July 11, 2005

Zombies, what Zombies?

Apparently US scientists have figured out a way to bring back clinically dead dogs by draining their blood, replacing it with a nearly freezing saline solution, and three hours later, replace the blood and bring the dog back to life with an electric shock. Apparently, no brain damage results from the procedure. The article talks about how this would be most benificial to battlefield or trauma victims, i.e. people who lose massive quantities of blood, because it would give more time to repair bodily damage.

I will admit, my PETA sense was tingling when I found the article didn't mention whether or not the dogs were already dead/injured/etc. Ethically, aren't there some problems with killing animals just to see if we can bring them back to life? Insert your generic mad scientist laugh here.

Also, just because I've read too many Lovecraftian stories, and watched too many zombie movies, I'd figure that they should keep something nearby if they ever do it to a person. Just, you know, in case....


MosBen said...

I don't have a problem with using animals for experimentation as long as it's for a legitimate and important scientific purpose and that the experiment does not involve any unnecessary affliction of pain and suffering on the animal. Actually, these rules go beyond just experimentation for me and apply to all issues of animal rights. It's why I eat meat generally, but not veal. I don't mind that an animal dies, I mind more how it's treated while alive. And yeah, when I can afford/find it at my local grocery I get free range, but the selection is limited and quite frankly it's easier to just avoid buying veal at a resaurant than it is to search out free range meats at the store.

This distinction should show the reletively limited scope of my convictions in this area.

MosBen said...

Whoops, forgot to even mention the story...my vote is bring on the zombies. Their existance creates the need for zombie hunters, which was actually my number one result in the highschool job test, but I had to go with "perpetual student" as the zombies weren't so much existing at that point.

Noumena said...

Well, as someone who cares a bit more about animal rights than MosBen (yes, that's actually what I'm going to call my position), I have some mixed feelings about this.

If these experiments were undertaken for medical purposes, like in your examples, then I'm okay with this sacrifice of otherwise healthy animal lives, so long as there's no unnecessary pain involved. Likewise, I'm okay with testing lifesaving vaccines on rats and pigs before they're tested on humans.

I draw the line at apes and cetaceans (whales and dolphines), because it seems to me there's strong evidence that these are rational beings, self-conscious in a way, say, pigs and dogs don't appear to be -- the former can actually communicate using language. As a Kantian, I say we have to respect rational agency wherever it appears, and that includes apes and cetaceans.

Also, I think testing things like viagara and cosmetics on animals (along with eating them!) is strictly impermissible. I guess I'd say the life of most animals is not worth as much as the life of a rational agent, but these are still beings who can suffer, and unnecessary suffering is no good. Incidentally, Kant condemns cruelty to animals somewhere because it sets a bad example and makes you more liable to treat fellow rational agents cruelly.

Joy said...

I'm going to avoid the PETA discussion and simply say that I endorse Ben's Zombie position. About time he gets the opportunity to truly live his dream.

MosBen said...

I hereby decree 12 points for Joy agreeing with me about zombies!

Actually, I don't think Dan and I are that far apart with regard to testing. I suppose I could best characterize my position as a balancing test. The more important the scientific/medical goal and the lower the animal's suffering, the more likely I am to say it's more important than the animal's rights. The less important the research and the more suffering experienced by the animal, the less likely I am to support it. The range of rationality from 0-Sentient also figures in there.

DrDeef said...

Animals are nice and all, but have you TASTED veal! I would bathe in the suffering of baby cows just eat that meat once a year.

Oh yeah, and go for it Mila, you'd be great in the next Hunter:The Reckoning:Redeemer:Add another colon while you're at it game.

Anonymous said...

I think mosben should become more informed before he makes naive statements. In general, calves aren't alive along enough to have been treated poorly before they are butchered into bob-veal. And you definately wouldn't want free range beef, because it would taste "gamey" like deer. I think PETA should focus their attention on humans. We certainly are an endangered race; what other species kills their young before it is born; neglects kids; has shootings, bombs; and uses transportation in vehicles or airplanes as a source of destruction.

Killing animals only to revive them...I wish that was the biggest problem the world faces.