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Re: Alex died

Posted by RickAnal on 9/13/07
(9) Comments

    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.