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Are Worms Gay?

Written by PETA | November 19, 2007

Should anyone even care? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but check out what PETA’s Director of Research, Kathy Guillermo, had to say about them in this fantastic op-ed about animal experimentation.

Stop Squandering Resources on Pointless Animal Experiments

Are worms gay? If they are, what does that mean for humans? Such questions may sound entirely irrelevant to anything in our lives, but some scientists, including Erik Jorgensen at the University of Utah, have apparently received money to study these questions. The worms—nematodes, really—are tiny, 1-millimeter-long creatures that live in soil. Most are hermaphrodites, which mean that each worm produces both sperm and eggs. The Times of London reported that Jorgensen activated a gene in the hermaphrodite worms’ brains, which apparently convinced them to try to mate with other hermaphrodites rather than just with the male worms.

The conclusion, according to Jorgensen’s quote in the Times: “We cannot say what this means for human sexual orientation, but it raises the possibility that sexual preference is wired in the brain.”

Hey, there’s something no one ever thought of before.

This study serves as a reminder that there are only so many research dollars available, and most of it comes from your taxes. Do you want to foot the bill for experiments that don’t have anything to do with preventing or curing illness? Or for studies that are obviously redundant or pointless? Or for experiments that are so cruel that whatever is learned from them simply isn’t worth the cost?

I’m opposed to using animals for experimentation on ethical grounds, and I believe—as science frequently shows—that most studies on animals aren’t particularly relevant to humans. But even those who support research on animals should be careful about accepting the experimentation industry’s claim that the use of animals in laboratories will help find cures for Alzheimer’s, AIDS, Parkinson’s, cancer and other diseases that are frightening just to contemplate. Consider first what some experimenters are paid big money to do.

In July, Johns Hopkins University announced that it was attempting to create a “schizophrenic” mouse by inserting a gene from the DNA of a human family with schizophrenic members into a mouse. Yet a diagnosis of schizophrenia hinges on the patient hearing voices that aren’t there and seeing things others don’t see. How exactly does an experimenter know if this is true of mice, even if a gene has been inserted?

At Oregon Health & Science University, experimenter Eliot Spindel injects the fetuses of pregnant monkeys with nicotine and then gives the mothers vitamin supplements to see if that makes it “safer” to smoke while pregnant. Yet we’ve known since 1972 that smoking is harmful to human fetuses. Spindel’s money would have been better-spent convincing pregnant women not to smoke.

Under the guise of studying fetal alcohol syndrome, David J. Earnest at Texas A&M Health Science Center examined sleep problems in baby rats that were force-fed alcohol. Perhaps Earnest is unaware that human infants don’t binge-drink after birth.

At universities and primate centers across the country, experimenters are still tearing infant monkeys from their mothers to observe the detachment and psychosis that result from this trauma. These are variations on the dreadful experiments conducted by Harry Harlow more than 40 years ago. How often do we need to prove that taking love and comfort from a baby monkey will destroy the animal’s happiness and ability to cope with life?

I could go on and on—monkeys who have the tops of their skulls removed, electrodes stuck in their brains and wire coils implanted in their eyes to look at the connection between eye movement and the brain; birds whose testicles are sucked out so that experimenters can examine what happens to their songs; cats who have their backs cut open and weights attached to their spinal tissue and are then killed, supposedly to study lower back problems in people. The list seems endless.

These animals are caged for their entire lives, traumatized, physically and emotionally damaged, killed and cut up for experiments that don’t even pretend to be about saving humans. Whether or not you agree with me that it’s unethical to do this to animals for any reason, surely it’s obvious that much experimentation on animals is a terrible waste of money and lives.

Commenting is closed.
  • Andris says:

    Why do you worry about worms? It has already scientifically proved that neither worms nor lobsters can feel pain.

  • indycar01 says:

    you tell em michael!!.. also visit.. as i always said.. animal research doesnt benefit humans. any more than lawnmower studies benefit car or racing engines.

  • Caboose says:

    Ana No its all opinion

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Mars They ARE capable of speakingwe just don’t always understand.

  • Caboose (Combine Slayer) says:

    Johnny how bout…….does your momma know youre gay?

  • Mars says:

    ” it would be a scientific fact that homosexuality is completely natural” Not really.The gene would have to be active naturaly for anything to be “gay”.What they did was at best create a transexual worm by surgery.It more aligns that homosexuality is created and not natural.

  • Ana says:

    Hello Ariel! I appreciate your insightful comments. Unfortunatley it falls on braindead people including it. It and the others are pathetic!!! Have a Happy Vegan Thanksgiving!!!! Peace!

  • Don Quijote says:

    Mars again you are dramatically wrong animals every species has it’s own language but you don’t understand it!!!! me i do! baaaaah! Brandon speed as quickly as you can and go out to help starving people!

