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Debate Club: The use of animals for testing

catcochlear

I must admit, I love debates; and the caliber of those in our community make this forum an excellent opportunity to hone our chops in this area.  We previously held an excellent debate discussion here at TC on the issue of parental rights versus responsibility regarding medical treatments for their children.  Therefore, I’d love to have another go.  We could all use a distraction from the hostile-to-women environment our current Democratic leaders are fomenting.  Join in if only out of love for the ‘art of the argument.’

The debate topic I’ve chosen is the use of animals for testing.  It’s well known that animals are used for testing in several areas including medical and consumer products.  Much of the testing inflicts great pain other testing is considered more humane.  But pain infliction is not the core question I’ll be asking for a debate on.  It is the question of right or obligation relative to our species’ actions towards another.  I’m sure the scientists in our group will certainly have a few things to say about this and I think it should make for an interesting and lively conversation.

The New York Times profiled a research effort at the Salk Institute this week that I thought might provide an excellent platform for a good old fashioned debate. In the following article: Salk institute Scientists Research how Animals Regenerate Body Parts, they profile the efforts used by these researchers to determine the potentiality for human limb regeneration by studying the biological processes that create this phenomenom in the animal world.

So, the questions are:

question-mark-button-thumb3049747Do we as a species have the right to use another species for this purpose? if so, where do we derive that right?

Or in the converse, Do we have an obligation to use other species for this purpose?; and if so, how does this obligation supercede the rights of the other species?

Finally, if we have the right and/or obligation, what lines should be drawn, if any?

Some ground rules:

1) No personal attacks, ad hominems, or name-calling — you WILL be moderated

2) Rely on logical arguments to the greatest degree possible

3) Use facts, questions, statistics, etc

4) Respond in point-counterpoint fashion throughout by use of our nesting feature

What do you think?  (full disclosure: I believe in animal rights, but I am conflicted or not fully committed in this area; however, I do have issues about inflicting pain upon another species for our species’ benefit. — I anxiously await the discussion.)
This debate is purely for the enjoyment of the art.  Have at it. — and remember rule #1:  don’t take disagreement personally, take it as a challenge.  Enjoy!

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109 Responses

  1. Geez, you picked a good one.
    Would I do it?
    No, but I won’t stop others.
    Sort of like my stance on choice.

  2. I cannot say that I am firmly against animal testing, but when I read something like the above, I wonder where we get the moral authority to slice off the tail of another living creature with a razor blade to benefit our own species.

    It’s a nagging question for me.

  3. I’m on the side of humane animal testing. I think the goal for not having to test on animals is something we should work towards. But until we can we should test for medical reasons. I’m not for any testing for commercial reasons. Having said that, I’ll argue on the other side because that’s always a nice exercise in debate.

    OK, here’s an obvious first argument to start. We have no moral basis for testing on an animal that can not give it’s own consent. So we shouldn’t.

    (There’s an obvious rebuttal here, but mums the word.)

    • If we agree we have no moral basis, the question becomes: “is a moral basis the defining criteria for our decision?” or “is there a more prevailing moral basis TO do the testing?”

      On your other point, what is “humane?” and if we can test “humanely” on animals, can we also test “humanely” on other humans without their consent? If not, why not?

      • Two excellent questions/issues. Getting at the good stuff.

        OK, I’ll counter (since I’m taking the no side). Yes, a moral basis should be our defining criteria. If we are not moral animals, then what are we.

        • OK, I’ll take it a step farther. If a moral basis is the defining criteria, how do we reconcile eating meat, wearing leather, etc? Is there a difference since with the latter two there are innumerable alternatives. However, if there is a moral basis to rely upon for the latter two, does it also apply to animal testing?

          (I would love to get RD’s and/or quixote’s ideas on this since they are both scientists.)

          • Now you’ve pushed me into a corner. Good. I think the only way I can keep the same moral ground is to say in fact we can’t eat meat or use animal products. And the fact that we ever did in the past was immoral.

          • 😦 It can’t be over that quickly!

          • And the fact that we ever did in the past was immoral.

            I don’t know that I’d agree with that. When you compare that behavior to the animal kingdom (of which we are members) the “top of the food chain down” norm is a matter of survival and lacking the technology to seek alternatives I would say that there are times when it is not immoral.

          • Which of course opens the door for additional “pro” arguments.

          • Yup. It’s not over by a long shot. I’ve left some really gaping holes in my arguments. One hit below is about animal testing for animals benefits. Another is arguing the moral stuff directly too and turning it on its head.

