The Value of Life – The Big Trade-Off

I remember seeing an episode of Judge John Deed a year or so ago. The story was about a teenager who needed a transplant (I think it was a heart transplant) and he refused to have it because it would mean he’d be dependant on anti rejection drugs for the rest of his life.  He felt that as the drugs had been all tested on animals, by taking them he’d be contributing to their pain and suffering. His mother overrode his objections and even Judge Deed sided with the mother although he admitted that the teenager was very articulate and made a very good case for the stand he was taking. The boy died during surgery so we never got to see how he would have dealt with being given a heart he obviously didn’t want.

Radical? Well maybe not. In fact I totally agree. Of course, I suppose that given a choice between life and death I’d most probably choose life, as would most of us. However, when I read this week about a hideous experiment that scientists conducted on mice I had to wonder when it was decided that the lives (and not to mention the beauty) of humans were worth the intolerable suffering of billions of mice, rats, monkeys, dogs, pigs, apes, sheep,  rabbits and who knows what other animals?

The experiment I am referring to involved mice being injected with acid and mustard oil so that their grimaces could be measured. See http://www.news.com.au/technology/mice-injected-with-acid-mustard-oil-in-study-to-measure-facial-grimace/story-e6frfro0-1225864586173   I suppose it is handy, if you are exposing animals to all sorts of dreadful suffering, to know exactly how much they are suffering. Does this mean that they’ll be replicating the experiment with monkeys, rabbits, dogs etc ? My thoughts are that they will.

At this moment there are countless rabbits in laboratories all over the world, having all manner of cosmetics, shampoos and hair colouring agents painted on their eyes.  And that is only in the name of beauty.

I have an image indelibly printed in my memory. Years ago when they conducted the first heart transplant between an ape and a human, I remember breathlessly watching the news  as a huge ape was carried into surgery.  What still pains me to this day was seeing how happy it looked as it waved its arms and looked curiously around.  A few minutes later its heart was ripped out. For what? As far as I can remember the transplantee died soon after the operation.

So, for every person who receives a transplanted heart from an ape, it follows that an ape must die.  Is that a fair trade?  Of course, you’d say, humans are worth much more than monkeys. But on what basis? Do monkeys destroy the earth as man has done? Man’s lasting achievement is that without a shadow of doubt he has changed the face of the earth in not an altogether good way. And by man, I don’t mean indigenous communities. I mean industrialized man.

As well as being a writer, I am an acupuncturist.  It is our philosophy that ill health can be treated with acupuncture, herbs and alternative therapies. I myself have had great success with acupuncture both personally and professionally. I also love to travel to India for Ayurvedic medical treatment involving herbs and massage. Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India. You can read about my treatment here http://www.wisewomensworld.com/wiseWomen/Roslyn/Ayurvedictreatment.htm

I constantly read about the side effects of Western medicine. In most cases drugs mask the symptoms but do not cure the illness. Cancer is treated by chemotherapy which is a cocktail of toxins. The purpose of chemotherapy is not to ‘cure’ cancer  – it is to kill the cancer cells. Of course, being a toxic cocktail it also kills the healthy cells, but this is the trade off one apparently has to make in the battle against cancer.  Pharmaceutical companies are making squillions of dollars marketing chemotherapy drugs and jealously guard their hold on the cancer ‘cure’.  No other person except a medical practitioner is allowed to say they can treat cancer.

Recently drug companies cracked down on an alternative therapy which has proven very successful in treating cholesterol. It is called Lipoplex. Lipoplex is made from red rice which apparently works in the same way as statins, but without the muscle wastage which is a hallmark of medical statins.  Where formerly, Lipoplex could only be obtained from a naturopath, now it can only be obtained from a medical practitioner. I don’t think, given the hold of Lipitor and Crestor on doctors, that there’ll be too many presciptions for Lipoplex written.

