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This is an ethical and moral issue of the first order. If animals are so like us that we can substitute them for testing instead of using humans, then surely those animals have the very attributes (ability to suffer physically and psychologically, conscious awareness) that mean they deserve to be respected and protected from harm — as we would wish for ourselves.

Introduction

It is easy to think that animal experimentation has nothing to do with the average Australian — but it does. Any person who donates to a medical charity is potentially assisting to fund research involving animals. Therefore it is necessary to have a basic understanding of the issues, the impacts on animals and the alternatives, to allow an informed decision to be made as to whether it is appropriate to financially support what has become a multi-billion dollar industry.

Any person who donates to a medical charity is potentially assisting to fund research involving animals.

Animal experimentation and the invasive use of animals for teaching, is inherently wrong. The use of animals in research and teaching is more about tradition and history than it is about science. Animals Australia is not opposed to 'scientific progress', but we are opposed to the use of animals in the pursuit of that progress.

Today it is a multi-billion dollar industry, encompassing the pharmaceutical and chemical industries and university and government bodies. There is also a significant industry providing support services in relation to animal research, including animal breeding, food supply, cage manufacture, etc.

This pig will never leave her tiny enclosure in this research lab.

More than six million animals are used annually in research and teaching in Australia and New Zealand. Many (but not all) of those animals are subjected to some degree of pain and/or stress during the experimental procedure or as a result of the environment in which they are kept prior to and/or after the procedures. Australia does not yet publish national animal research and teaching statistics, but most States now gather them and publish them separately. See the statistics at Humane Research Australia.

More than six million animals

Research and teaching using animals cover wide areas of activity. The public perception that animal-based research primarily takes place in the field of medicine is false. Animal-based research is widely used in agriculture and 'basic' scientific research in relation to which the argument 'animal research saves (human) lives' does not apply. Find out more about the types of research involving animals.

A page from a vivisection training manual.

The use of animals in teaching at all levels of secondary and tertiary education is still widespread. The majority of such teaching is not directed towards veterinary practice nor training in clinical procedures in humans. In fact, many students are required to use animals in practical classes, then choose careers in which they will never need to use animals.

They got this way partly because, in the 1970s, people wanted to improve kids' chances of success by instilling self-esteem. It turns out that self-esteem is great for getting a job or hooking up at a bar but not so great for keeping a job or a relationship. "It was an honest mistake," says Roy Baumeister, a psychology professor at Florida State University and the editor of Self-Esteem: The Puzzle of Low Self-Regard. "The early findings showed that, indeed, kids with high self-esteem did better in school and were less likely to be in various kinds of trouble. It's just that we've learned later that self-esteem is a result, not a cause." The problem is that when people try to boost self-esteem, they accidentally boost narcissism instead. "Just tell your kids you love them. It's a better message," says Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, who wrote Generation Me and The Narcissism Epidemic. "When they're little it seems cute to tell them they're special or a princess or a rock star or whatever their T-shirt says. When they're 14 it's no longer cute." All that self-esteem leads them to be disappointed when the world refuses to affirm how great they know they are. "This generation has the highest likelihood of having unmet expectations with respect to their careers and the lowest levels of satisfaction with their careers at the stage that they're at," says Sean Lyons, co-editor of Managing the New Workforce: International Perspectives on the Millennial Generation. "It is sort of a crisis of unmet expectations."

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What millennials are most famous for besides narcissism is its effect: entitlement. If you want to sell seminars to middle managers, make them about how to deal with young employees who e-mail the CEO directly and beg off projects they find boring. English teacher David McCullough Jr.'s address last year to Wellesley High School's graduating class, a 12-minute reality check titled "You Are Not Special," has nearly 2 million hits on YouTube. "Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you," McCullough told the graduates. He says nearly all the response to the video has been positive, especially from millennials themselves; the video has 57 likes for every dislike.

Though they're cocky about their place in the world, millennials are also stunted, having prolonged a life stage between teenager and adult that this magazine once called twixters and will now use once again in an attempt to get that term to catch on. The idea of the teenager started in the 1920s; in 1910, only a tiny percentage of kids went to high school, so most people's social interactions were with adults in their family or in the workplace. Now that cell phones allow kids to socialize at every hour--they send and receive an average of 88 texts a day, according to Pew--they're living under the constant influence of their friends. "Peer pressure is anti-intellectual. It is anti-historical. It is anti-eloquence," says Mark Bauerlein, an English professor at Emory, who wrote The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30). "Never before in history have people been able to grow up and reach age 23 so dominated by peers. To develop intellectually you've got to relate to older people, older things: 17-year-olds never grow up if they're just hanging around other 17-year-olds." Of all the objections to Obamacare, not a lot of people argued against parents' need to cover their kids' health insurance until they're 26.

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