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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Decoding the Feline Genome Provides Vivisectors with Thousands of New Excuses to Continue Torturing Cats in the Course of Their Bogus Research

"I believe I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't. To know that the results are profitable to the race would not remove my hostility to it. The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity without looking further."
-- Mark Twain

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland proudly announced on October 31st that they had deciphered sixty-five per cent of the genetic code of domestic cats (Felis catus). The remainder of the sequencing is expected to be completed sometime next year. (See graphic above.)

Cats now have the unenviable distinction of joining dogs, chimpanzees, macaques, cows, mice, rats, and humans in having the most intimate secrets of their very existence laid bare for the godless and thoroughly immoral scientific community to manipulate at will. If there is any truth in the old adage that misery loves company, these mammals will soon be joined by elephants, armadillos, rabbits, hedgehogs, shrews, guinea pigs, bats, squirrels, bushbabies, horses, pikas, lemurs, hyraxes, tarsiers, kangaroo rats, Chinese pangolins, sloths, alpacas, and wallabies, all of which are slated to have their genetic secrets unraveled in the next few years in a project spearheaded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

In order to get the goods on cats, scientists used a rather crude and imprecise shotgun methodology whereby DNA was forcibly extracted from a cat, chopped into pieces, sequenced, and then pieced back together. The DNA was then compared and cross-referenced with that previously confiscated from other mammals. The results of this ongoing three-year project, which to date has cost the taxpayers $2.4 million, are published in 17 Genome Research 1675-1689 (2007) under the title "Initial Sequence and Comparative Analysis of the Cat Genome."

As per usual, this breakthrough is being heralded by the scientists and their stooges within the capitalist media as a momentous development that will potentially lead to cures for countless diseases afflicting mankind. In particular, scientists are asserting that with possession of the genetic blueprint of cats they now will be able to find cures for AIDS and a degenerative eye disorder known as retinitis pigmentosa.

"The reason why the cat genome is cool go on for about an hour," Stephen O'Brien of NCI told Reuters on November 1st. (See "Cat's Eye View of DNA Sheds Light on Human Disease.")

Cats are prone to at least two-hundred-fifty hereditary disorders and some of them bear similarities to known human diseases. Therefore, O'Brien told the Daily Telegraph a day earlier on October 31st that scientists plan to experiment on cats in order to study, inter alia, rotavirus, poxvirus, herpes, Q-fever, chlamydiosis, diabetes, hemophilia, lupus, and anthrax. (See "Cinnamon the Cat Could Offer Hope to the Blind.")

Actually, vivisectors have been using most of these diseases as well as others as convenient excuses for torturing and slaughtering cats for hundreds of years. Decoding the feline genome simply provides them with additional rationales in order to mutilate more cats.

For example, Danielle Gunn-Moore of the University of Edinburgh announced last December that she had discovered a protein in the brains of elderly cats known as Beta-Amyloide that is also found in the brains of sufferers of Alzheimer's. (See Cat Defender post of December 12, 2006 entitled "Breakthrough in Feline Dementia Research May Actually End Up Killing More Cats Than It Saves.")

In order to arrive at this finding, she sliced up the brains of nineteen cats. She and other vivisectors are no doubt plowing ahead on this front by carving up cats right and left.

Reggie Edgerton of UCLA, Serge Rossignol of the University of Montreal and others have been severing the spinal cords of thousands of cats for years in a thoroughly discredited attempt to find a cure to catastrophic back injuries. Some of Edgerton's research was underwritten by Superman, i.e., Christopher Reeve. (See The New York Times, September 21, 1999, "No Dullard, Spinal Cord Proves It Can Learn.")

In recent years, scientists in both South Korea and Spain have cured spinal cord injuries through stem cell transplants. Physical therapy and new drugs also have shown potential. Despite all of this, vivisectors continue to break the backs of cats with impunity.

Contrary to the blatant lies of the scientific community, knowledge gained from animal research is seldom applicable to humans. Moreover, it quite often kills far more people, not to mention animals, than in ever saves.

Although the blunders of vivisectors are far too numerous to list in their entirety, a brief review of a few of their most colossal faux pas will suffice to prove the point. Most notably, the development of penicillin was delayed for ten years because of bogus testing conducted on rabbits and the invention of a polio vaccine was retarded for twenty-five years because of misleading testing performed on rhesus monkeys.

Anti-smoking campaigns were postponed for decades because vivisectors were unable to induce lung cancer in lab animals and AIDS research was retarded for four years because protease inhibitors tested on rats and dogs proved to be fatal. Hormone replacement therapy, which increases a woman's risk of developing heart disease and strokes, showed just the opposite when tested on monkeys.

