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Monday, February 19, 2007

physics of shooting deer

What do you do when your small farm is being over-run by too many deer?
Well, if you happen to also have in interest in balistics science and biomedical engineering, then you write a paper on testing hand gun bullets in live deer.
I do eat meat, and I suppose this obliges me to come to terms with the question of killing animals. But I still get the feeling that some moral line is being crossed here that I'm not at all comfortable with. Reading through the physics paper, its remarkably easy to imagine replacing deer with person. I am then reminded of the discussion from Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello comparing our treatment of animals with the Nazi's treatment of Jews. But nobody wanted those people, and valuable science came out of it, right?

At the same time, Coetzee's book raises the question of what to do with such difficult metaphors and how to view those who hold them rigidly. I guess I'm saying that I'm reluctant to impose such a sweeping denunciation on this research without looking further into it, but my first impulse is definitely revulsion.

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