There is no doubt that human’s share the world with other species, but many would argue that this is only out of necessity and by happy accident. Barring any in-depth discussion of how mankind and animals came to be, when, or who has a greater stake to life, it can easily be said that human kind is without a doubt highly adept as an invasive and disruptive species, as has been seen throughout history. Despite existing first, animals have become second-class beings in this world, and have paid a price for such a position.
Testing and experimentation on animals displays this disdain that humans have for animals, despite opinions and statements to the contrary. Human life is considered too precious and often times it is deemed as cruel and unusual to experiment upon a human, whether they are willing or not to undergo a given process. But an animal, a creature that supposedly cannot reason and cannot therefore sway opinion with their words, seems to be the perfect tool through which to further human knowledge. After all, according to British philosopher Jeremy Bentham, it is a far kinder death by human hands than any animal would find in the wilds (Bentham 63).
The general opinion of this article is to decry the need for human rights over the suffering of animals, and how humanity should not needlessly suffer for the want of animal suffering. Animals are supposedly not capable of conscious thought and by extension are not able to feel much of anything other than the physical pain that is a natural byproduct of the experimentation to which they are subjected.
There is then no recourse but to assume that experimenting upon animals is quite acceptable and even important to the advancement of humanity through the findings therein. When it come down to one species over another, the very fact that humans display a far wider range of emotion and ability to use reason and logic tends to put them firmly atop the ruling class of biological beings.
Yet for all this there is no doubt that there are and always will be dissenters. Those who speak for the animals are considered at times to be odd, overly sensitive, and even foolish in a way. They are champions for creatures that would never do the same to aid them in the cause they take up, yet they still push on to further the rights and preservation of an ideal that is noble, but very hard to comprehend in its entirety. Some might disagree, claiming that it is simple, that the matter is who are more important, humans or animals. The answer is not so simple, but can be simply stated. Each species needs one another.
While it is true that experimentation throughout the years has yielded interesting and even beneficial results, the method by which these results are found are highly questionable even in the best of times. Animals cannot talk, cannot offer consent in one way or another, but the fact that they can suffer is impossible to ignore. Yet it does go on without pause, and the suffering continues. In my opinion experimentation is useful, but the methods must change.
Experimentation on animals is not inherently illegal, nor is it always so terribly wrong, as it can yield results beneficial to both animal and human. The methods used in experiments are the true controversy at hand, as those are the measures by which we must measure our own humanity. If we are to keep that, then it is important to maintain the same attitude towards animals that we do to our fellow humans. After all, if one can abuse an animal there is no telling what they might do to a fellow human (Kant 62).
Kuhse, Helga; Singer, Peter. Bioethics: An Anthology / Edition 2: Wiley, 2006. Print