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Thread: Animal Testing and Ethics

  1. #1

    Animal Testing and Ethics

    Pranams,

    Recently on another forum I opened this discussion with some western atheist who usually attach themselves to science. I have no problem with Atheism, in fact there is a good amount of integrity, but when ones world view is only based on science or empirical study then I feel the heart is in danger of becoming to hard with so much logic and trivial facts.

    I opened the question to see what the general opinion of atheists was on animal testing. Sadly I did not get any and I mean no empathy or compassion but was ridiculed as being a backward Theist, which I found odd because I did not bring religion into the equation.

    I said that animal testing is now very closely related to industry, so where profit is involved then it looses the ethic of science. I was told that science has no ethics. I was also told that in science animals are not considered sentient, I find this shocking. I was also ridiculed because I asked if there was any scientific research into we as humans as the superior species who has a natural right to exploit our environment, they say such a science is not existent because the very thought of that is a joke, it perplexes me. Science in many ways seems to be detaching us from nature, as if we are a separate entity.

    I am not anti science or anti research, but still there is a conscious ethic that the sadhaka has that perhaps the scientist is overlooking.

    Even though hurting any sentient being is akarma, negative action, perhaps some experimentation on animals serves a greater purpose, I am open but there does need to be a line which is not crossed and i feel that line has been crossed.

    Any thoughts or comments would be helpful.

    Ys

    md

  2. #2
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    Re: Animal Testing and Ethics

    Namaste ji,

    The question of animal consciousness was definitively settled in science on 7 July 2012. Scientists from all over the world met together and concluded that all of the scientific evidence tells us that other creatures are also conscious (just as we've always known). They are aware of their environments and even "exhibit intentional behaviors." The document presenting their findings is known as "The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness." The Declaration can easily be found through google at reputable science and news websites. It was widely reported in the news at the time. Thus there is nothing controversial in saying that animals are sentient (conscious) among real scientists.

    As for the question of the morality of animal testing, I think it's worth observing that the Mahābhārata (in book 13) tells us to treat other creatures as we would like to be treated, to look upon them as if they were our own children, and to regard ahiṁsā (nonviolence) toward other beings as our highest duty. The Bhāgavata Purāṇa also says that it is right to treat animals as if they are our own children. There are many other passages similar to these. In my opinion, even though we might gain scientific knowledge by experimenting on human infants, it would be wrong to do so and I personally think that experimenting on animals is no different. Besides, there are a number of scientific and charitable organizations that are moving away from animal testing and using other methods of finding ways of curing diseases. I recently discovered that most breast cancer research organizations in the U.S. no longer fund animal testing. (I made a list of which ones don't fund animal testing and which ones do.)

    praṇām
    Last edited by anucarh; 07 September 2014 at 11:46 PM. Reason: changed "of" to "on"
    śrīmate nārāyaṇāya namaḥ

  3. #3

    Re: Animal Testing and Ethics

    Pranams anucarh Prabhu ji,

    Thank you for your input, I found this

    http://fcmconference.org/img/Cambrid...sciousness.pdf

    For me this wraps up and more or less ends the debate that animals are sentient and have consciousness and its not exclusive to humans. Nothing different from what Guru, Sadhu and Shastra has been saying since the start.


    We do live in a very complicated society now and for all the solutions that science has made I do feel there has been some negative impact on our environment and our way of life.

    I sometimes offer conscious reflections to Atheists and who lean on Science to support their view, but there is a propaganda that science is allowed to make mistakes and use what ever resource available due to gaining scientific value of understanding. But as you say there are real scientists and then there are people who use science, the two may not be of the same cloth.

    I do feel now that Kali Yuga is gaining more momentum with the help of how science is being used. I do not want to sound anti science, but rather keep a view that ethics has to be the ground of science, but ethics and laws seem to becoming more and more relative, dharma in science has been left out.

    I read this recently from a science journal

    All the research which used animal testing in the EU was investigated recently. The investigators found that animal testing generally has a high scientific value, but that very few animal testing trials have a high medical benefit.
    So maybe scientific value needs to be looked at in some sort of scientific way. Do we really need so much wide scope in scientific value. Do we really need to tear the planet and all of phenomena apart to gain more scientific value and knowledge. The scientific value has five characteristics - accuracy, consistency, scope, simplicity, and fruitfulness. Can the same characteristics be directed towards the scientists who is conducting the experiments and research, and at what cost and detriment to our lives and environment is the scientific value burdening our planet.

