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Animal Research for Fun and Profit
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nathan



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 6282

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:20 am    Post subject: Animal Research for Fun and Profit Reply with quote

The other day I was surfing the headlines at work and pointed out to my coworkers the coolness of Dean Kamen & Co's latest project, Luke. For those who remember, this news story broke just a day or so after a related bit on a team who plugged a GameGear into a monkey brain and taught him to feed himself using a robotic arm. One of my co-people, someone whose positions I otherwise tend to align with, lamented the abuse of the poor monkey. She felt it was ethically indefensible to test medical devices on unwilling primates (it may or may not have extended to livin' critters in general, I didn't ask and don't know). I suggested that animal research should be limited wherever possible, and as technology progresses it will surely become less and less necessary, but in the meantime the potential benefit to People makes it ultimately acceptable under the right conditions. I genuinely respect her position (though I ultimately disagreed with it), but she seemed uncharacteristically incensed by mine.

What is your position? Are all lives of equal value? If not, by what criteria do you judge their relative worth? How do you feel about people on the "other side?" What were your feelings on the monkey brain dinner scene in Temple of Doom... completely disgusting or completely awesome?
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dazedb42



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 2348
Location: Margaret River, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally would prefer only testing done on humans who of course would volunteer for the greater good, animal testing practices for years have been barbaric and needlessly cruel at times. The thought of having a control animal infected with a disease just so you can see the results on an immunized one strikes me as malicious but in a observational scientific establishment one must do as one must.

I get that with the life cycle of mice it is possible to test over generations very quickly compared to primates or other species enabling the observer to trial over an accelerated time line compared to humans but something in my stomach says this is wrong. I'm sure someone here can correct me if I am wrong but isn't the torturing of small animals in childhood one of the first signs of sociopath tenancies? How is this different in adults?





I am a tripper which I hope none would deny, but I see humanity as the guardians of the planet who are responsible for every living thing, regardless of whether or not they are cute and cuddly. We are the ones who hold the balance in our hands, the custodians of life on the planet, ultimately it is up to us to nurture and protect all life because who else can or will?

That monkey brain scene incensed me beyond belief but hey if it was human babies maybe I would give it a go, it's not like their is a shortage of them.
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YenTheFirst



Joined: 18 Feb 2007
Posts: 2620
Location: Slightly less than crazy.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmm. I feel like doing a stupid point-by-point type thing

Quote:
I personally would prefer only testing done on humans who of course would volunteer for the greater good,

I would personally prefer a ranch full of rainbow ponies, as opposed to my current housing.

Quote:
animal testing practices for years have been barbaric and needlessly cruel at times.

true, but that doesn't mean animal testing itself is necessarily wrong, but the implementation thereof.

Quote:
I'm sure someone here can correct me if I am wrong but isn't the torturing of small animals in childhood one of the first signs of sociopath tenancies? How is this different in adults?

the lighting of fires is another sign of Antisocial personality disorder, and scientists light tons of those! We should have a closer look at the makers of fireworks as well.

Quote:
I see humanity as the guardians of the planet who are responsible for every living thing, regardless of whether or not they are cute and cuddly.

including, by extension, humanity itself. Besides, how else do you propose to cure mouse cancer? Although, I suppose by trying to kill off cancer, which is a living thing, we violate this principle. Perhaps sufficiently developed cancers should be euthanized humanely, or perhaps extracted and placed on life support?


Quote:

That monkey brain scene incensed me beyond belief but hey if it was human babies maybe I would give it a go, it's not like their is a shortage of them.
(emph. mine)
a) human babies can no more give consent or 'volunteer' than a monkey can, so how is that more 'humane' than the current status quo?
b) it's not like there is a shortage of monkeys or mice, either.


hmm. This post is a bit sarcastic and caustic. oh well. I don't feel like toning it down. Yes, treatment of animals in general, including scientific testing in specific, can be made more humane, to a certain extent. No, it shouldn't be, and won't be, done away with entirely.


edit for great justice:
Quote:

Are all lives of equal value?

no. At least, not to me. It would be silly to think otherwise. If I had to pick, in some hypothetical situation, either myself, or a goldfish, to be the sole survivor of a horrific airline crash, I would pick myself, unless given a really good, hypothetical, reason that the goldfish should live. (likely, some great benefit to a number of people being wrought by said goldfish).

