Humanism is about behaving like the best of civilised, thoughtful, responsible, considerate moral agents. We talk about being humane towards animals; that is, acting with the consideration and kindness that arise from conscious interest in their welfare.
A. C. Grayling in The God Argument p. 196.
As a humanist organization, Republic of Lagrangia puts great importance to animal welfare. Space colonization should not only be used to found a better society for humans, but the creation of a new society should also an opportunity to raise animal welfare to a higher level.
Here on Earth proposals aimed at the improvement of animal welfare, are too often resisted by established interests. In space, however, such interests do not exist, at least not yet. This enables us to introduce the best animal welfare legislation, we have to forge the iron when it’s still hot.
The first measure we should take, is the prohibition of intensive animal farming. Not only is intensive animal farming bad for animal welfare, it also constitutes a serious threat to animal health. Diseases in livestock can, when they jump to humans, cause pandemics. Instead space settlements should promote vegetarianism and encourage developments like in vitro meat.
A second measure is to ban the commercial exploitation of animals in the entertainment industry. No wild animals in circuses, no bull fighting and related blood sports, and no animal racing. Rather than betting on horses or dogs, people should bet on the 400m hurdling.
The third issue we have to consider is animal testing. Unlike the previous two topics, simple prohibition is here problematic. On one hand we do not want to inflict suffering on animals, but on the other hand we want to know whether the stuff we use is safe. This does not mean, however, we can’t and shouldn’t take steps to address this issue as well.
We should limit animal testing to those cases, in which the necessity of these experiments can be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Next we should encourage research to reliable alternatives for animal testing. New scientific developments suggest that most, if not all, experiments on animals could be eliminated in the near future.
If we will succeed in eliminating animal testing without compromising scientific and medical progress, we have made an important step in the development of civilization.