Human Exceptionalism

Animal Rights Activists Try to Impede Testing Lab

Animal research is vital to human thriving. It is essential for advancing science and improving human (and animal) medical treatment and overall health. Yes, alternatives should be used when reasonably feasible, but at some point testing requires a living, breathing organism, and the only other choice is to use cognitively disabled human beings–which has been supported by Peter Singer among others.

Yet when a medical testing laboratory announced plans to build a $44 million lab in a town near Phoenix, the radicals, along with utterly misguided locals, organized to stop the project. From the story in the Christian Science Monitor:

Protesters of the plans decry the method that the US government requires for the development of medicines and other compounds such as antibacterial cleansers: that they be tested on animals before humans. Critics claim the method is outdated and that the toxins they introduce in animals cause them to react differently than humans. They also note that the US Department of Agriculture cited Covance for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act in 2005.

But others point out that companies like Covance are following US regulations. “In this society, like all developed nations, any new compound, product, or medical device must be tested in a whole living system, and we do not test on humans first,” says Frankie Trull, president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research, a group in Washington dedicated to fostering support for humane and responsible animal research. “The law and regulations are really quite proscriptive in what a company has to do.”

Most test animals–some 95 percent–are rodents bred for that purpose, Ms. Trull says. But Covance also tests on some primates, as well as dogs.

So long as the protesters use legal means, I may disagree with their cause but will support utterly their right to derail this project through robust political persuasion. Indeed, have at it!

But if we see any of the violence, threats, and personal intimidation that have marked other attempts to close animal testing laboratories, the federal government should intervene under the authority of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and punish the wrongdoers to the full extent of the law.

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