lördag 22 juni 2013

Vivisection debate - Animals in Biomedical Research: A Moral Justification?

Gary Francione's Speech in a vivisection debate:
[This is my transcript of most of the contents. The original debate is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8OMtRiD3oI
Two issues, one is, is there any empirical necessity.
It is not a settled fact that we need to use animals in experiments, or that they are necessary, reliable or give us good data.
We look at particular discoveries and we say that animals led to that. When we are using animals all the time, and to develop every single drug and procedure, it is very hard to to make statements of causal attribution. It is like saying that I use the pen all the time when writing my exams, and I always get A’s.

They are all sorts of biological differences that makes extrapolation hard. These ‘scientific methods’ are anything but scientific. The data that is extracted is often unreliable.
The scientific community doesn’t grasp a very important method.
We can take lots of money and take into animal test, we can get lot of money and put into research of aids.
Or we can put the money to safe sex-education and condom distribution. We don’t want to do that, because it is politically controversial. The scientific community is not doing lots of stuff talking about the important issues. We can cut off cancers by 70% if we didn’t consume the flesh, mucus and other animal products, that clog our arteries and cause many health problems.

In Introduction of animal rights - Your child or the dog, I discuss that some false reliance of animal experiments led to the wrong conclusion. Some research on animal methods, e.g. experiments on monkeys led to the conclusion that poliovirus only affected the nervous system. Research of human cell cultures led researchers to understand that poliovirus affected non-neural tissue. They couldn’t replicate lung cancer in beagles, and as a result people continued to smoking.
Reliance on animal experiments has led us to accept wrong conclusions many times throughout the history. I spent months reading about animal research for months when researching to my book Introduction to Animal rights - Your child or the dog

I don’t think the Animal welfare act or any of these stature acts does anything to protect animals. Not worth the paper written on. Doesn’t apply to rats and mice, 90% of the experiments done upon them. I don’t think the Animal welfare laws works at all.

I want to move on to a more interesting point. That is the moral justification. Lets assume some of it is necessary. We would be lot better of if we used humans in experiments. You want reliable data, use humans. We don’t do it. If you want to talk about a really compelling use of experimental resources, use humans. No one doubts we get much better results. We don’t do it because it is morally wrong.
We are asking the question is it right to use animals to lead us to cures for illnesses of humans, when we are eating them everyday.
We all agree with the proposition is it wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death upon animals. We may disagree about necessity means. I been doing this for a long time and I haven’t found anyone that disagrees. If it means anything, it means we can’t inflict any unnecessary suffering and death for pleasure, convenience, habit or tradition. But yet we are killin 56 billion animals every year, not counting fish. We don’t need to do that to be optimally healthy. I been a vegan for almost 30 years and I am not dead yet. We can discuss if animal products are detrimental to health, I think the empirical evidence is that they are. But even if you don’t accept that. It is clear they are not necessary to be optimally healthy.

Animal agriculture is an ecological and environmental desire.
Why do we think it is alright. What is our justification for killing 56 billion animals per year for food? The answer is, it tastes good. People are all upset about Michael Vick. It is a terrible guy, etc. What was he doing that is anything different from what we are doing? He like sitting around watching dogs fighting. People like sitting around barbeques roasting dead animals that have been treated every bit as badly if not worse than Michael Vicks dogs.

In a sense we are having a very bizarre discussion right now. Because most of us are willing to eat animal products for pleasure, that also are causes us health problems. So then if the question is, is it okay to use animals to find cures for the health problems, that is sort-of a no-brainer, isn’t it. That’s why, when we think about this issue, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves: How is it we can justify exploiting animals as human resources, as a general matter? Not just in the context of vivisection.

