Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mediation Essay

In today’s society, the use of animal testing, factory farming, and hunting are necessary for the production of animal products, such as food and dairy products, and testing potentially harmful medicines before their use on humans; however, there are various ways to reduce the cruelty impacting the lives of many animals. While I understand that animal testing is sometimes necessary for many potentially harmful drugs and medical procedures because the lives of humans are of the upmost importance, it is not necessary to test animals for the mere experimentation of household products and cosmetics. I also realize that there is a necessity for factory farming because people demand meat and dairy products; however, there are various ways to decrease the cruelty and suffering that animals have to experience. Another questionable aspect of animal rights is whether or not hunting should be justified. While it is sometimes necessary to hunt for food, it is unethical to kill animals for the mere sake of fun or for the animals’ fur.
While animal medical experimentation is crucial in protecting humans from potentially harmful and even deadly drugs and procedures, it is unnecessary to test cosmetics and household products on humans because they are unnecessary to the lives of humans. Every person in the United States has benefitted from biomedical research involving animals, including research about polio, diabetes, heart and circulatory diseases, cancers, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. For example, through the use of animal research, “researchers have developed insulin pumps to replace injections, and current transplant research offers hope that diabetes can be cured…other research had resulted in heart attacks that save thousands of lives” (“Use of Animals in Biomedical Research: Understanding the Issues”). It is also said that most Biomedical research projects: “either do not involve pain or the pain is alleviated with analgesic or anesthetic drugs. Researchers understand that pain causes stress for the animal, and this stress can seriously affect the result of the project” (“Use of Animals in Biomedical Research: Understanding the Issues”). Since medical research using animal experimentation is crucial to finding the cures and causes of many diseases, it is necessary to save the lives of many humans: “To restrict research with animals would prevent discoveries that would benefit humankind” (“Animal Research is Vital to Medicine”). However, the problem with animal experimentation comes when it is used to test mere cosmetics or household products, which do not necessarily benefit humans and save lives like medical procedures and drugs do. Therefore, it is unnecessary to harm animals and subject them to cruelty for the testing of products. Everyday animals are “poisoned, blinded and burned in consumer product tests…these tests are crude and outdated: they result in pain and suffering for the animals involved, and provide little protection to the consumer” (“Cosmetic and Product Testing on Animals”). A test that many researchers use is called the Draize test that measures the harmfulness of ingredients in certain products. However, it is extremely harmful to animals because it involves dripping the test substance into the animal’s eye and recording the damages that occur over three to twenty one days. At the end of the test “all of the animals are usually killed or ‘recycled’ into toxicity tests” (“Cosmetic and Product Testing on Animals”). There are also toxicity tests that are performed on animals; however, they are extremely inhumane and found to be irrelevant to humans: “the test animals may actually die as a consequence of the sheer volume of the dosage, not because the substance itself is poisonous. Other animals may die from the severe burns they receive” (“Cosmetic and Product Testing on Animals”). Sometimes animal experimentation poses a problem because the results do not necessarily directly apply to humans because there are various differences between many animals and humans, such as rabbits, which are frequently used to test their eye reactions. Rabbits have a thinner cornea and more sensitive eyes so the tests cannot be legitimately applied to humans. Consequently, there are various alternatives to product testing on animals using vitro technologies; therefore, they should be used rather than cruelly harming animals. Vitro tests use animal or human cell specimens, which can usually be grown and reproduced in laboratories. These cell specimens can measure the reactions and potential toxicity from the substance on human skin or eye tissue. Other alternatives include:
Exposing a synthetic matrix of proteins to the test substance… using sheets of cloned human skin cells to predict skin irritation; creating mathematical and computer models to predict the reaction of tissue cells and organs to chemical substances; and using computer programs to predict human reactions to substances. (“Cosmetic and Product Testing on Animals”)
