There is a famous anecdote about a conversation Winston Churchill once had with a woman at a party.
Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill … Well, I suppose … we would have to discuss terms, of course …
Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.
The moral of the story is obvious. If you sleep with someone for money—any amount of money—then you are a prostitute. Even if that someone is Winston Churchill.
Even though it was Winston Churchill, it was rather a cruel trick he played. But not as cruel as testing recreational drugs on animals. And that brings me to the point of this post.
The government has played a cruel trick on those in the drug law reform movement who give the thumbs up to the Psychoactive Substances Bill.
Government minister: Activist, would you accept significant drug law reform if it meant some limited amount of animal testing?
DLR activist: My goodness, Mr. Dunne … Well, I suppose … we would have to make submissions to the Select Committee, of course …
Government minister: Would you accept significant drug law reform if it meant that thousands of the nation’s beloved family pets are made to suffer slow, agonising deaths?
DLR activist: Mr. Dunne, what kind of drug law reform activist do you think I am?!
Government minister: Activist, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the depth of your depravity.
Five pounds or five million pounds? If you accept animal testing—any amount of animal testing—as the price of drug law reform, then you are a sadist. Even if the drugs are really, really good.
Now, I’m not suggesting that any of my friends in the drug law reform movement are sadists. But I am suggesting that they’ve been cruelly tricked. And I am suggesting that they think carefully about how far down this particular slippery slope they’re prepared to slide. And I’m suggesting that after they’ve thought about it they claw their way back up to the moral high ground.