Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Truth of the Animal Welfare Act and Animal Testing in General: Animal’s Rights are Not Protected Via Act: Lab Animals Have No Legal Protections

A very good writing by a law student at Stanford. He points out the painful truth that: “…these regulations do not restrict the actual experiments that a researcher may conduct. If a researcher found scientific merit in torturing infant monkeys, testing pain thresholds in cats or kicking dogs to test their reactions to abuse, no law would prohibit such actions. The Animal Welfare Act does not permit the government to regulate “the performance of actual research or experimentation by a research facility as determined by such a research facility.” Even the regulations that require the provision of anesthesia or the search for alternatives can be subverted by a mere assertion of “scientific necessity,” according to this same Act.”

In essence, the disinformation put forth by those related to animal testing and experimentation is fallacious. I guess it takes a Stanford student to point this basic structure of logic out. Just because this one act exists does not mean it is all encompassing and will protect the unfortunate subjects from any twisted experiments that some wacko can dream up. In fact, they can do pretty much any thing they want to them and be covered by the law.

Seems strange, in that if you or I did what the people engaging in animal testing did to their victims, we’d be locked up for animal abuse and monitored by a professional for mental illness. Instead though, animal testing and vivisection is illogically exempted from any type of animal cruelty laws. Experiments can do anything they want and cover it up under the guise of science. Those with certain credentials like a M.D. or a PhD then have a ticket to exercise their wildest and cruelest actions.

Article:

Animal rights are not protected

http://daily.stanford.edu/tempo?page=

ontent&id=19397&repository=0001_article#

By Matthew Liebman

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

In an article in yesterday’s paper, “Students Protest for Animals,” Ruthann Richter claimed that animals in laboratories are covered by extensive legal protections, ensuring a happy and comfortable life for animal subjects. These regulations, however, fail to prevent basic suffering.

First, these regulations do not restrict the actual experiments that a researcher may conduct. If a researcher found scientific merit in torturing infant monkeys, testing pain thresholds in cats or kicking dogs to test their reactions to abuse, no law would prohibit such actions. The Animal Welfare Act does not permit the government to regulate “the performance of actual research or experimentation by a research facility as determined by such a research facility.” Even the regulations that require the provision of anesthesia or the search for alternatives can be subverted by a mere assertion of “scientific necessity,” according to this same Act.

Second, the Act excludes birds, rats and mice from its definition of “animal,” thereby exempting them from even the minimal protections that the act provides. Because these animals make up 95 percent of the animals used in experimentation, the vast majority of tests conducted on laboratory animals are unregulated. Stanford, for example, uses tens of thousands of rats and mice, as well as owls. The University also refuses to disclose the number of animals it uses at the Research Animal Facility.

Third, the regulations that do exist are drastically under-enforced. Federal funding granted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act is minimal. Even when regulatory and accreditation agencies, such as the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), visit laboratories to inspect animal welfare, the labs are notified in advance of the impending visit — essentially giving them a chance to hide any violations.

Fourth, Stanford has a history of noncompliance with animal welfare standards. When the campus laboratories were closely watched in the late 1980s through mid 1990s, animal rights advocates and even some regulators found violations.

Finally, even when animals are given care that complies with the Animal Welfare Act, they still experience significant stress. Laboratories only provide sterile surroundings, not natural environments. These animals have evolved over millions of years to live in jungles, deserts and brush, not the cool sterility of a laboratory. Showing movies to primates, as Richter mentions, is a far cry from the rich needs of an intelligent species. As emeritus Stanford librarian Lise Giraud noted in a news release in 1992: “Whether it’s a clean prison or a dirty prison, it’s still a prison.”

Matthew Liebman is a third year law student and a member of Student Animal Legal Defense Fund as well as Animal Rights on the Farm. He can be reached at mliebman@stanford.edu.

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