      • (missed a good counter though about how without testing on animals there can be no veterinary science at all, and thus no way to really help animals either… hint hint)

        • why am I helping the other side…. I’m such a push over… 🙂

        • Just to clarify, my questions posed related to the use of animal testing to benefit humans. The questions relative to veterinarian science has an entirely different twist, I agree.

          However, I’ll bite. How is animal testing to benefit the animals themselves comparable to animal testing to benefit humans?

          • It’s without their consent, therefor there is no moral basis. Therefore we can not do it. Like with testing for humans benefits, the outcome is irrelevant, it is plain immoral.

          • It’s without their consent, therefor there is no moral basis.

            I will counter that with the idea that we have a moral responsibility to use our higher intelligence to provide medical treatments to those animals we usually hold “captive” as possessions. Which of course opens the door to whether even doing that (having pets or livestock etc) has a moral basis.

            Further, is there a balance relative to natural survival mechanisms using my argument above about when it is not immoral?

          • Wow, like minds again… see below. 🙂

          • And if “consent” is a paramount issue, what about humans needing medical treatment who lack the ability to “give” consent? babies, mentally challenged, comatose. If these create exceptions to the “consent” rule is “consent” a negotiable aspect?

          • Perfect point to the consent issue. The only counter to that is a bit wobbly, but is that parents can give consent while the child is too young, therefore there is someone responsible giving consent. There is no parallel for animals as there is no animal related of any age that can give consent.

          • Why must the “consent-giver” be of the same species?

          • BTW — this is fun. I wish more people would join in.

          • I posted the consent string down below.

  4. No animal testing.
    Figure it out another way.

    • Question: A devastating disease threatens to kill millions of humans, including several of your own loved ones. The only hope for a speedy antidote is to use animals for testing. Without a speedy antidote, human deaths will continue in significant numbers — even possibly threatening the existence of our own species.

      What should be done?

      • Even better, make the same disease about a few species of animals, say dogs and cats, and how they’ll all be wiped out without testing. Oh why am I helping the other side… 🙂

      • No animal testing. No matter what the reasons are.
        Why don’t we test on humans?

        • Can we test on humans without their consent? As Dandy points out above, we do it to animals in order to perfect veterinarian medicine. Otherwise, there would be no way to treat our animals medically, or at least not to the degree we’ve achieved.

      • If the devastating disease were in the process of killing millions quickly, it makes more sense to test on the humans who were in the process of dying, because maybe they would be cured….and because we’d have to test on humans before release anyway….

        Testing directly on humans (who would die without it anyway) would expedite the testing process.

      • I’m willing to say I value human life over animals.

        • OK, to further that debate, then that begs the question, by what measure is human life more valuable than animals?

    • OK, just to step to the side for a second and take the other side, here’s a question for you to get at consent and moral issues:

      Did you get consent from the animal before “making” it your pet? How is that different than “humane” testing? There are obvious benefits. But they are both effectively enslaving the animal without consent.

      • Ha! GMTA — see above. I’ve delved into the “consent” argument.

      • I absolutely get consent from my animals before making them my pets. I take in strays like crazy. When they don’t like me anymore, they leave. I don’t enslave my animals, I don’t chase after them. I yell at them to get out of the way of moving cars, I feed them, and I pet them when they let me get close enough.

        • Taking in shelter and strays as companions is certainly better and more ethical than purchasing pets from a breeder. We have 3 shelter cats (2 are “seniors) and a shelter dog. Their options were limited at the shelter for sure.

          But to leave them free in the wild may be less humane if they have been domesticated already.

          It’s the same argument against feeding wild animals in national parks. It’s illegal but people will feed birds and squirrels etc. They don’t understand how creating a reliance on people is detrimental to their survival in the wild.

  5. As someone who’s spouse and one child are victims of a dibilitating physical challenge, I am most conflicted – I don’t believe we have the right to use another species for our benefit only – how would we like it if someone reached into our “cage” and took us or one of our kids to experiment on? – Make it personal and it becomes a real conundrum.

    But on the other hand I sure would love to have my spouse and child back instead of prisoners of the illness.

  6. I’ve also had family members with debilitating deceases.

    I’m against animal testing. All animal testing.

    We can find other ways to test products and medicines if we wanted to. People use animals because no one misses them and no one hears them screaming or sees their terror when they are locked up windowless buildings.

    They didn’t volunteer. They are rewarded for their torment with death in the end.

    Find another way.

