on animal experimentation

When I finished We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, I clutched it closely to my chest. It’s rare to find a book with words within that are life-changing. And that’s just what this book was for me: Life-changing. One of the issues that the book brought forth is the morality of animal experimentation. To say that I haven’t really given this much thought before would be an understatement. I mean, I’ve questioned the ethics of zoos and the like but never really felt a definitive way. It’s not that I hate animals or anything; I actually like them a lot. I think a major problem is the hush-hush nature of the subject. Animal research teams are notably silent on their practices and experiments and we gladly accept that. We don’t want to know what’s going on behind the scenes. If we shut our eyes tight enough, we can almost make- believe abhorrent things aren’t happening every day to thousands of animals. But, like with everything else, just because we pretend not to hear anything doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Scientists proceed in the name of improving humanity, but at what cost? Animals are poked, prodded, injected with deadly chemicals and viruses, and subjected to other abuses that traumatize and sometimes kill them. Inflicting trauma on the animals is a slippery slope; it begs the question: where do animal experimenters draw the line? What is too far? Behind closed doors and with a lack of transparency, this can be extremely detrimental to the wellbeing of animals. Jane Goodall, famous animal rights activist, was quoted as saying, “[A]nimals have not been as critical to the advancement of medicine as is typically claimed by proponents of animal experimentation. Moreover, a great deal of animal experimentation has been misleading and resulted in either withholding of drugs, sometimes for years, that were subsequently found to be highly beneficial to humans, or to the release and use of drugs that, though harmless to animals, have actually contributed to human suffering and death.”

Ultimately, while I think some experimentation may be necessary TO AN EXTENT, I think reform is crucial. As human beings, we should demand transparency from research institutes. We can no longer bury our heads in the sand while the unthinkable happens to our fellow animals. If we are inflicting pain or trauma onto animals, then the answer should be clear. It simply is not morally ethical to continue. Not when experiments can be conducted on cell structures or paid human volunteers who actively choose to take part in an experiment and who have a full understanding of the risks and dangers. We can’t be blind any longer.

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