Animal Testing: Why does it raise ethical issues?. Cats, dogs, nonhuman primates and other animals are drowned, suffocated, and starved to death. They are burned and subjected to radiation. Their eyes are removed, their hearing is destroyed. They have limbs severed and organs crushed.
Cats, dogs, nonhuman primates and other animals are drowned, suffocated, and starved to death.
They are burned and subjected to radiation.
Their eyes are removed, their hearing is destroyed.
They have limbs severed and organs crushed.
Invasive means are used to give them heart attacks, cancers, and seizures.
They are deprived of sleep, subjected to electric shock, and exposed to extremes of heat and cold…
…and that’s on a good day, when the testing labs are following the guidelines. All the procedures on the previous slide comply fully with the Animal Welfare Act. Each procedure conforms with what Animal Plant Health Inspection Service inspectors count as “humane care and treatment.” And testing labs have done much crueler things, unnecessarily. The following slides show examples (no graphic photos) of fully approved tests…
Experiments on a monkey’s instinct to cling to its mother even when the mother subjects it to rejection and pain. (Research conducted by Harry Harlow at the Primate Research Centre at Madison, Wisconsin, see Singer 1995, 33-35)
A "researcher" pries open the eye of a young rabbit (as it squirms to break free) and pours in a vial of drain cleaner.
Take the generic version of the drug--this won't put money into the pockets of the company that tested it on animals. Just as driving on roads that were built by slaves doesn't mean that one supports slavery, using medicines that were tested on animals doesn't mean one supports animal testing. If there is no generic version of a drug that was tested on animals, but taking the drug makes a person better able to help animals today, that person should do so for the sake of animals. There is no one-to-one correlation between consumer drug purchases and animal misery (as there is with the correlation of food consumption, leather, etc.). Ironically, in some cases it helps animals to support the companies testing on them (but we don’t recommend this). One company, when doing financially well, invested money in alternative testing and cut the number of animal tests. Protesting, and law changes, will make companies change their policies. Boycotting products may be only symbolic.
Legality is no guarantee of morality. Who gets legal rights is determined by the opinion of today’s legislators. The law changes as public opinion or political motivations change, but ethics are not so arbitrary. Look at some of the other things that have at one time been legal in the U.S.—child labor, human slavery, the oppression of women.
Those who object to law-breaking under all circumstances would have to condemn: The Tiananmen Square demonstrators. The Boston Tea Party participants. Mahatma Gandhi and his followers. World War II resistance fighters. The Polish Solidarity Movement. Vietnam War draft card burners.The list could be continued almost indefinitely.
"Certainly one of the highest duties of the citizen is a scrupulous obedience to the laws of the nation. But it is not the highest duty." --Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S. President)
From “Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?” “Opponents of direct action often argue that illegal actions undermine the rule of law, and they view civil disobedience as a threat to political order. Among other things, this perspective presupposes that the system in question is legitimate or cannot be improved. It misrepresents direct activists as people who lack respect for the principles of law, when arguably they have a higher regard for the spirit of law and its relation to ethics and justice than whose who fetishize political order for its own sake. Moreover, this argument fails to grasp that many direct action advocates are anarchists who seek to replace the states and legal systems they hold in contempt with the ethical substance of self-regulating decentralized communities.”
From “Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?” “Broadening the term "violence" to include store windows, buildings, laboratory equipment, and assorted physical objects can easily trivialize the violence done to human and nonhuman animals and may blur the critical distinction between living beings and nonliving things. There is a huge difference between breaking the neck of a mink and smashing a fur store window, but the values of society are revealed all too clearly when only the latter action is condemned as a crime worthy of intense opprobrium and legal action.”
From “Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?” “If sabotage is violence, it pales in comparison to what industries inflict on animals in the speciesist Gulags, factories, and killing fields/seas of industrial capitalism. Animal liberationists rightly underscore the ironic disparity between the outcry over home demonstrations, liberations, and property damage and the silence over the obscene violence inherent in the torture and killing of billions of animals every year for food, fashion, sport, entertainment, and science. Let moral outrage be put in proper perspective.”
From “Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?”“Proponents of the "sabotage is violence" argument seem to assert that there is violence (1) in the action itself and (2) in its effect on human targets. In the act of property destruction, objects are defaced, smashed, burned, and demolished. If this is violence, then one certainly ought to open up the definition of violence and terrorism to include corporate destruction of oceans, rivers, marshes, mountains, forests, and ecosystems of all kinds.” Those who cry "eco-terrorist" the loudest are typically those who profit the most from violence and killing, and those who seek to disguise their own crimes against life by vilifying others.
Here are the main outlines of a possible justification of violence (against property):
1. Animals are innocent.
2. Violence is used only when it is necessary to rescue them so that they are spared terrible harms.
3. Excessive violence is never used.
4. Violence is used only after nonviolent alternatives have been exhausted, as time and circumstances permit.
5. Therefore, in these cases, the use of violence is justified.
Extreme action is a political tactic that dramatizes issues and places them before the public when they otherwise would be ignored in the media, applies pressure to corporations and government agencies that otherwise are able to resist "legitimate" pressure from law-abiding organizations, and broadens the spectrum of activism so that lobbying by mainstream groups is not considered "extremist".
Furthermore, in the long run, people may agree with the message even while hating the messenger. Example: The demonstrators who threw bricks at building in protest of the Vietnam War were hated. But they made news, and their message hit home.
ALF "raids" have given us proof of horrific cruelty that would not have been discovered or believed otherwise. They have resulted in official filing of criminal charges against laboratories, citing of experimenters for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and, in some cases, shutting down of abusive labs for good. Often ALF raids have been followed by widespread scientific condemnation of the practices occurring in the targeted labs.
ALF raids may give the ALF a bad name, but the movement is not ALF, or vice versa. Some believe that ALF acts as the "bad cop" to the "good cop' of other AR advocates. Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X created the same dynamic in the civil rights movement.
“Malcolm X preached change powered by violent confrontation. Malcolm X adamantly spoke out against the white people, calling them white devils. Did this hinder the movement or strengthen it? On one hand, the appeal of Malcolm X and King to separate groups made for a larger following in shear numbers increasing awareness more effectively than just one group could. Those two, using their unintended ‘good cop-bad cop’ strategy ended up appealing to more people.”
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