Like you, I am very troubled by how humans treat other life on our shared planet. If every species got one vote, I think humans would be gone the next day. As you know, animal research has a history of needless cruelty, and even when conducted by modern standards, the bottom-line is that humans are using other animals as a means to our ends, often with attendant genetic tampering, surgery, stress, suffering, or death. Definitely a violation of the prohibition against harming living beings that is central to my own Buddhist practice, as well as central to many other spiritual or secular ethical traditions.
The question is whether to report the results of animal research, which has vastly furthered our understanding of the human body and mind, notwithstanding its very disturbing origins. Does reporting it condone it?
This question doesn’t sit easy with me, I have no glib answer to it. My gut tells me that reporting animal research does indeed imply a valuing of it, and thus in some sense enables it – particularly if there is no balancing mention of the ethical issues in animal research. This possibility of enabling is uncomfortable but good to recognize.
People have different opinions about the ethics of doing animal research, and there is undoubtedly a range of views about the ethics of reporting on animal research distinct from doing it. I respect people’s rights to their views while also being grateful for your prodding and clarifying of my own.