Animal ethics shouldn’t be based on codes of conduct

Re: “Furthering science or exploiting nature?” Nov. 4. 2009

Laurier Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (LSETA), as animal activists, is concerned that our views were grouped under the title “Misconceptions” in Goldberg’s article.

The statements Goldberg made regarding our group’s values and goals were misleading. Abuse in labs is not a misconception at all. While the article assumes that the only issue is the way the animal is killed and whether or not the student has choice, it fails to address animal quality of life and overall treatment.

The article does not go into detail on what it describes as “strict” guidelines put forth by the Canadian Council on Animal Care. Also absent is adequate consideration of whether or not animal presence in the lab is ethical at all. Contrary to what the Cord implies, LSETA spreads compassion, not “rumours”.

–Catherine Bradley, LSETA

From what I gathered from this article the argument seems to go like this:  if animal testing adheres to the standards of the Canadian Council on Animal Care, it is ethical; since Laurier does adhere to those standards the animal testing, like pouring saline solutions into the blood stream of still-living rats, is ethical.

However, no one seems to question whether or not the ethics put forward by the ethics board are ethical in themselves.  

Clearly, anyone who believes that ethics is simply subscribing to the prescribed governmental norms has failed to learn from the lessons of history (“separate but equal” laws in pre-Civil Rights America to give a good brief example) and has a dubious system of ethics to being with.  

To put it plainly – an ethics board is not enough as the ethics board itself may not be ethical.

While I do think there is room for synthesis and cooperation between most researchers and most civil rights activists on the issue, simply saying that animal testing is ethical because it follows an ethical grocery list is not enough.  

–Anatolijs Venovcevs