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November 1994
What to Say When Someone Asks...

Q. Are you against all animal experiments?

A. I am not opposed to experiments which are designed to help the animal or animals involved, such as untried veterinary techniques which are attempting to save the life of the animal in question, nor am I opposed to studies which observe the behavior of animals in their natural habitat, such as the admirable work of Jane Goodall. All other types of animal experimentation and testing are morally unacceptable. While this ethical position stands on its own, there are serious scientific and health issues involved as well. Vivisection has led us down countless scientific dead ends, while detracting attention and funds from more applicable scientific techniques. The practice of animal experimentation and testing remains, not because it has been shown to be an accurate and reliable means of research (which it has not), but rather as a result of the momentum of blind tradition and peer pressure, and enormous promotion from those with strong vested interests.

This passage is Point 1 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.

Q. What about plants? Don’t plants have feelings too?

A. It is very possible that plants have sensitivities that we do not yet understand. Because plants do not have nervous systems and cannot run away from predators, it has generally been assumed that they do not experience pain and suffering. Recent scientific evidence suggests that this assumption may be incorrect. However, we do know that birds and other nonhuman vertebrates have well-developed nervous systems and pain receptors the same as humans. Like us, they show pleasure and pain and they present comparable evidence of fear and well-being. Animals cry out in pain, they nurse wounded body parts, and they seek to avoid those who have hurt them in the past.

In order to live, one has to eat. However, when we eat animal products, we consume many more plants indirectly than if we ate those plants directly, because the animals we eat are fed huge quantities of grasses, grains, and seeds to be converted into meat, milk, and eggs. As a vegan (one who eats no animal products) you cause fewer beings to suffer and die for you.

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


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