to Say When Someone Asks...
Q: Yes, but didn’t God give humans dominion
over all the other animals? If so, what’s wrong with raising them
for food and killing them as long as we treat them humanely while they’re
A: Some people believe that the Creator gave humanity
“dominion” over other life. Others see the idea of “dominion” as
an assertion of human ego in conflict with true spirituality and common
sense. One way or other, a loving God does not authorize humanity to
degrade, insult, and terrorize the other creatures of the earth, any
more than people are authorized to bully, terrorize, and belittle each
other. The idea of a gracious human spirit is expressed in the Judeo-Christian
Bible, for example, where it says, “O Jerusalem... how often I
have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks
under her wings” (Matthew 23:37). Like nature, scripture can be
invoked to justify almost anything one wishes to do. Instead of dwelling
on verses that invite us to be pompous and violent, we should focus
on passages and images that instruct us to be peaceful, participating
members of creation.
Most world religions envision a “golden age” when humans
lived peaceably on earth without bloodshed. In Genesis 1: 29, God gives
to humans “every herb bearing seed... and every tree in which
is the fruit of a tree yielding seed.” God says that, for us,
these seeds and fruits “shall be meat.” The Biblical image
of the Garden of Eden is paralleled by the Classical image of the Golden
Age and by ancient Indian depictions of a peaceable kingdom on earth.
This passage is taken from the pamphlet “Don’t Plants Have
Feelings Too?” published by United Poultry Concerns, Inc. If you
would like a copy of this pamphlet or more information, write to Karen
Davis, UPC Inc., P.O. Box 59367, Potomac, MD 20859. Tel.: 301-948-2406.
Q: Aren’t animals in laboratories protected
A: The Animal Welfare Act was passed in 1966 and subsequently
amended in 1970, 1976 and 1985. It sets standards for the housing, handling,
feeding and transportation of experimental animals, but places no limitations
whatsoever on the actual experimental conditions and procedures which
may be utilized. The following provision allows vivisectors to do as
they please: “Nothing in these rules, regulations, or standards
shall affect or interfere with the design, outline, or performance of
actual research or experimentation by a research facility as determined
by such research facility.”
In 1985, Congress passed an amendment which would require that dogs
be exercised, and that primates be provided with an environment conducive
to their psychological well-being. Pressure from vivisectors forced
the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue ineffective
regulations which did not fulfill the intent of the law. Compliance
is now at the discretion of the institution conducting the research.
The USDA, which is charged with enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, has
excluded mice, rats, birds, and farm animals (who comprise 85-90% of
all animals used in research and testing) from even minimal protection.
Although a federal judge found this exclusion to be illegal, there is
still no clear indication when new USDA regulations will be enacted.
The investigative team of the Department of Agriculture is understaffed
and underfunded, and the Animal Welfare Act goes largely unenforced.
Finally, the Act requires that institutions using animals set up Animal
Care and Use Committees to oversee, approve, and investigate vivisection
in their institution. Since these committees are primarily comprised
of vivisectors and their proponents, they are virtual “rubber
stamp” committees for vivisection.
This passage is Point 7 of a pamphlet called Point/Counterpoint published
by The American Anti-Vivisection Society. For more information about
this pamphlet and the AAVS write to them at 801 Old York Road, #204,
Jenkintown, PA 19046-1685. Tel: 215-887-0816.