The vivisectors' track record on drugs is not much better. The sedative Thalidomide, the arthritis drug Opren, and the heart drug Eraldin all tested safe on laboratory animals but when introduced to the public they killed thousands. In more recent times, Vioxx, another arthritis drug, is estimated to have claimed the lives of sixty-thousand people.

Moreover, strychnine is safe for monkeys, belladonna is harmless for rabbits, cats are resistant to anthrax, and arsenic is regularly fed to chickens in order to jump-start growth, but all four substances are lethal for humans. On the opposite side of the coin, Fluroxine, a form of ether, is deadly for cats, dogs, and rats but safe as an anesthetic for humans.

In addition to the scientific community's phony-baloney research, a closer examination of the propaganda disseminated by NCI and the moneybags media reveals a litany of far more sinister motivations behind the decoding of the cat genome. First of all, they desire to know more about the evolutionary history of cats and all other animals in order that they can genetically manipulate them to suit their own evil designs.

"We can start to interpret them (cats) in terms of one of evolution's special creations, which is also one of the greatest predators that ever lived," O'Brien bellowed for Reuters in the article cited supra. "The order of genes in (a) cat is remarkably similar to the order of genes in the ancestor of all placental mammals." By that oblique statement he is referring to a tiny, shrewlike animal that is believed to have been the progenitor of all mammals.

If scientific research was merely undertaken for either benign or heuristic reasons it would be far less objectionable, but this has seldom been the case. With the exception of a few philosophers, the pursuit of knowledge always has been intricately linked to the will to dominate. Ultimately, the power to kill is inherent in knowing or, as the Book of Genesis teaches, knowledge is knowledge of evil.

This is made abundantly clear when O'Brien let slip that his research was undertaken in part to study feline behavior. "One thing I'd like to discover is (sic) the genes for good behavior in cats -- the genes for domestication, the things that make them not want to kill our children but play with them."

Admissions of that sort recall to mind what Douglas Adams had to say on this subject. "One of the problems of taking things apart and seeing how they work -- supposing you're trying to find out how a cat works -- you take that cat apart to see how it works, what you've got in your hands is a non-working cat. That cat wasn't a sort of clunky mechanism that was susceptible to our available tools of analysis," he wrote in his acclaimed 1979 novel, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

To state the case succinctly, cats, dogs, humans, and other animals will no longer be what they used to be once they have been genetically altered or denatured in some way. The same logic applies to cereals, meat, and plants.

As it is almost always the case with scientific research, the vivisectors needed a victim in order to achieve their goal. In this instance the sacrificial lamb was a four-year-old purebred Abyssinian named Cinnamon. (See photo on the right.)

The shy red-colored cat was specifically chosen for this study because she was so highly inbred that it was possible to trace back her lineage several generations to Sweden. Since there was very little variation in her genetic makeup, this made it considerably easier for scientists at Agencourt Sequencing to decipher her genetic code.

Of course, it goes without saying that since vivisectors torture and kill lab cats with impunity they are certainly not about to be concerned with the detrimental affects that incest has upon the species. The genetic defects engendered by this unnatural process makes it, like vivisection, patently cruel and inhumane regardless of the rationale put forward in support of it.

None of this, however, deterred O'Brien from doing some more crowing for Reuters. "We now, for the first time, have seen in the kind of detail that we never imagined a generation ago all these genes that this cat has as well as the footprints of inbreeding as well as cat domestication."

Tragically, the lot of all laboratory animals is not merely an unhappy one but an affront to all morality. Cinnamon, for example, has spent her entire existence in a cage at the University of Missouri at Columbia and the only times that she is allowed out is when the scientists want to manipulate her in some manner.

Although the treatment of research animals is governed by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), this bogus bit of public relations sophistry mandates only that they be provided with a bare minimum of cheap commercial food and sufficient space in order to turn around in their cages. Every conceivable genre of torture, mutilation, and cruelty are beyond the purview of the act.

Very few lab animals ever make it out alive. "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate," which was posted above the entrance to Dante's Hell, should likewise adorn the outside walls of all animal research laboratories.

To make matters worse, the responsibility for enforcing the minimalist standards of the AWA falls upon the thoroughly discredited officials of the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a division of the USDA. These are the same rotters who year after year give their imprimatur to the unspeakable crimes committed on farms and in slaughterhouses.

Of late, they have been targeting Ernest Hemingway's polydactyls in Key West. (See Cat Defender posts of July 23, 2007 and January 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Cat Behaviorist Is Summoned to Key West in Order to Help Determine the Fate of Hemingway's Polydactyls" and "Papa Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats Face New Threats from Both the USDA and Their Caretakers.")

