Research Biologists, You Can Save The Animals!

FitOldDog rescues a turtle on the road.

My friends, and I, love it when we can save a turtle from certain death on the roads.

A God in Ruins, book at goodreads

An message to all research biologists, “You Can Save The Animals.” It just takes a little thought and caring.

Even PETA has woken up to the idea of funding research on alternatives to animal testing. After demonizing us for years. We are just trying to understand and cure diseases, before they kill our families and friends.

There are plenty of ways you can save the animals.

That said, I do love a good book, and I really enjoy solving interesting problems.

I suspect that these activities are related. If you want to read a great book that puts all of life’s issues in perspective, try Life After Life, and the sequel, A God In Ruins. Wonderful writing, that makes you think! These books are full of fascinating links between apparently remote events, which is what this blog post is about, linking animal rights with life-style, decision making and being a toxicologic pathologist (or as my friend, Claire, likes to say, “Murderer Of Little Mice.”

I have recently been tackling two tricky issues,

(1) What to eat (I like food)?

(2) How to save rats from experiments (I like rats)?

What I eat affects the planet.

I’ve become a pretty consistent locavore.

I buy from my local family farmers whenever I can.

The products I use affect animal testing (right now, anyway).

As I mull this over, I’ve been populating a website, The Thoughtful Toxicologist, with my musings.

Dead skunk on the road

I hate seeing dead animals on the road, and I’m sure that many would be saved if people drove more slowly and gave a damn. Photo of dead skunk by FitOldDog

It is becoming increasingly clear that these are issues, food and animal testing (nodes) possess extensive ramifications (edges) throughout our home, that ultimate of complex networks, The Biosphere.

As I was riding a 50-mile loop on my bike today, on a home-grown fig sandwich, and the odd Honey Stinger, I thought,

“There must be many ways that people like me (Toxicologic Pathologists) can save animals, and still keep our jobs, or change them into something else.”

Here is a list that popped into my brain as I cruised along the North Carolina highways and byways, enjoying life to the full.

Happy Ol’ Fart! Until I came across a dead skunk, a young skunk in it’s prime!

It really spoils a ride, sometimes, then a car comes racing by my ear, nearly putting me alongside the skunk! Some drivers would be glad to do that!

Ten Ways Toxicologic Pathologists Can Save Animals

In No Particular Order

  1. Drive more slowly, so you can avoid crushing skunks, possums and turtles.
  2. Drive more slowly so you can save your own life, and that of a 300 lb. deer.

    FitOldDog's raw veg lunch.

    After my 50-bike ride I was hungry, so I ate a lovely lunch of raw home-grown onion, peppers, cucumber, and my latest bread creation – filled me up and tasted delish! Photo and food by FitOldDog Oh! Yes! Plus a little olive oil and sea salt!

  3. Refuse to be involved in chemical safety studies that are poorly designed, or unnecessary – which means, be involved in the design stage, and speak up (I stopped a monkey study once, based purely on the use of logic, a proud moment, which remind me, I’ll never forget Adolf, a macaque, but that’s another story.
  4. Become vegetarian, or better still, vegan, because it really does save lots and lots of animals.
  5. Defend the slide archives, because they will remain a critical training resource, which will become increasingly valuable as animal testing winds down, and I’m sure it will.
  6. Don’t wear animal productswool? I wear wool socks; only just thought of that, but they really protect my feet! Let me think about the ramifications of that observation – I’ll ask my Vegan followers on Instagram, I’m sure they’ll have something to say about that! Again, to quote our local farmer, Simon, “What you eat depends on where you live” – wouldn’t want to live without my wool socks in the north of Scotland before the trucking industry got there.
  7. Ride a bike, and see the slaughter up close and personal.
  8. Support an animal rights group that actually funds research on alternative approaches to chemical/pharmaceutical safety assessment, as opposed to the ones that just rant, and don’t actually solve the problem. PETA is doing just that, which I was very pleased to hear.

    Willbe looking at a piece of cheese

    Cheese? That’s not Vegan!

  9. Apply your badly needed morphology skills to the use of alternative methods, as there is a lot of great morphology to be done with cell culture and organotypic systems. I did a bunch of cell culture morphology later in my career, and was surprised to see how rarely our skills, as trained pathologists, were exploited. Yes, there is cell culture pathology to be done.
  10. CARE! Took me a while to really wake up to this, so I won’t cast the first stone (No! I’m still a spiritual atheist, that won’t change, but I was raised on bible quotes).

When it comes animal rights, you folks are a really important resource.

Happy Trails,

FitOldDog, BVSc (yes, I’m a veterinarian), PhD (I did successfully defend an idea once upon a time), Dip ACVP (haven’t paid dues in years, since I stopped being a pathologist professionally for several years; am I a bad person?)

Willbe says, “Just be kind, and…”

Willbe eating cheese

If you don’t want that cheese, FitOldDog, I’ll eat it!”


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.