+Viva Sanctions: "We don't see epidemics of polio, whooping cough, or smallpox because countless animals suffered and died. If you must accept the blame for the testing, then do you also accept the kudos? Does the benefit to society outweigh the harm done to the animals, or is harm and benefit apples and oranges?"
In earnest, the societal benefits from animal testing turns out to be more myth than reality, +Viva Sanctions. Animals make very poor analogs for developing treatments of human diseases and ailments. The reason they're used so extensively in a contemporary setting has everything to do with bureaucracy and little to do with science. If you're interested, the AAVS provides a resource page on this which allows one to drill down in to all manner of interesting discussions on the topics: goo.gl/0IH4Be
However, the issue of animal testing is a minuscule problem compared to that of "food animals". Worldwide, around 100 million animals are killed by vivisection each year, while around 150 billion animals are killed to be eaten each year. In other words, the issue of animal testing accounts for around 0.066% of the problem, and there are already people who are very effectively working to solve it. But even if the issue of vivisection were something we couldn't get away from for health reasons (which isn't the case, so just for pretend), this problem wouldn't interfere with the fact that humans absolutely don't need to kill and eat animals. Put differently, just because one "bad thing" is happening in the world isn't a reason that another "bad thing" must persist, right?
+Viva Sanctions: "Again, you have a lot of good points. Vivisection is imperfect and can lead to misleading or even fatal results. I expect animal testing to be almost entirely replaced by advanced computer simulations in the next decade or so if for no other reason than computer simulation arrays will cost less and will be more extensive. It hurts to see some of the things that have been done to animals to make the products we use and the medicines we consume - vivisection is not pretty and it is typically far from humane.
"However, it has yielded just about everything around us. Without the benefit of computer modeling or modern scientific tools, vivisection was a critical component in our understanding of how biology works. Ironically , the vivisection of animals has contributed greatly to the advance of veterinary medicine.
"I know that it is inhumane, I know that it is distasteful, and I know that the results are frequently useless when you try to translate the findings from animal testing onto human use. However, I do believe that vivisection has been pivotal in our advancement. Dismissing or ignoring the contributions of this kind of research makes the suffering and sacrifice of all of those animals seem totally meaningless - it wasn't."
Oh - don't get me wrong: I wholly agree that the horrific things which have been done to animals in the name of science have certainly advanced our medical knowledge in ways that would otherwise not have been achievable, and this creates a bit of a quandary for those who are troubled by the origins of these findings but are interested in using them. It's also noteworthy that we all face the same ethical problem with the great advancements in medical knowledge that Josef Mengele, et al., provided us (ref: goo.gl/dMR2no). Whatever the source the medical knowledge, I cannot help but agree with you that the results from nonconsensual "vivisection has been pivotal in our advancement".
As an aside, +Viva Sanctions, I'm tempted to quibble over use of the word "sacrifice" when you write that "dismissing or ignoring the contributions of this kind of research makes the suffering and sacrifice of all of those animals seem totally meaningless"; the word "sacrifice" is often used by some folks to romanticize a notion that these individuals are willingly giving their lives for the greater good (which is all so much silliness). However, I don't believe that this was the meaning you intended, so I think I understand and agree with your position here as well. =o)
This post is one in a series in which excerpts of discussions on veganism from other threads are reposted (or paraphrased) for the sake of expanding the conversation. As always, your thoughts and questions are welcome. See the full collection via the #spommveganchats hash (or perhaps with a more robust search, such as goo.gl/JoxZC ).
(for anyone requiring/desiring more context, the original conversation can be found at goo.gl/FWaf1K )
#vegan #vivisection #animalrights