Sunday, May 30, 2010

Something For the Pain

So the country is apparently thinking on broadening her economic horizons using the partnership with a certain foreign biotech company that specialises in and develops medicine which also unfortunately involves testing on animals. While broadening economic horizons is crucial to the development of a developing nation such as ours, I personally think that using animals to test the effectiveness of the medicine meant for humans to be a tad bit cruel, although it had been done for some time until some intervention. Now you get stuff (mostly cosmetics) that says it was not tested on animals.

The other day, while I was reading one of my usual lunch time reading materials I came across the article below:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/05/mouse-pain-expression/
I sort of discussed the article with my sister later that night and she did say that mice had the tendency to double up in pain (like we do) when they were subjected to painful conditions that could give them ulcers - stressful conditions, as well as injections which gave them ulcers, which the researcher would then treat with the medication they think would work. In the end, all the mice have to die because they need to be dissected, all in the name of finding a cure for diseases. (She did biotechnology in school and had friends who did tests of this sort)

The question is, how much right do we as humans have to treat animals as items of experimentation? Are they not also part of the system that makes up the Earth and shouldn't they have the most basic right - the right to live peacefully? Does it mean that just because humans can talk about how they feel make their lives more precious than the lives of the countless number of animals that had to die in the name of science? What if a more highly developed intelligent being (aliens from a distant planet perhaps) that decided to conduct mass experimentation on people by just picking us up one by one because we seem to have some similar genetic pattern to theirs? (Ok, this final question is a bit of farfetched, but still..)

I suppose what got me annoyed was this quote by the chief minister of the state where the company is supposed to be situated: (especially about it being the animal's fate)

"Malacca Chief Minister Ali Rustam today defended the state government's decision to allow the establishment of a multi-million ringgit biotechnology centre that will feature several animal testing laboratories.

He said there was nothing wrong with Malaysia having such a facility because the rest of the world was doing the same.

"In Islam, God made animals as food and for the use of man. How can you not test on animals? Would you rather run the tests on humans?

“That is (the animal's) fate," he told reporters in Petaling Jaya today, after his get-together with his Facebook fans and supporters.
He was commenting on opposition by animal rights groups to set up the labs in Rembia, Alor Gajah."
Quoted from Malaysiakini.

10 comments:

  1. I wrestle with this issue myself Terra because I certainly do not approve of animals undergoing any sort of cruelty. On the other hand, if I had an illness or someone I loved had an illness that required animal testing for proper drugs to treat it, then what? I have always believed that animals testing was a needed evil for medical advancement. Could I be wrong? Sure. I hope I am.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm not at all surprised by Ali Rustam's comments!

    But I for one do not agree with animal testing. Just because they're animals doesn't mean we can abuse them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As a society we seem to have made a judgement that the benefits outweigh the costs. Not just financial costs but moral as well. I don't think scientists are inherently cruel people - in medical research they are usually personally motivated for the best of reasons.

    Mr. Rustam needs to work on his logic and come up with a better set of reasons than he's got so far. Using his line of argument he might next suggest there's nothing wrong with public executions and state sponsored genocide (because other people do it).

    I admit I don't know much about the Malaysian economy but I would hope that the people who plan to occupy this new biotech centre are not outside companies who might want to "offshore" some of their more controversial practices.

    ReplyDelete
  4. hmmm.... his reasoning reminds me of my mother's old adage whenever I said "why" to her... "because I said so"

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ricardo: Well, I don't know myself. A part of me says that it is so incredibly wrong in so many ways. I guess it is one of those things we'll never know.

    Nick: Actually, I was incredibly horrified.

    King of Scurf: Yes, the scientists are probably not cruel to begin with. I was just horrified by the statement made by the CM for one. Another article I read mentioned that people are worried about the tests because the country apparently does not have proper guidelines for animal testing because this is the first time they're doing it...

    Nursemyra: I used to get that from my dad... it used to be very exasperating.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I struggle with this one. I don't eat mammal (or bird) myself and I am definitely opposed to testing cleaners and make-up/toiletries on animals. But an awful lot of good has come from medical research on animals. I just don't know.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This story has reached the UK...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/31/malaysia-minister-animal-testing

    ReplyDelete
  8. Animal slaughtering for testing might sound cruel but how about eating them for pleasure and variety sake? Sometimes I feel we are partial to endangered and cute species :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. If we insist on experimenting on animals, then we should ensure that the animals are not subjected to painful procedures. Yes, we may not be able to run away from animal testing completely, but we have to look at different alternatives that do not cause these poor animals pain. For one, drug testing can be done on human cell cultures. Why not explore that option?
    Kill the animal if you must (in the most humane way possible), but do not subject them to various forms of torture and then, eventually kill them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. SAW: It's hard to weigh the pros and cons to come up with a conclusion, I guess.

    King of Scurf: Oh my! How embarrassing!

    Jai: Well, I know I could eat chicken without any question, but I could not ever eat a rabbit.

    Gee: Well, I do certainly hope that it reaches a point where animal are not caught/bred specifically for testing purposes. And I suppose I am most disturbed by the fact that they suffer due to these tests.

    ReplyDelete