Vegan biologist provides unique perspective

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“I am an abolitionist.”

This adamant statement filled Taylor Auditorium on Feb. 10 for the well-attended lecture given by Dr. Jonathan Balcombe.

The guest presented his ideas to the Pacific audience based on his two unique perspectives as a biologist and a vegan. Rather than appeal to the audience’s emotions, Balcombe used logic and his research to support his main argument, which was that animal testing, in all shapes and forms, should be a banned practice.

When audience members pointed out that Balcombe’s lecture was well-rehearsed, much like that of a comedy routine, he responded, “I have given this lecture about 80 times. Over that experience I’ve learned how it works. I want to keep the audience involved and I do my best to keep it from being preachy.”

Balcombe also managed to not be preachy by explaining that there are other ways to test products scientifically without using live animals.

“There are autopsy medical students who learn by using cadavers of people who donated themselves to medical science, animals that have died, digital organs,” listed Balcombe. According to Balcombe, digital organs are a tool currently being developed to grow organs with the help of sophisticated computer programs.

Balcombe re-iterated his belief that no animal testing was acceptable in his eyes.

“This is my other fear of the speeches, that people will think I am okay with some experimentation,” said Balcombe. “I do not think that any healthy animal should be burned simply for research purposes.”

Although Balcombe is a passionate abolitionist, he is open to the debate and touched on those opposing viewpoints with the validation, “that is another debate.”


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