Therefore, it is evident that there are “safe, economical, fast and humane alternatives which accurately predict the effect of a substance on humans without using live animals” (“Cosmetic and Product Testing on Animals”), so it is unethical to perform animal experimentation and harm animals when it is not necessary and there are other alternatives.
While factory farming is necessary to supply the nation with enough meat and animal products, there are various ways to reduce the cruelty that animals have to endure. Due to the fact that people demand meat, poultry, and dairy products, there is a necessity for factory farming because there is limited farmland and a need for efficiency. However, farmers should strive to make the conditions for the animals as least cruel as possible because animals suffer immensely: “the life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth. Most farmed animals today suffer intensive confinement, routine mutilation, detestable and unnatural food, and dangerous transport to stockyards and slaughterhouses” (Hills 159). In factory farms the animals are given growth-promoting antibiotics, which in turn, on top of being cramped in cages, causes broken bones because their skeletons cannot support their own weight. The broken bones cause crippling, which in turn will sometimes result in death from hunger and thirst because the animals cannot reach their own food and water. Also, as a result of being cramped in small spaces, diseases spread very easily, especially salmonella. Evidently, the life of a farm animal is very cruel and unethical; therefore, it is important to reduce the suffering that the animals have to face through various alternatives. Some alternatives that do not affect the output of the farm, but ease the suffering of the animals are they: 1) Provide either prompt veterinary care or euthanasia to all downer cows and pigs, 2) kill every male layer chick using a gas other than carbon dioxide, 3) improve standards for stunning poultry and livestock at slaughterhouses, 4) ban farrowing and gestation crates for breeder sows, and 5) provide a local anesthetic to calves and piglets prior to castration. (Marcus 55)
These reforms are an inexpensive way to wipe out some of the most widespread cruelties that animals face in the factory farms. Another way of lessening the cruelty bestowed upon animals would be buying organic milk and free-range eggs because “purchase of these foods supports forms of animal agriculture that are less exploitive, and customers of these industries can be especially influential in urging the enactment of meaningful welfare standards” (54). Consequently, the various alternatives to the harmfulness of factory farming should be exercised as to reduce the suffering of many farm animals.
While hunting is sometimes necessary for food, it is unethical to kill animals for the sport or even to obtain the fur of an animal; however, hunted animals do suffer far less than those raised in factory farms. Sometimes hunting is necessary to control overpopulation, such as in the case of deer, which benefits both deer and humans because too many deer increases the amount that stray onto roads and consequently get killed by cars. Likewise, deer cause many car accidents, including deaths among dozens of humans each year. However, problems with hunting arise when rare animals, such as bears or mountain lions, are hunted. If hunting animals, such as deer and birds, is to be permitted, “the animals should be killed instantly and as cleanly as possible. That would mean much higher standards governing who is permitted out in the woods with a rifle” (215). The standards to receive a hunting license should be raised so that the hunter has a “shooting proficiency that would qualify you as a marksman in the military” (215). Hunters who are mediocre at shooting guns sometimes result in hunting accidents, especially the death of innocent people. Consequently, “tougher penalties should be enacted for ‘hunting accidents’ –a term which ought to be gotten rid of, since it helps hunters evade responsibility. Currently, in nearly all cases in which a hunter seriously injures somebody, he is given a free pass and serves little, if any, jail time” (216). Hunters need to be more careful about their willingness to fire regardless of whether they are positive they are shooting at a deer or not. Every year “dozens of people each year end up wounded or dead in consequence. This needs to be stopped…it needs to be seen that careless hunters receive harsh punishment” (216). While hunting is necessary for food and to control overpopulation, it is evident that it can be dangerous and hunters need to be very experienced and capable of shooting once to kill rather than having to shoot multiple times and cause pain in animals.
In conclusion, the demand for food and animal products as well as testing medicines before their use on humans is not going to subside anytime soon; therefore, at times it is necessary for farming, hunting and animal experimentation. However, it is unnecessary to subject animals to such cruelty so any alternatives that lessen the suffering that animals have to endure should be implemented.

