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Animal Testing: Animals Suffer

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Animal Testing: Animals Suffer

Post  MBAstudent on Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:11 am

In order to tackle any concept in ethics you have to think with an
open mind. We as humans need to understand that we don't stand alone on
this planet, animals wander beside us. Once we understand that we share
the land and its' resources then we can make smart ethical choices. In
medical ethics we discuss many controversial and highly debated subjects.
It is obvious that different people are going to have different opinions,
but that is the beauty of it. Everyone has that freedom to think
differently, including animals. They do not think like we do, but they
still warrant their freedom to continue to think in their own why and live
their with out suffering lives. Animals suffer like humans, and should not
be exploited for medical reasons.
In instances when animals are used for experimentation there is
always a risk. This risk involves the animals life and its right to co-
exist with humans. That is the same right that we have to be free and
choose our actions. In our past history and even still to this very day
risky experiments are done on animals. The thousands of animals put to
suffer outweighs any of the research that has been gotten from them. Peter
Singer the author of a piece called “Animal Experimentation” in the book
Intervention and Reflection displays and evokes the actual suffering of
many harmless animals.

"In 1953 R. Soloman, L. Kamin, and L. Wynne, experimenters at
Harvard University, placed forty dogs in a device called a 'shuttle
box,' which consists of a box divided into two compartments,
separated by a barrier. Initially the barrier was set at the
height of the dog's back. Hundreds of intense electric shocks were
delivered to the dogs' feet through a grid floor.... they then
blocked the passage between the compartments with a piece of plate
glass and tested the dog again. The dog 'jumped forward and
smashed his head against the glass.' The dogs began by showing
symptoms such as such as 'defecation, urination, yelping, and
shrieking, trembling, attacking the apparatus.... after ten or
twelve days of trials dogs who were prevented from escape shock
ceased to resist. The experimenters reported themselves ‘impressed'
by this, and concluded that a combination of the plate glass
barrier and foot shocker was "very effective" in eliminating
jumping by dogs” (Singer, 400).

Singer argues that “experiments serving no direct and urgent purpose should
stop immediately, and in the remaining fields of research, we should
whenever possible, seek to replace experiments that involve animals with
alternative methods that do not...”(Singer, 399). His argument is strong
because it relates to the risk that there always is when you have
experiments done on animals. He argues that the knowledge that was gained
from the experiments in some cases could have been gained in other ways. I
have a slightly different take than Singer. I believe there shouldn't be
any experiments on animals, but in extreme situations where a huge number
of peoples lives are in jeopardy an animal my be used for an experiment.
In discussing both sides of the animal rights issue, it is
important to understand what is obvious, animals suffer! If aliens were to
come to planet earth and force humans to suffer in order to study our
behavior or try to experiment on a vaccine, how would we feel? In Singer's
article he presents the term speciesm. Speciesm is “the notion that the
interest of non-human animals need not to be considered”(Singer, 398). He
claims that specieism is analogous to racism, and I agree it is definitely
a form of discrimination. If one argues that the term is ridiculous, than
Singer would reply by saying: would experimenters be prepared to carry out
their experiments on a human orphan under six months old if that were the
only way to save thousands of lives (402)? Infants don't understand what's
going on around them, they are taught by their elders and by their later
experiences. “Human infants possess no morally relevant characteristics to
a higher degree than adult non-human animals” (403). Speciesism is just as
bad as racism, because it's the same type unjustified discrimination. “
Blatant speciesism leads to painful experiments on other species, defended
on the grounds of their contribution to knowledge and possible usefulness
for our species” (Singer, 403). In Singer's article he shows how the
painful experiments are similar to the painful experiments that the racist
Nazi Germans did on other races. The Nazi's described others as the “lesser
races”, and subjected them to harsh experimentation. A Specieist would
choose to use animals for experimentation, when brain-damaged humans don't
feel pain and are at no risk of feeling pain. In order to perfect a
vaccine/specimen it needs to be tried on a human, so why not use the brain
dead. They have the same if not lower mental level as animals, and they are
humans. Most importantly there is no risk in killing an animal.
There is an on going debate by medical experts on whether animal
experimentation has increased the human life expectancy. People that oppose
animal rights say that it has. That is false because studies have been
done by professionals on ten infectious diseases in the U.S. and “in every
case except poliomyelitis the death rate had already fallen dramatically
before any new form of medical treatment was introduced” (Singer, 405). It
is simply not a strong enough argument to say that our mortality rate has
decreased, because there is no actual evidence to prove it. Singer argues
that medical interventions have only a small effect on the mortality rate.
He says more money and focus should be set aside for health care and the
major health problems of the world. That is the only reasonable and at the
same time justifiable step to take care of the entire animal rights issue.
Cohen, the author of a piece called “The Case for the Use of
Animals in Biomedical Research” argues that animals have no rights because
he says to have rights involves making a moral claim. He then adds by
saying that having a moral claim means “having the capacity to recognize
conflicts between one's self interest and what is right and being able to
restrain one's self-interest when appropriate” (Cohen, 406). In response
to his statements I would argue that first animals should not be compared
to humans in a sophisticated manner as to say they don't think like us.
They are referred to as animals for a reason, yes they are different and
the way the think makes them different. Animals and Humans are both co-
existing beings that roam the earth, it is understood that animals cannot
make moral claims, but does that make it justified to use them for
experiments. Does that fact that they cannot make moral claims relieve them
from the pain and suffering. No it doesn't, they still suffer alike humans
and we are not justified in using them for medical experiments. This issue
is not a question of rights is a question of suffering. Second, if animals
cannot make moral claims, by the same definition neither can infants and
the brain dead. Infants are not capable of exercising or responding to
moral claims. They don't even understand right from wrong or how to
survive on their own. So by the same token if it is justifiable to use
animals for experimentation then it is the same for infants. If one gets
even more sophisticated and says that infants don't count, then what about
the notion that the brain dead don't feel pain and are a one hundred
percent effective. If I were a doctor I would want to use something that
is going to give a positive reaction. There is no risk in using the brain
dead, they are alive because their heart is pumping blood. They don't have
moral claims, they don't have emotions, and most of all they don't feel
pain that animals surely do.
One thing that is often disregarded about animals is that they do
reason, they communicate between their own. They do live their seperate
lives, in which they reproduce and care for their young. Animals may not
be able to think on complicated levels like humans, but they still use
reasoning in order to survive. We share the earth with animals and we
should have a hidden moral respect for them. We can't use them for
experiments, because we don't want to use are own kind. We can't
discriminate against them because it would not be justified. No one, even
animals, wants to suffer needlessly.

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