Besides keeping this blog going, I often engage in debates on other sites. On the website Quora I’ve been answering questions for some time. Today I contemplated this question:
What are some of the alternatives to animal experimentation?
Now, when I saw this I was stunned – not by the question, but by the fact that in years of keeping a blog, I haven’t addressed that issue, though I’ve been opposed to 99% of animal experimentation all my life. To make up for this, here is the answer I put on Quora this afternoon:
The answer to this is multiple and complex – I’m only going to give you one alternative.
All the sciences cry out for more funding – the only ones that seem to get a lot are those that are directed towards research to save us from disease. Those have had the effect of dramatically increasing the world population from 2 billion when I was born in 1946 to 8 billion today. Since over-population is behind almost all our current problems – climate warming, pollution, increased transmission of diseases, deforestation, destruction of coral reefs, declining fish stocks, mass extinctions, wars, wars, wars, etc – if we simply banned all animal experimentation, it would free up huge amounts of cash for other sciences.
For example, the NASA program that made 5 trips to the moon in the 70s was expected to go on to Mars in the 1980s, but the chaotic recession/inflation of the ’70s resulted in drastic cuts to the space program (keep in mind that the space program was responsible for the computer revolution we’ve enjoyed now for decades). Had that money been given to NASA, space exploration today would be far beyond where it is – we’d probably have a colony on Mars, and we’d probably have probes on their way to other stars – meanwhile our population would probably be 4–6 billion and the problems facing us less drastic than they are. All from just leaving animals alone.
Let me just add here that being opposed to animal experimentation is not being anti-hunting, anti-zoo, anti-fishing, anti-logging, etc. As long as those things are done in a sustainable way, they are beneficial, not problems at all. Read hunting& fishing magazines for example, and you’ll see that most hunters today (fishing, which I still do, being a form of hunting), at least in North America, are solidly behind species and habitat protection. Those too would benefit from an injection of more money.
Of course, if this was done, tens of thousands of rich people would be less rich than they are now, maybe hundreds of thousands, but I don’t see that as a reason not to do it.