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When it comes to animals and their rights, there is a definite line between our needs and our taking advantage of those species that we consider inferior. As long as man has existed he has been carnivorous, and the same holds true for many other species of animals. Animals are a necessity to humans for survival, whether it be for food, clothing, etc. However, the unnecessary torture of animals through testing is not a necessity for human survival. When it comes to the needless torture of animals that we claim to benefit, the animals lives need to be taken into consideration. S. F. Sapontzis gives his theory as to why animals should not be used in testing. To start with, animals are not capable of giving their consent to be used as subjects in an experiment. Secondly, "experiments can only be performed on an individual who is willing, morally speaking. Therefore it is immoral to use animals in experiments" (Sapontzis 209). It would be great if this world where our lives were actually governed by morals. The sad truth is that we do not. Until we do, someone is going to have to stand up for the silent majority that is incapable of voicing its opinion. When there is torture and unjust treatment towards humans, people then realize that it is wrong. These people realize that it's wrong when it comes to animals as well. Henry Spira said of the animals used in experiments: "…the victims are unable to organize in defense of their own interests" (Spira 194). When it comes to needlessly conducting experiments on animals, no one ever says anything. Humans need to stop thinking about themselves as a superior species to other animals. They have to start thinking about how we can stop the cruelty that they inflict upon animals day after day in experiment after experiment. Tom Regan, a well-known animal rights activist, wrote, "the fundamental wrong is the system that allows us to view animals as our resources, here for us- to be eaten, or surgically manipulated, or exploited for sport or money" (Regan 14). Nothing could be more true than this fact; man considers itself such a superior species that all others were put on earth for his convenience. It is this type of thinking that has gotten humans to the place where we are today. What humanity needs to do is get off its high-horse and realize that they are not the king of the jungle and we really are no better than any other animal that roams the earth.
It has been suggested that we are a higher form of life than animals. Following this line of thought, according to Sapontzis, experiments should be performed on animals in order to preserve the life of man. Therefore "experiments should be performed on animals in order to protect our species and enhance our lives" (Sapontzis 209). If this is true, then humans should have the right to do whatever it takes to better our situation, including taking advantage of other life forms that we consider lower than themselves.
In Animal Revolution, Richard Ryder writes, "Scientist frequently justify experiments upon non-humans in terms of the benefit they may bring to others" (Ryder 241). This line of thinking illustrates the idea that the sacrificing of one living thing is made in the name of science if it leads to saving of other living things. The problem with this is that animals- such as rats, mice, rabbits, even dogs- are being used to find ways to save the lives of humans. Once again, humans are placed above all other animals when it comes to superiority in life.
Ryder also writes, "Experimenting on humans might well produce far more valid results than do tests on rats" (Ryder 241). If this is true, the fact that humans continue to do research on rodents is absurd. Researchers claim that tests on such animals are needed in order to protect humans in some cases, yet this makes no sense if the data has gotten from these experiments has no relevancy to humans at all. What this amounts to is the unnecessary use and torture of innocent animals that brings about no real contribution to the scientific world or mankind either.
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Animal welfare, Bioethics, Animal rights, Animal testing, Deep ecology, Primate, Silver Spring monkeys, Chimpanzee, Basel Declaration, Speciesism
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