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Animal research benefits

Dave Featherstone davef at ahi.pbrc.hawaii.edu
Mon May 23 23:24:32 EST 1994

Animal rightists often don't dispute that much current biological
knowledge is the result of animal experimentation.  They always say
that non-animal systems (cell culture, modeling, etc.) are adequate
replacements, however.  I have seen animal-rights supporters claim
that no 'significant' medical contributions have come as a result of
animal use.  They often support this claim with evidence that most
medicines are derived from botanical sources, not animals.  What is
almost always overlooked is the role TESTING holds in drug

I have found that most extremist animal rights arguments are based on
misconceptions.  Education seems to be the answer.  Many of the
common animal rights arguments can be shot down easily and quickly if
you're willing to point out the inadequacy of most commonly-used
models.  Eventually, things get into a grey area, particularly when
arguing with extremists, about the relative value of human and animal
lives.  If one's value system is such that an animal life (and the
quality of that life) is as important as a human life, then I don't
thing a scientist has any good arguments, since the best model for
human biology is, of course, humans.  And a clever animal rightist
will point out that cruel, most politically-incorrect fact.
We scientists and extremist animal rightists simply have different
values.  Moderate animal rightists, who, deep in their heart, value
human lives more than most experimental animal's lives can be
convinced.  As I said, I have found most animal rights literature to
be propaganda based on misinformation/misconception.  This can be
countered with education.  Differences in values (i.e. the PETA
founder's statement that 'a dog is a pig is a boy') cannot.

Good luck,


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