Ms. Beauchamp – Teese
16 March 2001
Some Cat Saved Your Grandma
Animal rights activists are constantly preaching about how doctors and scientists should give up testing on their cute furry little creatures because it not only causes the animal pain but also the activists’ pain. They just can’t stand seeing Fido and Fluffy in such nauseating conditions and being injected several times until their body gives out, and they can’t stand the sight or even hearing about the poor little Siamese kitten who’s eyes are bloodshot with tests for makeup samples. These activists also believe that alternative methods of testing products are more productive than animal testing, and that the scientists who conduct the tests on the animals are vicious and care nothing towards animals. They are also known to believe that animal testing makes no contribution to society and that clean water and good sanitation, not vaccines and antibiotics, are the solutions to the world’s problems (O’Donell).
Besides being utterly unreasonable with their myths of animal cruelty, animal rights activists are being perfectly hypocritical. If anyone has been hindered by a stroke, any head or spinal cord injuries, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, or any type of surgery they have been helps by the results of animal testing. Without the help of animal testing Polio would still kill and cripple thousands of adults and children, doctors would not have chemotherapy to save children suffering from lymphocytic leukemia, 7,500 newborns would develop cerebral palsy, and smallpox would still be here to kill more than the two million it has already killed (Americans for Medical Progress Educational Foundation. “Without”).
Picture a tall apartment building burning down in furious flames. You are the only person left alive in the still burning building, and you hear two cries for help. One is a pleading meow for safety of tiny pure black kitten, but the other is a desperate and loud scream calling, Help! Help!” You can see that this cry comes from a small, skinny boy, no older than six, and he is shaking uncontrollably due to his server cerebral palsy condition. You are running out of time and can only save the life of either the kitten or the boy. Which would you choose?
It’s only natural to choose the boy over the kitten. Imagine telling this little boy’s mother and father about your striking decision and then telling them, “but the kitten was so small and cute! I couldn’t just leave it there! Sorry about your boy.” The parents would be heartbroken. Not one single thing can replace a human life. Now imagine telling a small girl that you just did not have time to save her pet, but look what you did save, another child just like her. Then ask her what she would have felt like if you had left her for that cat.
By hypotheticals as these we can begin to understand how human lives are more valuable then animal lives, and that without the advances doctors and scientists have made in through their quest in animal testing people of today would be malnourished, sick and diseased, and ultimately dead.
Under one of Darwin’s theories, every population of species has a main goal of survival in any situation. First each population strives to survive against other species, but if they come to the realization that this objective is unattainable, they compete against other members of their own population. As humans we are lucky enough to not have to worry about competing against each other in order to stay alive, but we do have to fight tiny organisms that affect our body in disturbing manners. In order to survive we must use our minds to create vaccinations and antibiotics that allow us to live longer, healthier lives. Keeping with this theory, humans test their vaccinations on animals so that the human race does not put their own kind in jeopardy. Animals of different families are the solution to this epidemic. Scientists use animals to test what have come out to be cures and treatments for such diseases as smallpox, polio, and diabetes. If this kind of research continues to occur people will no longer suffer from AIDS, malaria, and the common cold.
Animal rights activists believe that there are other, safer, and more successful ways of testing research for the same diseases. They are told that these alternative methods of research testing are more efficient and effective than testing on animals People of the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “Alternatives”). This alternative method is known as tissue culture and is composed of monolayers of a precise type of cell and is grown in a culture medium. These monolayers of cells are unable to duplicate the interaction between different types of cell from other parts of the body, and consequently can not compare to animal research. Most scientists consider monolayers incredibly useful tools but they fail to be an alternative to animals (O’Donell). Non-animal testing is significantly less expensive than regular animal testing, and animal rights literature often cites this as an advantage to alternative testing methods People of the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “Alternatives”). This is exactly true. Non-animal testing is cheaper, and is the only reason most people are switching to this method. In a life and death scenario cost is not an issue to be dealt with. Sometime paying more for what you get is the best thing you can do for your health.
