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Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 4:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

And I will gladly take my chances against diseases that animal research might have cured, as long as people who don't drive cars can be exempt from the effects of global warming and vegetarians can be immune to bird flu.
Felicia Nimue Ackerman (Nimue)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 5:47 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

People's mental lives are on a level so far beyond laboratory rats--people have a sense of identity, of their own futures, etc. There's no such difference between human races. Even retarded people have far more complex minds than rats.Yes, it is a moral issue--it's easy for young & healthy people to spurn animal research but harder for the old&/or ill, whose immediate futures are at stake.Is someone going to bring up chimps? I'm open to empirical arguments about their mental lives. As I've said, I don't really wish death on anti-vivisectionists, anymore than I want evil drivers of big, bad cars to pay with their lives.
Lynne (Lynne)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 6:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have been very fortunate with my own health, and have even taken action to avoid the need for drugs to control my diabetes, but it is a TOTALLY different matter when your own child suffers from a condition that devastates their life. You take what you can get and are grateful for medical advances.

I love animals and would hope that the hamsters were humanely treated throughout their lives before making the ultimate sacrifice.

We did everything we could to prolong our dog's life and a lot of the treatment he received for lymphoma was similar to that of human lymphoma sufferers. The knowledge gained helps both species, so it can work both ways.
Vae (Vaetrus)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 7:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Eh... I'm all for research, but I don't believe in forcing others to endure what you reap yourself. So if we want the cures, we have to test ourselves. Why do unto others, what you don't wish for yourself?
Felicia Nimue Ackerman (Nimue)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 7:54 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Because laboratory rats are not "others" on a par with humans. My interpretation of the Golden Rule is that I (a healthy, able-bodied person) don't want to die of a disease that could be cured through animal research; so I'm not asking my fell0ow humans who are unlucky enough to be ill to do so.
Felicia Nimue Ackerman (Nimue)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 7:56 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

By the way, animals may rarely kill people in the first world, but it happens all the time in the third.
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 9:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does the complexity of one's mind affect one's ability to feel pain?
Felicia Nimue Ackerman (Nimue)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 9:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Actually, yes. Do worms & amoebae (sp?) feel pain (or even have minds)? Also, part of pain is the sort of fear & despair that's beyond the ken of laboratory rats.Of course, I don't think Einstein has more of an ability to feel pain than Forrest Gump.
Lynne (Lynne)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 9:46 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

While I understand opposing views to the (pragmatic?) view that I take, I am just curious to know whether there is anyone here who has actually refused life-saving medication that may have resulted from animal testing on behalf of someone else for whom they have responsibility? or even for themselves in a real rather than a hypothetical situation?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 9:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Amoebae are not animals; they are protists. We have less in common with them than we do with plants, but neither plants nor protists nor fungi nor bacteria have central nervous systems, so it is sensible to assume that none of these organisms has the ability to feel pain.

Worms (by which I assume you mean earthworms) do have brains and nervous systems, and probably some ability to feel pain.

But we were talking about rats and other mammals, weren't we? (If a human disease could be cured as a result of experiments on no animals other than earthworms, I would not strongly oppose this. But it seems unlikely.) There are quite a lot of experiments being done on rats in an attempt to understand pain in humans. If rats cannot feel pain, how can these experiments possibly yield useful results?
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 10:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Lynne, I apologise if any of what I have said here sounds like I'm not being sensitive to your situation. The answer to your question is no, I have never refused medication for myself or for another on the grounds that it had been tested on animals.

I do not oppose all animal experimentation, and experiments that have real potential to alleviate a lot of human suffering are the hardest to oppose. But it is important to understand that these make up only a tiny minority of animal experiments. It is also important to understand that in many cases the experimenters do not make much of an effort to prevent the animals from suffering unnecessarily. I think it is admirable that you hope that the hamsters that were killed for the sake of your daughter's health were treated humanely, but have you tried at all to find out whether this was actually the case?
Lynne (Lynne)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 10:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

No I haven't. And I know in all honesty that it wouldn't change my mind. Any more than knowing that there is suffering in the human race and I can't do much about it. As they say, one person cannot change the world but I can change the world for one person (and our dog) :)
Felicia Nimue Ackerman (Nimue)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 10:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I didn't say rats couldn't feel pain; I said their ability to do so wasn't on a par with humans'. As for amoebae, I think I was taught in Zoology 101 that they were the simplest animals, but I realize that 1.) I may be wrong (I nearly flunked the course, anyway) 2.) Even if I was taught this, it may be obsolete.
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 11:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Regardless of how you do the taxonomy, amoebae do not have brains or nerves or spinal cords, so it is reasonable to assume that they do not feel pain or pleasure or happiness or suffering.

And I'll ask my question again: if it's wrong to completely ignore the suffering inflicted on black people for the benefit of white people (by, for example, using them as slaves), why is it acceptable to completely ignore the suffering inflicted on rats for the benefit of humans? Here, I am talking less about the development of things like insulin, which I admit are more of a grey area, and more about the development of things like new formulations of dish detergent and cosmetics, which you also said you favor.

For that matter, why is it acceptable to completely ignore the suffering inflicted on chickens and cows and pigs and turkeys and fish for the benefit of those who think they taste good? But this, I admit, is a cauliflower of an entirely different vintage.
Felicia Nimue Ackerman (Nimue)
Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 11:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't believe in completely ignoring the suffering of animals--I their pain should be minimized insofar as is compatible with doing research.But blacks & whites are equals but people & animals are not. If I were black, I wpould be insulted by your parallel.Do you think animals should have all the freedoms people do? I'm far too moved by the plight of ill & disabled humans to support animal rights,
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2005 - 11:00 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"I don't believe in completely ignoring the suffering of animals--I their pain should be minimized insofar as is compatible with doing research."

It is good that you believe this. But it is quite often not what happens. And there is quite a lot of research that necessarily involves considerable animal suffering, but is not even intended to help alleviate any human suffering.

"But blacks & whites are equals but people & animals are not."

"Equality" is a moral principle about how we should treat people, not a statement of fact. Suppose it were proved that black people were, on average, much smarter than white people, or vice-versa, or that the two groups differed profoundly in some other ability. Then blacks and whites would no longer be "equals". Would this be sufficient justification for racism?

"If I were black, I wpould be insulted by your parallel.

I'm sorry you feel that way. I believe that racism is wrong, and if I have led you to believe that I feel otherwise, I apologise.

"Do you think animals should have all the freedoms people do?"

Of course not. That would be absurd. We don't grant newborn babies the rights to vote, own property, run for office, or move freely and independently about the country, because their minds are not (yet) developed enough for them to be able to do these things, or to care whether they are allowed to do them or not. We do grant them the rights to food, clothing, and shelter, and the right not to have pain inflicted upon them, because they do care about these things.

Rats and mice and cats and dogs do not, as far as I know, understand the concept of owning property, nor do they care whether they live in California or New Jersey, or who the President of the United States is. They have no interest in these things, so it would make no more sense to grant them the above-mentioned rights than it would to grant these rights to newborn babies. But they do care about whether they receive electric shocks and have corrosive chemicals rubbed into their eyes and things of that nature.

"I'm far too moved by the plight of ill & disabled humans to support animal rights,"

Is the plight of these ill and disabled humans such that they really need new formulations of dish detergent and eyeshadow? What's wrong with the old dish detergent and the old eyeshadow?
Felicia Nimue Ackerman (Nimue)
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2005 - 7:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

By Johanna (Buzzard) on Thursday, December 01, 2005 - 11:00 am:

"I don't believe in completely ignoring the suffering of animals--I their pain should be minimized insofar as is compatible with doing research."

It is good that you believe this. But it is quite often not what happens. And there is quite a lot of research that necessarily involves considerable animal suffering, but is not even intended to help alleviate any human suffering.
I never claimed to support everything every reasearcher does

"But blacks & whites are equals but people & animals are not."

"Equality" is a moral principle about how we should treat people, not a statement of fact. Suppose it were proved that black people were, on average, much smarter than white people, or vice-versa, or that the two groups differed profoundly in some other ability. Then blacks and whites would no longer be "equals". Would this be sufficient justification for racism? Of course not. A minimum human level of mental life is necssary for human rights, but smarter people don't have more rights, just as voters must pass a literacy test but better readers don't get more votes

"If I were black, I wpould be insulted by your parallel.

