I posted this on my Facebook to spark a debate, which it did, thankfully, and even more thankfully, brought into the conversation a med student that did research on rabbits at Rush Hospital in Chicago a couple years ago. She is on one side, I am on another. It's great, and it's one of the best ways to stay informed and educated on any issue for which you speak for or against.
My position: If you or anyone you know is in the medicine field (including in school for), please watch and pass this on and tell others to stand AGAINST animal testing. It is unscientific research yet proven animal cruelty. More info at http://www.pcrm.org/.
Counter: I think that it is difficult to learn the facts about animal testing from an extremist video. One fact, you cannot video tape or take pictures of the animals in the lab unless you have explicit permission and can prove that it is pertinent to the research. So, I would just question where those images came from, not that they aren't horrifying. However, if you really want to learn the facts about animal testing and then decide what should be changed, go to http://www.aalas.org/index.aspx or http://www.iacuc.org/index.htm.
Rebuttal: The most likely source of the footage is an employee of the lab(s) where animals are tested. No one else has access, to your point. Bear in mind that PETA and the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (which produces iacuc.org -- they are the same org) or schools like Columbia (http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/research/animal/research.html) both have an interest in making you believe they are right. The difference is that one is defending a practice that is regulated only as far as animal protection laws are enforced behind closed doors by parties interested in the progress of the research, not in questioning and challenging its practices – including third parties hired by the lab or by the government (http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/pubs/noawicpubs/educ.htm), an entity that has been known for and charged with atrocities on animals for research. Does Columbia put out pictures of their tests for the public? No.
Without pages of essay explaining the enforcement gap, these images depict in a concise, poignant manner what pro-vivisection scientists do not share with the public, as they divulge information that depicts full compliance only. Even with PETA’s efforts (over two decades’ worth), there is still an amazing amount of cruelty in the name of science – so I can’t imagine how animals would be treated if people were not invited to be shocked at least once so that they question animal testing. It is an unconventional regulatory method that US legislation and regulation cannot, by design, ever employ.
The bottom line is that it is 2009, we have alternatives, and society should employ a zero-tolerance standard. Because we cannot rely on existing regulatory bodies to prevent or stop animal cruelty in this sector, there is always the chance that animals are suffering, despite laws against it. Therefore, if one is against animal cruelty, one should be firmly against all animal testing.
Not surprisingly, National Anti-Vivisection Society was not listed under "Links" on the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science website. It's the oldest entity of its kind, yet for some reason, the pro-testing organization the Counter suggested omitted it: http://www.navs.org/.
We cannot get our information about animal testing from a NON-biased party. It is impossible at this stage because it is science and money against ethics. Very tough dynamic to carry out debates in, without ultimately arriving at the "agree to disagree" ending.
NAVS supplies some interesting numbers, though, on number of animals used in research.
A PRO-animal testing protest, no pun intended...but they intended it and to protest: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2009/04/22/vo.pro.animal.testing.cnn?iref=videosearch. They may or may not have seen this HSUS footage from the New Iberia Research Center. This is just one of many dozen research centers conducting the same types of tests on chimpanzees and baboons. That the other centers are violating the AWA and other protection laws goes without question. This is a perfect example of the enforcement gap and how undercover video is, as of yet, the only way for the public to know that there is animal cruelty going on in this country in the name of science -- illegal cruelty.