Vivisection is the practice of surgically operating on animals while they are still alive, or more accurately, “performing invasive, intentionally mutilating or maiming surgeries on living animals.” I don’t know about you, but that sounds like animal cruelty to me.
Last night I attended a lecture on the Ethics of Animal Experimentation, given by Dr. Lawrence Hansen, a professor of pathology at the University of California-San Diego. As a professor who works at an animal-research-intensive university, Dr. Hansen knows first-hand how cruelly animals can be treated in the research world, and he actually works to put an end to it. In fact, Dr. Hansen is also a proud member of PETA.
While Dr. Hansen had a lot of great points to make–most of them modeled off of this article that was published in the Chronicle of Higher Education–I was particularly intrigued by his mention of groupthink, which he claims, plays a large role in animal research.
In Dr. Hansen’s words, “groupthink is a mode of thought that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, where members striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action.”
Essentially, Dr. Hansens was contending that scientific researchers only view animals as a means to an end rather than as ends in their own right, as we consider ourselves. However, it is Dr. Hansen’s thought, and mine as well, that the ends cannot justify the means if the means include cruelty to animals.
Even if you aren’t animal-obsessed like I am, just consider this point:
“People have a natural empathy for their fellow primates because we recognize ourselves in them. Most of us also recognize a special bond with dogs and cats, after 10,000 years of selective breeding have produced companion animals hard-wired to love humans.”
How can you hurt someone who is hard-wired to love you?