Making it dead

Reading the roundup on the stem cell veto on Thursday, I was struck by this statement, from the mouth of White House Spokesman Tony Snow:

“The president is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something that is living and making it dead for the purpose of research.”

That’s something I can get behind. I generally don’t approve of making things dead for the purpose of research. Indeed, I think it’s rather rude. Can’t you study things that are already dead? Or perhaps find an alternate method for finding out the answer to your pressing question?

I don’t know about you, but I am dying to know what Mr. Bush’s thoughts on animal testing are.

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 214 animals die in American Laboratories every minute. They are burned, electrocuted, tormented with chemicals and psychological experiments. They are cats and dogs just like the ones I know most of my readers have at home. They are rats, pigs, mice, monkeys, gerbils, horses, guinea pigs, sheep–just about any non-human animal you can think of.

Sadly, most of these experiments are for cosmetics and household products–things which could be tested in other, less harmful ways. Countless animals also suffer in pursuit of “pure research,” which essentially consists of the experimenter doing whatever ou pleases and then writing an article about it. The majority of medical experimentation falls under this category–repeats of old experiments, experiments which later turn out to be irrelevant to humans, and pointless exploration to prove common knowledge (do animals like having pain inflicted upon them? Well, no. What a shocking result.)

Most of this testing is conducted with the assistance of funding from the US Government, which means that you are paying for animal torture. It’s virtually impossible, however, to get access to an animal lab–I tried, when I was at (famous university) and was repeatedly denied. Many college students are actually not aware that their university or college tests on animals and maintains a lab, because facilities are routinely hidden underground.

Animal testing is a huge industry, and it is propelled by the companies that make billions of dollars from it. A growing number of medical professionals and scientists are speaking out against animal testing, because not only is it ethically wrong but it’s usually scientifically wrong as well. It is not reasonable to generalize experiment results across species, and yet this is done every day by animal labs. Remember Thalidomide? It was tested rigorously in a number of species (except for humans) with no ill effects.

But don’t just read what I have to say about it–there is a wealth of material available on vivisection and animal testing from a variety of sources, like the National Anti-Vivisection Society, The Humane Society of the United States, The Fund for Animals, PETA-People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Some of the information you will find is graphic and unpleasant, and I hope it has the desired effect–to drive you to change your lifestyle and encourage others to do the same.

Speak with your voice, speak at the polls, and speak with your pocketbooks–help put a stop to animal testing.

Charles Magel said this about animal testing:

Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are like us.’ Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are not like us.’ Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.

None of us are blame-free. I don’t live an entirely harmless lifestyle, although I strive to make it that way. But I don’t use products which are tested on animals, and I read up on the constantly evolving world of alternatives to animal testing. There’s no good reason to make things dead for research anymore, Mr. Bush. You are absolutely right, and I wish that you would use the power vested in you to put a stop to animal torture in the United States.

[animal testing]