  • Justina says:

    I used to watch shark week every year and then I caught a show on experiments they were doing with sharks. Sharks have a very low incidence of cancer so they were injecting these poor sharks with cancer cells! It was absolutely horrific.

  • Alex says:

    Mars you are a noob. Why do you think sick animal testers have to strap the animals down whilst they test on them. Because they would run away and why would they run away? Because it hurts them and THEY DO NOT LIKE IT. They didn’t offer to be testing gear and they do not want to be either. Oh and Sylvia L Breckenridge Pamela Travis Brandon and any one else who persists in coming onto an animal rights group webpage only then to dis it go play in traffic

  • Michele says:

    Dave please read my post from November 19 2007 1213 PM. NOT ONE SINGLE MEDICAL ADVANCE has come from animal testing. NOT ONE! It is not ignorance to claim this it has been proven over and over again. Check out the hundreds and hundreds of references provided in the books I mentioned. Researchers and pharmaceutical companies get big BUCK$ to conduct studies to “prove” that treatments are safe and to avoid liability. But vivisectionists who claim that their particular treatment is effective for humans are only saying so AFTER a treatment has already been discovered and proven effective by nonanimal methods of testing. Animal testing is useless it harms humans and it is cruel to animals. Shame on anyone who continues to wear blinders and who continues to believe the myths perpetuated by the industries who profit from these useless horrific tests.

  • Brandon says:

    Now why in the hell would a scientist receive money to answer questions like if a worm is gay or not. Come on find something else worth while to do with your time. Theres starving people in this world and in this country there is a war going on and Iran is making a nuclear bomb. Please people give me a break. The only thing i know to do with a worm is put it on a hook so I can eat delicious panfish. Thanks for your time

  • Jonny says:

    Hers a better question are you gay?

  • thorin says:

    Who cares about worms being gay? Well I know that I sure don’t but you have to think of the possible knowledge that we could gain from like experiments. It says in the article that he “activated a gene” not implanted anything unnatural cumbersome or painful to the animal. I am against animal experimentation that is cruel but how can you say that this is unneccesary? If they found a gene that causes homosexuality it would be a scientific fact that homosexuality is completely natural and the gay community would be that much closer to approval acceptance and basic human rights.

  • Mars says:

    Since the animals are incapable of speaking then how are you so sure they would not donate themselves to these experiements?

  • Joseph Cruz says:

    I dont think animals are more important thatn people and furthermore I believe that we humans dont realize that animals feel and hurt just like us. Every thing thats alive feels.

  • Michelle Martin says:

    Oh my Pamela Travis. You are so uneducated. First of all PETA makes fools of movie stars who wear fur ALL THE TIME. Secondly Michael Vick’s race has nothing to do with his cruel and selfadmitted illegal behavior. So are you advocating that he be allowed to engage in illegal activity simply because he is black? Get real and get a life. He belongs in the gutter. He belongs in jail…..along with any other human who supports animal fighting in any way. Please read a book before you start spewing ignorance.

  • Ariel says:

    Sylvia Breckinridge Um did you know that people not dogs kill people all the time by the thousands? I highly suggest that you get back on your meds especially your reality meds. They might also help you to spell and to form a sentence so that people will know what the heck you are talking about. It appears that YOU don’t even know what you’re talking about.

  • Ariel says:

    Pamela Travis First of all this topic is not about MV. But since you insist for the billionth time stop playing the old WORN OUT race card. Save your minute piece for someone who wants swallow that deception. And save your bleeding heart nonsense about other people taking everything away from MV just because he iswas a black celebrity and people making him say things. You didn’t hear anybody try to take anything away from him when he was a football “hero” or MAKE him say things did you? He has his own free will by which he chose to do wrong and chooses what he says per advice of his lawyers. No gun was or is held to his back EVER! You’re carrying on like he is some kind of little kid who didn’t know any better and made a a teenyweeny little mistake. Both of you need to grow up and face reality. And he needs to take responsibility as an adult! After all you did say he is a “MAN.” Btw does MV know that you’re even alive? And if so does he give a hoot about you? You’re the one who is blinded and making by your own free will ignorant stupid ridiculous remarks! A crime is a crime get over it!

  • Dave says:

    I agree there may be seemingly pointless experiments conducted on animals. Some of these perhaps should be shut down if it is deemed inappropriate or worthless through unbiased investigations. However it is very ignorant to claim that ALL research conducted through animal experimentation is irrelevant and pointless. There are many breakthroughs in science that we have because of experimentation with animals. It’s just another topic that many can’t come to a middle ground on especially members and affiliates of PeTA. I guess what I’m trying to say is that yes I do see some merit to this argument but it’s foolish to believe all labs should be shut down immediately because animals are sacrificed to better human life.

