I turned vegetarian recently. My main reason for the change was realising that there is nothing about humans that makes us intrinsically better than other animals. Of course, we have all manner of bells and whistles granted us by evolution that make us more advanced mentally, but unless you want to invoke the concept of a soul, or some kind of spirituality, there's nothing you can really point to in humans that isn't simply a better-developed version of something you can find elsewhere in the animal kingdom. So I drew the conclusion that humans don't in fact have any kind of automatic authority over other living creatures.

But then it occurred to me that the same principle can be applied to animal testing, which can often be lethal for the animals involved. Going by what I just said, I should stay consistent and support bringing the practice to an end. Trouble is, my gut reaction to that point is that it's ridiculous. Animal testing is vital to medical research which has saved countless lives. Whenever I encounter animal rights fundamentalists like PETA, who would sooner allow lethal diseases to run rampant through the human population than support animal testing, I want to beat them with occasional furniture. Yet by my own reasoning, I've wound up agreeing with them.

So what should I do? The main thing I'm trying to do is avoid contradiction. I can't possibly deny the intrinsic superiority of human beings while cheerful waving animals into a vivisectionist's lab for the good of my own species. But to stubbornly refuse those same animals access to the lab while people die of aids, cancer and hundreds of other diseases seems just as immoral. It seems that I can either support animals dying in laboratories, or humans (possibly including myself) dying in the streets of disease. But if I accept that both types of life are equally valuable, how do I decide who to side with?

What do you folks think? Am I just being too rigid with my principles? Is there an easy way accept both animal welfare and animal testing that I haven't thought of? I suspect this is a problem which has been debated hundreds of times before, but I have to admit, it's got me stumped.

Tags: Animal rights, PETA, animal testing, animal welfare

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yeah, then the humans would suffer and die instead - what humans would you pick? poor people, mentally deficient people, criminals?  maybe you'd rather die of polio or TB? what matters is how the animals are treated and taken care of.  doing the same experiments over and over when they are already proven is totally cruel. by the way, a mouse killed by a cat or an elk killed by wolves suffer incredibly more than when being put to sleep by a drug. for once, i agree with Sassan K.

Hi Alexa,

How are things?

 

My example of using humans for experiments is based on Sassans logic. And that is, humans are just animals anyway. If that is the case what is the difference between using humans for experiments and using animals for experiments.

 

Alexa, do you think we are just animals? We are animals, yes, but not just any ordinary animal. We have amazing brains, our brains allow us to do things that no other animal can do. We have an amazing world of science and technology, that science and technology makes us more advanced than any other species on the planet. These other species have no interest in our science nor our technology, so can you explain to me why animals should have to suffer for something they have no interest in?

 

 

 

 

 

"can you explain to me why animals should have to suffer for something they have no interest in?"

 

Simply said, because we as humans assign importance to animals and humans based upon our own perception of the world and our own subjective interpretations.

 

We cause suffering and hurt because it makes us feel better or live our lives better. Of course this is all subjective, so where you draw the line might be different from the next person. 

Hey Rob,

I can only agree with you.

We are animals - but we are higher ordered animals. Human lives are more worthy than animal lives. The priority for human life is always precedent to animal life.

Again - I consider myself an animal rights advocate. I am simply not an extremist and I understand the value to scientific testing and the progress of science and humanity.

"We are animals"

 

Yes, we are  just monkeys with shoes.

 

"... we are higher ordered animals. Human lives are more worthy than animal lives."

 

I'm not saying you're incorrect, but what makes humans special? You are making a dichotomy between "higher ordered" animals and "lesser"(?) animals, what is this distinction based upon?

Is it the ability to suffer, the ability to be sentient?

I normally never eat animal products. But when i visit family or friends, I eat what ever they give me. If I were to go vegan 100% of the time, I would still have a problem with getting B12. Either I could eat termites like other apes or eat beef liver(which is really cheap), or Blue cheese and other cheeses.  Or I could just eat road-kill.

I tend to agree with Shashankas point of view.

In the real world I try and apply utilitarianism, or my version of it, to everything, even inanimate objects. 

Why?

Maybe when I see animals get killed it saddens me. And of course this. Not to sure which saddens me more.

Sometimes i wonder if there are 2 different species of human. Those that feel nothing upon witnessing the killing of an animal/human and those that feel there is something wrong upon witnessing the killing of an animal/human.

Maybe there are varying degrees of humanity between these two extremes. I doubt it though. :)hehe

 

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