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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In my opinion there is nothing wrong about putting your own species ahead of other species if you have to make that choice. Seems quite rational. But then again, it's not obvious to me that I would choose the life of someone I don't know or like ahead of the life of my cat, who is a dear friend and companion. Does that make me egocentric, unthoughtful, etc? Maybe, it's a philosophical question I guess.
...but at the same time...we are animals and we digest meat...just like a dog or cat.

...no, we may not be any greater than any other animals...but just because we have a conscience does that mean we can't eat meat? As the lion is no more important than a antelope, but it still kills and eats it...
Our conscious is what guides us. I don't eat meat because there is no need to, and it takes more resources to raise animals for meat then it does to eat vegetation directly. Humans began to eat meat as a way to to get around the lack proper vegetation.

Lions are a poor analogy because lions, as all cats, must eat meat because amino acids that are essential for them are not available in vegetation; whereas, all primates, including humans, do not require amino acids that are exclusively available in animals.
Humans began to eat meat as a way to to get around the lack proper vegetation.

Really? Or was meat just part of the spectrum of food that they ate?
Is it okay for a wolf to eat meat? If there is no intrinsic difference them then what is okay for them to do must also be okay for us.

Also the same punishments must apply if we are equal. A human is morally wrong for eating meat (and thus killing an equal) then so must the wolf. If a human is given prison time for violating the rights of a cow (killing it for meat, it has the same rights because after all there is nothing intrinsicaly different) then so must the wolf.

This is obviosly rediculouse.
The first premise is that humans are no better than other animals. This is an admirable position to hold. I do think it's fair to say that humans by virtue of our rational capabilities find ourselves ruling the world. This is god reason to say that we have as a species earned certain privileges.
But as uncle toby said with great power comes great responsibility. We degrade ourselves when we point at canine teeth and suggest that we are somehow constrained by evolution. Our higher brains have led us torule the planet but they also teach us nutriion and ethics that guide us away from exploitation of animals 1 and by exploitation I mean mass breeding for lifelong unimaginable torture.

That ha ing Bren said, we are constrained somewhat by our natural instincts and he culure around us. You are a vegetarian and that is commendable. You have taken me step for animal rights and for the greater glory of a human species friendly to other non human animals.

Don't rush or punish yourself to mug. Seek options in the right direction and do what you can. As some have noted, man kinds of modern testing yield results superior to animal testing. The next step might be to require those options whenever possible. Then you can address animal testing that truly is required for medical advancement.

What you mustn't do is decide that a requirement to test animals to cure aids (for example) means that animal testing is ok. At best it is the lesser of two evils. Do your best, seek the high road, and forgive yourself if occasionaly you can't save them from the dominant species.
Also see http://www.dday76.net/goveg.html
Typed with thumbs
humans taste a lot like chicken/i>

Hmmm... I thought the term was "long pig".
I can't cotemplate every being a vegan. To put it bluntly to me meat when cooked properly and with flavor tastes far better than any medley of vegetables you can place infront of me. For me there will just never be a good substitute for a nice 20oz porterhouse steak. Period. I don't as well buy into the argument that since humans are not better that animals we should therefore not eat them. It comes off a bit as a complete crock to just simply justify your tastebuds don't desire meat. I don't think it's anymore that a simple question of one's taste. I believe the folks when they say they just simply don't care for the taste of meat, they just seem more credible to me. But when people go off and make claims about not eating meat due to it being linked to some kind of enhancing characterization strikes me since we are in fact animals...I just don't see lions or tigers contemplating the ethics of eating an antelope. So why should I? To be even more fair nothing wrong with eating animals, now until a higher lifeform other than ourselves comes along (one exception maybe viruses) I say have fun and continue to eat all the meat you can get your hands on. If UFO's come down and like to eat ourflesh and they happen to capture me for dinner so be it...but until that time I'd rather have some form of dead animal served with vegetables as a side dish with a nice bottle of wine. I don't see nothing wrong either with putting your own species first either. If I were a panther, I'd care about panthers. If I were a lion, I'd care about lions. Since I am a human, I deem humans to be more important. Everyone tends to care more about their own group. But then I ask why is it ok to eat plants and not animals? Assuming plant life is just as valuable as animal life...whats the difference? One can communicate in a measurable form to us whereas the other is undectable to us? If this is the standard it appears to be insanely false. You can eat tomatoes but not burgers. Considering both contain elements of life and do live...whats the justification? Just seems like an exaggerated claim not to eat animals because of some false projection of reality. Now if you argument was for cannibalism it would seem alot more consistent that humans should only eat other humans in order not to harm both plant and animal life.
More than likely, if you were a panther or a lion, you wouldn't care about panthers or lions in general. Maybe your immediate pride, if you were a lion.
classic speciesism.

