A recent OpEd by PeTA's Justin Goodman makes a direct comparison between the work biomedical researchers do with animals with past instances where human patients were subjected to experimentation without explicit consent, such as the Tuskegee syphilis experiments.
The basis for such comparison can only on a philosophical position where there is no morally relevant differences between non-human and human animals. None at all. The way they see it is overly simplistic, and admittedly catchy: "a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy". They live in a black and white moral universe. This is the same universe that allows sexism and misogyny to be used to make a point, a practice that even other animal activists find repugnant.
Those that have followed PeTA cannot find these statements surprising. After all, the moral equivalence between a chicken and a human was the basis for their "Holocaust in your Plate" campaign. As part of their literature, the creative media people at PeTA wrote:
Like the Jews murdered in concentration camps, animals are terrorized when they are housed in huge filthy warehouses and rounded up for shipment to slaughter. The leather sofa and handbag are the moral equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of people killed in the death camps.
Many groups reacted with outrage at such comparison, including the Anti-Defamation League, which responded:
The effort by PETA to compare the deliberate systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights is abhorrent. PETA's effort to seek "approval" for their "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign is outrageous, offensive and takes chutzpah to new heights.
Later, Rabbi Cooper, Simon Wisenthal Center's Associate Dean added:
Did they know the impact this campaign would have when they started it two years ago? Absolutely,” Cooper said. “They leveraged the victims of the Shoah [the Hebrew word for the Holocaust] to promote their issue. The victims of the Shoah should not be leveraged to gain copy in a newspaper or airtime on TV.
Even vegetarians protested the campaign by eating meat.
Mr. Goodman's OpEd is the latest proof that PeTA is morally impaired.
PeTA sees no moral difference between Michael Vick abusing dogs with Albert Sabin working to rid the world of polio; PeTA sees no moral difference between teenagers putting a cat in a microwave and scientists using animals to produce breakthrough treatments for breast cancer.
[...] I know that phhysiology cannot possible progress except by means of experiments on living animals, and I feel the deepest conviction that he who retards the progress of physiology commits a crime against mankind.
[...] No one, unless he is grossly ignorant of what science has done for mankind, can entertain any doubt of the incalculable benefits which will hereafter be derived from physiology, not only by man, but by the lower animals.
Given the multitude of opportunities to advance the well-being of animals one cannot help but wonder why PeTA insists on attacking important medical research and training that will save the lives of uncountable humans and animals like.
Following Darwin's thoughts, one can only conclude that PeTA is committing a crime against humanity.
PeTA is not just morally impaired; it is morally blind.
ScienceBlogger Orac also commented on PeTA's dubious moral reasonsing.