Animal Rights and Human Wrongs

6049 WordsFeb 19, 201325 Pages
5 Animal Rights and Human Wrongs Hugh LaFollette Are there limits on how human beings can legitimately treat non-human animals? Or can we treat them just any way we please? If there are limits, what are they? Are they sufficiently strong, as som e peop le supp ose, to lead us to be veg etarians and to se riously curtail, if not eliminate, our use of non-human animals in `scientific' experiments designed to benefit us? To fully ap preciate this question let me contrast it with two different ones: Are there limits on how we can legitimately treat rocks? And: are there limits on how we can legitima tely treat other human beings? The an swer to th e first ques tion is pre suma bly `No.' Well, that's not q uite right. There are som e…show more content…
There are similar pressures to restrict the animals' movement. The less the animals move, the less they eat, thus decreasing the farmer's expense. For instance, farmers who raise chickens are inclined to put them in small `battery' cages. They are commonly kept `eight to ten to a space smaller than a newspaper page. Unable to walk around or even stretch their wings much less build a nest the birds be come vicious a nd attac k one a nother '.4 The average person seems equally unfamiliar with the extensive use of animals in laboratory experim ents. Ma ny of thes e are of o nly mo derate significan ce'; 5 most of the them involve extensive pain on animals. For instance, N.J. Carlson gave hig h voltag e electric shocks to sixteen d ogs an d found that the `h igh-sho ck grou p' acqu ired `an xiety' faster. Or researchers in Texas constructed a pneumatically driven piston to pound an anvil into the skulls of thirteen monkeys. When it didn't immediately produce concussions, the researchers increased the strength of the piston until it produced `cardiac damage, hemorrhages and brain dama ge'. 6 Or researchers at Harvard placed baby mice and ba by rats into cages with starving adult male rats. The adults ate them. The researchers' conclusion: hunger is an important drive in animals. (That, of course, is some thing we are sho cked to learn; we would have never kno wn this fact otherwise). T HE O PTIONS Now, how d
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