observations on life

The worth of humans


In the newspaper yesterday was an article about a deadly bacteria that had apparently “escaped” the lab in which it was being used to infect rats. It was discovered in an outdoor cage where the company’s primates live.  The ones they experiment on. Some of the Macaques had been infected, when they should have been nowhere near the offending bacteria.
I don’t know what they do to the macaques — what kind of “experiments” they perform on them. I don’t care. Whatever it is, you know it’s not good for them. If it were, they’d be experimenting on humans instead.
All creatures know when they’re suffering. That’s all you have to know. The question is, why do we think it’s OK for them to suffer for our benefit? Whether they are rats or macaques, mice or chimps, cats or cattle, why is it OK? That humans’ and animals’ bodies don’t work in the same ways seems reason enough not to do it. Yet it’s done. And we let it go on.
Many, if not most, people think it’s OK because animals are worth less than humans. I don’t think that. Humans are just smarter and they have thumbs. It’s doesn’t mean they’re worth more. And even if that were true, why is OK to cause other creatures to suffer for our benefit? Why is their suffering irrelevant?
Why is the suffering of living, feeling creatures irrelevant? Why was the suffering of Jews irrelevant at the hands of the Nazis who were “experimenting” on them? People thought is was OK. And they thought it was OK to study syphilis by purposely not treating black men. They thought it was OK to purposely infect Indians with smallpox so they would die.
Now, of course, we think that’s abhorrent. And, of course, it is. Yet we still think that whatever is considered “less than human” is fair game for experiments which make them suffer, and usually die.
What happens when we start to think that white people are “less than human?” Will we think it’s OK to cause them to suffer on purpose, for the benefit of others?

OOOOh, I can hear the hate mail coming in now.  Well, let it come.  Sometimes I feel less than human, and I’m glad, because humans are the only creatures that cause others to suffer on purpose.


2 thoughts on “The worth of humans

  1. Good, thought provoking post, Randee. Much of the medical research on animals is flawed and not appropriate to saying what is safe and not safe for humans.


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