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Science v. Ethics Issues Taxing University Life. Can Oxford Lead in Resolution? - 22/08/2006
 
Oxford University’s current Science v. Ethics turbulence, which may spread to disquiet in other centres of learning, and challenges in medical schools and hospitals as the new academic year starts in the next month or so...
1. Oxford University’s current Science v. Ethics turbulence, which may spread to disquiet in other centres of learning, and challenges in medical schools and hospitals as the new academic year starts in the next month or so. Freshers' Fairs will offer opportunities for renewed debate on our species’ treatment of the non-human animals and the challenges and excuses – at a one-bad-turn-justifies-another basis – thrown up by publicity on experimentation. The animals and out own civilization deserve worthier debate and consideration of individual and corporate practice to relieve the relentless exploitation by application of the 3Rs – reduction, refinement, and replacement – to use and consumption that can be modified immediately in the traditions of Oxford’s knowledge, teachings, and scientific endeavor in the avoidance of experiments and tests on animals.

2. Epidemiological studies pioneered by Professor Doll and Peto at Oxford established the risks to human health of smoking and dietary errors. This week the Dept of Health will publish a forecast that by 2010 more than 14 million of the British population, from toddlers to the elderly, will be dangerously overweight. Obesity is linked with diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes: “gluttony denotes inordinate concupiscence in eating.” Much research at Oxford has contributed to feasible changes in the 3Rs style that can match the benefits of many drugs in development by experiments on animals. Excessive consumption is bad enough; greed is even worse, especially when many of the treacherous junk foods derive from animals cruelly exploited in the relentless working of overproduction. Oxford is in an excellent position to seize and manifest possibilities developed from objective interpretations of the results of humane research directed by its own dons and alumni, in fruitful collaborations with other centres of excellence.

3. Dignified notices in medical schools, hospitals, and doctors’ and vets’ waiting rooms should be posted to remind the public and the researchers of the debts we owe to non-human animals who have been sacrificed for our convenience and relief of pain and remission of disease. However, the Science v Ethics controversy can generate the grace to acknowledge the rapine inflicted at nearly every meal and consumption of a surfeit of junk food. The new academic year and the new communities that will develop can effectually fulfill this common acknowledgement to non-human animals, wildlife and the environment. We commend such exemplary demonstrations particularly to Town and Gown in Oxford. We develop our propositions as follows.

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