edinburgh Zoo, which is the organisation carrying out this particular event. Both organisations are committed to celebrating the wonder of the natural world and to raising awareness of the need for humanity to pay greater respect to the world’s biodiversity. Indeed, marking 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity is the main theme of this year’s science festival. If you look through our programme (www.sciencefestival.co.uk) you will find events on animal welfare, animal intelligence, birds, butterflies, a centre piece photographic exhibition by wildlife photographer Steve Bloom and more.
Both the Science Festival and the Zoo believe in giving the public opportunities that allow them to better understand the natural world. Gaining an appreciation of the anatomy of one of our most familiar farm animals is just one part of this effort.
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