    Is there any science or any attempt within science to address this issue. Apparently everything can be answered by science, this is something I cannot agree on.



    Ys

    Md

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    Re: Animal Testing and Ethics

    Namaste,

    I have a rather ambivalent view of animal testing...on the one hand, I do agree with the sentiments here that being cruel towards other creatures for the sake of our own salvation is morally wrong. But then again, if I express such sentiments myself, I'd be a hypocrite, and I'll explain why.

    I'm a diabetic. Type II. Sadly, meat is one of the few things that doesn't send my blood sugar into low orbit (although I abstain from beef entirely, if that counts at all). Yes, I know it's possible to live life as a vegetarian even when one is a diabetic, but there's one more complication that makes it difficult to be diabetic and be cruelty-free towards animals - the need for insulin.

    It was animal testing on pigs that made the development of insulin possible. Back when it was developed, which is in the 1960's (if not earlier, I forget the exact dates), the computer simulations that are used by many labs today instead of animal testing weren't an option. And insulin makes the lives of many, many diabetics a lot easier and a lot less painful. I don't know how insulin is made these days - odds are pigs aren't used anymore - but the fact is pigs were used in the past to make life as a diabetic easier.

    Am I therefore wrong for using insulin, even though, as said before, pigs are most likely no longer used to make it? Would I still be considered to be supportive of animal testing if I use insulin? And be honest here: what's more valuable? My life, or the life or whatever pigs were used to develop insulin? I understand if you don't want to answer that question, but in my mind, if the animal testing is truly being beneficial for humanity, I can't really speak out against it because in my case it would be hypocrisy.

    However, if the animal testing is not absolutely beneficial for humanity - say, in the case of cosmetic testing - then absolutely I can and will condemn it. But can you really fault me for relying on a product that was developed to prolong my life, even if it was developed before the time of computer assistance?

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    Re: Animal Testing and Ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Webimpulse View Post
    Namaste,

    I have a rather ambivalent view of animal testing...on the one hand, I do agree with the sentiments here that being cruel towards other creatures for the sake of our own salvation is morally wrong. But then again, if I express such sentiments myself, I'd be a hypocrite, and I'll explain why.

    I'm a diabetic. Type II. Sadly, meat is one of the few things that doesn't send my blood sugar into low orbit (although I abstain from beef entirely, if that counts at all). Yes, I know it's possible to live life as a vegetarian even when one is a diabetic, but there's one more complication that makes it difficult to be diabetic and be cruelty-free towards animals - the need for insulin.

    It was animal testing on pigs that made the development of insulin possible. Back when it was developed, which is in the 1960's (if not earlier, I forget the exact dates), the computer simulations that are used by many labs today instead of animal testing weren't an option. And insulin makes the lives of many, many diabetics a lot easier and a lot less painful. I don't know how insulin is made these days - odds are pigs aren't used anymore - but the fact is pigs were used in the past to make life as a diabetic easier.

    Am I therefore wrong for using insulin, even though, as said before, pigs are most likely no longer used to make it? Would I still be considered to be supportive of animal testing if I use insulin? And be honest here: what's more valuable? My life, or the life or whatever pigs were used to develop insulin? I understand if you don't want to answer that question, but in my mind, if the animal testing is truly being beneficial for humanity, I can't really speak out against it because in my case it would be hypocrisy.

    However, if the animal testing is not absolutely beneficial for humanity - say, in the case of cosmetic testing - then absolutely I can and will condemn it. But can you really fault me for relying on a product that was developed to prolong my life, even if it was developed before the time of computer assistance?
    Namaste Webimpulse ji,

    You raise some interesting points. I can understand your ambivalence. I would like to offer a somewhat different perspective for your consideration and share some information that I have found.

    > I'm a diabetic. Type II. Sadly, meat is one of the few things that doesn't send my blood sugar into low orbit
    > (although I abstain from beef entirely, if that counts at all). Yes, I know it's possible to live life as a vegetarian
    > even when one is a diabetic...

