Defending animal testing: Rights and Duties, in man and animals – NOW UPDATED Thursday 31st Jan with breaking news about the ubyssey.ca writer’s building…


24th November 2008…..thought I’d put this in from the Daily Mash.

Updated again….25th March 2008 … this post has got so many pageviews that I think a really proper article from the Libertarian Alliance, about this immensely important subject, examining the whole subject of Natural Rights, and whether these apply to “animals” as well as Humans, ought to be produced. AS we are unpaid amateur bloggers, I can’t guarantee when it will appear, but appear it must.

David Davis

[  UPDATE BIT INSERTED  ] The biological sciences building at UBC was “locked-down” (I guess that means closed off for security purposes) by Police, in response to a “threat”. I don’t know about you, but for me that means I bet you 5p it’s the “animal rights” terrorists wot dun it to this seemingly fine university, with a blog run by sensible, down-to-earth students….. I rate these ALF-type people as far, far, far more dangerous to the future of Man in the universe, and something serious will have to be done about them ,or we are f****d.  They are, in strict temporal-comparison terms, far more immediate and nearby, chronically underestimated, and potentially lethal to civilisation than the IRA, the “Palestinians” (whatever those might be,) the EU itself (which shall of course implode eventually) or “Radical” Islam. This latter one does not even get off the starting block for me, if you look at the long term effects of i-ware, pop bands, MacDonalds and fully-available-plus-half-naked-Euro-totty (mostly very nice too, wish we’d had some of this for ourselves in the 50s and early 60s) on “young Islamic men”. I might write a piece entitiled “HOW THE c-THRU CROP-TOP WILL SAVE THE WORLD.”

And now, here’s the original, unupdated post………………!

I chanced accidentally, via Mark Steyn (a bumpkin’s daily must-read, to banish the creeping, all-miasmic socialist-induced depression about the world and man’s fate) on the UBC commentary site, which approximates I guess to a student blog. The link I followed logged stuf about Mark’s and Ezra Levant’s battle with Modern Nazi Canadian Sondergerichte thingies, known as “Human Rights Commissions”. There is of course no place at all, for these wicked fascist organisations in free, grown-up nations such as Canada: a nation which, along with Poland and the rest of the British Empire, fought precapitalist-barbarian-leftism from the first day to the last in 1939-45 (and incidentally in 1914-18 too…) “People” who “staff” these grotesquely evil outfits, ought either to seek help for neuroses, or perhaps they ought to read some good history books. Then, if they refuse these two quite painless courses of help, then they ought to be asked whose side they are on in the present titanic struggle of Civilisation against…well…its opposite, and have to choose sides and fight for it.

But now, to animals!

So, scrolling down, I caught the fag-end of a debate about testing of drugs and the like, on animals. The article on the ubyssey.ca site was written by a 3rd-year Biochemisty “major” (so I guess I must have been one too, once! I still teach the stuff, and am amazed at what now is considered by today’s youngsters to be a matter of fact when we had no blinking clue earlier) who also incidentally does the site’s cartoons from time to time; it is common to find curiously polymathic scientists, the world over. His thesis is that (1) he thinks humans are more important than animals, then also (2) in order to minimize human suffering and danger in the advance of treatment for ills, it is necessary although not perfectly ideal morally to use animals, and (3) animals’ physiology and biochemistry approximates to living human systems, so minimizes the risk of error and failure to spot harmful side-effects of treatments.

I agree totally with all this. However, he has missed vital points.  If these processes violated “animal rights”, then we should have to deduce that IF animals have rights, that they also have duties – and the innate understanding that goes with identifying these. Since animals clearly owe no duties to anyone or anything identifiable (caring for the young even in “higher” (bad term!) animals is not a conscious obligation, merely a result of fully-formed largely helpless young being born in small numbers, and also some selection for survival-behaviour) then they can have no “rights” as defined in human terms, which have evolved and crystallised into our modern views of natural rights of Man.

That of course does not absolve thinking humans from the obligation to protect animals in our charge from unnecessary harm or pain. As animals, not being humans, can therefore be Man’s property, this provision allows the killing of animals (as painlessly as possible – I guess it’s curtains for “halal” meat, then…???) for food, and also the use of them for checking what happens when we give them new drugs etc. Had for example, the testing of drugs on PREGNANT mammals, for teratogenicity, been routine in the 1950s and 60s (naturally, it now is) then thalidomide would never have been licensed for use as a morning-sickness palliative for women, and would never have been described as being “entirely without  known side-effects”. (It was.)

Socialists, tree-hugging dropouts, hunt-saboteurs, social failures, and others who are viscerally-disposed to defend animals’ corner against man and his needs, ought to consider whether they are right to argue that Man is “for the planet”, or whether instead they are mistaken, and in fact “the planet is for Man”. No possible amount of the wearing of Iraq-1 (or even Iraq-2) faux-camouflage day-leisurewear (made in Vietnam) in the shopping-precincts of Bootle – or elsewhere, even when “doing hunts” – will increase the credibility of these people.

