Multiple sclerosis

No easy answer

I have a complicated relationship with food, particularly the kind that used to moo, oink or cluck.

I became a quasi-vegetarian years ago. A college thing (like torn Levi’s or law school?). Gave up beef, pork and chicken. Even went to a demonstration. No, I did not join PETA.

To this day, I’m not militant about it. Just ask my husband. And actually, I still eat seafood and turkey on occasion.

Some people would call that hypocritical. I call it being a flexitarian. And honestly, just realistic, given my current situation and location. See, complicated.

I also buy products that don’t test on animals and have no animal ingredients. It’s a lifestyle I don’t see myself giving up anytime soon.

Enter MS, one of the most enigmatic diseases out there. Scientists don’t exactly know its origin, and most certainly don’t have a cure.

Animal testing in medical research is ongoing, especially with diseases such as AIDS, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis as well as spinal cord injuries.

Which gives me pause.

Do I want there to be a cure for such diseases? Of course.

Do I want to believe that I will never have to be in a wheelchair because of medical advances? Yes.

But should it come at the cost of putting cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, monkeys, mice and other animals through experiments in which they suffer?

Both sides of the debate make valid points. I’m not entirely sure yet how I feel.

See, complicated.

4 thoughts on “No easy answer”

  1. Mainly a veg myself. Have you read about the possible link between gluten and MS and Lupus flare ups? Interesting stuff. I eat meat when it’s more convienient to (ie Thanksgiving dinner with the fam). As far as animal testing for medical research, on one hand I can see the necessity. On the other, it’s been over 40 yrs since a new drug has been approved for Lupus so the research hasn’t helped me any. I’m all about letting life-sentencers being able to opt in for medical research testing instead of animals.

    1. yes, I’ve been reading up on that now that I transition from ‘MS 101’ into specific treatments. gluten-free would be tough to maintain but might be worth it, too. happy turkey day, girl!

  2. Hi, Jenn! Happy Thanksgiving!

    I really am ‘Oh Ye of little faith.’

    When it comes to life, the universe & everything there are a few policies I try to follow. The first one comes in the form of a joke (which reminds me- I would say this ‘life perspective-thing’ also holds true for Beth, but her joke/ story involves making a roast):

    There was a man who lived along a river. The news on the TV, radio & paper said that a huge storm was coming. There would be flooding & everyone should evacuate. His friends & neighbors offered to give him a ride as they left town. He told his friends & neighbors that God would watch over him & protect him.

    The flooding came.

    He sat on his front porch & watched the waters rise. Police & firefighters floated by in their boats & offered him a ride. He told them that God would watch over him & keep him safe.

    The waters continued to rise.

    He climbed on his roof. A helicopter flew by & dropped a rope for him to grab on. He waved the rescuers away. He told them that God would watch over him & keep him from hard.

    The waters continued to rise. He drowned.

    He got up to heaven & said to God “WTF??? I thought you were going to watch over & protect me?”

    She said, “Moron- I sent you advanced warning in the news, I sent you neighbors to drive you away, I sent you boats to carry you away AND I sent a helicopter? I tried to save you!”

    The message I carry from this is that sometimes we are supposed to take the easy way out. There is no shame in turning to others for answers or help. God, the universe & everything put those options there for us as a gift. And rejecting a gift from God, the universe & everything is just silly.

    Answers from scientists are complicated. But we were given gifts & it is a little immoral to reject their positive outcomes.


    I am also a big believer in ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ The universe provides rich resources & gifts & she is well pleased when we enjoy them (IMHO). However, we have been blessed with the good sense not to be gluttons. When we start hoarding our daily bread, and our neighbor’s daily bread & our cousin’s daily bread, we end up with stale, spoiled bread & friends & family who are starving.

    Point being- I believe that there are some answers that come about in difficult ways but bring great gifts & we need to respect those. BUT, we do not need to jab little bunnies with mascara wands to determine God knows what, or tinker with genetics to get mutant salmon, or torture mice to determine which shampoo formula is the sudsiest.

    There are moral & ethical lines. We cross them too often. But you are asking the questions of yourself. As long as we are addressing the implications of our actions & respecting the divinity of the process, we are being true to nature.

    My perspective only! (And watch Nick with the big knife today, OK?)

  3. Thanks for the perspective. I have been turning this over and over in my head, and sometimes I feel that there is no ‘greater good’ to come of animal testing of any kind. That if we are willing to do it at all, even if the outcome is saving thousands of human lives, that we have lost a little bit of our humanity in doing so. Who was it that said a society can be judged on how it treats its weakest – babies, animals, elderly, sick?

    Then some days I feel that it is the right thing to do in certain medical circumstances. That the ‘greater good’ is worth it.

    But I am hopeful for the day smart computers can do the complex modeling in the place of animals in all cases. Until the day those smart computers take over.

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