  7. I’m really hoping for a “pro” testing debater. We seem to be locking into opposition or conflicting feelings. Having that would make it really interesting.

    • I’m pro animal testing. I think the testing should be done humanely, and the research benefit should justify the testing, but these are standard issues that are already addressed. We have an IRB process for a reason. In fact, I’d argue that many of the ethical constraints are detrimental to science.

      NB: This is mostly a devil’s advocate argument, but I do hold that it is a higher moral good to serve science’s aims than it is to avoid infringing on the “rights” of individual non-human animals.

  8. I’m bringing this down from my comment above:

    is there a balance relative to natural survival mechanisms?

    i.e., since there is a natural occurrence of one animal using another animal survival, and nature itself cannot be immoral (or at least that’s my argument) is there room for flexibility when the use of another species is for our species survival?

    • Spiders who anesthetize their prey so they can dine on it fresh as they need comes to mind.

      With our human capacity for understanding the big picture we lose the flexibility to act immorally.

      Animal testing is as wasteful and cruel as factory farming. Both practices have become industry standards.

      • Animal testing is as wasteful and cruel as factory farming. Both practices have become industry standards.

        Yes, that gets to my question about limitations. BTW, if you want to see a great documentary on this subject, Earthlings is really well done.

        On the other point:

        With our human capacity for understanding the big picture we lose the flexibility to act immorally.

        Is it your contention that animals acting on the basis of their survival instincts are acting “immorally?”

        [[just to be clear, I’m a vegan and I don’t wear or use animal products]]

    • Informed consent is a construction, not a moral absolute (not that there ARE any moral absolutes), and is not applicable to non-humans.

  9. Here’s another question from above:

    However, I’ll bite. How is animal testing to benefit the animals themselves comparable to animal testing to benefit humans?
    Reply

    DandyTiger, on November 14th, 2009 at 12:35 pm Said: Edit Comment

    It’s without their consent, therefor there is no moral basis. Therefore we can not do it. Like with testing for humans benefits, the outcome is irrelevant, it is plain immoral.

    Stateofdisbelief, on November 14th, 2009 at 12:39 pm Said: Edit Comment

    It’s without their consent, therefor there is no moral basis.

    I will counter that with the idea that we have a moral responsibility to use our higher intelligence to provide medical treatments to those animals we usually hold “captive” as possessions. Which of course opens the door to whether even doing that (having pets or livestock etc) has a moral basis.

    Further, is there a balance relative to natural survival mechanisms using my argument above about when it is not immoral?
    *
    DandyTiger, on November 14th, 2009 at 12:40 pm Said: Edit Comment

    Wow, like minds again… see below. 🙂
    *
    Stateofdisbelief, on November 14th, 2009 at 12:41 pm Said: Edit Comment

    And if “consent” is a paramount issue, what about humans needing medical treatment who lack the ability to “give” consent? babies, mentally challenged, comatose. If these create exceptions to the “consent” rule is “consent” a negotiable aspect?

    DandyTiger, on November 14th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Perfect point to the consent issue. The only counter to that is a bit wobbly, but is that parents can give consent while the child is too young, therefore there is someone responsible giving consent. There is no parallel for animals as there is no animal related of any age that can give consent.
    #
    Stateofdisbelief, on November 14th, 2009 at 12:48 pm Said: Edit Comment

    Why must the “consent-giver” be of the same species?

    Are there exceptions to the “consent” rule?

  10. Until we can “speak” with them and they can actually tell us to do the experimentation -we have not right to do so.

    • I just say – look at my avatar – No animal testing !!

      • Ok, here’s a follow-up. If there should be no animal testing, should there also be no eating of meat, or wearing of leather or furs, or for that matter, using animals for labor or entertainment in things like circuses or as field animals? How about breeding them for pets?

        What is the difference? They have not given their consent for this either?

      • OK I’m on the pro side now…

        The arguments against mostly are saying don’t do it.

        So my counter is, yes, do it. 🙂 That is, you’ve got to argue why, you can’t just say don’t.

        • Here’s the counter. The only rational basis for doing so would be under the following circumstances:

          1) It is done as a response to our natural instinct for survival;
          2) there are no other viable alternatives that will meet our survival needs
          3) we have used every intellectual capacity at our disposal to avoid causing any suffering to the other species. Other animals lack the intellectual / emotional capacity to avoid suffering while some have natural physiological ways of doing so (someone pointed out the spider’s anesthetic).

          Absent the above 3 conditions, we lack a rational basis for doing so.

          But then again, this would also apply to every other thing we use animals for.

