Question Vivisection

According to the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, “Each year millions of birds are subjected to all sorts of cruel, wasteful and invalid research in government, university and private corporate laboratories.” Birds are specifically excluded from the Animal Welfare Act that regulates the treatment of animals used in research, so even the very minor protections offered by that law do not apply to them.

Confinement and isolation are especially difficult for birds, who are naturally social and highly mobile animals. That being the case, birds cannot possibly be said to have consented to be used as research subjects. And, of course, experimentation on non-consenting subjects is inherently unethical.

Vivisection is torture: the infliction of suffering in order to gain information. Like other forms of torture, vivisection cannot be excused by the claim that “it works.” And, again like torture, vivisection doesn’t really work. The scores of medicines and other substances that have killed people after being “proven” safe and effective in animal experiments demonstrate that point very well. In one notorious set of experiments, birds and beagles were forced to inhale tobacco smoke; cigarette companies used such experiments to “prove” that smoking is not hazardous to health.

Use the readings and resources below to educate yourself about vivisection. At minimum, boycott products tested on animals. If you’re a student, teacher, or parent, challenge the use of animals in classroom experiments. Join environmental and economic justice activists in opposing genetic engineering. Promote more sensible and ethical alternatives in education, agriculture, and medicine.