Of course it must be understood that drug companies are not going to get richer by actually curing an illness, are they? They don’t cure elevated cholesterol. If you are on a statin drug for ten years and then stop taking it, your cholesterol will immediately return to its previously elevated position. Hence you are obliged to take cholesterol lowering drugs and therefore suffer the side effects, for life. The same applies to blood pressure medication, arthritis drugs, heart medication and diabetes medication.  It certainly doesn’t pay a pharmaceutical company to invent a formula to cure a condition. That is because that is way too hard.  So they mask the symptoms and force you, the consumer, to take their pills to the day you die.  And a lot of people die from the side effects of the drugs they are taking.

 Recently we had a serious example in Australia whereby 251 children under the age of 5 suffered extreme reactions including convulsions after being injected with flu vaccine. One child actually died from the vaccine http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/04/26/2883011.htm and http://www.news.com.au/national/flu-shot-fatality-toddler-dies-12-hours-after-having-vaccination/story-e6frfkvr-1225857872979  If parents weren’t encouraged by pharmaceutical companies to be terrified of every little illness killing their children, they would allow them to develop natural immunity. That is nature’s way although it is an unfashionable concept these days.  Drug companies would demand that everyone gets vaccinated against every condition known to man if they had their way.  But are even half the vaccines necessary? In Australia last year everyone was half scared out of their minds by the threat of swine flu. Quick as a wink, a vaccine was developed. No one in my extended family took  the vaccine and none of them caught the swine flu and for that matter, I don’t know anyone who did catch it.  It was a total non event. What a waste of money to have the vaccination!

There are many books written on the subject of the hold of the pharmaceutical industy over medical practitioners. Much has been written about how normal conditions such as menopause and depression are now medical conditions that must be treated with drugs. If you don’t believe me see http://beyondthecurtain.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/court-documents-show-hrt-drugs-based-on-medical-fraud/ Much has been written about how thresholds for acceptable cholesterol levels have been lowered so that more prescriptions for statins can be handed out.

In the meantime, laboratories all over the world are working overtime pumping one chemical after another into little and big animals. I remember speaking to a woman who worked for a big laboratory and when I asked her about the animal experiments she told me blissfully that their animals were the happiest animals around. They were so well cared for they were happy to die in the service of mankind. Now how good is that?

Why don’t medical professionals take some time to teach people about the value of foods to health? People of Asian background know full well about the health value of food. They consider foods to be heating or cooling and they know that heating foods should not be taken when the health problem is a hot condition. Western born people mostly would not think of their health conditions in those terms and would certainly think nothing of eating ice cream when they had a cold. For the most part, people in the West are totally out of touch with their bodies.  If this was not the case how would so many fast food enterprises have thrived with billion dollar profits? Why is it only Asian born people who seem to know about eating for good health?  We all need to know about the synergies of food in the fight against ill health.  There is certainly more to food than vitamins and minerals. I remember a Chinese herbalist telling me that the Chinese believe that when someone is sick they should first turn to food for the cure and only when that doesn’t work should they turn to herbs and medicines.

Now if doctors and schools took the time to educate us on how to avoid ill health by making appropriate food and lifestyle choices, then we wouldn’t need to be reliant on drugs.  There are a few holistic doctors in practice but for the most part if you go to a doctor with diarrhoea or a kidney infection, the doctor reaches for a script. And yet there are definitely food cures for these conditions.  Of course we can also blame the patient. We have been so conditioned to want a quick fix – ie the pill that can cure everything instantly – that we don’t even want to take the time to treat our health naturally. Such has been the overuse of antibiotics, which are even mixed in with the food fed to farm animals, that there are now super bugs which are antibiotic resistant.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, if you have a headache or you have diarrhoea, investigate other ways to treat it rather than taking a pill. Firstly, you’ll be doing your kidneys and liver a favour, and secondly, you’ll be reducing demand. Of course, if the condition is more serious, see your doctor!

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