          Your volley.. 🙂

          • I can’t take fault with your arguments based on us as rational beings. So assuming that, that sounds good.

            Here’s a fun counter: we’re just stupid animals like the rest but we can think a bit more and we can talk. But we’re not rational. We’re not moral. We test because we can. So there.

          • LOL… Well, arguing from the obot perspective certainly would be easy; but I’ll need more information to take it from a logical view.

            1) if we’re stupid, define “stupid” — “think a bit more” is insufficient data.

            2) I’m assuming if we’re not moral, we care not for ethical considerations, correct? and

            3) “We test because we can” — are you asserting that this might include ‘just for the fun of it?’

            The crux is #1 because our ability to “think” more than an animal means we can do something more: advanced problem-solving, rationalize, etc. Animals are creatures of motivation and some can problem-solve, so what is the distinction you are injecting? (i.e., do we understand that the other creature may be suffering? — the impact to the other creature)

    • Bacteria and Parasites are alive. Should we wait until we can secure their consent to treat humans of their tapeworms and bacterial infections?

      • Excellent point on the consistency aspect. Is there a distinction?

        • Given the findings of the Washoe project, I’d understand if people thought it was inappropriate to engage in testing on non-consenting higher order primates. I think it’s the highly developed nervous system and brain that makes the distinction. But then, that’s more than a little self-absorbed and potentially irrational. We can test on bunnies all we like, but Bonobos are just too much like US, and are therefore off limits. Are we making the distinction because of the trickier moral problem of informed consent, or because it squicks us to engage in testing on an animal which is extremely similar to humans?

          • You’re good at this!

            And you’re right about the basis for making that distinction. It’s almost like Dandy’s “just because you can” idea.

      • Quite frankly it’s one that stumps me on logic and consistency, unless we make it about suffering. However that leads to a question about humans who are brain dead. Could you do testing on them?

        • If your highest moral good is the prevention of suffering in all living things (not a perspective I’m endorsing here), then it would be morally preferable to engage in testing on brain dead humans as opposed to healthy rabbits and dogs.

          But then, depending upon the research, the lack of brain activity is a pretty significant confound, and might render the research pointless.

          • Ah. The “greatest moral good” argument. We could discuss that for days. Uh uh. Consistency conundrum.

          • No, I think the Dem argument for rolling on Stupak is the greatest good for the greatest number argument. But their argument fails to take into account how dehumanizing the lack of bodily autonomy is. If they don’t take that into account, they’re saying that it’s better to treat 100 sprained ankles over resuscitating one individual. Take that to its logical extension, and you might as well say that it’s better to give a cookie to every American than to provide affordable health care to half of them or to ensure the rights of a small minority. It’s logically absurd.

          • logically absurd = Democrats 🙂

  11. ooops – “…have no right…”

  12. Do we as a species have the right to use another species for this purpose?

    To be blunt: No, never. The end does not justify the means.

    The attitude of “Man’s dominion over the animals and nature”, besides being a vestige of biblical patriarch, is wholly inaccurate. We are part of this cosmos, not the rulers of it. We can not decipher the true wonder of creation by inflicting suffering on others.

    Animal experiments are ethically abhorrent and present a slippery slope in society. I do not want any organization, institution or government to have the legal right to inflict pain on me or my fellow creatures for any reason. Remember the medical experiences performed in Japan during World War II or Nazi Germany, all done with “noble” scientific intents, using human subjects?!

    (I do not want a governing body to have the legal right to kill it’s citizens either, which is why I oppose capital punishment.)

    Now with an array of modern simulation capabilities, virtual environments, computer modeling etc. it’s time to stop abusing animals.

  13. Am I in moderation?

  14. Thank you for releasing me!

  15. OK, let’s go this route just for a twist.

    If our use of animals in testing is merely a manifestation of our natural instinct for survival, how can we be immoral yet the lion that eats the gazelle is not immoral?

    Aren’t we both acting from the natural instinct to survive, albeit each constrained or liberated by our intellectual capacities?

    • Much of animal testing is not necessary for survival. for example, cosmetics, redundant test groups for FDA approval, university labs.

      Let’s start with eliminating all of those then perhaps we can get finicky about what is absolutely essential torture on non-consenting, powerless creatures.

      Oh dear, I’m feeling aggravated …

      • Remember the rules. Don’t get aggravated. It’s just an exercise. 🙂

        It is a sticky wicket when you try to dissect it rationally.

        • that’s it exactly — it’s the rationality or rather lack thereof that rankles me. Nevertheless I shall persevere with calm deliberation 😉

      • Much of animal testing is not necessary for survival.

