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?