By Sarah Kean
My dad is a pretty big guy: 6 foot 5 inches, 250 pounds, not to mention a former Marine. He can kick some serious butt in combat and not bat an eyelash, but I swear on my life he could not kill a mouse. I have lived in the same middle-of-nowhere house my entire life, surrounded by trees and little woodland creatures. Every once in a while, a baby snake or bigger spider gets in, and mice were not far off. I was about seven when I heard my mom scream at the sight of our little house guest, my dad came running and laughed at her while she yelled, “Just kill it, Darrell!”
I’m proud to say the mouse lived longer than my mother had hoped. If a tough guy like my dad cannot kill mice even in the most humane way, how can anybody do it in a lab in the worst way?
Being experimented on, poked and prodded with sharp objects and injected with harsh or unknown experimental substances, is not the way things should end for any living creature. If a guinea pig, cat, primate, rabbit or even a little field mouse does not feel as if it is worthless enough to deserve that suffering, then humans have no right to disagree.
I am not stating that if an infestation of an invasive species intrudes our surroundings, causing harm to our society, they should not be dealt with. However, using animals for experiments for our unnecessary benefit is in no way ethical. Animals deserve the same rights as people, of course not on an intellectual level, but they do feel the same things we do. I do not expect, nor hope to see, a dog at the voting polls next Election Day, but I do believe they should not be treated poorly by scientists who think they have an excuse because they believe it will help our society.
In reality, testing wastes time because animal tests are rarely relevant to the entire test and most of the time hurts the outcome. People who hurt animals in cock fights, hunting out-of-season or even in their own homes are punished with fines and jail time. However, because other people are cruel to animals in labs and have the title of doctor in front of their names, and that makes it okay in the face of law. Unfortunately in some cases, the way domestic animals are abused is more humane than the way their test subject counterparts are treated.
All animals should be treated with love and compassion regardless of their place below us on the food chain. Even the simplest thing you do can change the lives of innocent animals. Next time you go to buy something from the drugstore, check to see if it was tested on animals, and if it was, put it down and try another brand.
If you want to do more, you can visit the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal’s (PETA) website, http://www.peta.org.