        I would guess that you would get fairly universal agreement here that it is immoral to do such when survival is not an issue. I’d be interested to see arguments to the contrary, but there are few if any at all that have a logical basis.

  16. SOD I think you’ve come to the wrong group if you’re looking for someone who supports animal testing – we are liberals but not quite that liberal – we are a live and let live bunch!

    • Oh no. I don’t support animal testing. I am a vegan and do not use or eat any animal products. This question was posed for the purpose of debate only — the “art of the argument.” It’s just and “exercise” in philosophical questions.

      BTW, I wonder if the scientists in our group feel the same way.

  17. If our use of animals in testing is merely a manifestation of our natural instinct for survival, how can we be immoral yet the lion that eats the gazelle is not immoral?

    Aren’t we both acting from the natural instinct to survive, albeit each constrained or liberated by our intellectual capacities?

    We also eat other species – now we are in the middle of the muddle.

    • Exactly. Can we eat meat and also be against animal testing? If yes, why? how does that differ?

      • Torturing animals for testing, when human testing has to be done anyway, versus killing them to eat as part of our position high on the food chain are very different.

        Humans were meant to eat meat. If you’re a vegan, you have to take B12 supplementation because one of the few natural sources of B12 are meat, dairy, eggs. Cave dwellers would have died as vegans. Animals higher on the food chain typically eat those at lower echilons.

        However, name another member of the animal kingdom besides humans that tests cosmetics on helpless critters.

        • (((see my note below)))

          I would disagree with your B12 argument. My daughter has been a vegan since the age of 9, in fact before me. She has been tested on several occasions and has never experienced a B12 deficiency. I too have never run into the problem as a vegan for about 8 years. In fact, that is considered a “myth” by many and unproven at best. or in any event, we possess the ability to substitute without using animals:

          http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vegetarian-diet/HQ01596/NSECTIONGROUP=2

          http://www.pamrotella.com/health/b12.html

          Now, considering that and our advanced intellect and access to innovation that makes meat eating unnecessary, how does that get reconciled when someone who opposes testing eats meat, wears skin, eats or uses animal-based products, or holds animals captive for the purpose of entertainment or labor?

          • Of course then there’s sport hunting and fishing, along with animal population control (see Dak’s article on the next thread) that seem to have bases that conflict with positions people take on this issue.

        • Cave dwellers would have died as vegans

          While I’m not certain from a scientific standpoint if this is an accurate statement, I will buy it for purposes of argument. Then, this supports the argument that there are exceptions to any absolute bars on one species using another for survival. Would it then follow that there may be exceptions with testing where there are no viable alternatives to ensuring our own survival?

          Our intellectual capacity gives us the ability to develop alternatives. What if we have not yet developed an alternative?

  18. In our society we eat meat, wear the skins of animals, and use animal-based products on a regular basis. How does one reconcile this?

    Are all wrong? If not, where are the differences? Are there exceptions? If so, what are they?

    • I was a vegetarian for years though I now eat meat. I wear animal skins. However I only eat meat of which I know its source, how it lived and how it was slaughtered. I do not waste it.

      Viewing fellow creatures as another cheap commodity is the crux of the problem. 10,000,000,000 animal are slaughtered a year in the US alone! We are eating vastly more meat than we actually need and our waistlines are showing it. (Take a gander at the flick “Food, Inc.” to see where our distorted “top of the food chain” thinking has brought us.

      Animals raised for meat in the factory farm are mistreated horribly as are the workers.)

      Extrapolate this to the animal testing – we do not NEED most of the products the animals are being cruelly used to test.

      So the answer is in sustainable, humane non-wasteful parameters.

      • I was a vegetarian for years though I now eat meat. I wear animal skins. However I only eat meat of which I know its source, how it lived and how it was slaughtered.

        How have you accomplished this?

        BTW, I don’t know if you saw my recommendation above, but the movie EARTHLINGs by Shaun Mosen is really good on the exploitation of animals for food, clothing, testing, entertainment, and companionship. The 5 segments were available on YouTube last time I checked. (if you enter :”Earthlings Shaun Mosen” in the YouTube search box you’ll find it broken into about 10 segments.) It’s definitely worth the time to watch. He makes an interesting parallel between our use and domination of animals and gender and other forms of social domination.

        • I will check out definitely check out Earthlings.

