Satya has ceased publication. This website is maintained for informational purposes only.

To learn more about the upcoming Special Edition of Satya and Call for Submissions, click here.

back issues


May 1995
What 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 still alive?
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 by laws?
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.



All contents are copyrighted. Click here to learn about reprinting text or images that appear on this site.