Wings and chains BIOETHICS

Wings and chains BIOETHICS

Less than a century has passed since then, as Academician Ivan Pavlov lamented that «someone out there» wants to control his vivisektorskuyu practice. Less than 70 years ago I put their monstrous experiments Nazi Josef Mengele, less than half a century ago, was awarded for his work Hisata Yoshimura, one of the doctors, butchers Japanese «Unit 731». And now in a number of countries have adopted laws recognizing apes for almost human rights. A tiny cut in the history of mankind — and a giant step for bioethics. The further we go down the path of civilization, the softer are the manners and the more anxious — attitude towards their fellows. Moreover, the concept of «similarity» spreading wider and wider at the same time decreasing the level of xenophobia, at least among the most progressive and educated members of society. Several hundred thousand years ago, people did not hesitate eating other members of the family group — simply because outsiders have not seen like himself and, therefore, did not feel compassion. Even now, there are tribes and nations, in which the word «people» referred only to his and neighbors fall into the category of animals. And to spare the animals, to reflect on the fact that they also have a sense, and does launched recently and not all over the place. In ancient times, however, there are exceptions, such as the Jewish commandment «Zaar baaley Chaim» — compassion for animals, including, for example, a ban on cutting off parts of a living being, a ban on the destruction of the bird’s nest in the presence of his mother, a prescription to take luggage with a tired pack animals and so on.. But this is really an exception. Until now very widely believed that the «frog does not hurt,» and «some reflexes in cats, they do not think and do not feel.» Meanwhile, anatomical and physiological similarity of humans and animals has long been noticed and is widely used in biology and medicine.

Cut to the quick

The practice of vivisection, that is carrying out experiments with surgery, over 200 years old. Specifically, experiments on animals put Aristotle and Galen, but only two or three centuries ago, it has become a mass phenomenon. Ideological base led Rene Descartes, defended the idea that the pain and suffering no one but the person is not capable of testing all living beings are created only for the benefit and entertainment of people. Undoubtedly, vivisektorskie experiments XVII-XVIII centuries in many advanced knowledge about the blood circulation, muscle activity and other aspects of physiology, but in practice it was, by our standards, animal hell. «Cartesian scientists beaten dogs with perfect indifference and ridicule those who pitied the creatures as if they felt pain» — describes the activity of the French witnesses vivisectors of the XVII century. These researchers believe that the tortured cries of creatures — only a mechanical reaction, but actually animals do not experience emotions. Accident nailed to the boards of all four paws to dissect them alive to examine the blood flow, which is a mystery to scientists. However vivisectors ruled the roost a relatively short time. At the beginning of the XIX century, many began to wonder: is it really necessary to such fanaticism for the progress of science? Unfortunately, among these scientists humanistic ideas, clearly ahead of his time, shared a few. In contrast, the mainstream was a complete negation of the principles emerging animal protection organizations and treat them as a nuisance. At best, those who stood up for animals, simply ridiculed. French physiologist Elie de Sion wrote: «It is necessary to reiterate that the woman, but rather spinsters, form the most numerous contingent of our critics. Let my opponents objected to me, if they can show among the defenders of the animals at least one girl a rich, beautiful and beloved wife and young. » Most opponents of the vivisection announced notorious reactionaries, and even madmen. One of the top two in our time natural science journals «Science» in 1909 published a programmatic article with the words «Antagonism to vivisection is a form of incurable insanity.» A little later the American neurologist Loomis Dana suggested the diagnosis of «zoophyte-psychosis», which indiscriminately awarded zoozaschitnikov almost until the 60-ies of XX century. What has caused such a strong reaction to attempts to limit, and ideally — to stop the practice of vivisection? On the one hand, more and more experience in the animal move forward medical, pharmacological and biological sciences. The era of torment in order to just «see how it is arranged inside» has already passed, although it remains to the test as a material rather than living beings. Vivisection as such in the first third of the XX century is not widely used and even banned. In England, the law on compulsory anesthesia animals and all have been adopted in 1876.