          We pay attention to where our meat comes. For example we have friends who raise sheep – a very small herd of about 6-10. They lead a comfortable well-fed out of doors, grazing on grass life, the sheep not the friends 😉 When it comes time to thin the herd they have a fellow come who calmly walks through the herd and kills the selected ones. Yes it is killing but not hysterical packing of animals into a slaughtering chute. We get about a lamb a year from them.

          We have a local country butcher which slaughters locally raised cows, and deer, elk and boar from local hunters. The domesticated animals live in pastures, green grass growing pastures, not crowded disease-ridden feed lots. The wild animals live wild.

          We have friends who have chickens and often we get eggs from them otherwise we eat local cage free eggs. I am not very pleased with any commercial poultry and eggs production, even organic so consequently I eat very little.

          No farmed fish, no grain-fed (organic or not) ruminants, no caged birds.

          As much as possible, if we do not know where it comes from we do not eat meat so at restaurants, friends etc. We simply choose the vegetarian alternative.

          I am trying to stay conscious of the circumstances of the animals that become my food.

  19. If a space alien who was a higher intelligence being than us came to earth and took us for “animal testing,” I’m assuming, based on certain rational arguments, that it would be okay, since it’s done for the sake of the higher being? Right?

  20. based on certain rational arguments

    What would those rational arguments be?

  21. NOTE: This is not a thread for the purpose of advocating either argument. It is just an exercise in the argument itself.

    i.e., don’t emotionally invest or get insulted by disagreement. Disagreements are developed for the purpose of spurring debate, not to advocate one position or another.

    The hardest part of debating is being able to understand and argue a position contrary to one that you hold.

  22. I would have a hard time debating that the earth was flat though I can see the value in it for learning the lesson of debate.

    My hope is that the sheer absurdity and horror of using animals so callously will in the future render this discussion moot, quaint even.

    • Well it is flat isn’t it? 🙂 I’d have to start with asking you to define “flat,” but of course that may end the discussion since a factual dead end will occur. Debates usually need a philosophical component if there are not scientific facts in dispute.

  23. Here’s an interesting point about morals and consent. The head of PITA has a very consistent line of reasoning about this which is, there is absolutely no moral difference between testing animals and having them domesticated (as in farms) or having them as pets. It is her long term goal to outlaw all of those.

    If you are against testing (at least humanely) for reasons that are about morals or issues of consent, then to be consistent, you should have the very same problems with “keeping” and domesticating any sort of animal whether as farm animals or as pets.

  24. Does the type of animal being tested have any bearing on a persons response to the question? If instead of a picture of a cute cat to begin this debate what would everyones initial emotional response been if it was say a sewer rat?

    • Great question!

    • What about a bug? (we squish, step on, and swat them to their deaths with little consideration, why not use them for testing?)

      • I’ve actually stopped (as much as possible) killing bugs and insects. They irritate and, sometimes, freak me out,but they deserve to live as much as anything. So, I’d be against that, too. If it has a nervous system or a nerve net, I don’t want to see it hurt.

        • I, as well do not squish bugs except those eating me ie. mosquitos. We do not use pesticides in or around our home. We rescue and relocate insects that venture into our pad. We do not kill gophers in our yard, though we’re happy when a cat or owl successfully hunts and kills them.

  25. Too bad we didn’t get any scientists in the discussion. They have all the good “top of the food chain” and “greater good” arguments I would guess.

    • Yea, we didn’t get as far as I would have liked.

      OK, next debate: faux fur and leather, is it just as immoral as real because you still have the imagery of having slaughtered animals, and thus are continuing the fashion and idea in our heads?

  26. One criteria should be the animal’s similarity to humans.
    The second should be it be done as humanely as possible.
    No testing?
    If we lived in a perfect world.
    Go to a pet shop and ask for feeder mice.

  27. I’ve always wanted to ask the peta people if it’s alright to kill parasites, like a tapeworm, for instance. Then, of course, there’s the issue of fetuses. They’re parasitical incipient humans. I suppose a creature that is living inside you and feeding off of you is a parasite and can be killed, whether a tapeworm or a fetus? It gets very complicated, morally. Where do most PETA people stand on abortion? A fetus is a living creature. Do people who cringe at killing insects think abortion is okay?

    • I look for sentience … some life forms are animate but don’t breathe and aren’t sentient… if you’re thinking in abrahamic terms there’s that breath of life thing which is the basis of christianity, judaism, and islam … so breath should be central to those relgions

      in buddhism and hinduism it’s sentience which is a sort’ve self knowledge of your mortality — you fear for your existence …

      tape worms and fetus don’t have either of those …

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