Descartés claimed that the animals were machines that God made. They had no feelings, they didn’t have any souls, etc. By and large, two reasons are given. 1 is spiritual inferiority. We have souls, they don’t have souls. The other idea, is that we are exceptional, we are intelligent. We have minds that are superior, so therefor it is alright to use them. This position can’t just be defended. Darwin said the difference between humans and other animals, there are qualitative differences, not quantitative differences. So whatever characteristic you thought was special with humans, you can find with nonhumans. There may be qualitative differences, e.g. symbolical communication. So what there are differences. What moral cash-value does that have. Obviously it has none.
Lets discuss the characteristic of self-awareness that is used by Peter Singer and to a lesser extent Tom Reagan. “We are self-aware and they are not self-aware”. First, I think it is wrong. They are clearly self-aware. I do think they think about the future, I do think they think about the past. I live with five rescued dogs, and it is impossible for me to explain their behaviour, except by saying they must have something equivalent to the concepts that I have, even if it is probably not the same kinds because they don’t just language in the way we do. So what. They are clearly self-aware. So what. So what if they only lived in the now. They are people who have transient global amnesia, they have no sense of the past, no sense of the future, they just have a sense of themselves right here and now. Lets assume this is the case with animals. Is this relevant? It may be relevant for some purposes. If you are going to hire a history professor, it may not be good to hire a person who have transient global amnesia. But, if the question is , I got a normal human and a human with transient global amnesia, should I use the first human or the second human as a non-consenting organ donor. In fact, I think we can even make the case that we have a greater responsibility to the vulnerable. But even if you don’t buy that. In that situation, do we treat them equally? No, we don’t make the person with transient global amnesia a history professor. But that doesn’t make it permissible to make the second person in biomedical experiments or use him as a forced organ donor.

I don’t care which characteristic that you use. There will be some human beings that don’t have that characteristic and have it to a lesser extent. So why is it alright to use them?
If animals don’t make life plans. What if there is a depressed person who doesn’t make any life plans. Is it alright to use this person in biomedical experiments?

The scenario of the human and the dog in the burning house. I discuss that at length in many instances. In Introduction of animal rights - your child or the dog - I use it as a paradigm of the book. You see the human and the non-human in the house and you can only save one. Now, I might in that situation don’t understand what harm it does to the dog. But that doesn’t mean that the harm of death is any less to the dog or that I am entitled or that I have any rights to give different weights to those respective individuals. I would say in that situation, flipping head coin would be fine. I would probably because of my own limitation, my own epistemological limitation of not understanding what death is to the dog, I might choose to save the human. So what? If I was walking by the house and saw a young person and an elderly person in a burning house, I may save the younger person who got his or her entire life in front of her, as opposed to the elderly person who looks pretty old.
I go ahead and save the younger person. Does that mean it is okay to use elderly persons in biomedical experiments, rodeos, circuses, etc. And the answer is, of course not.

Lets be honest, if your kid were in the hospital and someone elses kid were in the hospital, and there was blood left only to save one of them; and the doctor says to you who am I going to give the blood to - so what? Does that mean it is alright to use other people’s children in biomedical experiments??

My position is that the only justification we have for using animals in whatever context is speciecism, that we arbitrarily assign a value to our species, just as we arbitarily have assigned a value to white people. male people... Throughout history we have heard the same arguments heard to justify patriarchy - males have interest that weigh more than women - lets hope we don’t but that!; the interest of black people weigh more than the interest of white people -- lets hope we don’t buy that!; the interest of straight people matter more - lets hope we don’t buy that!!
Why do we buy into the idea that we have the right to assign a lower value to another species and then to use them as resources.

I am not saying that we have to give them equal treatment. I am not saying we have to give the animals the right to vote, although we would probably get better results if we did. I am not saying the right to drive cars. I am saying with the respect of being used as a resource for humans, all sentient beings are equal and we have no moral justification. The only arguments we have are power, and this speciesist idea that we have, that we matter more. We can say that our interest matter more. We can do symphonies,etc, You know what there is no one in this room that can jump over a six foot fence from a sitting position. I can’t fly without being in an airplane. We say that these characteristics matter more. Who decides that - we?? Just like white people have being saying a white skin color is important, or males have been saying ‘being male is important’, and straight people have been saying ‘being straight is important’. I suggest there is absolutely no difference. I suggest speciesism is no more morally justified than other sorts of exploitation.

Inga kommentarer:

Skicka en kommentar