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Viagara's good side effect
[Posted 15 November 2005]

OK, here's a bizarre story, and I have to warn you that the article cited below does contain "coarse language." You'd never expect a vegetarian with a good knowledge of alternative medicine to be praising Viagara and its pharmaceutical replicas. Aside from the drugs' nasty side effects like heart attacks and blindness, alternatives for overcoming impotence are often as simple as avoiding cholesterol and fried foods, and eating healthy foods like Omega-3 fatty acids and fresh produce. Or for those who are too far advanced for simple dietary cleanup, the same chelation therapy used for heart patients with arteriosclerosis tends to help with other organs as well, if you know what I mean. At best, Viagara is a perfect example of America's band-aid approach to medicine, where as usual, traditional MDs give patients a quick fix that provides temporary relief... and a need for the patient to keep coming back for more. It certainly doesn't solve anything permanently, other than cash flow for the doctor and big drug companies, making their Mercedes payments much easier to handle. So it's hard to believe that Viagara has any sort of positive impact, other than the occasional ability to have sex, blindness, and heart attacks.

But I try to keep an open mind about these things, and it turns out that Viagara has demonstrated a good side effect of global proportions. Seattle's paper The Stranger recently reported a decline in the trade of animal body parts used as folk medicine for impotence. Good news for the Big-Mac-eating species who thought that other animal body parts would reverse a lifetime of greasy fries and milkshakes. Thanks Pfizer, for saving wildlife from the worst dietary habits in the world.

Seattle's newspaper The Stranger reports:
"MONDAY, OCTOBER 10 Our week of kooky correspondence, poisoned police procedures, and ridiculously random death kicks off today with the multiplying miracle of Viagra. After resuscitating two previously endangered species -- the erectile-functional over-50 husband and the sexually satisfied, non-adulterous wife -- Viagra and its wonder-siblings Cialis and Levitra have been credited with benefiting three other legally traded species. Specifically, the hooded seal, the harp seal, and the Alaskan reindeer, each of whose death rates have significantly declined thanks to Viagra and co., which have drastically reduced the demand for wild-animal body parts used in traditional cures for impotence, including the genitals of both the harp and hooded seal and the antler velvet of the Alaskan reindeer. Details come from New Scientist, which reports the findings of a new survey conducted by researchers in Canada and Australia. Since Viagra's introduction in 1998, researchers have watched worldwide trade in antlers fall from $700,000 in 1997 to $200,000 in 1998, and the number of traded seal penises fall from 40,000 in 1996 to 20,000 in 1998. In addition, seal penises suffered a precipitous drop in price, with the price-per-wang falling from $100 to $15 by 1999. Thanks to Pfizer for continuing to improve the lives of both animal and man, and congrats to the seals and reindeer, who get to keep their wangs and velvet, respectively."
- The Stranger, "Last Days; This Week in Review"

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