Darkness in El Dorado - Archived Document
Anthropological Niche of Douglas W. Hume
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Internet Source: The Absurdity of Vivisection
Source URL: http://www.freezone.co.uk/vivabsurd/#4.


4. Vivisection and the denial of human rights

A current cliche to defend experimentation is the belief that 'with rights come responsibilities': as animals have no responsibilities they are by definition precluded from having any rights. However this overlooks those humans who also have no responsibilities, e.g., infants and those who are severely disabled. Unless these are to be assigned the title of 'token human being', a concept fraught with problems, this would mean that many humans are also 'suitable tools' for experimentation and the vivisector's pseudo-research.

Faced with this, the pro-vivisectionist may respond (and I quote one such response): 'This is a fallacy based upon a misunderstanding of the bestowing (or acknowledgement) of rights. Rights are not bestowed on individuals, they are bestowed in a community of individuals...A right is not something you earn, rather, it is something granted (or acknowledged) due to one's membership in a community of individuals. The fact that there are some individuals who do not possess the capacity for moral judgments does not expel them from that community'.

Consequently, having realized the 'rights only arise when there are responsibilities' argument will not succeed, the pro-vivisectionist introduces new conditions: in this case, it is proposed that rights are only bestowed when the subject is a member of 'a community of individuals'.

As so often happens in such cases, the generalized statement begins to be shaped according to what the speaker requires. In this case, he requires rights only for human beings and he therefore introduces conditions that (so he believes), will only be satisfied by human beings. However, this is unsuccessful.

Firstly, there are many human beings who by choice, do not exist within any form of 'community'. Secondly there are many human beings who are not allowed to exist within a human community. Thirdly, the right to membership of a community will vary considerably according to the culture in which it exists. And this occurrence was even more common in previous centuries. Thus, despite an attempt to provide conditions which will only be met by human beings and preclude all non-human life, we return full circle to some human beings being excluded from having the rights which ensures that they cannot become laboratory tools for the vivisector.

Thus, the argument to defend experimentation on animals runs aground and the vivisector shows that not only animals, but any vunerable being is deemed to be 'a suitable tool' for his/her pseudo-science.

It should be borne in mind that recent history includes several instances of individuals who call themselves 'scientists' using vunerable human beings for experimentation. For example, one account mentioned that the newly published Darkness in El Dorado (authored by Patrick Tierney) had revealed how:

Thousands of South American indians were infected with measles, killing hundreds, in order to for US scientists to study the effects on primitive societies of natural selection...The book accuses James Neel, the geneticist who headed a long-term project to study the Yanomami people of Venezuela in the mid-60s, of using a virulent measles vaccine to spark off an epidemic which killed hundreds and probably thousands.
Once the epidemic was under way, according to the book, the research team refused to provide any medical assistance to the sick and dying Yanomami, on explicit order from Neel. He insisted to his colleagues that they were only there to observe and record the epidemic, and that they must stick strictly to their roles as scientists, not provide medical help'...One of the most controversial aspects of the research which allegedly culminated in the epidemic is that it was funded by the US atomic energy commission, which was anxious to discover what might happen to communities when large numbers were wiped out by nuclear war....
Prof. Turner...quotes another anthropologist who read the manuscript as saying: 'Mr. Tierney's analysis is a case study of the dangers in science of the uncontrolled ego, of lack of respect for life, and of greed and self-indulgence...'.[16]

Furthermore, various eminent individuals involved in medicine have referred to instances in recent years when vunerable human beings have been used to test drugs or have become involved in surgery, without giving their consent. As noted:-

Atrocious medical experiments are being done on children, mostly physically and handicapped ones, and on aborted foetuses, given or sold to laboratories for experimental purposes. This is a logical development of the practice of vivisection. It is our urgent task to accelerate its inevitable downfall (Prof. Pietro Croce, M.D., 1988, internationally renowned researcher, and former vivisector).

And,

The asserted purpose of vivisection has not been effective in any field, and it can be safely predicted that it will not be achieved in the future either. On the contrary, vivisection has caused grevious damages, has been fatal to thousands of people.
The constant spread of vivisection has achieved but one thing; to increase the scientific torture and murder of human beings, too. We can expect this to increase to continue, for it would be just the logical consequence of animal vivisection.[17]

Indeed, using human beings is the logical outcome as it becomes increasingly obvious that animals are of no use in testing, and such cases are reported, e.g.,

One of the cases involved a researcher who lied to a group of expectant mothers...the researcher got the women to try an analgesic without telling them that the drug could cause respiratory problems in their newborn babies...The specific purpose of this study was 'to induce a mild respiratory depression in the infants' and then see whether another drug was effective in treating that.[18]

With regard to the pro-vivisectionists' view that animals lack certain essential qualities which justifies their use for experimentation, it should be noted that compassion is a fundamental and essential characteristic of human nature. As it is difficult to envisage those who conduct experimentation on animals as compassionate beings, it does not seem unreasonable to ask whether such persons are lacking essential human qualities and are therefore something less than full human beings. Even a cursory viewing of what animal testing involves will cause a rational person to wonder about the minds of those who perpetrate such acts.