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In the movie Extreme Measures, a brilliant doctor attempts experimental surgeries on live patients (who eventually die), trying to find a way to help spinal cord victims walk again. I think most agree that this is immoral. But what about when it comes to animals? All over the world, we breed animals only to kill them and eat them. Is that cruel? Is that moral? Should morality be based on whether or not we think the living thing has the capacity for suffering? No doubt that many medical treatments are now available because of animal testing. You might even make the argument that animals are required for human health and prosperity. Is it ethical to experiment on animals to develop products and medicines that benefit humans?


When you burn your finger, the grimace on your face sends a universal message. From Finland to Fiji, virtually any human on earth need only see your face to know that you're in pain. Facial expressions, anthropologists have long known, are an international language. But that language, it turns out, isn't exclusive to humans. Mice also express pain through facial expressions - and those grimaces are remarkably similar to yours or mine, according to a recent article published in the journal Nature Methods.

In that extremely controversial study, researchers used a wide range of methods to subject mice to various levels of pain. They immersed the animals' tails in hot water, used radiant heat on them, attached a binder clip to their tails, injected irritants into their feet, induced bladder inflammation with a chemical that causes painful cystitis in humans, and injected acetic acid, causing the mice to develop abdominal constriction and writhe. They performed surgery on the mice and did not provide postoperative analgesics.

...It is now widely acknowledged that animals do suffer, Bekoff explained. Decades of observational and experimental research have provided evidence that animals experience physical pain. Psychological suffering - chronic fear, anxiety, and distress - is another major issue, possibly the most neglected one in animal research. Perhaps Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), a legal scholar and social reformer, said it best: "The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?'

Animal Research: Why We Need Alternatives


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Nov 10, 2010 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=377

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