Since the 4th century B.C.E. and possibly earlier, animals have been used by scientists and intellectuals as a source of knowledge, inspiration, and understanding. However, most of these insights have been discovered by the practice of experimentation on animals, which leads to the question; should animals be used as subjects to human experiments? That question can be answered in many ways, but all of the answers are based on one particular idea; animal rights. While animal advocacy groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) constantly proclaim that animals have certain unalienable rights, more than 100 million vertebrates are tested on annually, with exponentially more experiments performed on invertebrate species. The Animal Welfare Act in the United States allows that animal experimentation is legal as long as it is scientifically justified. While these procedures may seem cruel or unusual, one thing is certain; there is nothing that can scientifically substitute animal testing or that could have reproduced the medical and technological advancement that has already occurred because of it. (Lankford)
In order to aptly argue the practice of experimenting on animals, it is vital to understand the philosophical viewpoints regarding animals. Rene Descartes argued in 1641 that humans and humans alone have a mind that can reason. He went on to argue that because animals cannot reason they do not have consciousness and, therefore, cannot suffer because they cannot feel pain. (PETA) During this period of time, the common theme of animal law was that nothing done to an animal was illegal unless it was done to cause harm or misfortune to that particular animal’s owner. In response to Descartes’ writings, many other philosophers penned their own ideas regarding animal suffering. Probably the most significant of these arguments were from the English utilitarianism founder... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2010, 09). Animal Rights 28. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 09, 2010, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Animal-Rights-28-402907.html
"Animal Rights 28" StudyMode.com. 09 2010. 09 2010 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Animal-Rights-28-402907.html>.
"Animal Rights 28." StudyMode.com. 09, 2010. Accessed 09, 2010. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Animal-Rights-28-402907.html.