Animal testing is a hard reality

What I like about PZ Myers is he speaks his mind, and takes a stance on a variety of controversial subjects. Because he’s a biologist by trade, he’s passionate about defending animal testing. It’s not a popular position, but as he mentions in his blog, the tactics of animal rights activists are sometimes completely disgraceful and dangerous. Take this incident that occurred in 2006:

J. David Jentsch, a UCLA neuroscientist who was the target of a recent attack by anonymous animal-rights activists.  In the attack, Jentsch’s car was set on fire while it was parked in front of his Westside home.

I think it’s time we stop believing nature is a giant Disney movie. The fight for survival in the wild is brutal, chaotic, violent, and unmerciful. As we speak, genocidal wars are going on all around us. Because we have largely divorced ourselves from the struggle for survival, we take for granted the fact any organism can act ethically, especially towards vastly different species.

Scientists who test on animals take great care to avoid causing unnecessary pain and suffering. Obviously, there will be casualties, but does anyone naively think we can have any advances in medical technology without testing? If we were to stop, roughly 80% of all research would be eliminated. And at the end, what benefit would it be to the organisms? Do you really think a rat is happier running around sewers fighting off other males for food and reproductive rights?

I do agree we should do our best to minimize the pain these organisms feel. But life is suffering, and in nature, where the pressures of natural selection force lifeforms to engage in a daily struggle to survive, pain is inevitable. There are almost no animals that die of ‘old age’. Most are slain, some die of starvation, and others succumb to painful injuries. Yep, nature is a bitch.

I know animals are cute, and we feel terrible for testing them. That’s a redeemable quality, but it isn’t very practical, or very realistic. We live in a world defined by conflict, and the only way to escape the brutality of nature is to understand it. Let’s stop trying to make hard moral choices after watching The Lion King, shall we?

Comments (6)

  • avatar

    CybrgnX

    It has been said by others in the past that I’ll pay attention to their protests they have taken the animals place in the lab.

  • avatar

    Márcio

    This article shows weak analysis and a very condescendent and dismissive atitude. For you to equate the huge (in number and in depth)animal rights movement to a bunch of people that base their morals in disney movies is laughable.

  • avatar

    dr.death

    Watch Penn and Tellers : Bullshit episode on peta.

    Marcio stop acting butthurt, will you?

    You can’t deny the fact that animal testing is the essential tool required to further human knowledge of biology, pathology, neurology, psychology etc.(the list goes on to anything related to the medical fields). What it comes down to is ethics, how well are these animals being treated?, and are the guidelines being met for the experiments?

  • avatar

    Marley Marl

    I love animals, and I am all for them being treated well ect, but I agree 100% with this article. These animals are not like your family pets, there purpose is for furthering medical science.

    Animal activists, vegetarians ect, are crazy for not supporting the furthering of human technology, and basically any medicine they take probably came into development with trial runs on animals.

  • avatar

    Márcio

    “Marcio stop acting butthurt, will you?”

    Why am I acting butthurt? Do I have to agree with everything that is said? Or do I only have the right to comment if I agree with the article? For someone who is at a atheist website you show the level of tolerance of a religious freak. Maybe that was to be expected to someone who takes is “information” from a couple of magicians.

    I was only stating that the article was dismissive and that the “I know I’m right and everyone else who desagrees with me is a disney watching idiot” attitude is childish. I’ll stick by what I wrote.

  • avatar

    dr.death

    @Marcio
    Well if an animal rights activist is fire bombing scientists cars , how much morals do you think they have?
    Thats pretty childish if you ask me, and Jake didn’t direct his statement to any specific animal rights group except the annonymous one that fire-bombed the scientists car.

    To answer your question.
    no, I don’t agree with jake or ryan on many things, just check my comments on their other site. :P

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