What do we owe lab animals?

Primate Hug

A recent article in the New York Times entitled “What Do We Owe Lab Animals?” made a number of points in recognition of the ethical issues inherent in using animals for biomedical research. Where the article missed the mark, however, was in suggesting that such ethical concerns about the harm done to animals could be mitigated by somehow “repaying” the animals for their sacrifice and suffering.

For NAVS, the real question is: How do we stop their use in the first place?

Many people are surprised to learn the extent to which such experiments still take place, and the extent to which they fail in their intended purposes. As a society, we should strive not for repayment, but for replacement. NAVS envisions a future in which no animals are harmed or killed in the name of science. Instead of animals, researchers will use human-relevant methods in pursuit of their scientific aims.

As we strive toward this goal, it is clear that there is no way for us to truly “repay” animals for their sacrifices. Comments by fellow animal advocates on the NY Times website have shown us that we are not alone in this thinking.

The least we can do for those animals who survive research is to offer them the opportunity to spend the rest of their lives in a sanctuary, or, if they are companion animals, as pets in loving homes. As more and more animals are released from biomedical research, we need to ensure that sanctuaries have the funding and resources to care for those animals.

NAVS is proud to play a key role in the advancement of research that we anticipate will one day end animal use in science, as well as in supporting sanctuaries who are rescuing, receiving, and caring for animals released from laboratories. What do we owe lab animals? We owe them a world where they are no longer exploited.

What do you think? Share your thoughts with us and other NAVS supporters in the comments on our Facebook post.