This is a post I should have done a while back but it never really dawned on me the importance of discussing this topic until I thought back to a conversation I had with my roommate concerning the current lab I am working in.
Just a side note: I am in no way justifying the use of animals for research. I am just pointing out the things that animal studies have helped us understand.
Science in many ways has helped the vegan movement. One of the reasons people become vegan is because of their health, due to the multitudes of data collected by famous vegan doctors that prove time and time again that a whole foods plant based diet is the best way to nourish your body. Without the science, it would have been much more difficult to convince the thousand of people, including me, who made the decision.
However, there is another side of science that directly goes against the ethics of veganism. By adopting this lifestyle you are suppose to not contribute to the suffering and death of all animals, not just the ones you eat. This causes a bit of a situation when it comes to research, especially for medication or understanding the behaviour of disease causing agents. Normally the procedure in testing for medication ends up with a clinical trial involving animals, or when trying to understand the effect a pathogen can have on human model organisms are used. This is quite a difficult position for me to be in because I am trying as much as possible to be as compassionate as possible when it comes to my lifestyle, and do hope in the future to not use any animals in my lab or be associated with animal testing for research.
Lots of progress has been made in science, in bettering the lives of many with the help of model organisms. They have open our eyes to further understand our bodies and have been a major contributor to medical science. I cannot help but question where we would be without the use of animal models, but the most important question is that should life be lost for us to understand the human body and better treat those that are seriously ill? Is it selfish of us to lose a life to gain another? It is not the fault of many individuals that they are infected with certain diseases or are born with mutations that can make them ill. Yes, taking care of themselves with the right lifestyle is important but sometimes even that cannot keep off certain ailments. Are there better ways to approach models? I do not know but these are questions that arise with such a topic.
In all, it is easier to give reasoning to stop eating meat because looking at the science we are not suppose to consume them, and the stakes in stopping the consumption of meat is non for an individual. But with research how can the ethical argument be used convincingly. We can stop using animal models, but at the cost of stopping further research in diseases like Alzheimers, cancers and virus that could help in providing treatments for those suffering with these diseases. Computer models can be used but that is till guess work. Yet it is distasteful to have to sacrifice animals just for our own advancement. I would love to see a world free of animal testing, not just with cosmetics but with medical research, but unfortunately it is going to be a much harder battle to fight, especially trying to reason with very opinionated academics who think only one way is right. I was hoping to get to some sort of conclusion putting my thoughts to paper but I am more lost thinking more in detail about this.