Animal Testing. the blackest of all crimes

Topics: Animal testing, Animal rights, Animal Liberation Front Pages: 3 (1096 words) Published: May 6, 2013
“Vivisection [animal testing] is the blackest of all crimes that man is at present committing against God and his fair creation.” These words, spoken by Mahatma Gandhi, plainly illustrate the disgust many people feel for animal testing. Other people, however, knowing that experiments on animals have led to many useful discoveries such as: new vaccines, new cancer therapies, artificial limbs and organs, new surgical techniques, and hundreds of other useful products and materials, believe that performing tests on a few animals is worth it. Many of these people fail to realize that billions of animals have been burned, crushed, sliced, electrocuted, poisoned with toxic chemicals, and psychologically tormented during experiments on animals. Though animal testing may appear to provide some benefits to humans, it is actually cruel and unnecessary. One of the most important issues related to the morality of experimentation on animals is the extent to which animals are aware. This controversial subject has been debated for centuries. The seventeenth-century “Father of Modern Philosophy” Rene Descartes, who believed animals to be incapable of language, supported the idea that animals have no thoughts or consciousness at all (Regan 3). His hypothesis, however, seems to be contradicted by successful efforts to teach primates American Sign Language. One such example of a literate chimpanzee is Nim Chimpski, who was taught for four years by a team led by Columbia University psychology professor Herbert S. Terrace. Nim Chimpski learned the signs of over a hundred different words, though his sentences remained short and simple (Regan 13). As some animals are capable of rudimentary language, it is clear that they possess some level of intelligence and consciousness as well. Nineteenth-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham, however, stated, “The question is not ‘Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?’” (qtd. in Andre and Velasquez). According to Last...
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