30 July, 2009

On Animal Research

The recent venal response to Dr. Isis' very reasonable worry regarding animal-rights activists posing as university inspectors to gain access to her lab and wreak harm upon herself, her employees, her research, or her livelihood. In response, implied threats against her family were made.

Let's be clear: Toaster supports animal research. I do not support inhumane treatment of animals or unnecessary cruelty, but I will defend the necessity of animal research whenever it called into doubt. I do not undertake animal research lightly, and I seek to treat the rodents I use as humanely as possible. Some persistently argue that animal research is inherently inhumane and cruel, but I find that it is far more cruel to perpetuate human suffering that may be preventable due to animal research by sitting back and doing nothing.

Nonetheless, the recent debate got me wondering how far I would be willing to go to further research that alleviates human suffering. Adult humans aside, I suspect that if taking on a silverback gorilla armed with nothing more than a 22-blade scalpel was guaranteed to save a stranger's child, I would do so. And if that child were family, I'd forfeit the scalpel for a potato.

1 comment:

MGS said...

Here, here!

One time I was camping in a campground that made me a little uncomfortable for my safety, and when I had to use the outhouse in the middle of the night I felt the need to check down the hole to make sure nothing scary was there. What I saw (other than the obvious) was a family of mice and their nest. I suppose it's neat they found a way to stay warm with a constant supply of materials, but I thought to myself that I would much much rather be a lab mouse (who I know from first hand experience have pretty decent lives) than an outhouse mouse.

When any of my acquaintances question my use of animals in research, I share with them my outhouse mouse story.