We Need Stronger Regulations To Improve Animal Treatment

In 1985, Congress amended the Animal Welfare Act to recognize two basic facts of life: that dogs need exercise and that primates have psychological needs in addition to physical ones. Any self-respecting ethologist would, of course, argue that all mammalian species have these needs. Yet three years later, these amendments have not been put into effect. Organized science has once again gotten in the way, raising such a storm of protest that proposed regulations have been held up. Scientists w

Neal Barnard
May 29, 1988

In 1985, Congress amended the Animal Welfare Act to recognize two basic facts of life: that dogs need exercise and that primates have psychological needs in addition to physical ones. Any self-respecting ethologist would, of course, argue that all mammalian species have these needs.

Yet three years later, these amendments have not been put into effect. Organized science has once again gotten in the way, raising such a storm of protest that proposed regulations have been held up. Scientists would have us believe that improving the lot of experimental animals is raising the costs of research so high that vitally important medical studies are coming to a screeching halt. The underlying assumption is that while animals are complex enough to be models for sophisticated research, they have no basic needs. In other words, if recognizing that the world is round costs us money, then flat will do.

This is but...