  • Caboose (Combine Slayer) says:

    Ashley dont you realize chinese food is american?

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Bob Most research on animals can’t be reliably and predictably applied to people. Adverse drug reactions to animalapproved drugs are one of the leading causes of death in North America. Why should humans have to suffer and die because of misleading animal tests? Medical science has and has to continue to develop noninvasive human tests that take our own individual genetic makeup into account. Only then will we have truly safe medications.

  • Michele says:

    Bob unfortunately a large number of people are still misinformed about animal testing with respect to medical advances. Extensive objective research has demonstrated that not one single medical advance has come from animal testing. Researchers will often conduct animal tests AFTER a particular treatment has been shown to be effective in humans at which point they will present it as confirmation that the animal testing was necessary. Most medical advances have come from clinical observation autopsy and in vitro test tube testing. Please read either “Sacred Cows and Golden Geese” “Specious Science” or “Animal Experimentation Harvest of Shame” for details. Animal testing has actually been PROVEN to be harmful to humans. The Thalidomide and asbestos disasters were allowed to continue to cause harm because they could not produce the same problems when testing on animals so they kept saying that these substances were safe. The same thing goes for tobacco. Scientists who are aware of the dangers of animal testing have compared drug tests on animals to a “crap shoot”. More than 90 of drugs that are “proven” to be safe in animals fail in human tests. Oh and for any of you who want to ask “do you expect them to do tests on humans instead?” that is ALREADY what happens as soon as animal tests on a product have been completed the next step IS human testing. The only problem is the differences between human and nonhuman biology and genetics are just too vast for any animal research to be applicable for humans.

  • Denice Sanchez says:

    Please stop spending our tax money in experiments that only cause pain and suffering to inocent animals and do not resolve human problems.

  • Carrie says:

    Thank God. I can sleep better at night knowing the sexual tendencies of worms.

  • Ashley says:

    Just a quick comment. I just showed my father the video when the chinese were skinning the raccoons alive. We were both horrified. We both pledged never to eat chinese food again nor buy fur. It was just undescrible how they were still alive with no fur on them. I’m very sadden and there is no need for that to happen. My heart hurts after watching that….

  • Pamela Travis says:

    I have watched and followed the news regarding footbal player Michael Vick. I am a strong believer in being against cruelty to animals but as the President of your organization You should be ashame of yourself to get on televison and degrade this young man to the whole world. Everyone makes a mistake. He is not a murderer or selling drugs to young children! How dare you say that the man is in the gutter he is not in any way a cruel person. Dog fighting has been going on for a very long time and no one has made an uproar about it until a black man has done it. I am totally against your statement that was made you are just as bad as the people who mistreat those animals. How dare you make a statement like that saying that he has lost all his money and is in the gutter. You should hear the words that you stated and take a look at yourself! That young man made a mistake isn’t it enough that they have taken away his career and all that he has then you get on television and make ignorant stupid remarks like that and have the nerve to make him say those untrue things about himself. Who are you to write a speech for someone that degrades and humiliates them! You are so blind to what the real problem is and thats when things like this happen it’s only blown out of proportion when a young black athelete makes these same type of mistakes that white men have been doing since I don’t know when. Most of the movie stars out there wear fur coats but I don’t see you or your organization making a fool of them. Peta should focus on the ways that we could rehabilitate those who mistreat animals not bash and degrade those people that do. This doesn’t help them or the world for you to make those type of ridiculous remarks!!!

  • Bob says:

    It is certain that research animals are sometimes caused pain and suffering but not all research is a “waste of time”. As unpleasant as it may be medicine and biology must conduct experiments. We have all including you benefited greatly from this research and I doubt that any of you will soon offer to trade places with a lab rat to save its life.

  • Caboose (Combine Slayer) says:

    just worms

  • Sylvia L Breckenridge says:

    why do you care for aminals more than you care for humans do you hate people dogs kill people all the time I never hear from this place when that hapens i guest dogs are better than humans people kil people and dont go to jail what up with this are you guys all Just razy

  • Julia says:

    Totally totally agree 100. I would much rather spend that money on shelters for animals animal awareness programs maybe even a good vegetarian meal for a family in need. What a waste of our tax dollars what a waste of time.

  • keith says:

    As an animal rights activist for more years then I wish to remember. there is not much I am not aware of in the world of animal experimenters nor protested against. Sadly I can never see an end insight for many many generations to come for this sordid business that is. If we as human kind last that long or at all.

  • susana says:

    And what about the Draize test? Isn’t OBVIOUS that if you put chemicals in a rabbit’s eyes it will infect? Even if you put baby shampoo wich is very mild and you don’t let de rabbit wash it will infect… Pointless

  • Kimmie says:

    Worms eat human beings in the thousands like a school of fish they are nasty and not vegetarian.