Monday, October 29, 2012

Similarity between Animal Sacrifices and Animal Experiments

I have written many times on this blog and on my site Human Health and Animal Ethics that animal experiments in biomedicine do not help human health: the method is scientifically wrong and, because of its lack of predictive ability and consequent unreliability, it can do great harm to humans as well as not doing good.

So animal testing is not only useless, it is dangerous because misleading.

I have explained at length the reasons why this is the case, and you can read them there.

As far as drugs are concerned, an important part of the solution to the problem of possible unwanted side effects is better control of the effects of medicines after they have been marketed.

“We need to encourage doctors and drug companies to watch for, report and take note of side effects in order to protect patients properly. If proper drug surveillance techniques had been available in the 1960s the thalidomide problem would have been picked up much earlier. We still don't have proper post marketing trials in place.”

Testing on humans is unavoidable whether or not you have experimented on animals first, because any new drug which is marketed is an unknown, due to the unreliability of previous animal testing.

There are cases where there is a correspondence between human and non-human animals. But how do we know that? Because we transferred the results of animal testing on humans. That is, for all practical purposes, we tested them on humans.

As I said, I have already extensively written on this. Now I want to make a connection.

Three days ago, on 26 October, was the Islamic festival of Eid-ul-Adha, which Muslims "celebrate" by sacrificing animals.

Eid al-Adha, in Arabic "feast of sacrifice", is celebrated in honour of Abraham's readiness to sacrifice his son Ishmael to show his obedience to God, before God stopped him and offered him a sheep to sacrifice instead of his son.

Almost all religions, from Islam to Judaism, from paganism to Hinduism, sacrifice animals to gods.

Nepal's Gadhimai Festival in Hinduism, a religion generally believed to be benign to animals,
calls for a mass animal sacrifice which is considered to be the world's goriest mass killing of animals.

A few hundred thousands buffaloes, pigs, goats, pigeons, rabbits and chickens are killed as part of the blood-soaked festival held every five years (November 24, 25) to honor the Hindu goddess of power.

...Animal sacrifice is an everyday occurrence in Nepal. One could visit one of the countless temples and suddenly find oneself witnessing the beheading of a goat, a chicken, a duck, or even a young buffalo. The visitor might catch the last sounds of a dying animal or find oneself wading through a stream of blood.
Christianity and Buddhism are the exceptions.

Jesus Christ banned the Jewish practice of animal sacrifices. Here, as in many other crucial areas, Christianity demonstrates once again its considerable enlightenment and progress in comparison to other religions. Christianity, along with Greco-Roman civilization, is what has made the West and its immensurable achievements over the rest of the world possible.

People have been sacrificing animals to their gods in the hope that the sacrifices would deliver them from evils.

Our culture is not so barbaric, but the hope that sacrificing somebody else, someone who cannot defend himself (or herself), will save us is still present.

God offering Abraham a sheep to sacrifice instead of his son Ishmael reminds me of the way animals are used in biomedical experiments to make them suffer and die instead of humans.

Animal experimentation is the heir to the ritual sacrifice, the modern-day equivalent of the hope that a "scapegoat" will take from us all the bad things and dangers and free us.

And it is just as irrational.

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