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- Animal Rights & Welfare
Artificial insemination: How do the animals feel about it?
The use of Artificial insemination, mostly, in animal reproduction is fast growing. This is because of the constant effort by man to discover ways of maximizing his benefits and profits in animal production just as can be said to be true in any other business. Artificial insemination (AI) has made it possible for farmers and animal producers to achieve greater yield and success. The advantages of AI include:
1) The transfer of desirable traits: AI has made it possible for animal producers to transfer desirable traits from one animal to another and across nations in that semen from an animal with good and desirable genetic make up can be exported to other countries for use in AI.
2) Control of infection: AI has made it possible for farmers to control most venereal infections in that tested and trusted semen can be used for animal reproduction via AI which limits the spread of infections in a farm.
3) For timed reproduction practices: AI is commonly used in most timed reproduction practices to achieved maximum result especially after estrus synchronization in large farms.
The above are just few of the advantages of Artificial insemination to farmers. However, it can be argued that AI is also of benefit to the animal for instance in the control of diseases which is aimed at protecting the health of the animal even though it is the farmer that benefits from such a healthy animal.
The concern here is that unlike human that can have sex at will, female animals can only permit mount/coitus when they are on estrus (heat). It then means that animals, as studies have shown to be true in the wild, only reproduced when the environments are favorable for their survival and that of their off-spring. It is also known that some animals are seasonal breeders which mean such animals can only come on heat at a specific season. Then it follows that after such long wait, an animal can be inseminated without actually following the natural process of coitus. We may not know what is more important to an animal on heat. That is do animals experience any sensual pleasure and satisfaction during coitus just as humans or all they want is just the semen?
We can not role out the possibilities of sensual pleasure in the animal kingdom because bitches are known to permit many mounts for as long as they are on heat. It then means that AI has denied such domesticated animals the sensual pleasure which is because of our effort to benefit more from these animals. That is man satisfies his personal wants and desires without considering how his animals feel about such activities. There are numerous calls on animal rights as has not been done in the past generation and it is certain that the use of AI may be an infringement on an animal’s right but unfortunately it seems the animals cannot do anything about it and man may do little or nothing to help them because the main reason man keeps most of these animals is because of what he can get from them. That is why man will continue to seek ways of maximizing his benefit when it comes to animal production.
Yet it may be necessary for us to ask or find others ways to help these animals to experience the natural pleasure that goes with coitus within the little time they may have to live even though, we may claim, they are just here to serve as a source of food to man. It would have been interesting if there are ways for us to ask these animals how they really feel about the use of AI.