All other things being equal, though, I would let the fish die.

If one considers all lives to be truly equal in value, the only ethical response to the hypothetical situation would be to flip a fair coin for survivorship of the hypothetical airliner crash. (which would be quite horrific and painful. so there.) Is there anyone on this forum who would be willing to do such a thing, hypothetically? Also, hypothetically is a fun word.

hi


poe


thetically.
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Last edited by YenTheFirst on Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:57 am; edited 2 times in total
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Darqcyde



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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Location: A false vacuum abiding in ignorance.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the things I've noticed in more recent years are the misleading labels that read:

This FINISHED PRODUCT has not been tested on animals.

So what, do they test it before they add food coloring?
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Sam the Eagle



Joined: 02 Oct 2006
Posts: 2275
Location: 192.168.0.1

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dazedb42 wrote:

That monkey brain scene incensed me beyond belief but hey if it was human babies maybe I would give it a go, it's not like their is a shortage of them.


Your wish is their command
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Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am generally okay with animal testing!

Here are some things I am not really okay with though!

Trauma surgeon training in Iraq!

Quote:
In one course, an advanced trauma treatment program he had taken before deploying, he said, the instructors gave each corpsman an anesthetized pig.

“The idea is to work with live tissue,” he said. “You get a pig and you keep it alive. And every time I did something to help him, they would wound him again. So you see what shock does, and what happens when more wounds are received by a wounded creature.”

“My pig?” he said. “They shot him twice in the face with a 9-millimeter pistol, and then six times with an AK-47 and then twice with a 12-gauge shotgun. And then he was set on fire.”

“I kept him alive for 15 hours,” he said. “That was my pig.”

“That was my pig,” he said.
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DeD CHiKn



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 10223
Location: Baltimore, Maryla*gunshot*

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And the endtimes begin with robotic monkeys.

Bitter robotic monkeys.
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Secret



Joined: 10 Aug 2006
Posts: 5429

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am basically okay with anything that is done to any living thing except humans as long as it's for a good reason and I don't have to watch.
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YenTheFirst



Joined: 18 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd rather have a pig-trained surgeon than one with no experience.
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Ibian



Joined: 30 Mar 2008
Posts: 182

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Custodians of life and the planet. Thats a, well, romantic thought i guess, but also pretty stupid.

We are not guardians, we are masters, gods even. Animals exist to serve us in any way we choose. Law of the jungle baby.
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Sojobo



Joined: 12 Jul 2006
Posts: 2437

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ibian wrote:
We are not guardians, we are masters, gods even. Lesser people exist to serve us in any way we choose. Law of the jungle baby.

I can find no flaws whatsoever in your reasoning!
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mouse



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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Location: under the bed

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

there has been a lot of good done with animal research, at least in medicine. not real convinced about it in cosmetic research, although i guess letting women go blind from mascara or something would be worse. (then again, i don't see the necessity for makeup, but that's just me.)

although research methods have improved, it is still necessary to use whole organisms at some stage. people will cite use of tissue culture and the like for research, but there are interactions that happen in a whole organism that don't happen in tissue culture, and you need, at some point, to see what will happen in the organism to know that your great new medicine for cancer or whatever doesn't also destroy the subject's liver or kidneys. and you can't study brain function in tissue culture - if you want to know if something can be controlled by brain power alone, you gotta hook it up to a brain (although it does seem to me, knowing nothing about the research, it would be better to hook it up to a human brain, since the human can understand what the point of the whole exercise is, and would be more focused in getting it to work. using it to feed a monkey is ok, as long as the monkey is hungry - once he's full, one wonders how much progress is made.)