APHIS' former director, W. Ron DeHaven, was recently rewarded for killing and torturing millions of animals by being named executive vice president of the equally loathsome American Veterinary Medical Association. (See Cat Defender posts of September 21, 2007 and May 16, 2006 entitled, respectively, "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs" and "Kansas City Vets Break Ranks with AVMA to Defend Cats Against Bird Advocates, Wildlife Proponents, and Exterminators.")

The long and short of the situation is that lab animals are completely at the mercy of vivisectors. They do not have any rights and, worst still, the masses are either ignorant of what is occurring on college campuses and in governmental laboratories or simply do not care. They should be concerned, however, if for no other reason than it is largely their tax dollars which make possible the commission of these despicable crimes.

Vivisectors and their assistants even revel in sadistically slapping around and abusing their research subjects. These systematic abuses have been documented time and time again by both undercover agents and former lab workers but members of Congress, bought off by the vivisectors and foolishly believing that animal research is going to extend their own miserable lives, steadfastly refuse to shutter these torture factories.

Instead, the feds have declared opponents of vivisection to be public enemy number one. (See Cat Defender post of June 9, 2005 entitled "U.S. Declares War on Animal Right Advocates and Environmentalists.") In Angleterre, the crackdown has been even more severe as is evinced by a scurrilous piece of one-sided journalism that appeared in the November 19th edition of Der Spiegel. (See "Resisting the Animal Avengers.")

Since O'Brien and his fellow fiends already had Cinnamon at their mercy, they saw no reason to limit themselves to stealing her DNA so they also either bred or induced her to develop retinitis pigmentosa. She therefore has spent her entire life in darkness as well as in a cage.

The thoroughly dishonest capitalist media is silent as to Cinnamon's health and fate. All that is known about her comes courtesy of the Daily Telegraph which has reported that she and a colony of Abyssinians are cared for by Professor Kristina Narfstrom at the University of Missouri at Columbia. That, however, cannot be taken as proof that she is even still alive.

For her part, Narfstrom fatuously claims that by blinding Cinnamon she has discovered the gene responsible for retinitis pigmentosa, a malady that affects one out of every thirty-five-hundred Americans, and is now attempting to treat the disease by implanting microchips in the eyes of those afflicted. Surely this information could have been obtained through either computer modeling or in vitro experimentation without blinding Cinnamon and God only knows how many other cats.

In addition to being patently cruel, sadistic, and contrary to all morals, vivisection is extremely lucrative. Breeders of lab cats and other animals make out like bandits and the welfare money available to vivisectors runs into the billions of dollars.

Scientists also achieve fame at the expense of the animals that they mutilate while conducting their worthless research. More importantly, animal research generates its own rationale for further abuse and exploitation of the animals. (See Counterpunch, December 4, 2007, "The Shortage Myth. The Lies at the End of the American Dream.")

"In spite of the light coverage capturing sixty-five per cent of euchromatin sequence from the cat genome, these comparative insights shed new light on the tempo and mode of gene-genome evolution in mammals, promise several research applications for the cat, and also illustrate that a comparative approach using more deeply covered mammals provides an informative, preliminary annotation of a light coverage mammal genome sequence," the authors declared in the Genome Research article cited supra.

In other words, countless additional cats and mammals are going to be tortured and killed by O'Brien and his gang. This is only the beginning.

In a May 26, 1899 epistle addressed to the London Anti-Vivisection Society, Mark Twain said all that there is to be said about biomedical research when he wrote: "I believe I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't.

"To know that the results are profitable to the race would not remove my hostility to it. The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity without looking further."

A few years later Mahatma Gandhi correctly labeled vivisection as "the blackest of all black crimes that man is at present committing against God and his fair creation."

Even the death of one mouse is one fatality too many. It is bad enough that man exploits his fellow denizens of this planets for food, labor, sport, and entertainment without adding vivisection to his litany of crimes against creation.

If scientists truly believe that in vivo experimentation is necessary, they should cut up themselves and their colleagues. As Twain so astutely points out, animal experimentation will never be morally acceptable until the animals voluntarily consent to it and no one has ever seen cats or any other animals lining up outside any vivisector's laboratory in order to be tortured and killed.

The NCI's announcement that it had decoded the feline genome comes on the heels of its earlier report in June of this year that it had successfully traced the genetic roots of all the world's estimated six-hundred-million domestic felines to five matriarchs that lived in the Fertile Crescent roughly ten-thousand-years ago.

Specifically, of the five known subspecies of wild cats (Felis silvestris) all domestic cats are descended from Felis silvestris lybica. The other subspecies are Felis silvestris silvestris of Europe, Felis silvestris ornata of central Asia, Felis silvestris cafra of sub-Saharan Africa, and Felis silvestris bieti of China. (See Cat Defender posts of October 2, 2007 and October 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Chinese Mountain Cats Are Under Assault from Fur Traffickers, Farmers, Global Warming, and Wildlife Officials" and "Constructing Wildlife Corridors May Help to Save Deutschland's Wildcats but Fitting Them with Radio Collars Is Only Going to Lead to Their Demise.")

