If only Mark Sandman had lived* to see the most recent advancements in neuroscience:
Prof. Zhou-Feng Chen and his colleagues here at Washington University have engineered mice so that they lack the gene for a peptide associated with the anterior cingulate gyrus. Like the animals given brain lesions, these mice are normally sensitive to heat and mechanical pain, but they do not avoid situations where they experience such pain.
Given the similarity among all mammals’ neural systems, it is likely that scientists could genetically engineer pigs and cows in the same way. Because the sensory dimension of the animals’ pain would be preserved, they would still be able to recognize and avoid, when possible, situations where they might be bruised or otherwise injured.
[Adam Shriver, “Not Grass-Fed, but at Least Pain-Free”, New York Times, 2/18/2010]
Jesus. Enough to make me want to ramp up my BS weekday flexitarianism into something more meaningful. But if factory farming is here to stay (it is), would ignoring this be any better than denying a pained animal opiates? Ugh. Not time to throw the drugs away quite yet, so here’s some Morphine for palliation:
*Apparently, his heart attack may have been related to his being stabbed in the heart while working as a cabbie twenty years before his death. Who knew?