Sunday, April 18, 2010

Animal Testing--An Unexpected Sunday Journal

I intended to launch my defense of "Citizen Kane" today, but found something that begged for my prior attention:

This morning I read a HuffPost blog by Lee Schneider about Animals, Medical Testing, and CompassionThis topic usually rouses my passions and  philosphical musings.   It's a complex topic;  and yet I land firmly on the side of alternative methods of drug and medical testing that do not involve the potential suffering or death of animals.

Schneider is an executive producer, writer and director, who founded DocuCinema, a company that produces non-fiction films on social issues.  Two recent productions include SHELTER, "about architects and designers bringing solutions to issues of homelessness and disaster relief. He is also directing a movie called The Incredible Power of Chance Events, which is about the science and mystery of destiny, chance and karma."

Comments on this post were quite passionate on either side of the issue, so  I had to lend my voice to this.  You can find my comment below, or read all of the comments (including that of yours truly) by clicking on the above link.  Just look for Bassetthound:

Animals provide us with opportunities to answer elusive questions about our better nature as humans. We are in a slow process of breaking through ancient attitudes about man's dominance over earth's creatures, and with any change of this magnitude, there are those who cling to established methods, ideas, and attitudes against sensible progress..

Technology is allowing us to study many areas, including health, without the need to torment or kill those innocent beings who are the subject of testing. We tend to hear more about the technologies that are used for our entertainment, but little about really important life-sustaining developments.

I just read a link on this page about Dr, Geffen's development of Bio-Engineered tissue as an alternative to performing drug and other testing on animals.

I am not a scientist, but this motivated and inspired me to do some research on the viability of human stem cell tissue as material for testing that would provide more appropriate results for human users.

As a dog-lover and animal shelter volunteer, I am witness to all manner of abuse that animals suffer at the hands of human beings. Why should our educated professionals continue what is essentially the same practice?

I hope the professional community will set a precedent by establishing legal and ethical guidelines against potentially hurtful or fatal use of animals, creatures that can give us so much if we see them as our companions in this life, instead of unfeeling objects for our disposal.


  1. Well-put! It surprises and appalls me that such a cruel method is still in practice.

  2. Great post, Tom!

    I believe it's just barbaric the way we take the lives of our fellow living creatures for granted as we do, often causing them unbelievable agony or death for the most pointless of reasons.

    I remember seeing a photo once showing a lab with dozens of beagle puppies hooked up to machines that forced them to smoke hundreds of cigarettes a day. Why? So they could show that cigarette smoking was bad for beagle puppies and caused them to die? I failed to see how subjecting dogs to something like this could teach us anything we didn't already know. Well, I hope their sacrifices meant something, but I doubt it.

    So frequently it seems our animals suffer needlessly. Not to help uncover a cure for a dread disease, but to help out some cosmetic company who wants to know the long-term effects of spraying their hair spray in someone's utterly absurd. Animals deserve better than this. I am so in agreement with you on this, Tom. Animal testing needs to end, or if not, then at least be regulated so the animals themselves are not forced to suffer or die to satisfy our overwhelming vanity.