As of the year 2000, there are 34.3 million adults and children infected with the AIDS virus in the world. 24.7 million people in Africa alone (UnAIDS). Without the help of animal testing those numbers will climb. Animal research is needed to conquer medical problems of today, just as it has conquered the medical problems of the past. Alternative methods can not withstand this title because they do not carry the potential of effects on other parts of the body. Nothing compares to the use of whole organisms when dealing with serious viruses.
Animal rights activists, such as those affiliated with PETA or ALF, often shield themselves under the false idea that world wide clean water and good sanitation will solve all medical problems. These elements are unquestionably incredibly important to the survival of humans, but only they will not fight off everything. An exceptional example of this can be seen in the 1940’s and 1950’s in the UK, where clean water and good sanitation were standard. Throughout these years there were many fatal causing diseases. By 1940 diphtheria, a highly infectious disease in children that carries, “a false membrane in the passages of the upper respiratory system,” (Encarta), was touching 500,000 people a year. Only through the development of a valuable vaccination, by way of animal testing, was the number decreased to zero (O’Donell). Vaccines are cost-effective and valuable. They are the best solution to killing harmful diseases, but, as of today, they can only be prepared and administered by animal research.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an established animals rights activist group, estimates the “number of animals tortured and killed annually in US laboratories diverge widely – from 17 to 70 million animals,” People of the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “Sadistic”). It is known that, like many other people in the world, researchers are allowed to own and care for domestic pets, and subsequently some do (O’Donell). Just because a person is trying to help the general health of mankind in the best way possible does not mean they are unable to have the compassion needed to care for a pet. Scientists do not want to see their furry little friends at the mercy of humankind’s well being, but they are also searching for a greater cause. The cure for cancer may lie in some unanticipating rat, and that rat, when found, is going to be known throughout the world, just like Dolly, the cloned sheep. Scientists would like to see animal research end, but not at the expense of billions of lives waiting for some unknown vaccination. As of now, there is no other way of testing that is as effective as animals research, and one is not expected in the near future. Until there is, doctors and scientists are going to continue their quest of finding cures by way of animal testing.
PETA is also under the assumption that researchers use less “cute” animals in their testing more because they think people will not object as much to a rat being tested than a cat or dog being tested on. This, by all means, is true. How can scientists get information that is needed to help the general public with their sicknesses when people are outside the laboratories assaulting and disturbing tests that may save their own life someday!
On the morning of November 24, 2000 Jeremy Parkin’s street was closed of to the public so that 14 FBI agents, along with local Sheriff Deputies, with the intention that Parkin would be booked in Jail on “3 counts of Felony theft, 1 count of Felony Criminal Mischief, and 1 count of Felony Burglary,” (7). Parkin is a vocalist leader of the Animal Liberation Front. The charges against him are directly related to his animal activists ties. A good friend of his, Sabrina Forsey is quoted as saying, “The FBI is on a witch hunt to burn someone for the so-called crimes of the Animal Liberation Front, and so far have gotten no where. Harassing and making false charges against this non-violent animal rights activist will not stop the ALF. The ALF will one cease their relentless direct action campaign when every cage is empty,” (7).
The fact is, Parkin is a known member of a known animal rights group who is known for vandalising labortories.
These are the reason why 83% of animal testing is done on rats and mice (O’Donell). Perhaps the same tests done on small mammals would be more beneficial, but scientists are becoming more afraid for their own lives. If actions like the ones described above continue, testing for any kind of medical research will come to a halt because the researchers will be too busy competing for their life with other members of their own species, that they will not have time to think of the survival of man as a whole.
Several direct action animal rights organizations, such as ALF, have a reputation of vandalizing laboratories. In April of 1999 an animal rights terrorist group “stole 116 laboratory animals, ransacked offices, and destroyed computers, microscopes and medical equipment. In addition to causing millions of dollars worth of physical damage, the vandals also destroyed important research projects. Alzheimer’s research was set back – possibly by as much as 2 years. Scientific information that was being compiled to be sent to the US Food and Drug Administration to begin clinical trials of a human cancer vaccine was lost,” (Americansfor Medical Progess Educational Foundation. “Animal”). Groups such as the one who committed this crime could be charged with murder as well as vandalism. With intention they destroyed information that could have one day vaccinated cancer and the people who would have benefited from that research could have lived. If this information was not damaged scientists may have already found cures and vaccinations for many of the diseases that plague our lives.
