By Lesley Liddle
Lesley Liddle is a certified service and pet dog trainer. First Mate Lulu is a Corgi/Red Heeler with spots like a baby harbor seal; Crewman Leonard is a Chihuahua/Doxie with tall ears like a rabbit. Both dogs have very short legs and were originally found in California shelters. Lesley has average legs and can be found on Orcas Island.
Today I’m thinking about an historically controversial topic: Vivesection. I intend to put myself out on a limb, knowing that one of my dearest friends is a cancer research scientist and uses caged animals for his research.
Subjecting captive live animals to severe clinical manipulation, dissection and experimentation has helped us understand certain diseases as well as cures for them. I do wonder, however, if using animals – not just mice and rats, but cats, dogs, monkeys, dolphins and pigs to name a few - in this way is not only arrogant but presupposes our superiority and then somehow our inherent right to do whatever we wish to other living beings.
The result, not to belittle the marvelous benefit of a medical break through is that such experimentation causes horrific suffering to other intelligent beings. There must be other creative ways to do research. We’ve already gone to the moon after all. Surely we can figure out how to do ethical research on earth.
Vivisection is cruel and therefore reprehensible. It does contribute to moral degeneracy because it is fundamentally, no matter how you look at it, a form of torture. We are not living in the nineteenth century and we no longer believe Descartes. We have proved without any doubt that animals do think and do feel pain.
We also are continually discovering how much more intelligent and capable most animals are than we ever gave them credit for in the past. It is two hundred years later and we need to move into creative and ethical research methods. As I said, we have already gone to the Moon. Surely it is possible and time to clean up our act down here.
I hear the perennial “the end justifies the means” debate. Herein lies the reason why I try to always drive on blue roads to my destination. I am drawn to consider my path to enlightenment rather than enlightenment itself. I know the first will take care of the second.