Felis silvestris is therefore indigenous to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and East Asia, but not to North and South America, Japan, and Oceania. (See map above.)

The domestication of Felis silvestris lybica occurred hand and glove with man's transition from nomadic hunters and gatherers to farmers who lived in fixed abodes. The growing of wheat, rye, barley, and other cereals therefore created the need for cats to control the rodent population that was attracted to the newly created stores of valuable grain.

Researchers also believe that cats domesticated themselves rather than having been tamed by humans. "The cats were adapting themselves to a new environment, so the push for domestication came from the cat side, not the human side," Carlos Driscoll of NCI told the International Herald Tribune on June 28th. (See "DNA Helps Trace Five Matriarchs of Six-Hundred-Million House Cats.")

This research also solves the riddle of why the other four subspecies of wild cats were never domesticated. "When that technology (farming) was transferred to other cultures, so were the cats," Robert Wayne, an evolutionary biologist at UCLA told the Washington Post on June 29th. (See "Why Do Cats Hang Around Us? Hint: They Can't Open Cans.") "Why reinvent the wheel?"

The domestication of cats accordingly stands in stark contrast to the taming of cows, goats, sheep, pigs, and water buffaloes which were independently domesticated at least twice. Wild horses, on the other hand, have been independently domesticated many times.

Prior evidence of the domestication of cats was pretty much limited to depictions of them contained in Egyptian works of art that dated back to around 2000 B.C. In 2004, however, French archaeologists unearthed a nine-thousand-five-hundred-year-old burial site in Shillourokambos, Cyprus that contained both the remains of cats and humans. Since the archaeological record is devoid of any evidence of wild cats being indigenous to Cyprus, it is believed that the Turks brought them along with them when they settled on the island.

In order to ascertain all of that, the researchers spent six years trapping nine-hundred-seventy-nine cats from all around the world. Included in that total were wild cats, domestic moggies, ferals, and purebreds. Blood samples and biopsies were then taken and analyzed. In the case of Felis silvestris lybica, fifteen cats were trapped in remote areas of Israel, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

Because of the ongoing fighting, the wild cats of Iraq were left undisturbed. They, however, have their own problems. (See Cat Defender post of November 14, 2006 entitled "Military Killing Cats and Dogs by the Tens of Thousands as Imperialistic America Attempts to Conquer the World.")

As was the case with Cinnamon, the fate of these cats is unknown. The researchers could have killed them, released them, or even could be still holding them for additional experimentation.

Specifically, the researchers examined both the cats' nuclear DNA, which they receive from both parents and contains just about all of their genes, and their mitochondrial DNA which contains only a few genes and is passed down through their mothers. Prior research had been handicapped because of not only a scarcity of archaeological records, but also due to the fact that the skeletal remains of domestic and wild cats are difficult to differentiate.

In addition to alleging that this research will aid medical researchers in their quest to find cures to various diseases, Driscoll and his team ludicrously claim that it will be of assistance to conservationists in their attempt to save wild cats all over the wild. (See Cat Defender posts of June 25, 2007 and November 27, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Scottish Wildcat Born in Captivity May Hold the Key to Saving Critically Endangered Species from Extinction" and "After Surviving on Its Own for at Least Two Million Years, Rare Japanese Wildcat Faces Toughest Battle Yet.")

With developers, hunters, and polluters pushing the wild cats ever closer to extinction and the scientific community exploiting them for its own designs, it is going to be extremely difficult for any of them to survive for very much longer.

Precious little good is destined to be derived from mapping the DNA of either the animals or man. Rather, it opens up a million avenues for mischief and domination. Perhaps more importantly, inherent in the ability to manipulate the blueprint for life on earth is the power to destroy all such life either purposefully or through the vainglorious pursuit of power and fame.

Moreover, genetic manipulation and electronic surveillance provide a powerful one-two punch for those individuals and groups who desire to bend all of creation to their will. (See Cat Defender post of May 4, 2006 entitled, "Scientific Community's Use of High-Tech Surveillance Is Aimed at Subjugating, Not Saving, the Animals.")

History, philosophy, and bon sens warn against both genetic manipulation and the concentration of too much power in too few hands. Doubters should at least acquaint themselves with Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discours sur les sciences et arts and Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inegalite parmi les hommes before hopping on board the scientific express championed by Descartes, Bacon, Skinner, and their progeny.

Photos: NCI (feline genome chart), Kristina Narfstrom of the University of Missouri at Columbia (Cinnamon), and New Scientist (map).