Posted by: gillarbuthnott | December 30, 2013

Mice and Men and Women

A-laboratory-mouse-007Well, it was going to be a very conventional ‘That’s another year over’ sort of post until I opened today’s Scotsman newspaper and read about Caterina Simonsen. She is an Italian who suffers from a respiratory illness and posted on Facebook that she believed her life had been saved when she was 9 by medicines which had been tested on laboratory mice.

Hooray for modern medicine, and best of luck for the future, Caterina, say I, but not, of course, the anti-vivisection lobby, who responded with such charming posts as ‘You could die tomorrow. I wouldn’t sacrifice my goldfish for you’ and ‘If you had died as a child, no one would have given a damn.’

It’s hard to know just what to say in response to that lot. Certainly nothing much in printable language. There is no point trying to have a reasoned argument with anyone who holds such extreme views. I do worry immensely about the relationships people like that can have with other humans though. Do they actually  have no empathy with their own species?

I have benefitted from vaccines, antibiotics, anaesthetics and surgical techniques which have mostly been tested on animals, and I’m also a former science researcher who has worked on animals. Animal testing is not carried out for the amusement of ‘evil scientists’. It is one step in the long process of research, to try and ensure that new drugs and techniques will help, rather than damage, humans.

I like animals, but I value my own species more.

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