Friday, July 29, 2011

A choice of actions

Neither is “wrong,” and both would help, but the issue of animal experimentation can cause animal advocates to argue either (1) make it less painful and treat the animals involved better, or (2) stop it altogether as the immoral and often unnecessary thing it is.

Should we stress improving conditions for animals in laboratories or hold out and work for a total halt to animal experiments?

These questions were suggested by the last two issues of All Animals, the magazine of the Humane Society of the US. The May/June issue carried an article titled “Behind Closed Doors,” which talked only about lessening lab animals’ fear and suffering.

Then, in the July/August issue, two letters to the editor pointed out that the article had omitted entirely any reference to the alternative: non-animal research.

These letters prompted a response from the organization’s animal research dept., whose representative claimed to agree with the letters’ overriding goal of eliminating animal research. She advocated working toward both goals – end use of animals “in the long term” and eliminate their suffering now – and directed readers to

The unknown: whether animal research could be stopped even sooner if those who work only to ameliorate suffering concentrated instead on the bigger goal.

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