Throughout human history living creatures have been used and exploited for our benefit and entertainment. In “The Pain of Animals” Dr. David Suzuki addresses this issue and presents some arguments on the detriment of this behaviour to humanity and to our planet. It is without question that as a species we have exploited our superior intellect and resourcefulness to our advantage, but at what cost?
I believe our progression as a race has led us into an age of moral flexibility and self- fulfilling acts, sacrificing all we can in the goal of financial success and material prosperity. Unfortunately, mother earth and the life she supports have paid the biggest price of all. This begs the question, where do we draw the line on the mistreatment and exploitation of living creatures for our benefit?
Animal research has brought dramatic progress in to medicine, since the turn of the century the life span of humans has increased by nearly twenty-eight years. Medical Research on animals plays an important part in our understanding of diseases and it has helped develop ways to prevent and control diseases such as the vaccine for polo, and insulin for diabetics.
Many people think it is morally wrong to test innocent animals to find a cure for various human ailments and pharmaceutical purposes, but when the advantages are considered with the disadvantages, I feel that the good outweighs the bad. Animal Research is necessary to continue progress in human health and necessary to maintain our society’s well being. If other methods were available they should be given a fair chance but for now animal experimentation has worked best. If all of the advances in human health were taken away from our society then we would still be in a primitive age. Animal research has taken us out of that age.
Because of the human capacity for rational sentient thought I believe that we have taken control over the lives of other organisms, and more importantly taken them for granted. We have taken monkeys and dolphins out of their natural habitat solely for our own entertainment. We have forced innocent animals to live in similar prison like conditions as human criminals, a completely unnatural environment. I agree with Dr. Suzuki when he states that it is impossible for any mammal, whether it be a human or a gorilla, to ever be considered happy when imprisoned in a small cage or pool and being removed from its natural habitat and forced to conform to the impositions of our demands.
Most of what has been done to animals we would never be done to humans. We take for granted the certain rights that keep us from being experimented on by other humans. Although we don’t realize that it is impossible to justify rights for humans, who are a type of animal, and deny rights to non- human animals. Animals have a right to life just as humans have a right to life. I believe that human morality must expand to acknowledge and respect the rights of non-human animals.
I believe that exploiting or causing harm to any living animals for our entertainment or gain is a considerably selfish and arrogant act. Animals should be treated with profound respect because without them scientific research would be much further behind, and many now curable illnesses would still remain incurable.
Where we draw the line on the mistreatment and exploitation of living creatures for our benefit is not a black and white issue. Myself, like many other members of society are in the “grey area”. I strongly believe that we owe the animals a great debt. Without them we would be years behind in medicine and many terminal diseases would still be fatal.
However, I believe that we as a society are willing to go to far for the sake of medicine, technology, comforts, luxuries and looks. For example Dr. Suzuki’s research in raising and killing tens of millions of fruit flies in order to study behaviour in the flies basis of the similarity of their neuromuscular systems to ours. In my opinion this experiment was not worth the lives of tens of millions of fruit flies. All these deaths and abuse of millions of animals are not worth it. We have to decide what percentage of the medical testing on animals is unnecessary and how we can determine what is unnecessary and necessary.
In conclusion, the use of medical research conducted with the testing of animals has potential to benefit the human population. However, I believe that there has to be a line drawn between what type of testing is necessary and unnecessary. I think it is important to realize that although animals are necessary for certain medical practices, the way in which we conduct these tests can be improved and more friendly to the animals. Even in the name of medical science, the life of an animal that is taken unnecessarily is a mistake that can never be repaired.