[American Chronicle - opinion]
Are worms gay? If they are, what does that mean for humans? Such
questions may sound entirely irrelevant to anything in our lives, but
some scientists, including Erik Jorgensen at the University of Utah,
have apparently received money to study these questions. The
worms—nematodes, really—are tiny, 1-millimeter-long creatures who live
in soil. Most are hermaphrodites, which means that each worm produces
both sperm and eggs. The Times of London reported that Jorgensen
activated a gene in the hermaphrodite worms' brains, which apparently
convinced them to try to mate with other hermaphrodites rather than
just with the male worms.
The conclusion, according to Jorgensen's quote in the Times: "We
cannot say what this means for human sexual orientation, but it raises
the possibility that sexual preference is wired in the brain."
Hey, there's something no one ever thought of before.
This study serves as a reminder that there are only so many research
dollars available, and most of it comes from your taxes. Do you want
to foot the bill for experiments that don't have anything to do with
preventing or curing illness? Or for studies that are obviously
redundant or pointless? Or for experiments that are so cruel that
whatever is learned from them simply isn't worth the cost?
These animals are caged for their entire lives, traumatized,
physically and emotionally damaged, killed and cut up for experiments
that don't even pretend to be about saving humans. Whether or not you
agree with me that it's unethical to do this to animals for any
reason, surely it's obvious that much experimentation on animals is a
terrible waste of money and lives.
Kathy Guillermo is director of research for People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals (PETA), 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510;