On the other hand, fanatical zoozaschitniki as any fanatics who behaved extremely effusively, reach direct insults, which naturally irritated scholars as all serious people who interfere engaged in business. A form of protest sometimes overshadowed their contents, to which no one and did not try to listen. But let’s not forget that the ruthless handling of the animals is not limited, — recall the ill-treatment of the mentally ill, practiced until the XIX century.


The Second World War, as you know, gave an unprecedented impetus to the development of science and technology. There is even an opinion that the experiments carried out in concentration camps, have made a considerable contribution to the progress of medical science. Is it so? There is a «canonical» example — Dr. Josef Mengele. It is with incredible cruelty killed in Auschwitz tens of thousands of people, spending on them unimaginably painful experiments. All these pseudo-scientific «studies» were pure fanaticism. However, there are less unambiguous examples. Heinrich Wirtz seriously studied at Auschwitz lung cancer and its treatment possibilities, and Professor Hagen Natzweiler studied typhus. Sigmund Rascher of the Research Institute of the Luftwaffe, using no less violent methods than Mengele, made real discoveries in the field of hypothermia and how to combat it.

There are successful experiments of the Nazis on the use of sulfonamides and other drugs, leading to their improvement, — however, for their study guinea deliberately applied to the wound, and to enhance the effect they injected ground glass …

While the West Germans destroyed hundreds of thousands of people, «the glory of science» in the east of their Japanese counterparts do the same thing, giving the scale (according to various estimates, from 3 to 10 thousand victims), but not cruelty. «Detachment 731» — a special unit of the Kwantung Army, created for the development of biological weapons, and the study of its effects on the human body. It is hard to imagine that what they were doing to the prisoners of war and civilians in Harbin, people could come up with, not fiends. However, they do both, for what, in fact, the unit was created, — the study and development of viral and bacteriological weapons, the study of typhus, plague, and so on. D. Due to the success in this field, many who served in the unit is not only not punished for their crimes (or briefly stayed in the camps), but became honored scientists and teachers at home and abroad.

At that time, the USSR, and the US decided to use scientific potential of «Unit 731» is more important than to punish these people for crimes. How does it look now? Yes, even the Nazi research brought some benefit to the progress of medicine, but at what cost? Is it worth saving the lives of future patients brutal killing test? In respect of people have long adopted an unequivocal answer — no. But no matter how we are treated to the work of the Nazis, Obtain they, for example, the secret of immortality or a panacea for cancer? I want to believe that even in this case, their cruelty would not be justified. However, the real benefit of their experiments is so small that it can be written in the casual side effects fanaticism caused simply by the law of large numbers.


The results of the Nuremberg process, and Harbin, and the whole tragic experience of the Second World War, more than anything else influenced the issue of humane attitude to the test, especially the people. But only in 1969, he coined the term «bioethics», which marked the science of the moral side of medicine and biology. In the field of bioethics, in addition to considering the possibility of carrying out various experiments on humans and animals are subjects such as euthanasia, surrogate motherhood, the use of embryonic cells and tissues, human cloning and more. Extremely difficult to develop a single modus operandi, where faced concrete with abstract and rational with the transcendent, as in bioethics. For example, almost all the issues related to the continuation of the kind of a person one way or another specified in the religions, and the perception of them through this prism so ingrained in the minds of even the atheists, it is sometimes difficult to figure out what is dictated by a particular ustoyavshee- smiling view. For example, the human cloning is bad: it is not pleasing to God, but nothing he does not explicitly say, but «listening to the interpretation, we can …» or a problem in the legislative regulation of property rights of a man? Or both are not important, but you need to think about the possible psychological suffering of the cloned individual? Or all three variants are far-fetched and fulfill human cloning technology can and should be? Host Talmudic medieval scholastics or unraveling of these «balls» would give an indescribable pleasure and occupation is not one generation. Now it is necessary to resolve such issues in a much shorter time.

Works to bioethics no end, but today it can be argued that the destiny of man as the object of research is not serious. Prohibited violent traumatic learning, and even on some programs with experimental volunteers vetoed if the probability of death test. And in the case of unintentional harm to the victims are entitled to compensation. In regard to animal experiments all is not so rosy.

