In order to tackle any concept in ethics you have to think with an
open mind. We as humans need to understand that we don't stand alone on
this planet, animals wander beside us. Once we understand that we share
the land and its' resources then we can make smart ethical choices. In
medical ethics we discuss many controversial and highly debated subjects.
It is obvious that different people are going to have different opinions,
but that is the beauty of it. Everyone has that freedom to think
differently, including animals. They do not think like we do, but they
still warrant their freedom to continue to think in their own why and live
their with out suffering lives. Animals suffer like humans, and should not
be exploited for medical reasons.
In instances when animals are used for experimentation there is
always a risk. This risk involves the animals life and its right to co-
exist with humans. That is the same right that we have to be free and
choose our actions. In our past history and even still to this very day
risky experiments are done on animals. The thousands of animals put to
suffer outweighs any of the research that has been gotten from them. Peter
Singer the author of a piece called 'Animal Experimentation' in the book
Intervention and Reflection displays and evokes the actual suffering of
many harmless animals.
"In 1953 R. Soloman, L. Kamin, and L. Wynne, experimenters at
Harvard University, placed forty dogs in a device called a 'shuttle
box,' which consists of a box divided into two compartments,
separated by a barrier. Initially the barrier was set at the
height of the dog's back. Hundreds of intense electric shocks were
delivered to the dogs' feet through a grid floor.... they then
blocked the passage between the compartments with a piece of plate
glass and tested the dog again. The dog 'jumped forward and
smashed his head against the glass.' The dogs began by showing
symptoms such as such as 'defecation, urination, yelping, and
shrieking, trembling, attacking the apparatus.... after ten or
twelve days of trials dogs who were prevented from escape shock
ceased to resist. The experimenters reported themselves 'impressed'
by this, and concluded that a combination of the plate glass
barrier and foot shocker was "very effective" in eliminating
jumping by dogs' (Singer, 400).
Singer argues that 'experiments serving no direct and urgent purpose should
stop immediately, and in the remaining fields of research, we should
whenever possible, seek to replace experiments that involve animals with
alternative methods that do not...'(Singer, 399). His argument is strong
because it relates to the risk that there always is when you have
experiments done on animals. He argues that the knowledge that was gained
from the experiments in some cases could have been gained in other ways. I
have a slightly different take than Singer. I believe there shouldn't be
any experiments on animals, but in extreme situations where a huge number
of peoples lives are in jeopardy an animal my be used for an experiment.
In discussing both sides of the animal rights issue, it is
important to understand what is obvious, animals suffer! If aliens were to
come to planet earth and force humans to suffer in order to study our
behavior or try to experiment on a vaccine, how would we feel? In Singer's
article he presents the term speciesm. Speciesm is 'the notion that the
interest of non-human animals need not to be considered'(Singer, 398). He
claims that specieism is analogous to racism, and I agree it is definitely
a form of discrimination. If one argues that the term is ridiculous, than
Singer would reply by saying: would experimenters be prepared to carry out
their experiments on a human orphan under six months old if that were the
only way to save thousands of lives (402)? Infants don't understand what's
going on around them, they are taught by their elders and by their later
experiences. 'Human infants possess no morally relevant characteristics to
a higher degree than adult non-human animals' (403). Speciesism is just as<...
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