All We Like Sheep

Jan 29, 2007 10:59am

One of the great powers of this medium, we’re always told, is that it is democratic with a small "d."  Those who use it can go anywhere, say anything, vote for whatever they like….

…Which brings us to the matter of sheep and sex.  I was asked to do a story about them last week; there are a couple of researchers in Oregon who have been looking for biological mechanisms that might explain why some rams seem to show homosexual preferences.  PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, objected that the experiments were cruel and unnecessary.  So I made some hurried phone calls, sprayed emails across the planet, and wrote the piece.  I hope those in it feel they were fairly represented.  (The piece is HERE, in case you didn’t see it.) And for the heck of it, we included a "ballot"–one of those popups you’ve doubtless seen in which you’re invited to vote on the matter at hand.  We’re careful not to call them "polls," since they’re not controlled samplings of opinion.  Anyone, from anywhere, is welcome to vote.  Sometimes the results, however unscientific, are interesting.  In this case, they were more interesting than usual. We asked people who was right, the researchers, the animal-rights activists, both or neither.  (You can take a look HERE, though you have to vote to see the results.) I was intrigued to see the largest number of votes going to "Everyone’s wrong."  As our disclaimer says at the bottom of those ballots, "not a scientific survey."  I’ve been told since that someone posted a message on a PETA message board for young people, urging them to go to our site and vote for their cause.  (Take a look HERE.) 

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