Make your own free website on Tripod.com

ANIMAL RESEARCH

This page condenses some of the arguments found on the main page http://animalvegfaq.tripod.com

It may be useful for students writing essays or just as a summary of major arguments found on this page.    



These are arguments I have used over the years in exchanges with research proponents and scientists. It is common for anti-vivisectionists to cite studies that show how dangerous and useless nonhuman animal research is for human medicine. I think this can be a bad strategy, especially if it is your main argument. Although there is definitely enormous amounts of fraud, this approach assumes that an audience member is going to trust an animal rights activists to care about human health more than the researcher who is represented by the side that supplies drugs and treatments. Its a steep hill to climb-and leads to he said/she said kind of discussions which will get too technical for the audience to understand. The approach below requires no textbook citations. Researchers and pro vivisection supporters HATE this kind of argument. They can't bog the discussion down or hide from its logic.

 



Arguments Against ANIMAL RESEARCH

1)It is a perversion of altruism and compassion--you attempt to heal Peter by torturing and killing Paul. It is like trying to help a homeless man by kicking a family out of their house, beating them to death and moving the former in (except that finding a home for the homeless man is a sure thing--animal researchers have been trying to cure cancer for hundreds of years without success). The fact that the number one answer to criticism of animal research is a citation of alleged benefits proves that animal researchers lack a common sense understanding of morality and ethics--since we wouldn't allow murderers or thieves to cite the benefits they or their family attain from their actions to justify murder or theft.

2)It is a medical fraud--if you wouldn't think it is rational to find a cure for diseases in giraffes by experimenting on elephants why would you think it is rational to cure disease in humans by using mice, rats, dogs or chimps? Animal research is big business (from cage manufacturers to science grant applicants), and scientists have a vested interest in conjuring up new experiments to keep their paychecks, while telling the public that the research is important and a "breakthrough." (If you think animal researchers are strictly motivated by compassion, how many new drugs they develop can you get for free?) Pagan priests sacrificed animals and read their entrails to encourage the hope and health of society (a good harvest, easy childbirth). Those that opposed it endangered society by angering the gods. Today, animal researchers claim that if nonhuman animal research stopped, the world would descend into a hell of disease and misery (without explaining why society and culture endured even during the Medieval plague. By their logic, humans should have been extinct eons ago, plus it grossly exaggerates the power of medicine since humans continue to die from disease--including scientists). Animal researchers promote the view that life works according to a quasi-Darwinian "Great Chain of Being" hierarchy where animals follow a ladder of complexity--starting with worms and ending with humanity, and that you can take them apart and reassemble them as easily as a jigsaw puzzle. If animal research is necessary for producing safe drugs and treatments why then do we need clinical trials on humans? Why does Pfizer have to conduct medical trials in Africa? Why do drugs like Thalidomide get pulled after being shown to be safe in nonhuman animals? If one had a choice between a drug tested only on rats or chimps, and a drug tested only on humans, which would you deem safer for people? The answer determines one's belief in the importance on nonhuman animals in research. The more recent claims that genetic engineering can alter the physiology of nonhuman animals so they are better models for human research, which led to a renewed explosion in  vivisection experiments, also exploits public ignorance, since it requires faith that scientists understand Nature so well that they can predict how the physiology of other species will react to the altered genetics. But even if they could turn a nonhuman into a perfect copy of human anatomy with the same responses to chemicals, the torture and death that would be required to reach such a point could not be justified by the discriminatory ethical arguments based on the false belief in human supremacy as mentioned below.

3)Animal research treats nonhuman animals in ways that would be considered an atrocity if done to even the most despised criminal in history--and yet, nonhuman animals commit no crimes. Why do they deserve such treatment?

4)If finding a cure for disease is so important, why aren't scientists and patients advocating the use of criminals or volunteers in medical experiments? Humans are the best and safest model for research, and we send healthy people off to be maimed and killed in wars for natural resources, religion and political ideology, and yet the war against cancer is only considered of dire importance when it comes to the discussion of abolishing nonhuman animals in research.

5) Researchers and their proponents say animal rights activists can't protest animal research if they have benefited from research that has been linked to animal research experiments. But they ignore that research on humans against their consent has also been done and the research preserved for the greater good-why don't they make the same demands of human rights activists? Double standards.


