Challenge Speciesism and Vivisection Advocacy on "Countdown With Keith Olbermann"

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Originally Posted: 5 Oct 2010

Challenge Speciesism and Vivisection Advocacy on
"Countdown With Keith Olbermann"

FROM Adam Weissman, Wetlands Preserve


Contact Keith Olbermann/Countdown (segment aired October 1, 2010) to challenge blatant speciesism AND the idea that animal experiments are needed for future medical advances.

Contact emails:

Countdown - [email protected]

Richard Stockwell, Executive Producer -  [email protected] 

Please blind CC me on your letters at [email protected]


On the October 1st episode of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, the host ignores a remarkable irony in two consecutive segments. It's fairly stunning yet also unsurprising. To wit -- he has a Harvard scientist on bashing creationists and making the argument for students understanding evolution. And one of the points he makes is that we need to fight superbugs and one of the ways we are going to do this is with research on animals because there are experiments we can't do on human beings and that requires understanding evolution. The next segment covers the U.S. apologizing for experiments in Guatemalans some decades ago and includes a quote from one of the researchers saying "we couldn't do this at home." The comment is almost a dead-on restatement of the quote by the pro-evolution academic applied in a different context. Yet one is portrayed as an atrocity and the other is the uncontested comment of a person portrayed as a voice of reason. Adding to the irony, the title of the latter segment was "Inhumane."

Here are the quotes:

"Great advances in diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's Disease are often going to come from research on other animals because you can't give cancer or Parkinson's disease to a human -- you can to a mouse. We have to understand the relationship between a mouse and a human in order to understand that science."- Dr. Stephen Pinker, Harvard University

This is from the second segment:

"Between 1946 and 1948, under Dr. Thomas Culter's direction, nearly 700 people, female prostitutes, male prison inmates, mental patients, soldiers, were infected in Guatemala with Syphilis and gonorrhea, injecting them with the diseases into their skins, genitals, spines. The U.S goal was to determine the effect of Penicillin in sexually transmitted diseases. Guatemalan authorities provided access to their patients in exchange for supplies....he United States Surgeon General Thomas Parran saying at the time, quote, "you know, we couldn't do such an experiment in this country." The experiments ended after two years. And Dr. Cutler would later on to oversee the equally shameful Tuskegee, Alabama syphilis study two decades later."

This is a good opportunity to challenge blatant speciesism along with the idea that animal experiments are needed for future medical advances. Please ONLY write if you intend to offer thoughtful commentary on the ethics question or provide well researched facts on the scientific issue. Sloppy arguments and angry condemnations will only detract from better argued letters. In this case, quality matters even more than quantity of letters.

You can view the segments on this page -- make sure to catch the October 1 episode: .

Thank you for everything you do for animals!