The Ethics Behind Animal Testing*

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The ethics of testing on animals is a serious point that was mentioned in one of our lectures, but glossed over and never discussed in depth. Even so, when our speaker brought up the topic of testing on cats, I became very emotional. This topic is especially potent to me, as I have lived my whole life with animals, and am a vegetarian of 10 years. However, I still understand the importance of animal testing to the medical community, and to those people who reap its life-saving benefits. Because of this, I often find myself emotionally torn regarding testing on animals.
There are those who will claim that people who use animals as test subjects are doing it for pleasure, or for insignificant reasons. For example, PETA's outlook on animal experimentation is rather skewed:

http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/default.aspx

This article makes the extraordinary claim that there are equally effective ways of testing products that do not involve testing on animals; however, it provides very little insight as to what these alternatives are, and how/why they work. This was frustrating to me, because I truly wanted to believe that there would be such an easy solution, and that animal testing could be done away with without much more than a few rallies and posters. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and no such thing was offered by PETA's article.
One technique this article does use is a lot of pathos: detailed descriptions of helpless and tortured animals locked in cages, angry words against "sick, perverted" scientists who "vivisect animals for the sheer pleasure of it", and gruesome images of the procedures carried out on the animals are very emotionally effective. But the article relies heavily on the pathological aspect of animal testing, and very little evidence in support of PETA's argument is provided. This makes the article biased and unreliable. For trustworthy information on any topic, it is best to select a source that is not emotionally or personally involved in that topic.
So I am still undecided when it comes to my stance on animal testing - I only hope that those who experiment on animals do so in the most humane way possible.

*Not this kind.
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This is a wonderful topic! I never think about this topic and I'm so glad you brought it to the blogging community's attention. I personally find PETA quite fascinating mostly because what I know of them is partially skewed due to their appearance on news shows where they are being pointed at for doing another rally or protest or what not. However, I think this is a very noble cause.
Thanks for blogging about this interesting topic!

You have no idea how excited I was to read this. Not only is this a topic I feel incredibly strong about, but I often have similar questions as you. I too understand the benefits achieved through the testing of animals for MEDICAL purposes. However, I find the use of animal testing on cosmetic products to be shameful. I'm equally as glad that you brought up the organization of PETA. Oh man do I have quite the opinion on them. They claim to be for animal rights and then kill thousands of domesticated animals each year for simply being domesticated and use highly emotional driven arguments with little evidence to back their claims up. Thank you for writing about this!

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This page contains a single entry by rosen685 published on October 9, 2011 11:47 PM.

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