Monkey SHARE

In the history of the struggle for the rights of animals there are many notable names, but one of them — Briches — has become synonymous for the creatures who are victims of cruel experiments. Brichesom called a six macaque baby in 1985 zoozaschitniki rescued from the lab at UC Riverside. Brichesa born in captivity, was taken from his mother and sewed his eyelids in an experiment on the development of payment methods blindness. The experimental set out to kill later, and the brain removed for examination. The experiment involved 23 other baby, but it Brichesu lucky to catch the eye of the activists of the Animal Liberation Front, raided the laboratory and to release hundreds of rats, possums, cats and rabbits. Briches sitting in a cell and was in extremely poor condition. Fronting veterinarians and pediatricians, he became the hero of the film made the organization «People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals» (PETA), and the banner of struggle for the humane treatment of animals. Laboratory workers denied their guilt and assured everyone that zoozaschitniki themselves mutilated monkey, but after the film was made available to the mass audience, half of the projects of the laboratory has been canceled, and linking young age is prohibited.

The fact that attitudes towards experimental animals gradually humanized, has merit zoozaschitnikov extremists such as the members of PETA said, formed in 1980, and there are up to 800 thousand participants. Of course, action zoozaschitnikov, including many unbalanced people (yes, their critics were largely wrong) or because of his youth, «crazy», often not just a flamboyant-mi, and frankly destructive and criminal. They smashed the lab, resulting in deteriorating the expensive equipment, preventing conduct important research. Their demands are sometimes contrary to common sense, or at least much ahead of their time, as it was a protest against wearing fur in an era when there was no synthetic materials that can replace natural. But extreme zoozaschitniki sought and sought publicity on how to actually treat animals in scientific institutions (as well as in circuses, fur farms, and so on. D.). The society, much of which is ahead in terms of ethical development of those who learned from the past and vivisectors used to think animals are not more than the material, puts pressure on the government and legislators.

In this sense, is very significant project «Big Monkey» — operating since 1994, the organization, which includes ethologists, primatologists, philosophers and other scholars, including such masters as Jane Goodall and Richard Dawkins. They are fighting for the distribution of basic rights such as the right to life and protection from oppression, for chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans, as all these monkeys have a strong thinking, feelings and emotions, and generally extremely close to the people in terms of development. The work is difficult, but there are already some success. For example, in 2008, support for the ideas of the «Big Monkey» expressed a parliamentary commission of Spain and humanoid in this country got certain rights. Even earlier, the same thing happened in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. In the US, the center of the world of science, where every year in different experiments involving thousands of apes, government measures have not been taken, but this summer the US National Institutes of Health announced that, in deference to the chimpanzee and the role that they played in the science of primates exempt from participation in the research and sent into retirement, leaving only about fifty to experiments in which without them can not do.

Too early to rejoice

Currently, the use of animals in scientific give impossible. And in the near future the situation will not change. Experiments involving animals are required for the development of all areas of pharmacology, medicine, biology, which allows to save billions of patients, increase the length and quality of human life. But to treat laboratory animals carefully to avoid causing them pain — quite possible. For example, early pregnancy tests concluded that human urine introduced a live rabbit and then studied reacted if her ovaries. Before removing the ovary rabbits were killed, although it could keep them alive, though, then it turned to study more complicated. Is it worth a little cheaper deprivation experiment, the animal’s life? ..

Quite possible to significantly reduce the number of animals involved in the experiment. For example, exclude the possibility of preparation of living beings in the learning process. Students are not necessarily open the live frogs and rats, and in fact it recently engaged even in the pedagogical institutes. In 2005, the Russian Ministry of Agriculture issued an order that future veterinarians and livestock do not have to do more experiments on animals without anesthesia and generally should use special computer programs.

There will come a time when it will be possible to release the animals from the laboratory to determine the will or in zoos and families — is unknown. It is hoped that the rapidly developing biotechnology will help replace these animals artificial organisms that will not suffer in the process of research. And animals will only participate in the programs of study of interspecies communication.

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