Back and Forth on Animal Experimentation

This email chain was in response to an article in about animal experimentation. The article is on the wired website here:

I thought I'd post it on my website and see if anyone cared to voice their feelings on this.
Please chime in with your comments on this debate, your feelings, or the article in the Wired magazine.

On Wed, Nov 4, 2009, rekzkarz wrote:
> Michael & Wired,
> As someone that is not particularly religious, nor 'PETA', nor a vegetarian, I was still disturbed by the positive spin built into this article on mixing mice brain genetics with pond scum (chlorophyll) and then having LEDs inserted into the mice brains -- and not once any question about morality, or if this is acceptable, or the question of 'means to an end' is relevant, etc.
> The fact that 'Frankenstein' is not written in the article is noteworthy, but what I find more lacking is the absence of ANY moral questioning.
> Perhaps it's too 'retro' to put the question in Wired ('what the fuck are these mad scientists doing to these living creatures in their secret laboratories'), but I was struck by the total lack of rights of living creatures to the extent that, from our 'warped human-focussed scientific perspective', it seems all creatures are nothing more than tools for human progress.
> Who gave these people the right to torture & warp these animals 'in the name of science'?
> I think a bizarre side-product of your article is the disgust I feel at reading how real scientists are actually WORSE than the most evil doctors in scifi and films!
> Ari -- (blog)
> sent via iPhone-bot

--- Michael Chorost, the author, wrote me back on 11/8/09 ... but when I told him I had posted his response to my blog, he demanded I take it down immediately and said he had not given me permission.
I didn't know I needed permission to post his response, but I am a nice guy, so I'm taking it down.
But I'm leaving MY responses here, and the link to the article:

In some ways, my experience with this article in Wired reminds me of when I read an old Wired (15th Anniversary) cover "Nuclear Power is the new Green fuel" or something, and was completely obsessed with arguing with that writer & disputing the entire basis of the article.
(In fact, I'm going to email the writer, Amanda Grsicom Little, again about this damned propaganda article!)

This guy has a blogpost article supporting how Wired was on the right track with nuclear power.

Nope, sorry dude. WRONG!
Give me a break! While the Sun is nuclear powered, the Earth is completely powered by solar, wind, and thermal. The only reason we would need nuclear power is because we continue increasing our demand for power, and keep producing all this garbage!
But that's not a winning strategy (for us or the rest of the creatures of the Earth)!

OK, back to animal experimentation...

Sent today Nov 9, 2009 by Ari


I look forward to another response from you, please.

If I agreed with the core underlying issue, that human life must be preserved at all costs, I might agree with the explanation.

But I think the moral issue for me is that human life is not the apex of creation, the peak of the evolutionary process, which must be preserved. (In many ways, if you look at our world, doesn't it seem like the union of {human lack of foresight + greed + industrial revolution} can be seen as the biggest threats to life the Earth has ever faced?)

My view is that LIFE must be preserved, and that if humans understood their roles on Earth better, our moral goal would be to preserve 'all life in reasonable proportion', which would include inalienable rights to life for both plants & animals. Right now, human life is unacceptably dominating the Earth and destroying far too much of the Earth's billion-year evolved ecosphere -- and we are just now starting to feel the price of our unrestrained exploitation.

Humanity is continuing forward blindly, without considering the impacts of technology. (This is one of my problems with Wired, a magazine which endorses all forms of corporate-sponsored gadgeteering but hasn't seemed to realize that this makes a lot more non-biodegradable garbage.)

Rather than spending billions on preserving human life at all costs (incl torture & experimentation on animals, and billions of $ on R&D), and simultaneously spending billions on war machinery and the world domination industries...

Humanity could be using it's vast resources to:

* Clean up the refuse of the industrial revolution
* Restore the old-growth forests
* Switch over to renewable (non-destructive) power
* Help ALL people around the world live their lives to the best potential (ie making famine and environmental decrepitude into expressions of the past)

However, I see your point.
We need lots of $$$ in animal experimentation to help wealthy, 1st world children (and adults) to live to their fullest -- even while the already living & healthy children of 2nd & 3rd world countries starve to death b/c of lack of resources.

So far in this response, I hadn't even brought up the question of whether animals have inherent rights to life, liberty, equality, etc. I didn't even mention (until now) the fact that, simply b/c animals cannot speak a human language, they are treated as means to an ends, rather than our fellow brothers & sisters who have evolved over billions of years and share most of our DNA.
From my perspective, in one hundred years or so, the animal experiments you describe will likely be seen as equivalently evil and vile to the human experiments performed on Jews by the NAZI's.

But I say that b/c I can see from a larger perspective. It's a continuation the cycle of domination and exploitation which has in it's origins slavery, forced prostitution, and empire.

Here's a simple test to determine if the animal experimentation practice is sound morally, or is it reprehensible, cruel, and unjust:

How would you feel about this if the roles were reversed, and the animals were the superior life-form performing experiments on humans to ensure their extended survival?
Would you volunteer to be a test subject to have your brain experimented upon?
Why not?

As I said, I look forward to this next response from you.


No comments: