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Animal Experimentation Is Necessary Essay

1607 words - 6 pages

 
   A contingent of those against the dog labs at the university protested last month, waving signs that read, "Kill? Heal? What's It Gonna Be?" and "The U Kills Dogs."  A fairly recent article in the Washington Post ("A Terminal Learning Environment"; Nov.  5, 2000) manages to move beyond the emotion and sloganeering used by these protesters to some of the real arguments of those in opposition; that the dog labs are "cruel, unnecessary and a waste of money" and that they "should be eliminated."1   However, the arguments used by the Washington Post (and ultimately, those in opposition) are insufficient to justify the termination of the dog labs at university.  The claim that the dog labs are cruel to the animals is unsubstantiated and inaccurate.  The claim that the labs are unnecessary is a falsity, as alternatives are not as beneficial as the vivisection labs.  Finally, the argument that the labs are a waste of money is an ill-researched, erroneous depiction of the real circumstances.

       The dog labs are held annually at the University, on five consecutive Fridays in the early spring.  In the lab, students insert catheters, draw blood, inject drugs, perform minor surgery and observe the cardiovascular systems of seventy-two deeply anesthetized dogs.  At the end of the lab, the dogs are euthanized.  The purposes of this lab are to help teach the basic concepts of physiology, give students the opportunity to observe the effects of some commonly used drugs, and to provide students with a "hands-on" experience working with live patients.  Students are given the option of not participating, but are still responsible for learning the material presented in the lab.  This year, thirty students (out of one hundred and thirty-two) opted to skip the lab, which prompts the question: Why not more?

       The argument used by the Washington Post that the labs are cruel to the dogs, because of the "questionable" source of the animals, is completely unsubstantiated.  The Daily was very upset to learn that the universtiy obtains its dogs from C.C. Baird, a class-B animal dealer (one who buys dogs, rather than raising them) with a "history of violating the Animal Welfare Act."  The Daily states that Baird obtains his animals from "random sources," who, in turn, are suspected of stealing people's pets to furnish the animals to the dealer. 2  This argument is unfounded and not to be believed.  First of all, there is absolutely no proof that the university is using stolen pets in these labs.  The dogs are instead purchased from vendors who are approved by the US Department of Agriculture.  These approved vendors, like C.C. Baird, get the dogs from pounds and kennels, where the unwanted animals are, unfortunately, destined to be euthanized anyway.  While it is correct that C.C. Baird has previously violated some aspects of the Animal Welfare Act, he has since made the necessary improvements and ultimately has been approved by the USDA.  Baird would...

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