In the end, all the motives of such people come down to a kind of neo-pastoralist lament, supposedly for some past “golden age”, when Man lived in harmony with “his surroundings”, had no influence over them whatever, and “the Lion lay down with the Lamb”….I notice it was never “the Spider with the Insect”. Does anybody consider the rights of insects (animals too, see below) in respect of spiders (also animals?)

Does it always have to be Man who carries the can? If so, then why?

Do “animals rights” “activists” consider Drosophila Melanogaster (the Fruit Fly) to be an animal? It is. To a first approximation, mathematically, “ALL ANIMALS FLY”. Do they know that? Have they done the sums? Animals are not just comprised of furry brown-eyed mammals, and nought else. Many entire phyla of animals have eaten each other, in the normal course of their business, in the most contemporaneously-horrible ways, for hundreds and hundreds of millions of years, before we even arrived.

Finally, no scientist I have ever known wants, or has ever wanted, to be gratuitously cruel to animals.  My father was a scientist for the MAFF for 35 years after the war, and supervised among his other responsibilities (when MAFF was useful for something, such as helping farmers to extract more tons per acre, not like DEFRA now) a “room” and its own staff, which (room) I saw often, and which was full of quite large cages of white rats and mice, all carefully labelled and logged. The temperature was monitored 24/7, the staff knew exactly how old all the creatures were, and where, which cages had to be cleaned when, what amounts of food and water where to be given to what colonies at what hour, etc. I was even allowed to ” privately own” some of the creatures from time to time if I was a good boy, and I kept them at home, looking after them myself in my own cage system, and selling the babies in pairs for 2/6d a pair….if I thought the new owner was a responsible keeper. Yeah yeah whatever, slavery mumble groan knickers. I bought dinky Toys with the proceeds. And Mecanno. And Bayko rods and the like. (Floors are almost unobtainable these days.)

But neo-pastoralist lefties, posing as “scientists” (what a staggering corruption that was) such as Joseph Mengele both authorised and carried out personally the beheading of living human children, for “experiments” on “brains”.  I don’t think you’d get scientists doing this to animals, let alone humans, See and wiki their henchmen, Walter Darré, Adolf Hitler (who loved dogs) and Baldur von Schirach, those great reforming neo-pastoralist European socialists, who were all “kind to animals”, and also had strong views about “people” – particularly those whom their twisted, barbarian precapitalist strain of neopastoralism, led them  to regard as animals.

If proper classical Science was taught to 7-year-olds onwards, we owuld not have the problem of violent disputes over “animal” “rights”. Does anyone know if other advanced nations have such a problem?

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6 responses to “Defending animal testing: Rights and Duties, in man and animals – NOW UPDATED Thursday 31st Jan with breaking news about the ubyssey.ca writer’s building…

  1. It mis-states the issue, to argue that if animals have rights they must have duties.

    We are part of the Animal Kingdom.

    I’m no Randite, but according to Rand, the key criteria are that Man is a creature of volitional consciousness. This is a good working basis for the discussion.

    Animals clearly display volitional consciousness.

    Accordingly, _we_ owe them a duty to respect _their_ legitimate rights.

    The observable fact that there is widespread failure to do so is a matter for shame, and a principle reason why people are increasingly being treated as rightless animals, or — worse — mere objects.

    I’ve volunteered to fly on helicopter gunship missions to protect tigers — an endangered species. Our children will never forgive us if we allow these nagnificent creatures to be killed off for profit or for any other cause.

    Would I willingly use a necessary minimum of force to protect the life of a tiger? Yes I would. Would I revel in it? No, it would be a matter for lifelong regret if I killed someone who was attacking a tiger.

    I would point out that intelligent, free-thinking _people_ are also an endangered species…

    Once, at John Aspinall’s Howletts, I was talking with a keeper by the side of the tiger area. We were _inside_ the 12 foot high fence.

    One tiger looked up from a quarter mile away, and sauntered over, standing ten feet of fresh air away, at 45 degrees to us, listening to us talk. Then, three more fully-grown tigers sauntered over and ‘parked’ in echelon alongside the first. I felt completely safe — more safe than I often feel with people.

    An enchanted and an enchanting time.

    Regards,

    Tony

  2. You may be interested in this libertarian defence of animal rights:

    http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/graham/graham1.html

  3. I disagree with many of the assertions made here; rather than just “socialiststs,” I’ve actually found (in America) that many libertarians are vegetarians or vegans and came to both those decisions through the same line of thinking– we’re all in this together and we should allow each other to do as we please until we violate each other’s rights.

