We (Heart) Dr. Izzy Stevens

Published by PETA.
Katherine Heigl wearing our “Have a PETA Day” T-shirt
Katherine Heigl

OK, if you’re like me, you cancel all your plans, shut off your cell phone, lock your door, and glue yourself to your couch every Thursday at 9 p.m. for none other than the greatest hour of television all week: Grey’s Anatomy.

Well, last night was probably my favorite television night of all time, because the best show ever also brought in an important message about animal rights. (TV + AR = my life, so you can see why I was thrilled.)

If you missed it, let me catch you up. Dr. Hunt, the new head of trauma surgery, wanted to train the residents and interns on how to deal with trauma patients, and he said that dealing with live tissue was the best way to learn. So he tied down six sedated pigs and stabbed them with knives, and then he asked the doctors to perform surgery to keep the pigs alive. (Though I’m quite sure that in real life the pigs were fake, as the show had several notices that no animals were harmed in filming.)

Enter Dr. Izzy Stevens, played by Katherine Heigl. Izzy refused to do the assignment and explained how completely unnecessary it is to test on live animals when we have such advanced alternatives that don’t require us to do that. She said that animals are sensitive, emotional creatures that feel pain and don’t deserve to be tortured. We are so right there with you, Izzy!

When Dr. Hunt continued to berate Izzy about this issue, she stood up for herself and for animals everywhere and never backed down. She even explained that testing on animals is pointless and can sometimes even work against medical progress. Even though a test might be successful when the subjects are animals, people and animals are different species and therefore will show completely different results.

Even no-nonsense, steely Dr. Yang took a liking to the pigs and called them by name. When the surgeries finished, Hunt ordered Yang to euthanize the pigs and she refused.

What an excellent episode! I was so thrilled to step away from Meredith’s whiny, self-obsessed life for a while to focus on the other characters—and such a positive message for animals.

Now, if only Ross University had seen this episode ….

Written by Christine Doré

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind