“How can otherwise decent citizens do these things? How can they become so insensitive to what they are doing? Don Barnes, who spent sixteen years as a biomedical scientist experimenting on animals, and now heads the Washington, DC office of the National Anti-Vivisection Society, calls the state in which he used to do his work ‘conditioned ethical blindness’” (Singer and Gruen 78-80). As a former vivisector, Barnes worked with monkeys and would cut them open while they were still alive. With a primary interest of biological science, vivisectors performed experiments on living animals to advance the understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology. These studies are the few of many branches of biomedical science, the combination biology and medicine which mainly focuses on the health of both animals and humans. Animals are used as “models” for studying human biology and disease to understand basic biology, and as test subjects for the development of drugs, vaccines, antibodies and other medical treatments to improve and advance human health. As models, scientists aim to artificially produce a condition in a laboratory animal that may resemble the human equivalent of a medical disease or injury. Scientists may have good intentions but many do not realize that they are committing a great inhumanity as they continue to exploit animals for the “greater good”. Tom Regan came up with a similar conclusion:
I ask myself the same kinds of question. “Would these changes make a difference in my thinking? Would I say, ‘Well, since the cat lived in a larger cage, was treated gently, and died peacefully, I no longer object to what happened to her’?” My answer is always the same. I would still object to what happened to her…even if she had lived in a larger cage and was killed without undue suffering. I would still want to shout (or at least plead), ‘Stop it! What are you doing! Stop it!’ (2-3).
You wouldn’t let a human being get away with murder because killing is a universal wrong. If the victim was treated gently and died peacefully with an injection, would you allow the murder? No, it’s still murder no matter how you go about it. Similarly, this applies to animal testing as well. Since biology is defined as the study of life, it should foster a commendable degree of respect and compassion for animals. Yet these experiments promote neither.
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