Category Archives: Animal Testing

The Science of Ambition & Ethical Blindness

The animal testing industry has come under more pressure than ever to conform its practices to modern ethical standards, and yet it consistently fails to do so. No single factor is to blame, but time and money are certainly among the top reasons for lack of reform and change. Ambition is another, within a conservative culture of systemic biases that direct priority to animal testing over alternatives. Ultimately, it would seem that science simply does not care enough about the ethical treatment of nonhumans to bother changing. More concern might emerge if animal testers could actually see ethics and pain as an issue, if, like those that work in other animal use industries, they did not go about their jobs in “ethical blindness.”[1]This term is cited and explained in Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (New York: Ecco, 2002), 71. • • •

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The “Long and Ghastly Kitchen” of Animal Testing

With the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859) people began extrapolating upon the idea of evolutionary kinship. They went beyond the biological sense to see a moral sense, recognized through simple logical deduction. There is biological continuum and so too a moral continuum. Half a century on it was still part of intellectual debate. J. Howard Moore, at the turn of the 20th century, explored the theme in The Universal Kinship (1906), a book on animals that suffered crimes of exploitation despite an ethical relationship:

Man has not a spark of so-called “divinity” about him. In important respects he is the most highly evolved of animals; but in origin, disposition, and form he is no more “divine” than the dog who laps his sores… Man is simply one portion of the immense enterprise.

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