Animal Testing, for the Benefit of Chimps?

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Image taken from Wikipedia.

In 2013, the National Institute of Health vowed to stop breeding additional chimps for biomedical testing and agreed to re-home all but 50 of their current test subjects. However, some scientists argue for continued testing on chimps, not necessarily for any benefits to human, but for the sake of chimpanzees themselves. For instance, diseases like Ebola affect humans and chimps alike and according to Dr. Peter Walsh, “‘In the last 30 years, [it] has killed about a third of the world’s gorillas, and thousands of chimps, … If we don’t do something about this now, these animals are going to go extinct in the wild.'”

However, others, like Steve Ross argue that “‘If you develop a captive population, test your vaccine and the result is a vaccine that cannot be administered to wild populations and therefore doesn’t save a single chimpanzee, we’ll have done a tremendous disservice to chimpanzees as a whole.'”

Although Dr. Walsh’s proposal is problematic for various reasons, it raises interesting questions about the correct response to declining wild chimpanzee populations. If part of the justification for halting biomedical testing on captive chimpanzees was because they are *”like us”* in some morally relevant way, then is there a duty to find cures for wild apes like we do for humans?

*Note: this is not necessarily meant to support the “they are like us” argument!

Read the full story here.

‘We Are Not the Only Political Animals’

A political caricature of the United States Senate from 1894 Credit: Library of Congress

A political caricature of the United States Senate from 1894
Credit: Library of Congress

Justin E.H. Smith, professor of History and Philosophy of Science, published an interesting article in the Opinionator pages of the New York Times, entitled We Are Not the Only Political Animals. He argues in favor of using a political framework in our interactions with animals.

Excerpt:

This supposed freedom from political strictures has motivated some, such as the 19th-century anarchist aristocrat Piotr Kropotkin, to take nonhuman animals as a model for human society. But for the most part the ostensibly nonpolitical character of animal life has functioned simply to exclude animals from human consideration as beings with interests of their own.

What might we be missing when we cut animals off in this way from political consideration?

You can read the entire article here.

Highway to Hell

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Picture source: Wikipedia

In yet another devastating undercover investigation Mercy For Animals reveals the appalling treatment of animals by the Canadian agriculture industry, this time at the Western Hog Exchange. The conditions for pigs before, during and after transportation to slaughter are indescribable. They go for days without food or water in conditions so crowded they can’t lie down. They have no protection from extreme heat and cold causing many to die en route (after unimaginable suffering). They are handled violently by beating, kicking and electric prod shocking. And note that this undercover video was filmed at a facility that has daily visits from federal inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. As you will see in the video, the inspectors fail to intervene time and again while pigs are being subject to horrendous abuse.

Even if you don’t watch the video, please sign MFS’s petition, and read the information on their site contrasting European legislation regarding animal transport with the regulatory black hole that is Canada.

You can watch the video here or below but beware that the video shows disturbing and graphic content:

Or you can read the in-depth report here.