Animal research is an example of humans practicing "situational ethics," writes Mary Lawson of Bellevue.

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I am always saddened by how people view animal research differently from animal abuse [“Activists trying to stop work on new UW animal lab,” Local News, April 24].

Humans have “situational ethics.” It is unethical to abuse animals in everyday life, yet it is ethical to abuse them if I say I’m doing this for your benefit (which is highly debatable). In other words, if you saw your neighbor forcing animals to exist in cages, screaming in pain or suffering silently and you knew hideous things were being done to them, you would, hopefully, report them to the authorities. If, however, that same neighbor puts on a white lab coat and works in a space with no windows so you can’t see him or her doing the exact same things to those same animals, that’s OK.

The tired, old, hand-wringing excuse of “what would we do if we couldn’t use animals as ‘models’ for the benefit of humans” is exactly that: tired and old. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, even though it’s a crap shoot because it’s flawed from the get-go, then nothing will change. If, however, $124 million were spent on research testing for alternatives that would be much more accurate, then it’s a no-brainer.

If you wear blinders believing that biomedical research is the answer to all health problems, then take your dogs, your cats, your rabbits, or any family pets you have, and donate them to the University of Washington for research. That should make you feel proud to be directly involved.

Mary Lawson, Bellevue