24 November 2006


Read this. One thing is missing from these experiments on animals: consent. Dogs and other animals are incapable of consenting to be used as experimental subjects. Without consent, they are being used as mere means to human—or animal—ends. Why is it permissible to use animals as mere means but not humans as mere means? As always, there is a double standard: deontology for humans, consequentialism for animals. Please don't say that the animals' owners consent for them. Do we allow parents to consent to experimentation on their children? And please don't say that animals themselves (dogs, for example) will benefit from the experiments. Animals are individuals. They're no more interchangeable or replaceable than humans are. Just as it's wrong to use a particular human being as a means to some collective end, it's wrong to use a particular animal as a means to some collective end. If the "experiment" is for the good of the individual animal, then it's therapy, not experimentation. That the Humane Society of the United States endorses these experiments calls its motives, character, and principles into question.

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