Posted by Marcia Penner Freedman
Do dogs understand their suffering and pain more acutely than mice? Do cats grieve over forced isolation and cruel treatment more than rats?
Does it matter?
Yes, it matters, because how we view an animal can have a big effect on how we treat it.
Which brings me to my real question:
In framing the law that was passed in 1966 on the treatment and care of laboratory animals in this country, were the policy makers influenced by their belief in the presence or absence of an animal’s capacity for subjective feeling and experience, its sentient abilities?
If the provisions of the Law, the United States Federal Animal Welfare Act of 1966 (AWA), and its amendment of 2002 are to be taken at face value, then the answer to that question is yes.
In both the AWA and its amendment, mice and rats, along with birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, are explicitly excluded from federal protection against abuse during scientific research. In fact, it appears that they were considered non-animals, not even worthy of consideration. Those animals specified for protection in the AWA are dogs, cats, monkeys, non-human primates, guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits. In other words, cuddly pets and cousins.
According the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), ninety-nine percent of the millions of animals currently undergoing laboratory study in this country are those that have been excluded from protection under the AWA. It seems that this could only have come about if laws were written with the assumption that these animals do not have the capacity to suffer, or at least cannot grasp what is happening to them.
We need to take the pain and suffering of ‘less intelligent’ animals very seriously, wrote Marc Bekoff , co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. As a cognitive ethologist, Bekoff studies the influence of conscious awareness on an animal’s behavior in its natural environment. It is possible that some animals experience pain and suffering in ways that we cannot yet imagine, Bekoff stated. They may act differently than we do, but still can feel pain.
EVERYBODY NEEDS A HUG…..
I’m including here some links that might be of interest to readers:
https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/alternatives-animal-testing/ Details about alternatives to animal testing.
https://speakingofresearch.com/extremism-undone/alternatives/ Interesting article refuting alternatives to animal testing.
https://www.livescience.com/39547-do-dogs-suffer-more-than-mice.html This is Marc Beckoff’s Op-Ed Piece