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L.Srikumar Pai
B.Sc( Engg.), MIE, MIWWA, MICI
Civil Engineer & CAD Specialist
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Speech topic: Animal rights

( Speech delivered in Gavel club meeting  )
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By Gopika Pillai: Every time I tried to sleep, I fell into the water and I immediately got out, always narrowly missing drowning. And other times when I fell asleep my nose was dipped into the ice cold water surrounding me, shocking me back to reality. All I wanted was, to sleep, why wouldn’t they let me? I tried to tell them to stop but they didn’t understand me. And they never would. Because I am a lab rat, this is my job, I was just something for them to test on, find the results and then I would be disposed of. Forever.

Gavelier of the day, respected toastmasters and my fellow gaveliers,

The topic that I will be speaking on today is animal testing. Animal experimentation or animal testing is basically testing on non – human animals. Animal testing was first used sometime between the 2
nd century and the 4th century. It was introduced by a Roman surgeon as a way for testing out different methods of surgery before applying those to humans. Animal testing had at first been a break through and it helped finding solutions to so many problems which had seemed impossible. But now in modern times the question arises whether animal testing is morally right.

Animal testing is done in two ways. Regular animal testing includes testing different cosmetics, medicines, etc, on the animal. And the other type is vivisection which includes dissecting the animal for trying out new ways of surgery. Most of you will probably bethinking: “what’s so wrong with animal testing? We get so many answers for medical and scientific research through animal testing” right? But, did you also know that every single animal used for experiments is either killed or euthanised after the experiment? A few years back a survey was conducted to count the number of animals that died due to animal experimentation. The number was 100 million .That’s a 100 million animals that died just like that for our selfish needs. And this survey was only conducted in the U.S. so; just imagine how much that count would be worldwide. And even though almost every country has passed laws asking labs to conduct experiments on animals as humanely as possible, almost usually these laws are ignored. In vivisection most of the time the animals do net get anesthesia before a surgery. This means that most of the time the animals are wide awake when a person is pinning them down and cutting through them. Just think of what pain that poor creature would be going through. And what did they ever do to us to receive punishment like this. And yes animal testing has given us many answers. For example Louis Pasteur demonstrated the germ theory of medicine by including anthrax in sheep. And also cloning which was thought completely impossible years ago was proven possible through dolly the sheep who had been the 208th sheep to be tested on and the only one which was a success.

Now coming to the no. of different animals used in animal testing. When I was reading about animal testing for the first time these numbers literally made my brain go numb. The number of rats and mice used in animal testing come up to 20 million. Nearly 200,000 fish and 20,000 amphibians are used every year. Over 20,000 rabbits are used in animal experimentation every year.  The no of cats used are 25,000. The no of dogs used is 66,000 and almost 70,000 non – human primates are used in animal testing every year. But, the most shocking thing to me was that all of these numbers are mostly the no. of animals used in one single country only.

The experiments conducted on animals like I mentioned before differ in the various fields. In other experiment once live pigs were used to test improvised explosive devises which caused explosions in internal organs like the brain. Once it was found that in a college they were testing on monkeys for a cure for stroke and it was found that some eyeballs of some of the monkeys had been removed and they were left in their cages after the surgery where they suffered alone.

The most common alternatives to animal testing are the three ‘R’s

  1. Replacement – try and use non – animal methods wherever possible to achieve the same scientific  aim
  1. Reduction – encourage researchers to try and use either the same animals for different tests or use as few animals as possible for an experiment.
  1. Refinement – refer to methods used to minimize potential pain, suffering, distress and enhance the welfare of  the animals used.

Drug testing, nowadays are conducted on human volunteers in minimal doses.

In one of my favorite movie - “legally blonde 2” – the main character Elle woods said that all of us have a voice and we have to use it. And this is exactly what I would like to say today. Animals can’t speak, but luckily we humans can, so please don’t just sit and let such injustices happen all around us. Use your voice .Speak Up!

Over to you Gavelier of the day.

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