I’ve gotten numerous emails about my recent post on animal rights – I called animal experimentation a “necessary evil” – but I think this note from a reader eloquently captures the ambivalence that many scientists feel:
I have a child with insulin-dependent diabetes. I am constantly aware that every single advance keeping her not only alive, but so healthy that others never notice her condition, rests on the shoulders of thousands upon thousands of creatures. These animals have suffered, and these animals feel pain as much as we; many are almost unbearably intelligent and are emotionally…sweet, endearing. It is for this reason that I keep lab rats and greyhounds as pets–a small thanks that cannot go nearly far enough, and an act which has only made me simultaneously more grateful and sadder for the involuntary plight of the laboratory animal.