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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A victory for animal rights

How could you do it?
Eddie & celery, originally uploaded by travelling punk.

In the news today
Yesterday Newchurch guinea pig farm announced that is was ceasing business, a decision attributed in part to animal rights activists campaigning for 6 years for closure of the farm. This is fantastic break through for animal rights, but it is such a shame that it had to come at such a price.

Some might consider me moderate, but I believe that violence is rarely the answer to any question. Some of the tactics used specifically by the pressure group that is being heralded as a main influence in the closure were violent and morally ambiguous (such as stealing the bones of a deceased relative of the farm’s owners). It is a terrible shame that the struggle had to break down to this very base level in an attempt to achieve what is right.

I for one an opposed to animal testing, much of which is completely unnecessary and tortuous. Medical and scientific professionals have banded together to show support for the need for animal testing, but this support refers to crucial medial research into disease and treatment for major conditions – not the cosmetic and detergent research that is a matter of course for many, and that, I believe, the majority of the animals bred for testing are fed into.

I think there is a huge hurdle for the scientific world to overcome before any supporter of animal rights can sympathise with their view. This is to limit at all costs pain, suffering and casual (mis)use of animals. Much medical research is funded by pharmaceutical companies, who wish to keep their findings secret in order to beat the competition to new breakthroughs and medicines, secrecy driven by profits. This secrecy and failure to share findings means that rival companies do their own research, often emulating exactly the same process as one another, for essentially the same result, but multiple lives will be lost in the process, that could have been saved if findings were shared from the beginning.

I also think that many of the supporters of animal research believe that all of this research is going on medical breakthroughs. Granted some of it is, but millions of animals suffer and die every year because of testing toothpaste, cosmetics, shampoo, detergent, deodorant – virtually every chemical substance in the home. These tests are repeated continually for new mascaras, new formulations of non bio powder and countless other new products. Component chemicals, proven in the past to be safe (through animal testing even), are tested and re-tested even though the specific need is not there. Computer modelling now provides a safe, cruelty free, method of understanding potential adverse reactions of chemicals.

I am no expert, and don’t claim to know better than 500 scientists that believe animal testing is absolutely fundamental to medical research, but I do know that there is so much testing going on every day, that animals like the Newchurch guinea pigs are being bred for, that doesn’t need to and shouldn’t happen.

Check out Uncaged for some more information.


Winter said...

Although I can see the argument for animal testing for serious medical research (still don't like the idea), I agree that too much of it goes on and it should be much better regulated. However, I think testing on animals for cosmetic reasons is absolutely beyond the pale and should be banned. No animal should suffer for the sake of human vanity. It's sad that the actions of the protestors in this case will probably have done much to turn the general public off a very good cause.

Winter said...

Oh yes and thanks for the blogroll return. If you see any good feminist blods which we're missing let us know.

Winter said...

Or "blogs" even...although there's something to be said for the "blods"!