Letter: Animal rights and wrongs

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The Independent Online
YOUR PRO-VIVISECTION correspondents (Letters, 31 October) seem to assume that if vivisection has benefited humans or other animals, that justifies it. It doesn't. The kernel of the anti-vivisection argument is that it is wrong to subject individual creatures (human or other), without their consent, to experimental procedures that are not in their own interests, even if benefit may follow for humans and others generally. It is just as wrong to use helpless, unconsenting animals as it would be to use helpless, unconsenting humans, such as babies or morons.

Animals are used in preference to humans only because the pro-human voice is, so far, more powerful than the pro-animal voice. Scientists have the animals at their mercy but they are afraid to use humans, who, for most of their purposes, would be far better models.

Brian Furman suggests that anti-vivisectionists should refuse treatments that were developed using experimental animals. But we are not all heroes: espousal of a cause is not necessarily a call to martyrdom.

RUARC GAHAN

Hollywood, Co Wicklow

IF IT is OK to experiment on animals for the benefit of people, is it OK to experiment on people for the benefit of animals?

VINCENT VERE

Richmond, Surrey

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