Brutalising experiments

October 13, 1995

An argument against vivisection much overlooked even in the literature of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection that I have received is the effect on the experimenter of conducting animal experiments - especially in training scientific and medical professionals. The message they receive is that the pursuit of knowledge is of paramount necessity - no matter how much suffering may be inflicted on "subjects of experiments", or how much relief from suffering may ensue from research findings.

All too often in their drive "to know", scientific and medical researchers and policy makers have played God and then not assumed responsibility for following through with the implementation of life-enhancing use of their own or previous researchers' findings. Consider the experiments conducted with radioactive materials on human beings documented in the Channel Four programme, Deadly Experiments. These included feeding radioactive flour in "medicinal" guise to Asians - presumably by experimenters who regarded themselves as a race apart or from their "subjects".

Carl Jung wrote: "There is no coming to consciousness without pain." To whom or to what? Perhaps war zones, where advances in surgery have arisen in the process of problem solving, make more natural theatres for medical researchers than animal laboratories.

ALAN RAYMOND WHEATLEY Croftdown Road, London NW5

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