For more than 40 years, scientists have been performing laboratory tests on animals to understand the effects of different substances. Until recently, however, the country has not been ensconced in a true obesity epidemic. This development has revamped the argument as to whether animal testing is appropriate if it can possibly facilitate insight into America’s debilitating health condition – or if it’s just simply cruel.
In the past, rats have been used for all sorts of experiments, such as understanding the effects of medicine, drugs, and diseases. But monkeys exhibit the most similarities to humans, making them coveted testing subjects. So the Oregon National Primate Research Center has done the resourceful, yet unthinkable: in order to further comprehend the American tendency toward obesity and diabetes, these scientists have fed and confined monkeys to the point of complete and total lethargy.
According to an article in The New York Times, the Oregon Center director of “obese resource” admitted the experiment’s goal is to “induce the couch-potato style” that mimics health problems in the United States. In order to accomplish this goal, scientists control food intake by keeping monkeys in cages for an allotted amount of time – maybe a week, maybe a month, even an entire year. What has this taught researchers across the country who engage in the same type of testing? Perhaps it shows that a high-fat diet doesn’t make every person fat or that eating healthy during pregnancy can minimize unhealthy fetuses.
In the face of evidence that these experiments are only a testament to the already-obvious diet guidelines regularly pounded into American minds by the media and other sources of education – eat healthy, exercise regularly, but understand the way your body responds to certain foods – these programs should be abolished. From an ethical perspective, it seems incredibly selfish for an obese country to inflict pain upon these animals.
In the grand scheme of things, regardless of whether or not solving the obesity problem is more important than animal rights, making progress in the field of science shouldn’t be based upon the pain of any living organism.