    Animals have no more “duties” toward us than the slave workers who built the pyramids had “duties” to the Pharoah– what an unconvincing argument!

    The rights of animals would be to not have to undergo pain and suffering that can be avoided and simply being left alone, as the above link posted by Mijnheer points out.

    If you look at things from a scientific point of view, we are animals living on this world with monkeys, dogs, and even mice. Much research is done on monkeys, we share an ancestor, and they share 99% of our genome! Only a relatively small amount of strands of genes separate us even from the mouse. Pigs are very intelligent, yet we kill them and eat them thinking nothing of it while obsessing over our relatively stupid dogs and cats.

    Any person who is a libertarian is, in general, smarter than the average person. It doesn’t take too much longer to come to these conclusions: 1.) we’re similar to animals, as proven by science, and in fact we ARE primates ourselves, 2.) we abuse them quite badly and cause them loads of unnecessary suffering because we like to think they’re beneath us, and 3.) we should do our best to try to prevent #2.

    “animals’ physiology and biochemistry approximates to living human systems, so minimizes the risk of error and failure to spot harmful side-effects of treatments.”

    If they are so similar biologically, does it not follow that they suffer in a similar manner to us? Saying that they’re similar as a reason for possibly abusing them is not a good argument. Perhaps humans who are deemed dispensable should be set aside for testing of certain drugs– it would be for the common good, for the advancement of society, and we will all remember their sacrifice fondly as we take our cholesterol-lowering drugs. If taken on as a government program, I’m sure libertarians would be the first to be “volunteered” to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. The depersonalization of animals is, in my opinion, steps away from the depersonalization of people and deciding that some aren’t as worthy as others.

    No person who thinks that animals should be left not to suffer would say that Hitler was kind to animals– people are animals, too, and he certainly wasn’t kind to many people, although he was kind on an individual basis to, for instance, his niece. At the same time, many people claiming to be kind to people are little fascists of their own when it comes to dinner, allowing millions of animals to be slaughtered under horrible conditions so that they can eat “meat.” The same switch which allows someone to forget about how their meat came to their table might possibly allow them to also kill children and innocents– and in fact, many murderers get started by killing animals. They see how powerful they are to kill and no one stops them from killing those animals, so they see they can get away with it and they next move to human prey.

    I just don’t agree with you here, and while I think these animal rights “terrorists” often take things too far and give animal rights activists a bad name, I don’t think there’s a libertarian argument for causing animals unnecessary suffering.

  4. LibertarianGirl says:

    “Perhaps humans who are deemed dispensable should be set aside for testing of certain drugs– it would be for the common good, for the advancement of society, and we will all remember their sacrifice fondly as we take our cholesterol-lowering drugs. If taken on as a government program, I’m sure libertarians would be the first to be “volunteered” to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.”

    If Humans have Natural Rights, then how are they either “dispensable”, or indeed if so at all, then who is to determine who is “dispensable” or not? It matters not at all what the objective of their “dispensability” is – be it drugs testing or whatever, or if they have done something to annoy the dispensability-arbiters – an altogether more sinister scenario, don’t you think? Shades of Joseph Mengele and other NSDAP “doctors” and “scientists” haunt one here.

    I also query your use of the terms “common good” and “advancement of society” here. It is not immediately clear to me how the concept of “common good” either actually exists, or, if so, who is to define it? Furthermore, “society” is “advanced” by individuals choosing (as you know, I feel sure!) to live their own lives without harming other humans or their interests or porerty in the process. If Libertarianism is the apotheosis of benign humanist philosophy, as I believe it to be, then we can’t make an exception for “animals” or their status, thereby creating a conditional class of humans to emulate them, as animals are (1) not human, and (2) they have to be “left alone”.

    What will occur when “animals” (who even now consume 45% by predation and pest-activity, of Man’s food-crops) do even more damage than this? Do you distinguish (I hipe?) between this necessary control, and animal experimentation?

    Also, I am vexed, vexed and even more eternally vexed, by the universal failure to distinguish, on the “animal rights” side, between ANIMALS, by which they mean furry brown-eyed mammals or their near equivalents, and “animals” which includes all multicellular creatures that are not fungi or plants!!!!

    Nobody seems to create a fuss about the milliards of experiments conducted on, say Fruit-Flies!!!! Name me three instances of such complaint.

    Otherwise, I repsect your grounds for disagreement, but cannot change my point of view.

  5. Oh, and I’ve been awfully kind, and added you to the blogroll.

  6. Ingemar Nordin

    “I think a really proper article from the Libertarian Alliance, about this immensely important subject, examining the whole subject of Natural Rights, and whether these apply to “animals” as well as Humans, ought to be produced. ”

    Here is one:

    http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/philn/philn062.pdf

    Ingemar