This article appeared today and this seeming acceptance of the notion that animals are expendable have been on my mind for a while. I am glad this is a news item and hopefully there will be a debate.
The tricky thing is that of course some people are doing important work and experimenting on some lab mice may well lead to saving thousands of human lives. And others are training to do important work. Where do you draw the line?
That said I am quite sure the combined total of scientific discoveries in Victoria last year is not going to save half a million human lives. So would it be OK if we saved 50 000 human lives (1:10 ratio)? 5 000? What justifies taking an animal life?
I know from the view of the precepts, nothing. One may argue that experimentation on animals is a recent practice and the precept on not taking life should be applied flexibly when lives can be saved.
In any case I am interested to hear people's thoughts on this both as Buddhists and as citizens especially with a view to working out a better approach than the existing one and taking some action to have it implemented.