Organizations like PETA and ALF receive support from most people because they hide their extremists views. A large percentage of people who donate to animal rights groups are pet owners who are concerned about domestic animal abuse. But most animal rights organizations promote abolishing “companion animals.” Getting rid of pets also includes the elimination of guide dogs for the blind. This example indicates that a blind person means no more to an animal rights activist than the dog. Kathy Guillermo, a PETA spokesperson, aired on the radio that she is, “against using guide dogs,” and Ingrid Newkirk, the co-founder of PETA believes, “In a perfect society, we don’t have the need for guide dogs,” (9)
Blind people can not help that they have become blind, and I am sure that they would prefer being able to see the world. Guide dogs not only provide a companion to the blind, but as well as a set of trustful eyes. As of now a perfect world can not exist, but if one could, it would not include any harmful diseases, and therefor to achieve our perfect world, animal research is necessary. In this view, Newkirk is being a hypocrite to his own organization.
Animal rights organizations have sabotaged property, thrown away vital medical research that could save their own lives someday, deceived people into giving them donations, and practically gone against their own views. Their credibility towards animal research is shot, and everyone should be informed about their illegal actions.
Tom Regan, a professor at North Carolina State University and author of an animal rights activist’s book was asked, “if you were aboard a lifeboat with a baby and a dog, and the boat capsized, would you save the baby or the dog?” Regan replied, “if it were a retarded baby, and a bright dog, I’d save the dog,” (9). People like Regan put animals on a more privileged moral plane than people and see more value in a pigs life than that of a diabetic human who relies on the pig for insulin to save his life. Despite the many clinical advances that have been made through the means of animal testing and the known fact that no alternative compares to that of animal testing, these people just do not understand that animal research has and will continue to save millions of lives. Ingrid Newkirk said that even if animal testing found a cure for AIDS, “we’d be against it,” (Carnell). Even more famous and esteemed people such as Darwin believe in research by means of animal testing. Darwin is known for his book, Origin of Species. He knows that animals are a great benefit to mankind and that they are needed in order for our race to continue. In a letter to a Swedish professor in 1881 Darwin wrote, “I know that physiology cannot possibly progress except by means of experiments on living animals, and I feel the deepest conviction that he who retards the progress of physiology commits a crime against mankind,” (O’Donell).
Americans for Medical Progress Educational Foundation. “Animal Rights Terrorists Target Medical Research Facilities.” Online. Internet. 13 Mar. 2001. http://www.ampef.org/pdf/arterror.pdf
Americans for Medical Progress Educational Foundation. “Without Animal Research.” Online. Internet. 11 Mar. 2001. http://www.ampef.org/research.htm
“Animal Rights Activist Arrested by FBI.” Online. Internet. 13 Mar. 2001. http://www.nocompromise.org/news/001125a.html
Carnell, Elisabeth. “Animal Rights Groups Go Too Far.” Online. Internet. 13 Mar. 2001. http://www.animalrights.net/ar001.html
Encarta. “Diphtheria.” Online. Internet. 15 Mar. 2001. http://encarta.msn.com/find/Concise.asp?ti=02F27000
O’Donell, Kevin. “Animal Rights Myths.” Online. Internet. 11 Mar. 2001. http://www.cix.co.uk/embra/armyths.html
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “Alternatives: Testing Without Torture.” Online. Internet. 12 Mar. 2001. http://www.peta_online.org/mc/facts/fsae8.html
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “Animal Experimentation: Sadistic Scandal.” Online. Internet. 12 Mar. 2001. http://www.peta_online.org/mc/facts/fsae1.html
UnAIDS. “Global Estimates of the HIV/AIDS Epidemics as of end of 1999.” Online. Internet. 12 Mar. 2001. http://www.unaids.org/epidemic_update/report/glo_estim.pdf