Works Cited
Marcus, Erik. Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money. Boston: Brio Press, 2005.
Hills, Alison. Do Animals Have Rights?. United Kingdom: Icon Books, 2005.
American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. “Use of Animals in Biomedical Research:
Understanding the Issues.” March 1998.
Botting, Jack H. and Adrian R. Morrison. “Animals Research is Vital to Medicine.” Scientific American,
February 1997.
Animal Alliance of Canada. “Cosmetic and Product Testing on Animals.” Non-line Pro-Con, May 17, 1997.
Kerasote, Ted. “To Preserve the Hunt.” Orion, Winter 1996.
Pearson, Susan J. “For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in
the United States.” Journal of American History 94.1 June 2007.
“Animal Testing.” The Humane Society of the United States. 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mediation of Brief

In today’s society, animal testing and factory farming are necessary for our survival. Testing drugs and medical procedures helps to ensure that they are safe for human use. Currently, animal testing is the most efficient method to perform these tests. On the other hand, animal testing is not necessary for the experimentation of cosmetics or household products because these items do not save human lives. In these cases, alternatives to animal testing such as stem cells, tissue samples, or computer models should be used whenever appropriate.
In addition to animal testing, factory farming is necessary to supply the nation with enough meat and animal food products. The limited farmland and increased demand for food in this nation has required farmers to maximize the efficiency of their farms. This means confining lots of animals in small spaces, although the treatment of these animals needs not be so hostile. There are ways to decrease the sufferings of farm animals without affecting the output of these farms, including, “1) Provide either prompt veterinary care or euthanasia to all downer cows and pigs, 2) kill every male layer chick using a gas other than carbon dioxide, 3) improve standards for stunning poultry and livestock at slaughterhouses, 4) ban farrowing and gestation crates for breeder sows, and 5) provide a local anesthetic to calves and piglets prior to castration,” (Marcus 55). These cases should be enforced upon farm owners by the government, although they already do not enforce existing restrictions on large scale farming.
Evidence: Animals feel pain just as humans do so it is necessary to ease the suffering. “Of course, it is harder to tell what animals are feeling, since it is harder for them to communicate with us. But we should not deny that animals feel pain just because they cannot tell us that they do. Most animals have the same nervous system as we do so when they are in the kind of circumstances in which we would feel pain: their blood pressure rises, their pulse rate increases, their pupils dilate, glands in their brains secrete chemicals that we know as painkillers” (Hills 39).
Evidence: While it is necessary to supply the nation with a plentiful amount of meat and animal products, the suffering of farm animals can be decreased in many ways so why should we continue to treat the animals so cruelly? Most people are unaware of the conditions that animals are subjected to in various factories and farms: “Animals are treated so badly in factory farming that it should not be allowed to continue in its present form. There should be much stricter regulations in farming to raise the standards of animals’ welfare” (Hills 169).
Marcus, Erik. Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money. Boston: Brio Press, 2005.
Hills, Alison. Do Animals Have Rights?. United Kingdom: Icon Books, 2005.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Brief for Animal Rights

Thesis: Animal Rights are an important part of this society because animals should not suffer and should be given the same right to live as humans, which includes the prevention of animal testing, commercial hunting, and the breeding of animals for food.

-Due to the fact that animals possess the same cognitive abilities as humans, animals deserve the same moral rights as humans.


1. Stop the breeding of animals for food

2. Prevention of animal testing

3. Prevent Commercial Hunting

Reason 1: Animals should not be bred for food because they are entitled to life just as any human being. It is unethical to breed any animal and then kill it for the sole purpose of food.

Evidence: Farm animals are the most abused animals in the United States, which is not known by most people. Most farm animals are raised in cages or crates that forbid them to move. ("All Creatures Great and Small")

Reason 2: Animal Testing is inhumane and should not be implemented because it harms animals for the mere sake of testing cosmetics or household items.

Evidence: There are alternatives to animal testing so what is the point of harming animals when there are other options.

Evidence: Animal testing kills millions of animals each year. ("Animal Testing")

Reason 3: The hunting of animals is linked to pain and death, including families or pacts being destroyed; therefore, should not be tolerated.

Evidence: Every year hunting accounts for hundreds of millions of casualties world-wide. They die a painful death for the meer fact that they are pests, have beautiful fur or for the "recreational value." The fact that there are annual trophy books increase the hunters desire to kill more and larger innocent animals for pure recreational value, which is unethical. ("Furries against Hunting")

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Animal Rights

Throughout the years there has been controversy over animal testing. I am arguing against animal testing because I believe it to be inhumane to harm animals for the sake of marketing a new household product or cosmetic. There are many alternatives to animal testing; therefore, they should be used with the possibility of sparing millions of animals. Animals have a right to life just as human beings do. Deaths through testing cosmetics and household products are unnecessary because there are various alternatives that prevent testing on animals. These alternatives are known as the "Three Rs." "They replace the use of animals in a scientific procedure; they reduce the number of animals used in a procedure; and/or they refine a procedure so the animals experience less pain, suffering or discomfort" ("Animal Testing"). Therefore, if there are alternatives to animal testing, why would we not use them and spare the lives of many animals?

The Humane Society of the United States. "Animal Testing." 2007