my friend, you're missing the point I believe the original author was trying to make/find. It's more about how he can contribute to less suffering in the world by his actions. people who say animals are meant to be eaten because they're made of meat? so are humans, let's eat them! Yes, people favour their own, but it's been observed that a lot of animals have the exact same functions of fear and pain receptors as we do, so if you wouldn't want to be scared shitless and put in a cage then approached with a big knife of a pressure gun comprised of a metal stud shot into your head, why would you want to inflict that on any other living thing? and no, plants are different. how? because it's been tested and is still being tested that they don't and would not experience the same conscious existence you and I would. we won't even get onto the philosophical side of that argument because, no one can ever really know. you're right.

The point is, walk on the earth, but leave the smallest footprint you can. do unto others as you would have them do to you, human animals and non-human animals alike.

as mutliple people have said, find the balance between right and wrong. there'll always be contradictions, but if you don't have to cause a death, why would you knowingly? I have no problems with killing animals to survive,but humans won't die out if the world stops eating meat. yes, a lot would, but not all.

Factory farming is not natural selection. it's an abuse of power, it's harvesting animals. i don't eat any type of meat period, and i try my best to be educated as to what animal products I do ingest. there's contradictions everywhere but we all just have to try and be conscious, good people. funny that we can all do that without any help from a magical 2000yo book too.

as a lady said earlier, watch the movie Earthlings (if you can - heavy stuff) and read Peter Singer's book Animal Liberation, if only for the first few chapters. Like all objective people, there'll be points you agree with and points you don't. there have been some great points in the last 6 pages of this thread to which I as a learning human will take on and learn from, and I hope everyone else can do the same.
I helplessly bow to my own superiority over the rest of the animal kingdom. If other animals posses cognition, I’m sure they are just as species oriented as I am.
That being said, I don’t mind eating a cow, or a fish.
I accept experimentation and research on other species to improve the human condition.
What I do not accept, won’t accept, is inflicting pain. That is deeply disturbing to me. Troubling. As I grow older, I find my empathy soaring beyond my control.
Unnecessary infliction of pain is the most heinous thing a human can participate in.
I know however, that I will always have to deal with this discomfort to some extent. It is what separates me from a grizzly bear who eats the fish alive. We don’t accuse the bear of inflicting unnecessary pain, and I’m relative certain that the bear doesn’t consider the salmon’s discomfort.
Your being “ stumped “ by this is, to me, part of the wonderment of being human.
We should work to elevate our humanity by recognizing how important it is to embrace and increase our unique empathetic impulses, thereby decreasing or eliminating all pain and suffering where humans are involved. That is something we can do.
first i'll give a disclaimer since on my read of this post i could come off as though i am one of those animal rights fundies. i'm feeling cynical today and the tone of this post is bleak. i am in no way affiliated with peta nor am i an activist for anything, nor did i became vegetarian for any other reason outside of i always hated the taste of meat as well as my parents "cooking". so here's my take on testing.
my biggest complaint about animal testing is everyone says it's beneficial to finding cures for disease but can we name a single disease that's been cured through animal testing alone? it still eventually has to be tested on human subjects so why bother with all the animal testing in the first place? i say cut out all the middle work and just use human testing. instead we could throw the ted bundys and wayne gacys of the world into a lab and they could "admirably" help find a cure for whatever.
most disease can be avoided by practicing what we all know. safe sex, basic hygiene, eating healthy and exercise. if someone doesn't care enough to take care of themselves i don't understand why i should place more value on their life than they do and cry for them when they become ill. if you accept that both types of life are equally valuable what do you think about people who disregard the value of life every day? obviously i don't have much sympathy or empathy for humans as if they really are so superior as they boast about being all the time then they shouldn't need my support now should they? there was something that George Carlin wrote that just popped into my head just now. something like if he saw a baby and a kitten on the roadside he'd help the kitten no matter who was looking and it shocked people that he would care more about an animal than them.
i'm also of the opinion that cancer will never be cured since it's abnormal growth of the affected's own cells due to (in most cases) carcinogens and not an exterior virus or bacterial infection. so it makes more sense to study human subjects to understand how malignant growths and carcinogens affect us in particular so that it can be at least be understood faster, and stop the growth of malignant clusters faster. a lab rat isn't helping anyone with cancer. there is about one or two percent of the total earth's population (all female that i've read about) that we know about who is naturally immune to hiv right? there is supposed to be a greater part of the population who is hiv resistant. why not study them? pay them to draw blood samples, pay them for marrow samples, it's worth it.

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