Mark Ulyseas – Human Rights and Animal Rights

How can we talk of human rights  when we don’t respect the rights of animals?  Mark Ulyseas Live Encounters Magazine May 2014.Photographs © Mark Ulyseas
Photographs by Mark Ulyseas

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How can we talk of human rights when we don’t respect the rights of animals?
Mark Ulyseas

“The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.” – Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality. (It is not just western crudity but eastern, too).

How much is enough? When will we stop abusing animals in laboratories around the world? How long will we continue to venture on canned hunting trips shooting hand raised animals that have done nothing to harm us? And when will we stop canned farming of animals and birds: keeping them in their cages from infancy till they grow so large and fat that they can’t stand and then slaughtering them on an industrial scale to feed the burgeoning human population?

Perhaps Doctor Rat has a point when he speaks about the role that animals play in a laboratory in the honoured service of humankind…the drugs, the needles, the partial removal of organs when the animal is still alive and watching a dog running itself to death on a treadmill so that a scientist can determine at what stage death comes to the wretched cur… so that drugs maybe designed to ‘help’ humans fight fatigue. (“Doctor Rat is a novel by William Kotzwinkle in the spirit of Animal Farm. It is a trip through a laboratory worthy of a Nazi doctor, except this doctor is a wisecracking rodent… echoes of William Blake.” LINK ).

Here is some data collated from PETA, Humane Society, ASPCA, Reuters:

– Over 100 million animals are burned, crippled, poisoned and abused in U.S. labs every year.

– 92% of experimental drugs that are safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials because they are too dangerous or don’t work.

– Labs that use mice, rats, birds, reptiles and amphibians are exempted from the minimal protections under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

– Up to 90% of animals used in U.S. labs are not counted in the official statistics of animals tested.

– It’s mandatory for all products to be tested on animals in China. Meanwhile, the European Union issued a ban on the sale of new cosmetics that are tested on animals.

– According to the Humane Society, registration of a single pesticide requires more than 50 experiments and the use of as many as 12,000 animals.

– In tests of potential carcinogens, subjects are given a substance every day for 2 years. Others tests involve killing pregnant animals and testing their fetuses.

– In Canada: 3.38 million animals used in experiments, 145,632 animals subjected to “severe pain near, at, or above the pain tolerance threshold of unanesthetized conscious animals”.

– United Kingdom: 4.11 million experiments on animals, 2.95 million without anesthesia.

– At the end of a test, the animals are killed, normally by asphyxiation, neck-breaking or decapitation.

These are just three countries. We still have to account for the rest of the world. So how do we stop this genocide?

Maybe Ellen DeGeneres has the solution when she suggests – “If you want to test cosmetics, why do it on some poor animal who hasn’t done anything? They should use prisoners who have been convicted of murder or rape instead. So, rather than seeing if perfume irritates a bunny rabbit’s eyes, they should throw it in Charles Manson’s eyes and ask him if it hurts.”

There are larger issues here that go beyond the stated objectives of medical researchers who claim that – “Research, including some studies on animals, has greatly contributed to progress in the treatment of infections, helped with immunisation, improved cancer treatment and has had a major impact on managing heart disease, brain disorders, arthritis and transplantation. Research on rats, dogs and pigs has helped to find new treatments, including bypass surgery and treatments for angina. Polio would still claim hundreds of lives annually without the animal research of the Nobel laureate Albert Sabin.” –

What are these issues?

Just two: Ethics and Morals.

So why don’t we conduct tests on humans?

The unsustainable levels of population increase have put a strain on the natural resources of the earth. The onslaught on Mother Nature’s dominion continues with the decimation of her denizens perpetrated by humankind, a species that has over thousands of years fine tuned the art of bludgeoning baby seals to death, skinning animals alive, eating them, imprisoning them for pleasure and finally exterminating millions of creatures.

Some call this progress, others, civilisation.

And while the butchery continues people raise the banner of human rights – Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.

How can we talk of human rights when we don’t respect the rights of animals?

I shall leave you with this quote that puts the ongoing genocide into perspective.

“One saw a bird dying, shot by a man. It was flying with rhythmic beat and beautifully, with such freedom and lack of fear. And the gun shattered it; it fell to the earth and all the life had gone out of it. A dog fetched it, and the man collected other dead birds. He was chattering with his friend and seemed so utterly indifferent. All that he was concerned with was bringing down so many birds, and it was over as far as he was concerned. They are killing all over the world. Those marvellous, great animals of the sea, the whales, are killed by the million, and the tiger and so many other animals are now becoming endangered species. Man is the only animal that is to be dreaded.” Jiddu Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

01 May 2014

© Mark Ulyseas

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