December 5, 2012
The fallacy of our ethical system
Norman led Jennie into the laboratory and had her sit on a metal table near the windows. She sat quietly while Norman fitted her with a helmet containing electrial monitors and couplings for attaching the helmet to other devices. She was watching people walking across the lawn. When Norman finished, she had to lie down while the helmet was secured to a large machine and her arms and legs were secured to a table. All she could see now was the ceiling. Norman hooked up the monitoring devices in the helmet to a large console, checked out his equipment, and then turned it on. Jennie's head was given a tremendous blow by a piston that crashed into her helmet. She was knocked unconscious and stayed that way while Norman pried off her helmet. When she regained consciousness, she went into convulsions for two minutes. When the convulsions stopped, Norman ran some tests on her. She was blind now and could not control her arms sufficiently to grasp and carry to her mouth some food placed in her hands. Finally, she was wheeled into another room where she was given an injection. Jennie died in less than a minute, and Norman began the work of decapitating her, describing the condition of her brain, and preparing slices of her brain tissue for microscopic analysis (Sapontzis).
This is one of the many inhumane stories of animals who die every day for the sake of laboratory testing. Animal experimentation is a huge field that includes three main types of experimentation. Basic research, applied research and toxicology testing are the main fields of animal experimentation (Lankford 7). Although things like basic research is less harsh that toxicology testing, all experiments use animals as subjects to kill. Also, animal experimentation has extended to the many braches of science and there are a lot of people involved with it. From private cosmetic companies to big governmental corporations, they all experiment on animals (Lankford 9-10). Many researchers find it to be beneficial to test chemicals meant for humans in animal subjects- from household products and cosmetics to cures for fatal illnesses- but animal experimentation is unnecessary and ethically wrong.
Research gathered from animal testing is more than often inaccurate. The animal testing provides no surely whatsoever about what these chemicals do to humans (Greek). Greek provides insight into the biological differences between humans and animals. Although humans and animal have very similar body systems, the systems have visible differences. These visible differences have an impact when it comes to assimilating drugs (Greek). For example, rats have no gall bladder; this makes it easier for them to detoxify themselves. Greek also explains that rats always breathe through their nose and have different skin absorption mechanism than humans. Therefore, gas toxins and epidermal lotions will not affect rats to a lethal level. These are differences on a gross level, and already will yield completely different results than if the same drugs are used on humans.
There are also smaller differences between humans and animals. These are harder to observe since they are largely chemical. Greek explains:
Therein lies a greater dilemma. Medications do not act on the macro-organism, the large, visible level of, say, keeping the organs in the right arrangement or bones in the right place. Medications act on the microscopic level. They interrupt and/or initiate chemical reactions, altering molecular activities that are far too small for the human eye to observe. Indeed, medication’s actions are not apparent, even with high-tech instrumentation, until they occur. In short, we may give humans some lethal chemical and have no idea why they die. This occurs simply because we didn’t pay attention to significant chemical differences between humans and the...