SpaceX recently launched 40 mice from Cape Canaveral for a month-long muscle study that “could one day help astronauts stay fit on lengthy space trips” (“SpaceX Dragon Arrives at Space Station with ‘Robot Hotel,’ Mice and More NASA Gear,” Dec. 8). Ironically, also part of the shipment was a “robot sensitive to astronauts’ emotions” that is “designed to show empathy to its human colleagues in orbit." Where is the ethical treatment extended to the poor mice sent into orbit? Humans were made to be gentle stewards of this earth and its creatures and not to experiment on them and torture them. How would anyone like it if aliens came to earth and experimented on us because “might makes right?"
In November of 1957, as part of the space race between Russia and the United States, the Russians sent up a poor stray mongrel named Laika on a deliberate one-way suicide mission into space, and this unethical treatment is still obviously going on in our own country over 60 years later with this latest launch of helpless mice. When will human compassion finally catch up to human intelligence? Right now, they just don’t equate. Compassion is what’s sorely needed and still out of balance in the world.