the ethics of how we treat animals has been evolving in the same way the ethics of using other people has been. not as far, because animals can never give consent, and it is possible to breed animals specifically for research - but we aren't still in the age of the vivisectionists. and there is the problem with learning to heal disease and injury - you have to have diseased and injured flesh to work on. at some point, there will be pain and suffering, and we have to decide where in the process it happens, and, in so deciding, how much we can control the pain, giving the injury. it's horrific to hear about pigs being shot repeatedly in the face to train someone how to handle a trauma victim...on the other hand a) the pig was anesthetized (before and all through the procedure, one hopes); b) the alternative is to train people by dealing with human victims, say in ERs, which means you are subjecting a potentially critically injured person to the care of someone lacking in skills; and c) most pigs don't live to a ripe old age anyway - is it easier, for the pig, to go through the processing in a modern day slaughterhouse? i honestly don't know. and then again - while i don't agree with ibian's 'we are masters, all exist to serve us', people aren't going to go to the effort to raise pigs just to have pigs around. the vast majority of pigs born into this world are born because some human has a use for them, which usually requires the pig's death. is it better to have no pigs at all, or have pigs that will die before their time, with causes that may be deliberately slow (although they can be, as much as possible, painless)?

i think i was about equally affected by the suffering of the pig, and by the apparent feelings of the medic, who was fighting to keep the pig alive. it sounds like he got emotionally involved - with the pig, and with the guys he served with and cared for in iraq. which i am sure makes him a better man, and probably a better medic...but one who i suspect is going to come out of it all with some deep psychological scars. he took the course with the pig, it sounds like, by choice, because he wanted the training to do the best job he could do. was that the only way to teach him those skills?...i don't know. i think he's going to remember the pig as long as he remembers the men in his company, and with some of the same feelings, and i hurt for him. (but then again, i wish he had never been in iraq, and having to keep people alive after they had been shot.)

i think we have a responsibility to the other life we share the planet with, because we do have the greatest power to harm that other life, to destroy entire species even. i don't know that we have to take an entirely hands-off, do no harm to any position. i think we can eat meat, as our ancestors and other animals eat meat. i also think we need to raise and slaughter meat animals humanely (which is actually better for them and us). i think we can raise mice and rats and even pigs and use them (ethically) for medical research. i think if we have respect for life, we can choose to sacrifice it, and when and where and how, and still value it.

i will admit - i don't see all life as equal, not each individual life. i would like to value each individual - but can a fly, that lives only a few days, really be held as equally valuable with a human, or even a dog? i see the value and necessity of flies in the chain of life - but yeah, i'm still going to swat one if it's buzzing around my kitchen. i'll try to save the field mouse my cat brings in, but i won't invite it to set up housekeeping with me. and i tend to believe that large numbers of mice, bred specifically for research, are an acceptable sacrifice for curing cancer (in mice and humans). i'll also accept water rationing, to save whichever goby it is that may go extinct if the metropolitan water district does whatever it would need to do to let people in san diego water their lawns all summer. the goby, as a species, is not replaceable. the mice in the labs in the basement are. i guess that's the bottom line for me. the value of a life is in its uniqueness. more complex life-forms are more valuable, as individuals, because they have the potential for uniqueness in many dimensions.

well, there's _my_ essay, anyway.
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Ibian



Joined: 30 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sojobo wrote:
Ibian wrote:
We are not guardians, we are masters, gods even. Lesser people exist to serve us in any way we choose. Law of the jungle baby.

I can find no flaws whatsoever in your reasoning!

And thats (one of the many reasons) why i dont take bleeding heart animal rights activists seriously. Or most other kinds of bleeding hearts for that matter.
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mouse



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you apparently don't take the responsibility that comes with mastery very seriously either. take that attitude you have towards the environment, and apply it to a business you own, and see how long the business lasts.
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Ibian



Joined: 30 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You wont like this, but the stuff you said above? Thats the same way im thinking. I just put it a different way.
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