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.
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Very well written blog!! I completely agree, animal testing walks a fine line between two extremes, and you did a very good job bringing in both sides in a level-headed manner.

I too also struggle between balancing the ethics of animal testing. In the end, I suppose we agree that research is important, but causing any animal to suffer is cruel; so any testing must remain humane and absolutly neccissary.

Often people fall into the two extremes of either causing unrequired suffering, or preventing neccissary understanding of human physiology. I suppose these differeing opinions will never really vanish...

Cute cartoon Mary. Yes this is a difficult area and that is why we have people who devote their careers to thinking about and writing about ethics and human morals.

A great deal of science is performed everyday using animal models especially rats and mice. When tend not to flinch when these creatures are sacrificed in the name of science but get a little more squeamish when it involves creatures that we share our homes with.

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This page contains a single entry by rosen685 published on October 4, 2011 4:49 PM.

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