Recently, the Sunday New York Times ran cover story on efforts to combat the obesity epidemic and the role of animal research in this battle. It’s not surprising that those opposed to animal studies reacted.
What is surprising is what they said. The organization which conducted the studies – the OHSU Oregon National Primate Research Center- has received countless emails. Many were automated messages from change.org. However, instead of cutting and pasting the same identical message,some individuals did share their own thoughts via email, Facebook and message boards.
(Too) many contained comments such as these:
“You’re WASTING tax money torturing animals to find a “treatment” for FAT PEOPLE ?!”
“If you want to study the morbidly obese why not walk down to your local fast food place and great a few people. I am sure they won’t run away too fast. You could net 3 or 4 pretty easy. ”
“Don’t they know there is enough fat slobs in the world to do studdies on!”
“Ask the blimps walking around in your downtown.”
“We know the reasons that fat people are fat. Experiment on fat people.”
“This is disgusting. There are enough train wrecks waddling around out there that this experimentation is totally unnecessary.”
“If people choose to continue to be morbidly obese, not contribute to society and sit around killing themselves with food and do not get help through an ENDOCRINOLGIST – and become a constant burden to taxpayers in these trying economic times -let them”.
“This is totally repulsive how Americans can test and kill these poor monkeys just so that the FAT PIG AMERICANS can keep shoveling more and more into their fat heads. Instead of killing the monkeys why don’t you fat pigs just stop eating. Oh ya I forgot you Americans want everything. I hope all you fat people today, after reading this story choke on whatever maybe in your mouth and drop dead.”
“Hey, stupid people, stop cramming crap in your mouth,” get your fat ass off the couch and go walk around the block. You don’t need a pill, you need to stop being lazy, you are fat because of it’s your own damn fault. Look at what your laziness causes, millions wasted on pointless research, your fat ass is killing these monkeys so they can find a pill so your fat ass can stay skinny while your gorge yourself from your trough in front of your thought dictator.”
“A friend of mine told me that what a BUFFET means-Big Ugly Fat Folks Eating Together.” (posted by a person who said they were a scientist)
What’s striking about all these responses is that so many people are quick to state their compassion to animals while at the same time showing no compassion whatsoever to other humans (also animals).
Of course, most Americans realize that obesity is not just a personal choice and the causes of the epidemic and more complex than > food = obesity. Both animal studies and human studies demonstrate that there is a significant genetic component to the disease meaning that while some folks have no problem maintaining a healthy weight, many others become overweight even though they maintain a healthy diet.
We also know that the solutions to obesity are not easy. Ever wonder why so many people go on diets only to gain the weight back? The dieters didn’t fail…your brain actually responds to weight loss and literally fights to put those pounds back on. Studies in animals revealed this amazing discovery. In addition, new research has demonstrated that the current epidemic will likely impact several generations in the future.
Furthermore – there is an economic component to the obesity epidemic. While many of us have access to healthy foods, the reality is that those with limited funds do not. Lower income families often do not have a car. They shop at the corner market where only processed foods are available. When they eat out, few low-fat, healthy choices are available.
So what can be done?
Studies in both humans and animals must continue to provide us with answers and new solutions to help those who want to lose weight keep it off.
In addition, people need to start realizing that seemingly simple problems are often very complex. Until that time…those who oppose animal studies will continue to have a large audience.
Speaking of Research