I'm sorry you feel that way. I believe that racism is wrong, and if I have led you to believe that I feel otherwise, I apologise.

"Do you think animals should have all the freedoms people do?"

Of course not. That would be absurd. We don't grant newborn babies the rights to vote, own property, run for office, or move freely and independently about the country, because their minds are not (yet) developed enough for them to be able to do these things, or to care whether they are allowed to do them or not. We do grant them the rights to food, clothing, and shelter, and the right not to have pain inflicted upon them, because they do care about these things.

Rats and mice and cats and dogs do not, as far as I know, understand the concept of owning property, nor do they care whether they live in California or New Jersey, or who the President of the United States is. They have no interest in these things, so it would make no more sense to grant them the above-mentioned rights than it would to grant these rights to newborn babies. But they do care about whether they receive electric shocks and have corrosive chemicals rubbed into their eyes and things of that nature.

"I'm far too moved by the plight of ill & disabled humans to support animal rights,"

Is the plight of these ill and disabled humans such that they really need new formulations of dish detergent and eyeshadow? What's wrong with the old dish detergent and the old eyeshadow? While I don't oppose cosmetics testing, I never said it was a moral imperative. I just said trhat about research on illness. Are you prepared to tell an AIDS partient that you would rather have him die in agony than have laboratory rats be experimented on?

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Vae (Vaetrus)
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2005 - 9:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

But the fact is that alot of people who take such cures or products aren't always aware of how that came about. I personally have never wished that anyone or anything should be exposed to anything or tested and examined to cure me. I just can't stand other living things taking what I could gladly undergo myself. I mean, if I had the choice, and the ability to cure aids my giving up my life: I'm all for it. But if given a choice, I'm gonna side with the fact that animals don't want this treatment.

Although I'm not sure about things that can't feel pain, like single-celled organisms. And that includes even worms, which have enough conciousness to avoid pain.

But I admit, that might sound hypocritical for eating meat. I rationalize that with the food chain, and survival instinct training. If they had the ability to kill me for nourishment and life, they would do so. So I complacate my mind with that. Although if I ever saw the slaughterhouse, I probably can't stand it. It's always much easier to avoid dealing with that if I never have to see it. Which is true for alot of things.
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2005 - 11:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm not talking about AIDS patients. I'm talking about eyeshadow and dish detergent, because you said you favor animal testing of these products, and I want to explore that. Your statement that you are too moved by human suffering to be worried about animal suffering makes some sense when there is a direct trade-off between human suffering and animal suffering, but the vast majority of experiments on animals are not even intended to alleviate any human suffering. If all of these experiments were stopped, as they should be, humanity would be no worse off, and the animals would be much better off.

I favor a utilitarian balancing of human and non-human interests: if an experiment is expected to alleviate more suffering than it causes, then that experiment is morally justifiable. If not, then it is not. It's not a perfect system, because we don't know how to exactly measure animal suffering relative to human suffering, but with most experiments we can get a pretty good idea.

It is worth keeping in mind that some animal experiments cause more human suffering than they were ever intended to alleviate, because the experimenters' assumptions about the similarities between humans and animals turned out to be false. See "thalidomide".
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2005 - 11:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It is possible, of course, that the philosophical justification for opposing speciesism on the same grounds as one opposes racism and sexism rests on assumptions about the similarities between humans and animals that are also false.
Mosquito (Mosquito)
Posted on Friday, December 02, 2005 - 10:05 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I do not think that "speciesism" has been mentioned, nor that it has been seriously suggested that causing animals to suffer is the same as causing humans of another race to suffer.
What has been asserted is that mammals, at least, feel pain, and that causing them pain is not morally neutral, and may be much worse than this.
Johanna (Buzzard)
Posted on Friday, December 02, 2005 - 11:10 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What Mosquito said. She's better at this than I am. :)

I would prefer not to speak in terms of "speciesism" because different people have different ideas of what that word means, and I do not want to get bogged down in arguments over definitions.