6)Researchers say they need to use nonhuman animals for research because they are like us--and yet they say they deserve no rights because they are not like us. This highlights the real issue--the motivation for animal research beyond money is an arrogant belief that humans as a species are superior in value to all other life, based upon arbitrary, non-absolute and subjective criteria conveniently determined by those who stand to benefit from the discrimination and exploitation. The same reasoning was used by James Marion Sims, former president of the American Medical Association, to experiment on black slaves (a bronze statue of him stands in NY's Central Park) and by Nazi doctors to justify their experiments.




Further reading on how we are all using research done on unsuspecting humans.
Taken from: http://www.micahbooks.com/readingroom/Nazisandanimalresearch.html   "In 1987, the Supreme Court heard a case in which a U.S. soldier sued the government for having used him as a test case for LSD experiments, without his knowledge (Stanley vs. The United States). The court voted 5 to 4 against the victim. For a recent review of experiments conducted on human beings in the U.S., without their informed consent, see Clouds of Secrecy: The Army's Germ Warfare Tests over Populated Areas, by Leonard A. Cole, Subjected to Science, by Susan Lederer, Johns Hopkins Press (This books studies experimentation on human beings between the two world wars); and Stranger at The Bedside by David J. Rothman, which studies this problem in the period after the Second World War. There are many more books on this subject. Many of them can be found on the Internet, under "Human Experimentation," or at Amazon.com, under the same heading."

Pfizer experiments in Africa: July 1, 2002 issue of The Nation. Globalizing Clinical Research: Big Pharma Tries Out First World Drugs on Unsuspecting Third World Patients by Sonia Shaw.


This is a summary of a non Singer or Regan formula for asserting nonhuman rights status (also on main page). I think the Sentience/Speciesism argument approach should be tossed to the trash can as it leaves too many weak spots.

 



Anti-Human Supremacy Ethical Argument for Nonhuman Rights aka the Misanthrope Animal Rights Argument

     Those who believe in a moral code of universal human rights but deny extending rights to nonhumans have two problems. The criteria(s) they use to justify this discrimination (faculty of reason, a soul, divine or evolutionary favor, moral reciprocity, survival of the fittest, individual selfishness, a bundle of characteristics or vaguely defined ones etc.) cannot be proven to be possessed by all humans or lacking in all nonhumans. i.e. some humans are more intelligent than others, some nonhumans are more rational than some humans, humans can and do willfully break laws and yet the most hated of criminals are regarded as more deserving of care and respect than the most innocent of beings.
 
 
Secondly, the importance of such criteria can be doubted-- shown not to be objective absolute truth, but subjective arbitrary criteria conveniently determined by those who stand to benefit from the discrimination they wish to justify. Nature(or invisible deities), through environmental phenomenon, weather, earthquakes, and the actions of other human beings, cannot be shown to care or favor humans over other lifeforms as an absolute objective fact. This subjectivity means that someone who may discriminate against other humans (which happens despite the laws and philosophy designed to curb such incidents) using criteria that is just as subjective (skin colour, gender, class, religion, survival of the fittest, individual selfishness, etc) cannot be effectively condemned by a human rights advocate who denies rights to nonhumans, since both are discriminating according to subjective criteria of value they deem to be important. Pragmatic appeals to self-interest and the Golden Rule are also dubious, since a dictator or criminal may exploit and kill and never need to care about the rights of others or face prosecution, and a man living on one side of the globe does not necessarily have a practical reason to care what happens to humans in another far away country.
 
The only way for a human rights advocate to consistently argue that one ought to have systemic universal human rights and an ethical code based upon this idea is to extend the concept of fairness and justice to nonhumans as much as possible. Because humans develop ethical codes to govern human behavior, and nonhumans do not appear to employ or require such codes in their social interactions, they benefit from the consistency requirement in human concepts of fairness and justice without needing to reciprocate. To expect them to adhere to human moral contracts in order to be eligible for moral regard is like expecting a blind man to be able to read and then punishing him for not doing so. That moral regard may not be possible or practical in all situations due to particular factors (such as scale or absentmindedness or the inability to be perfect), but since the same is true of human relations with other humans, it does not invalidate the merits of the argument or provide a loophole to justify systemic exploitation of nonhuman lifeforms (since one could then justify the same for humans).
 
Every argument put forth to defend exploitation assumes human superiority as a given, and conveniently ignores the reality of human predation upon other human beings. This approach applies equally to theists and secularists, and any human society that can articulate a belief in supremacy and uses it to systematically discriminate (against humans or nonhumans).











 

Back to the FAQ page