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People and Politics Forum 12. 12. 2008

"Is animal testing a scientific necessity or an act of unnecessary cruelty?"

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More information:

Animal Testing: Where does freedom of researchend and cruelty to animals begin?

Research using Macaque monkeys has been conducted for years at Bremen University. It's been controversial almost since day one. Now Bremen's city government has decided to allow the research license to lapse for the time being. Andreas Kreiter, neurobiologist and animal physiologist at the institute, has filed a lawsuit and says he'll go all the way Germany's Constitutional Court if necessary. The scientists want Bremen to continue funding basic research into neurobiology. We examine the pros and cons of animal research and ethics in science.

Our Question is:

"Is animal testing a scientific necessity or an act of unnecessary cruelty?"

Renè Junghans, in Brazil, is in no doubt:

"This is cruelty to animals and I am diametrically opposed to it. It’s a crying shame the way these poor monkeys and other animals are subjected to their own painful ruin through inhumane experiments. We all know that many cures have been discovered or perfected through laboratory testing on animals, and that these have helped to extend the lives of many people. But we should not be using simians for such tests. They are our ancestors, and frankly, they get along a lot more peacefully than we do. Scientists can perform their tests on mice, rats and dogs. If the results look promising, they can confirm by further testing on themselves. This is the only way they can be certain that a medication is safe to release to the public. If researchers are afraid of their own products, then it is clearly not safe for the public at large. In the case of cosmetics, animal testing is entirely indefensible. It is nothing short of a criminal act of cruelty to test on animals for the sole purpose of satisfying women’s vanity. Scientists should try to see it this way: were we to live on the planet of the apes, we most definitely would not want to be come the objects of laboratory experimentation."

Gerhard Seeger, Philippines:

"One thing is certain: We humans are heavily indebted to animals, and not only for advances in medicine. I assume that most of the effective medicines and medical procedures – such as operations, vaccinations, etc;-- were tested on animals. Would the consummate opponents of animal testing really forego all treatments developed with the help of animal testing if their own kids were seriously ill? No decent person is for cruelty to animals (and no animals should be used in the development of cosmetics). Rats and dogs are also living beings, and those who suggest using them in place of other animals are on the wrong path. I am inclined to believe that our scientists have the sense of responsibility and conscience to keep animal testing and the pain levels involved to a minimum. At least I hope that’s the case. Apropos suffering: Is there anyone against the eradication of the types of epidemics and ailments that used to mean death or lifelong disability to those once stricken by them?"

Helge Weyland, Argentina:

"Testing on animals is clearly a type of cruelty. But how would one label the alternative: Testing on humans?"

Martin Burmeister, Venezuela:

"It falls upon a researcher’s sense of responsibility to decide just how far he will go in the application of animal testing. Once the animal starts to feel pain, the researcher must take immediate action."

Erwin Scholz, Costa Rica:

"Rats and Frogs and Apes and Mice,

Improve our lives with sacrifice,

They suffer while the scientist toils

whose yield we love, new cremes and oils."

Charles Smyth, Great Britain:

"Animal testing is not only about testing drugs and procedures on animals for the benefit of humans, but is also for the benefit of farm animals, domestic pets and endangered species in the wild. Much animal testing is only undertaken in order to reduce damages from litigation, which the public would be loath to forego."

Janelle Bontia, Philippines:

"It took more than 600 years for he Christian West to realize that slavery is immoral. Now is the high-time to end animal testing. Since medical science is a progressive institution that I think it is. It must find the will to progress beyond this barbarism."

Badrinath Sunku, India:

"The world we live today is the result of past experiments conducted on various subjects which includes humans, though it may sound cruel, animal testing should be allowed BUT controlled."

The People and Politics desk reserves the right to edit and abbreviate texts.