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Animal rights

Autor /Dacjan Dodano /10.11.2011

More than four milion animal experiments are carried out annuallu in Britain.

Two facts are fundamental to the debate about them. First: without animal experiments much medical and biological research would grind to a halt. Second someexperiments do cause suffering.

Huge areas of medical research would be impossuble if all animal experiments were bannrd. Most research on the nature of, and cures for, cancer would be impossible. Work on organ transplantation and other forms of experimental surgery wuld cease. Above all there would be no new drugs. "The last 20 years or so", says Sir William Paton, professor of pharnacology at Oxford and former chairman of the Research Defency Society, "have seen the development of polio vaccines, drugs for high blood pressure, anti-depresants, and so on. Without animal experiments we would have had none of these".

Brigid Brophy the novelist,a campaigner for total abolition of animal experiments, faces this issue squarely: "The loss that might result is a loss humanity would have to bear", she says. We would not, she points out, experiment on 10 children to find a cure for a disease that would save the lives of thousand. "if we adandoned experiments on other animals we might have to bear more losses of that kind. But I think the scientists could come up with alternatives". But how many people would accept the death of a single child if animal experiments could save it ?

The question is not, Can they reason? Nor Can they talk? But, Can they suffer? The arguments can be extremly uncomfortable: "People will always defend animal experimentation on the grounds that animals are not rational, thinking creatures. Well, neither is a severly retarded person. The same people will then say that if you were to experiment on a retarded person it would be upsetting for their families. So why shoudn't we use, for instance, a severely retared child who is also an orphan? The human model will always serve our purposes better than an animal. If you don't accept this then logically you shouldn't accept experiments on non-human animals.

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