CTR Home Internal  Relations and Communications Home About CTR Publication Schedule CTR Archives

May 9, 2002 Letters



Animal rights groups oppose lab use

The Thursday Report article “Even the rats will have more spacious quarters,” (April 11) gives the impression that animal rights groups are involved in setting national standards for lab experiments.

This is not so. No animal rights group in Canada supports lab work on nonhuman animals. Such organizations oppose killing for human use.

This is not the case with animal welfare groups, such as most SPCAs, which do not oppose lab experiments or the meat industry, as long as certain standards of treatment are kept.

The use of animals in medical labs has been increasingly challenged within medicine itself. This can be seen on the Americans for Medical Advancement Web site, a physicians’ site (www.curedisease.com), and on the links it provides.

Since the initiation of the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1901, two-thirds of the prizes have been given to scientists using alternative technologies, not animal experiments. Many medical schools no longer use animals in the training of medical students.

There is nothing about life which gives humans the moral right to cage, dominate and dissect other animals. It is only done through the power of human force. Imagine if people were asked to contribute their companion animals to experiments supposedly designed to benefit humanity. Would this be ethical? The subjugation of lab animals can only occur through their anonymity, the idea that each animal is just another animal without a real history of its own.

The first large public demonstration against the use of lab animals occured in 1976 at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. There, psychologists were cutting out part of cats’ brains, severing their nerves and destroying their sense of smell in a study. The widespread accusations of cruelty forced an end to the experiments.

At the Hartsdale [New York] Canine Cemetery, there is a special monument placed by the American Fund for Alternatives to Animal Research, which says: “In Memory of the Millions of Animals Whose Lives are Taken for Research and Testing.” April 20-28 was World Week for Animals in Laboratories, an annual event designed to bring attention to the plight of animals used for testing and research.

—Shloime Perel

We welcome your letters, opinions and comments at BC-121/1463 Bishop St., by fax (514-848-2814), or e-mail (barblak@alcor.concordia.ca) by 9 a.m. on the Friday prior to publication.