Monthly Archives: June 2016

Jonathon Conte’s vanishing obituary

On May 9th, our friend, intactivist Jonathon Conte committed suicide. While I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to post here. I paid my respects privately and silently.

Last week we became aware that the Tampa Bay Times had published an obituary – including a guestbook. Many noticed that the obituary made no mention of Jonathon’s selfless work in pro of the rights of children – or of his surviving partner.

Jonathon Conte's obituary on the Tampa Bay Times

Jonathon Conte’s obituary on the Tampa Bay Times

Many comments were added to the guestbook- including one that I submitted. One intactivist paid a fee to keep the obituary active.

Today we learn that the obituary – and all comments- have suddenly vanished.

The link to the obituary page returns a 404 error (not found), and the link to the guestbook returns a 200 error.

The guestbook was originally set to be online until 7/3/2016 – before an intactivist paid to make it permanent. So why was it deleted? Who is censoring Jonathon’s work past his death?

Jonathon Conte's obituary guestbook

 

Animal testing versus… human animal testing. The profits of circumcision!

The other day I ran into an article by David “Avocado” Wolfe from the Body Mind Institute, about cosmetic companies that still use animal testing. I’ve always found animal testing horrific, barbaric, but I try not to get too much into animal rights activism because if something completely breaks my heart, it is to see animals suffering. And you are reading this from someone who loathes to see babies and children suffering because of medical abuse.

animal-testing-FI-759x419So, anyway, I read the article, and it was interesting. And then I found something I expected to find:

Animal testing is an incredibly outdated method that should replaced by more modern methods such as the Institute for In Vitro Sciences’ in vitro process.”

Hmm… that was a key. So I went to search for this Institute. I found their website, and then I ran a number of searches, until I ran into one document called “Evaluation of the Validated In Vitro Skin Irritation Test (OECD TG 439) for the Assignment ”. This document described a test using a trademarked product, EpiDerm.

Some more poking around and I found a product page for EpiDerm,  ”a ready-to-use, highly differentiated 3D tissue model consisting of normal, human-derived epidermal keratinocytes (NHEK) cultured on specially prepared tissue culture inserts“.

Epidermal keratinocytes… We are close. I pressed the Specs tab, and learned more about EpiDerm:

8482tnCells
Type: Normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEK)
Genetic make-up: Single donor
Derived from: Neonatal-foreskin tissue (NHEK)
Alternatives: NHEK from adult breast skin
Screened for: HIV, Hepatitis-B, Hepatitis-C, mycoplasma

The Institute for In Vitro sciences’ website includes an Outreach section, with a page dedicated to the Animal Protection Community. It starts by saying that “The activities of the animal protection community have had a significant role in driving the search for valid non-animal methods“, but is it really a non-animal method one that depends on the amputation of genital tissue from human babies? Is it any more humane?

Are PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, and the other listed “animal protection outreach partners” aware of the use of genital tissue removed from American babies in this “non-animal method“? Or are they so culturally ingrained in the rite of circumcision that they no longer see it as a cruel action?

So you see folks? While the intention of protecting animals from animal testing is very valuable, doing it by using harvested genital tissue forcefully amputated from non-consenting individuals (who are not yet competent to provide informed consent, but will eventually be)  is simply not the ethical way to do it.

How often do you hear that your baby’s foreskin is going to be used to test the creams and cosmetics that you are going to apply to your face later? How does it feel to feed the machine and treat our children as little more than guinea pigs? Why have we allowed the biomedical industry to turn our children’s genitals into a commodity for the cosmetic industry?

If we want humane alternatives to animal testing, they cannot be based on human genital tissue obtained from non-consenting “donors“.