Re: Alex died
Posted by RickAnal on 9/13/07
On 9/11/07, Marilyn wrote:
> I heard today that Alex, the African Gray from the
> University of Arizona (I think that's right) passed away.
> I feel like I lost a friend. His human co-workers found
> him dead in his cage on Thursday but didn't let word out
> until today so they would have time to grieve. Over 30
> years, Alex taught his researchers (and friends) much of
> what's known about avian brain and thought potential. I
> haven't written on a parrot chat board for years even
> though I have two Amazon parrots I love dearly. I will
> miss knowing Alex is around and wanted to share that with
> people who might miss him too.
Dr. Pepperberg did some awesome work, but it was at Alex's
expense. Alex was never a colleague but an involuntary
laboratory subject who was relentless tested and probe for
over 30 years. Pepperberg's academic training was not from
the humanistic sciences but from chemistry. She apparently
lacked the empathy to grasp the injustice of her exploiting
Alex to advance her own career. Alex both visibly and
verbally demonstrated not boredom but severe stress responses
to his 8-12 hour per day relentless training and testing by
Dr. P and her helpers. I hoped and prayed that one day she
would allow Alex to experience a few years of a normal life
with a human or parrot companion but his life was cut short by
around 50%. Alex, I believe, died because he just couldn't
take his servitude any longer. I suspect some sort of aneurism
in his brain/stroke. The Humane Society should review Dr.
Pepperberg's laboratory practices along with other scientists
who study highly intelligent non-humans. Certainly Alex, the
Einstein of the bird world should have had rights that a
minimum apply to the lowest paid and least educated menial
workers in the US--such as limits on how many hours a day he
can be worked with, mandatatory breaks, vacation time, etc.
Let's hope Griffin and Wort, who have less than a fifth of
Alex's IQ, are treated with greater compassion and humanity.