ABOLISH ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS!
ABOLISH ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS!
The word “vivisection,” or animal experimentation, does not begin to describe how hundreds of millions of animals are used in science every year, let alone capture the physical pain, deprivation and emotional distress experienced by animals who are cut up, poisoned, burned, irradiated, gassed, shocked, dismembered or genetically designed to suffer. Nor does it reflect the tragedy of each individual life—however short and brutal—caged in an artificial environment which deprives them of experiencing life as nature intended.
Millions of animals—primates, dogs and cats, rats and mice, rabbits, pigs, horses, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and yes, guinea pigs—are sacrificed as a result of animal experimentation. They are used in basic and applied research, for the safety testing of products, to be bred or harvested from the wild to be killed and cut up for dissection, and as living factories of byproducts to be used as ingredients in drugs or laboratory experiments.
Anti-vivisectionists oppose the use of animals in scientific research and product testing for both ethical and scientific reasons. Animal experimentation is cruel. It is an outdated and inadequate methodology that can produce invalid, often misleading results. It wastes money and resources and sidetracks meaningful scientific progress.
The practice of animal experimentation has been debated for centuries—seemingly pitting the pursuit of knowledge and human health against compassion for animals. Society has allowed animal experimentation because people have been convinced that it was a “necessary evil,” and that it was the only way to find cures for human diseases and to make drugs, cosmetics and other products safe. Secrecy and security have ensured that people are unaware of what happens behind the laboratory doors or wrongly trust that the laws intended to prohibit cruelty to animals include protection for animals used in research.
Defenders of animal experimentation argue that nonhuman animals are enough like humans to make them scientifically adequate models of human diseases or to test treatments or the safety of products. They also contend that other species are different enough from people to make it ethically acceptable to use them in experiments.
The Anti-vivisectionist Society argues that it is the way that humans and nonhuman animals are similar that provides the basis for the ethical objection to animal experimentation. Perhaps the English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, said it best when he asked, “The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But can they suffer?”
There is little doubt that some breakthroughs in the past were made as a result of animal experimentation; but the questions being asked of science today are more complex and society has grown in its respect and appreciation for other sentient creatures, due in large part to studies of their behavior and intelligence. Sophisticated technologies available today and under development promise new and better avenues for investigation. Many of these approaches offer human relevance and insight in ways that animal models have not, and cannot, provide.
- The cruelty and waste of animal experimentation
- Failure of animal models
- Failure of animal protection laws and regulations
- Lack of transparency in reporting
- Animals used in product testing
- Cosmetics testing on animals
- Animals used in research
- Animals used in classroom dissection
If people could witness what is done to animals in the name of science, they would share our outrage and impatience with the all too slow rate of progress in ending these practices. Since 1929, the National Anti Vivisection Society response to the cruel, archaic, wasteful and unnecessary practice of animal experimentation is to work towards the advancement of science without harming animals. We look to science to inspire, to inform, to heal and to help solve the world’s problems. Science is about discovery and exploration. Science replaces ignorance and superstition with knowledge. But scientific investigation that exploits innocent animals as objects to use and abuse, causing unspeakable suffering and death, is not progress. We know that every animal is amazing in their own way—intelligent, social, complex—designed by evolution to be the best at what they do and deserving to be treated with respect. Investing in more humane methods of scientific inquiry will lead to better science.