Topic 61: Some people strongly oppose animal experimentation, believing that it causes pain to animals, while some other people consider it necessary. What is your opinion?
Perhaps no subject in the moral community is as controversial as animal testing. Animals, many people believe, meritmore humane treatment. When animal-based experiments have long been the centre of criticism, I am of the opinion that such experiments are essential to both the well-being of human beings and that of animals.
There is little doubt, first of all, that most of the animal-based experiments are conducted for the development of technology and to date, there is little chance of finding satisfying substitutionsfor animals. Animals are used mainly because they bear a close resemblanceto humans, either in behaviour or in cell structure. They respond to external disturbances (such as electrical shock) nearly in the same manner as humans do. There is much evidence that most of what people know about themselves, including pain, stress, reproduction and nutrition, is based on findings of animal-based experiments. Animal testing proves one of the main approaches to predict the risk when drugs or other products are used on humans.
Another fact to support animal-based experiment is that animals are not the equivalentof humans, and can be used as resources for human purposes. Animals have no capacityto recognise the rights of other species. Nor will they take in consideration the interests of other species. It is possibly one of the main reasons why animals feed oneach other. Humans, by comparison, use animal experimentations not only for their own interests but also for the interests of animals. For example, some medical discoveries can be used by veterinary surgeons to give medical care and treatment to sick animals.
Despite the justifications given for vivisection, researchers have the obligation to reduce animal testing and animal suffering. There is a growing recognition that animal tests are mostly done for commercial purposes and most of them are avoidable. For instance, the cosmetic industry has been exploiting animal experimentation simply for diversifying products and maximising profits. The fewer cosmetic products people use, the fewer animals they have to slaughter. When scientists are empowered to carry out cruel experiments like vivisection, such powers should not be abused.
To summarise, one can subscribe to the notion that animals can be taken as resources intended for the benefit of humans, although meanwhile it is certain that suffering should be controlled to the minimum during experimentation.
Topic 62: Far too little has been done to prevent animals and plants from dying out, although people have noticed this problem for a long time. Why have people failed to improve this situation? What are your suggestions?
Nowadays, the progressive extinctionofliving species on the planet — either animals or plants — has arisen as a big environmental challenge, according to many scientists and researchers. Despite the growing concern on this issue, little progress has been made in this Held. There are some factors that account for why this has happened. In my opinion, this situation can be remedied, provided that some reasonable steps are taken.
The sharp fall in living species is first attributed to people's continued and heavy reliance on them for their own interests. An age-old tradition is that animals are raised, bredandfedfor human use. For example, laboratory animals, working animals and sport animals have been used for economic reasons or to fulfil different tasks throughout much of human history. The meat of rare animalsis regarded as a delicacy in some countries, for example, whale meat in Japan. When it conies to plants, over-logging, over-grazing and soil erosion are the root causes of the dwindlingvegetation. Over-utilisationof living species has made many animals and plants face extinction risk.
Another reason cited to explain this is that few people take the mass extinction of species seriously. For example, fur is desired and pursued as a fashionable status symbol in many countries, even in those countries where people are known for their environmental concern, such as New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Barely have buyers realised that their purchase decisions will encourage the fur business to further animal slaughter. Rainforest destruction is another example. Despite strong opposition to lumber harvesting, this problem continues simply because people have an ever-growing appetite for land to live on (such as buying luxury properties in the country) and wood products to consume (such as furniture). Humans' pursuit of comfort and enjoyment has long been justified and condoned, even though the pursuit is at the expense of other species on the planet.
From what has been discussed, it is clear that lack of awareness and over-reliance on natural resources are the main reasons why species are being pushed closer to the brinkof extinction. Humane education represents a long-term commitment and will help raise a generation that has a real knowledge of environment protection and slays alert to the risk of animal exploitation and ecological degradation. In addition, it is imperative to carefully measure and control any activity that is likely to pose a threat on the survival of species. Decision makers and individual citizens alike should take into consideration the impacts of their decisions and behaviours on living species. It is important to realise that preservation of living species is not sentimental, but essential to the well-being of humankind.
1. extinction = death = loss = disappearance = annihilation
2. breed = reproduce
3. feed = give food to = nourish = raise = bring up