    Personally, I think that it is impossible for most of us in the modern world to live in a way that leads to absolutely no harm at all for other creatures. Even many ordinary activities such as driving a car, walking in the grass, buying a new cell phone, or buying a new home actually involve harm. However, I do think that each of us can find ways to reduce the harm we participate in, if we have chosen to practice ahiṁsā (nonviolence). In my experience, reducing the harm I've been involved in has been a process and there is always more that I can do. Perfect harmlessness, as I see it, is not realistic for most of us right now. (Obviously, there are also instances in which harm may be justified, as when one is protecting the innocent or engaged in self-defense. Even gurus have made allowances for these sorts of instances.)

    Additionally, individual circumstances vary and these circumstances can shape and limit how we practice nonviolence. In certain environments, it might be difficult to obtain large quantities of fruits and vegetables, for example, although this is becoming less common in the modern world.

    Having said this, there are individuals who have successfully used a vegetarian or a vegan diet to treat (yes, actually treat) type 2 diabetes and countries where traditional diets have been high in certain plant foods and low in meats have seen a lower incidence of diabetes, which increases when they adopt a Western diet (see, for example, these articles: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/610S.full, http://www.pcrm.org/health/diabetes-...e-for-diabetes ). I say this not knowing your individual circumstances and leave it to you to decide what to do with this information.

    > It was animal testing on pigs that made the development of insulin possible.

    In my opinion, trying to reduce the harm that I'm directly or indirectly involved in now is different from choosing whether to use some tool, product, or technology that originally or once in the past involved harm. If I attempted to focus on avoiding everything that once involved harm at some point in the past, I think it would make life unnecessarily complicated, involve an enormous amount of unnecessary research, and neglect the important question (to me) of the actual harm I'm participating in today. One might look at it this way: people who choose to buy cosmetics that are no longer tested on animals and those that buy cosmetics currently tested on animals are making very different choices. They are not equivalent. Similarly, I've read that insulin is no longer made in ways that harm other creatures, so I don't see using insulin as participating in harm.

    That's how I see it.

    praṇām
    śrīmate nārāyaṇāya namaḥ

  6. #6

    Re: Animal Testing and Ethics

    Pranams Webimpulse ,

    Thank you for your post and input. Have you ever researched and looked into hemp protein powders.

    Ys

    Md

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    Re: Animal Testing and Ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by markandeya 108 dasa View Post
    Pranams Webimpulse ,

    Thank you for your post and input. Have you ever researched and looked into hemp protein powders.

    Ys

    Md
    Namaste Markandeya,

    No, I haven't heard of hemp protein powders...do you have any reliable links with information? I'd look it up myself but with the amount of misinformation out there...you know how it is...

  8. #8

    Re: Animal Testing and Ethics

    Pranams Prabhu,

    It really depends what source you would prefer. I think in science its fairly new so they dont want to make over claims. But no harm has been found. On the wider view of the public who comment on the benefits and for my own personal use and for my family it cant be praised enough. 50% Protein, important omegas and the list goes on depending on the source.

    There is a certain amount of controversy because its very closely linked to the intoxicant Marijuana. But I think you will enjoy doing a research. It may replace the need for meat but I cant say that as a medical fact. No harm in research. But it is considered a Super Food.

    Also hemp as product, making rope, clothes ect, its a gift of nature if understood completely.

    In ancient cultures it was a highly esteemed product because of its wide ranging benefits.

    Ys

    Md

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    Re: Animal Testing and Ethics

    Animal sacrifices were done during Vedic sacrifices in the past. Cows, bulls, Ox etc were slaughtered often. There is nothing wrong in animal sacrifices. Hinduism fully supports animal sacrifices because the gods love it. So science and religion both are pretty much even when it comes to animal killing even though both do it for different reasons.

  10. #10

    Re: Animal Testing and Ethics

    animal testing is now very closely related to industry, so where profit is involved then it looses the ethic of science. I was told that science has no ethics. I was also told that in science animals are not considered sentient, I find this shocking. I was also ridiculed because I asked if there was any scientific research into we as humans as the superior species who has a natural right to exploit our environment, they say such a science is not existent because the very thought of that is a joke, it perplexes me. Science in many ways seems to be detaching us from nature, as if we are a separate entity.

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