Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Letters: Animal testing (2005)

Letters to the Editors from the November 2005 issue of the Socialist Standard

Animal testing

Dear Editors,

I am pleased to see you state [October issue] that the abolition of the savagery of capitalism will undoubtedly do its part to abolish all unnecessary suffering by non-human sentient creatures. Yet you say that the socialist approach to animal testing is pragmatic. What suffering is necessary? On what grounds? How many animal deaths equal one human life?

Animal testing is anything but scientific. Thalidomide tested safe on animals but when given to humans was a disaster. Drugs for arthritis were harmless to animals but proved to greatly increase heart attacks in people. Blue sky testing where animals are harmed and killed in the vague hope that something useful, and profitable, to humans is both daft and cruel.

I hope a socialist world would be more compassionate with people trying to live in harmony with the environment and animals rather than seeing them as assets to be exploited and plundered for the financial gain of vivisectionists and drug monopolies. Socialism should abolish these as well as the many other horrors of capitalism.

I am sure there are many people suffering from ailments capitalism can’t cure right now (I would be one) who would volunteer to try new drugs and thereby save animal lives while perhaps improving the quality of their own.
Terry Liddle, 
London, SE9

‘Health’ system

 Dear Editors,

I become annoyed when I hear of the increasing numbers of retired workers (hence unexploitable) who are being reminded by their GPs that their ailments are age-related and are told “what do you expect at your age?” instead of being offered proper care. Precious ‘health care’ is then devoted to those that capitalism is able to continue to exploit.

But can multi-million profiteers in drug companies be trusted to be more interested in population health than the profit to be made? Who is able to double-check their laboratory tests and results and how can study statistics be guaranteed not to have been exaggerated or distorted? With such vast wealth at stake would even a capitalist government really care about working-class health under such rewarding (for them) conditions? It has to be faced that no capitalist government assists the really needy – that task is left for charities to do and prop up a system that benefits only the wealthy ruling class.

If the health system is unable or unwilling to properly test and cure working-class patients then I personally believe being ignored and left to suffer or being officially kept alive to suffer is not good enough. The obvious third option of being allowed access and advice on how to quickly and efficiently terminate life should be made available.

The utter independence and freedom to choose the time and place of my own demise certainly appeals to me and is a right I am keen on exercising. If you can help out with attractive suggestions on how this can be accomplished it would be appreciated and I can depart – when the time comes – thumbing my nose at officialdom who have dictated in life what I can and cannot do. It would be a great way to go!
Ron Stone, 
Gelorup, Australia

Blinkered Nationalist

Why on earth are you standing in a Scottish seat? Smacks a little of imperialism to people up here. “Great Britain” is a state founded for empire — the centre colonising the island — it is outdated so anyone with the slightest knowledge of politics now sees “Great Britain” as outdated, hence supporting independence. You are the only party with “Britain” in the title apart from the BNP!
Livingston, Scotland

As far as we are concerned, “Great Britain” is merely a geographical name. And we were the only party standing in the Livingston by-election without “Scottish” on the ballot paper — that’s because we don’t stand for an independent Scotland any more than we stand for an independent “Great Britain” or even “Little England”. We stand for world socialism, a world community, without frontiers, where the resources of the Earth, industrial and natural, will have become the common heritage of all humanity.

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