Nepal Government's recent decision to allow the exporting of Rhesus monkeys for less than 400 USD for biomedical research in the United States has fueled controversy in the Himalayan country. The Wildlife Preservation Act 2003 forbids exporting wild animals from Nepal. Moreover, monkeys are considered an incarnation of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god of valor, devotion and strength. A case has been filed in the Supreme Court against the government to stop the act immediately. Renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall says that Nepal's monkeys are both sacred and beautiful creatures and they should not be exported to any country for research purposes, but should be allowed to live wild and free.
The use of animals in labs is not a new issue. One of such famous cases was the primates "Oxford Two" being subjected to repeated experiments causing them severe and enduring pain for 15 years in a cage at Oxford University research lab. One does not have to be a firm believer in animal rights to acknowledge barbaric acts performed on 30 million animals every year all around the world. Our tendency to impose dictatorship on animals to ease humans' lives does not sound justifiable under any circumstances.
It is now time to stop human cruelty upon the mute animals. Whether it be in research labs or in farms, we cannot quench our thirst by inflicting pain on animals. Scientists have to move towards better and more efficient methods of treating and combating diseases by combining sophisticated technology and innovative ideas. Experimental animals are mostly captive and domesticated in the laboratory; their fates are determined by human needs and decisions. The scientists and researchers who claim to be the savior of human kind are also the brutal and savage killers of animal species.
Our tyranny over the mute animals is not only a gross violation of animal rights but it exhibits a fundamental deficit in our rational thinking. We should change our belief before altering our behavior. Our tendency to spend thousands of dollars on pets, and turn a deaf ear to the same kind of species being blinded, maimed, and killed in labs does tell a lot about us then about the animals. The notion of "my pet" as being different from "other animals" falsely separates animals and animal rights as two different issues. Such attitudes have deprived animals of their rights when harmonious co-existence is possible. Scientists cannot continue torturing animals because it is impossible to get a voluntary consent from them. If it is only the human value that counts, then humans are not rational beings anymore.
Our inclination to focus more on one's safety and well being irrespective of animals' mental ordeal and frustrations makes us a devil force. Humans cannot discredit that all living beings have the equal right to live and enjoy freedom. We take liberty as an inalienable right and do not feel obliged to grant the same to animals just because the animals do not speak the human language is injustice in its most inhumane form. George Orwell in Animal Farm beautifully portrays our attitude: "[A]ll animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others" Since we promote ourselves as the protectors of the lives on earth, the actions should be directed in the same manner. The abolition of slavery took more than 200 years, and we cannot afford to revive it against animals in this horrendous form.
May Nepal's monkey God be spared!