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AANimal research needed ti save human lives and reduce suffering

I would like to pose just one small challenge to Doris Lin and the Animal Rights Forum ["Reducing animals' suffering would also benefit plant life," May 2]. She says that "although some animal research may someday benefit humans, we do not have the right to perform experiments on animals. The end does not justify the means." I wish no harm to come to anyone, but my challenge is this: if you should ever need any sort of medical attention, from an over-the-counter medication to any kind of major medical treatment, I challenge you to refuse any such medication or treatment developed using animal research. If, God forbid, you should ever need surgery, I challenge you to have the surgery done without the benefit of any of the operating room technology developed through animal research.

I obviously make these challenges with tongue in cheek (mostly). But the point is that our choice is not just whether or not to use cosmetics. Every day, researchers using animal models are finding out things that save human lives and reduce human suffering. It is easy to say that we have no right to use animals for our own benefit, but would you really go without anesthesia if you needed an operation? I tend to doubt it.

I fully agree that we could easily do without many of the luxuries that are developed at the expense of animals' lives. However, I do not at all agree that we can do without animal research. What we need is not ignorant, arbitrary rules prohibiting all animal research. We simply need better regulation, so that researchers are forced to take the greatest pains to minimize the use of animals and to minimize the suffering of those animals that are used.

Samuel R. Peretz '89->