steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

From the Pages of The Journal of Unethical Research

Yesterday's news about Volkswagen conducting experiments on various primates that involved them breathing toxic fumes, has drawn down plenty of ire upon the company. However, it's an ill wind, to coin a phrase, and it's a good opportunity compare the different kinds of outrage. Are we more shocked by the use of monkeys (who could not consent) or by the humans (because "paragon of animals", etc.)?

The BBC gave them ore or less equal billing on their website:

humans and monkeys2

But the metadata tell a different story, suggesting that the monkeys were an afterthought:

humans and monkeys

The Independent, by contrast, puts the monkeys front and centre, with humans relegated to an afterthought a couple of paragraphs in:

humans and monkeys independent

The Guardian and The Mail don't mention the poor old humans at all! Nor do a lot of people, though I won't clutter up your friends page by proving it.

humans and monkeys guardianhumans and monkeys mail

All in all, the monkeys have it, and the BBC is, as it turns out, an outlier, despite their hasty attempt to catch up. And what do we conclude from all this? That we are nation of animal lovers? That the humans' consent absolves the experimenters of responsibility? That monkeys sell papers?

Or simply that I still haven't quite finished my marking?
Tags: current affairs, maunderings
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