From the entry Animal Experimentation
An example of the use of animals in military research.
Divers who surface too quickly from deep water risk dying in agony from the 'bends', or decompression illness, when bubbles of gas collect in their blood.
Dozens of goats were put in a pressure chamber in the late 1990's to simulate being deep underwater to study the risk of sailors getting the bends when escaping from stricken submarines. Dozens of goats died.
Goats are used because their physiology in these circumstances is like human physiology. Similar experiments have been carried out on sheep and pigs.
The experiments were carried out in Britain by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) at the Royal Naval Physiological Laboratory (now part of the Centre for Human Sciences Sector of DERA) and with the US Navy. (House of Commons Written Answers, 24 March, 14 April and 23 April 1999.)
From the entry Mass Extinction
Over 1,500 leading scientists from around the world published this World Scientists' Warning To Humanity in 1992 to alert everyone to the coming global catastrophe. Thier Warning is reproduced below.
World Scientists' Warning To Humanity
Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.
The environment is suffering critical stress:
Our massive tampering with the world's interdependent web of life -- coupled with the environmental damage inflicted by deforestation, species loss, and climate change -- could trigger widespread adverse effects, including unpredictable collapses of critical biological systems whose interactions and dynamics we only imperfectly understand.
Uncertainty over the extent of these effects cannot excuse complacency or delay in facing the threat.
The earth is finite. Its ability to absorb wastes and destructive effluent is finite. Its ability to provide food and energy is finite. Its ability to provide for growing numbers of people is finite. And we are fast approaching many of the earth's limits. Current economic practices which damage the environment, in both developed and underdeveloped nations, cannot be continued without the risk that vital global systems will be damaged beyond repair.
Pressures resulting from unrestrained population growth put demands on the natural world that can overwhelm any efforts to achieve a sustainable future. If we are to halt the destruction of our environment, we must accept limits to that growth. A World Bank estimate indicates that world population will not stabilize at less than 12.4 billion, while the United Nations concludes that the eventual total could reach 14 billion, a near tripling of today's 5.4 billion. But, even at this moment, one person in five lives in absolute poverty without enough to eat, and one in ten suffers serious malnutrition.
No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished.
We the undersigned, senior members of the world's scientific community, hereby warn all humanity of what lies ahead. A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it, is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.
What We Must Do
Five inextricably linked areas must be addressed simultaneously:
Acting on this recognition is not altruism, but enlightened self-interest: whether industrialized or not, we all have but one lifeboat. No nation can escape from injury when global biological systems are damaged. No nation can escape from conflicts over increasingly scarce resources. In addition, environmental and economic instabilities will cause mass migrations with incalculable consequences for developed and undeveloped nations alike.
Developing nations must realize that environmental damage is one of the gravest threats they face, and that attempts to blunt it will be overwhelmed if their populations go unchecked. The greatest peril is to become trapped in spirals of environmental decline, poverty, and unrest, leading to social, economic and environmental collapse.
Success in this global endeavor will require a great reduction in violence and war. Resources now devoted to the preparation and conduct of war -- amounting to over $1 trillion annually -- will be badly needed in the new tasks and should be diverted to the new challenges.
A new ethic is required -- a new attitude towards discharging our responsibility for caring for ourselves and for the earth. We must recognize the earth's limited capacity to provide for us. We must recognize its fragility. We must no longer allow it to be ravaged. This ethic must motivate a great movement, convince reluctant leaders and reluctant governments and reluctant peoples themselves to effect the needed changes.
The scientists issuing this warning hope that our message will reach and affect people everywhere. We need the help of many.
We require the help of the world community of scientists -- natural, social, economic, political;
We require the help of the world's business and industrial leaders;
We require the help of the worlds religious leaders; and
We require the help of the world's peoples.
We call on all to join us in this task.
Bute Ethics Links
See for signatories to: World Scientists' Warning To Humanity
For Union of Concerned Scientists.
Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare
From the entry Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare
The Manila Conference on Animal Welfare recognizes:
That animal welfare is an issue worth consideration by governments.
That the promotion of animal welfare requires collective action and all stakeholders and affected parties must be involved.
That work on animal welfare is a continuous process
A PROPOSAL FOR A DECLARATION ON ANIMAL WELFARE ARISING FROM THE MANILA CONFERENCE
RECOGNIZING that animals are living, sentient beings and therefore deserve due consideration and respect;
RECOGNIZING that animal welfare includes animal health;
RECOGNIZING that humans share this planet with other species and other forms of life and that all forms of life co-exist within an interdependent ecosystem;
RECOGNIZING that, although there are significant social, economic, religious and cultural differences between human societies, each should care for and treat animals in a humane and sustainable manner;
AGREEING that the term nation includes peoples, civil society and the state;
ACKNOWLEDGING that many nations already have a system of legal protection for animals, both domestic and wild;
SEEKING to ensure the continued effectiveness of these systems and the development of better and more comprehensive animal welfare provisions;
ACKNOWLEDGING that the humane use of animals can have major benefits for humans;
AWARE that the "five freedoms (freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition; freedom from fear and distress; freedom from physical and thermal discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; and freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour) " and the "three Rs (reduction in numbers of animals, refinement of experimental methods and replacement of animals with nonanimal techniques)" provide valuable guidance for the use of animals;
RECOGNIZING that the provisions contained in this declaration do not affect the rights of any nation;
PRINCIPLES OF THE DECLARATION:
1. The welfare of animals shall be a common objective for all nations;
2. The standards of animal welfare attained by each nation shall be promoted, recognized and observed by improved measures, nationally and internationally, respecting social and economic considerations and religious and cultural traditions;
3. All appropriate steps shall be taken by nations to prevent cruelty to animals and to reduce their suffering;
4. Appropriate standards on the welfare of animals be further developed and elaborated such as, but not limited to, those governing the use and management of farm animals, companion animals, animals in scientific research, draught animals, wildlife animals and animals in recreation.