The Fellowship of Life
'Methodist Recorder' Debate
Welfare of Animals
May I compliment the Rev Peter Mundy on his thoughtful contribution to the Recorder, "Man's Best Friend" (December 2).
The whole aspect of our relationship with animals, including re-interpretation of the biblical "dominion" as "stewardship," is currently under review by ethical philosophers, including theologians. Could we draw the attention of your readers to the book "Animal Rights" by the Rev Andrew Linzey (SCM Press, London, 1976) which considers this issue in depth?
Animal experiments present a special case in our view, for here there is a real moral dilemma. There seems to be little difficulty in deciding whether it is right or wrong to put new cosmetics into rabbits' eyes, but what of the testing of polio vaccine? Is it truly ethical to expose sentient animals to a cruel death in order to alleviate the sufferings of humans?
We believe that these issues are complex and should be seriously addressed and we welcome the involvement of the Church for they are questions which have profound implications for society.
Meanwhile, as we all struggle with the ethics, the RSPCA has a technical department dealing with practical aspects of animal experiments which aims primarily to gain much tighter control over the suffering in these experiments by bringing about legislative reform.
W.J. Pimm, executive officer, RSPCA (6/1/83)
See: Man's Best Friend
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