Animal Testing Done Right

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I have an idea that would solve both the animal cruelty problem, and our prison population problem: Do scientific testing on inmates sentenced to “life,” or death row.  I realize that this idea won’t sit too well with some people, but sit down and think about it for a moment:

We’re often hearing about how overcrowded our prisons are, especially with “lifers.”  Just as recently as last year, people here in California were asking the State Government to find ways to reduce the amount of inmates.  Due to the vast number of them, there are reports of more violence among the convicts, disease spreads quicker and reaches more people, and sometimes prisons offer reduced sentences in an effort to keep from overcrowding.  But that can mean releasing potentially dangerous people back into society.

Then there’s the issue of how much it costs to house a prisoner.  According to the research I found, it costs anywhere between $30,000 and $60,000 per inmate, per year.  Assuming an inmate spends 50-60 years in prison, that can mean as much as 3.6 million dollars is spent on just one inmate over the course of his/her lifetime!  Now, remember, these are people who have apparently committed such a heinous act, that they’ve been stripped of their freedom to live wherever they want.

Depending on how many prisoners there are in the system, the numbers become astronomical.  On one website I found, it costs the state of California nearly 1.4 million dollars PER DAY to house the nearly 180 thousand inmates in their prisons (Texas runs a very close second to California’s numbers).

Why are we spending this much money on people who’ve been found unfit to live amongst the rest of society, especially when we have so many people in this country making less than $30,000, trying to support their family?  I don’t mean to say that prisoners aren’t people, or that every incarcerated person deserves to be there–there are more and more cases popping up proving that some people were wrongfully imprisoned–but I think they should be providing a service for the money being spent on them.

Yes, there are many of them who work while in jail.  From call centers, to mixing paint that’s used on our highways, lots of inmates do provide a service and give back to the community in some way, even if it’s nothing more than working the laundry at the prison.  However, there are many that are considered so dangerous that they don’t get those special “privileges.”  Those are the ones I think would be perfect for scientific testing.

It never made sense to me why labs used rats or rabbits or monkeys to test their products on, anyway.  While they’re all mammals, none of them are close to the size of an average human.  Their internal organs must run a little differently (as far as I can tell).  So, to tell me that rats get cancer after ingesting 40,000 servings of aspartame means nothing to me.  *Side note:  That’s not a real statistic, but certainly indicative of the numbers I’ve heard in the past.

We’d have much more accurate data if we tested on inmates.  If we find that a 45 year-old man in relatively decent health contracts cancer after drinking 10 cans of diet soda a day over a 10 year period, THAT number means something.  That’s a statistic that we can all relate to.

Plus, we wouldn’t have to stoop to harming any animals, who have done nothing wrong to anyone else on this planet.  All they’re “guilty” of is living and breathing; hardly grounds for the cruelty that scientists perform on them.  Whereas the other “animals”  are being treated better than that.  Doesn’t seem right to me.

Why be cruel to my fellow human beings, you might ask?  Remember, these are people who were accused of something so abominably wrong that they’re spending their remaining years in prison.  And before you think about enforcing the Death Penalty, research shows that it costs $90,000 MORE per inmate to leave them on Death Row.  And it can take 20 years for them to even be executed, because of all the appeals their lawyers make.

So what about the inmates that are later exonerated because new information proved their innocence?  Well, since a rat or bunny is a much smaller animal, it may be that what killed (or maimed, etc) them wouldn’t phase a fully-grown human, or at least, not to the same degree.

And the prisoners could be housed in cages/cells at the testing labs, which would help cut down on the overcrowded prison systems all over our country.

Again, I know this suggestion won’t appeal to everyone–and I admit that there are probably some kinks that need to be ironed out–but I do feel that this is a viable solution to 1) the overcrowding of our prison system; and 2) the cruelty that’s currently being done to our fluffy fellow creatures.

Discuss . . .


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ana Manwaring
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 17:39:08

    Although I doubt anyone would seriously consider your proposal. Alyx, it does have a certain justice about it, in a Biblical kind of way! I totally oppose animal testing.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Apr 09, 2013 @ 12:29:20

      I’m sure it wouldn’t be seriously considered, either, Ana. In fact, I’m sure most people would be vehemently opposed to that sort of thing, because it’s “inhumane.” I wonder why they don’t get as upset, though, when the testing is done on animals. Well actually, I don’t wonder . . . most people probably have a “better us than them,” or an “animals are lesser beings anyway” mentality about the whole thing, which I think is completely horrible.

      I want to thank you, Ana, for responding, as well. I was hoping for a bit more dialogue about this topic, as I’m sure there were many opposed to my suggestion. But all I heard was a resounding *chirp* from the crickets. So, thanks.


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