Animal Rights: To Test or Not to Test?
To many people today, animals are seen as nothing more than a childhood pet, a mere source of education, or even a useless annoyance. To other people, animals are beautiful, exquisite creatures that should be protected and cherished. Recently, many animal rights activists have turned their focus to animal experimentation, which has become one of today's largest controversies.
Many animal rights activists see their fight against animal experimentation as a simple matter of moral duty, of ethics, or even of religious obligation. Tom Reagan states, "We can't justify harming or killing a human being. . .[N]either can we do so even in the case of so lowly a creature as a laboratory rat" (Reagan 39). Accepted knowledge that by nature, animals lack the same motor skills and brain power that humans are born with (37) justifies the ideas that, " It is [man's] duty to use his knowledge for the welfare of animals" (Singer 20). Statistics that seem frighteningly unreal as well as factual evidence that "[I]tems routinely are tested on animals in a variety of painful ways. . ." (ARWCC 55) only supports the activists in finding fuel for their battle with animal experimentation. For example, one University has been known to perform experiments involving cutting open the stomach of a cow and inserting bags of newsprint, merely to find out if a cow could possibly live off of a diet of nearly forty percent newsprint (Newkirk 141). Also, "At Louisiana State University hundreds of cats were shot in the brain to show that such wounds 'impair breathing' " (140). Information such as this is one of the main supports that animal rights activists use to prove their ideas that "[Animals] are commonly thought of as nothing more than disposable 'test tubes with whiskers' " (139). But, on the contrary, man should act as caretakers and protectors of animals instead (Singer 20). Another main concern is that "[t]