Animals between biology and philosophy

One has to Google the terms “animal consciousness” or “animal ethics” or any similar term to find countless links to websites and articles written about those topics. And that is quite normal. It is after all a very juicy topic to talk about. Are animals conscious?…

Lets say that we expose a rabbit or a mouse to pain during some research. It is of no doubt that this animal feels pain. But does it REALIZE what is going on to it?… after reading some articles from rather respected websites such as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, I realized that the answer to this question is not just a simple (Yes or No). Philosophers have been digging in this topic since the days of Descartes and his famous “incognito” philosophy and even before that!

Something  else to think about; Imagine for a second the life of a pet of a pop culture celebrity. Compare that then with the life of an animal that’s been living since the day it’s been born on a research facility. And the whole few months that he gets to live take place in a little gray cage where he gets food, water and an identification number.

If we think that when a rich person would give their personal pet a nice big house, top quality feed, provide it with some entertainment time and probably some servants, that the owner is just being too decadent or over the top. Because the animal doesn’t need all that. It probably doesn’t even see the difference between his feed being given on a plate or it found it somewhere in the neighbors trash. Then why do we think that using an animal for testing is bad ? is this just the other side of the coin? its not like a rabbit is usually born with a life goal of having a nice house and a family to care for.. or is it?

The obvious question here is, is this fair? well, I don’t know, nor do I think so. But, who did ever say that it should be fair? why would it be? it’s just all just a coincidence probably.

From a biological point of view its much more simple. The survival of the fittest. The rule of the strongest.

Not only is this point of view simpler, it’s also much more realistic. We are human beings, our instincts are so that we have to conquers all what we can. And we’re doing a pretty good job at it too. or some of us at least… We feel the need to test on animals in order to gain information about something, or to prevent hurt of other human beings, or for whichever other reason… should we stop? why would we stop?

Its easy for someone to reject on animal testing to give themselves the feeling that they stand for something, and to feel better about it. But I think that once that person is seriously sick, he’d be the first to run and purchase a healing product despite it being tested on animals or even Martians. Because that’s how nature works. or as philosophy calls it, instinct.

Maybe we should just look at it as “improving human life quality” instead of “testing on animals”.


About jalalkhalifeh

Master's student in Industrial Engineering (BioMedical). Originaly Palestinian but currently living in Belgium where I obtained my Bachelor's degree and right now working on obtaining my Master's degree. Very interested in Science, World politics and pop culture.
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3 Responses to Animals between biology and philosophy

  1. Wangz says:

    I agree that you see the problem of animal test from the point “the rule of the strongest”. I think human beings is one of the most stongest species in the world, so they want to improve their life quality by doing test on animals, it is just like lions eatting deer, the rule of nature.

  2. hverrijssen says:

    I agree with the fact that test animals don’t know what is going on most of the time. Animal lives are defined by survival, mating, and feeding. Those are the only things they know and can differentiate, with exception of “playing”. Even if they are surrounded by wealth, comfort, and safety, I don’t think the feelings of animals are something that we can just deduce. Maybe they feel equally caged in if they are a household pet in a wealthy family as when they live on the street. We can’t read their thoughts and feelings because communication with rodents and other small mammals isn’t possible.

  3. Véronique says:

    I actually disagree with the fact that you say animals don’t know what’s going on. They definitely need an animal-friendly environment. I can imagine when a dog is locked-up in a small cage, he gets sad and wants some room to run and play. Animals using for experiments have the same needs. But these animals are actually bred for investigations. As a researcher you have to follow up them, so it is normal to put them in a cage. So in my opinion, they are a needed in research. It’s just necessary if we want to improve treatments.

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