Labs at Oberlin College
have a responsibility as an academic community to consider the implications
of our research and to continually maintain criticism of our practices.
One particular area of research that warrants strictest criticism
is the use of animals as tools for laboratory activities. In response
to the letter in last week’s Review by Natalie Stamm and Chris
Holbein, I support their arguments against vivisection at Oberlin
and agree that this represents disregard for life and suffering.
It is irresponsible to conduct unnecessary and redundant tests on
animals. The operant conditioning lab, which was undertaken this
week in the neuroscience department, is an example of this irresponsibility.
Students who wish to become involved in medical professions ought
to be taught compassion and respect for all animals.
By allowing experimentation with rats, the Oberlin College community
ignores the rats’ interests to be unconfined and possessed
of life — all for the small gains of possibly learning how
to make incisions and treat animals with disrespect (although that
certainly can not be considered a gain). Animals are not ours to
experiment on. They have rights independent of human needs, and
this should be taken into consideration before cruel tests are performed
upon them. This is irrespective of human gains in science. We may
have good goals, like learning how to perform operations, but we
must ask if our means for reaching such goals are ethical. This
is especially so when alternatives to dissection and vivisection
labs exist, such as computer simulations and observations of necessary
surgeries at hospitals and veterinary clinics. I urge the Oberlin
College community to re-evaluate its traditional use of animal labs.
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