KILL CATS OR PET CATS; DON'T KILL PET CATS
That's the double standard at work that according to this editorial from The Tennessean, may torpedo Frist's aspirations to run for president. "He fessed up in his 1989 book, 'Transplant,' to adopting cats from shelters when he was in medical school, treating them like pets for a while, and then using them [read: killing them] in his research experiments," the column says, going on to point up this exact ethical quagmire: "It's the part where he kept them as pets first that is bothersome," it says, then quoting him at length:
- "Desperate, obsessed with my work, I visited the various animal shelters in the Boston suburbs, collecting cats, taking them home, treating them as pets for a few days, then carting them off to the lab to die in the interests of science. And medicine. And health care. And treatment of disease. And my project. It was, of course, a heinous and dishonest thing to do, and I was totally schizoid about the entire matter. By day, I was little Billy Frist, the boy who lived on Bowling Avenue in Nashville and had decided to become a doctor because of his gentle father and a dog named Scratchy. By night, I was Dr. William Harrison Frist, future cardiothoracic surgeon, who was not going to let a few sentiments about cute, furry little creatures stand in the way of his career. In short, I was going a little crazy."
UPDATE 6/19: A commenter at FireDogLake points out that "unless he violated the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs regs in place at the time and compounded his other felonies by procuring narcotics he would have been unlicensed to possess or use," Frist was killing these "pet" cats without anesthesia, making his skeevy, unsavory obsession even skeevier and unsavorier.