Originally Posted by Tom
Earlier in this thread I was going to argue that even if I don't consider animals to be property, the necessity of curing disease might justify vivisection- assuming vivisection can produce worthwhile medical information.
Can those two beliefs -- animals not being property, and valuable information justifying vivisection -- ever be compatible, though? I would argue that vivisection inherently means that animals are property,
a) in a more abstract sense of property: the vivisectors hold the animals captive, and the animals' crucial interests in life, liberty, social interaction and freedom from suffering are in the vivisectors' hands. They have absolute authority over the animals. The authority is absolute despite some welfare laws regulating the animal exploitation because that authority concerns such crucial interests. If I had kids locked up in a cellar and did experiments on them and had control over their lives, could anyone say that my relation to them shouldn't essentially be characterized as ownership?
b) in a more practical (legal) sense, if you have vivisection without animals as legal property, AR activists can legally rescue them from the vivisectors' hands. That is incompatible with the safe continuing practice of vivisection.
If enough people decided vivisection should be banned, that ban would have to be legally enforced upon researchers who still want to perform such experiments. And they probably would ask why humans do not have a right to kill in order to preserve their lives when animal predators do that all the time.
I would tell them that if they want to model their ethics on wolves and hyenas, they should not do that in a human society