I am a beginner Buddhist and I have a question on Ahimsa ( Ahiṃsā ) in as far as it relates to kindness to animals. It is quite possible to quit meat eating [ though I personally consider poultry eggs vegetarian fare; they are unfertilized eggs ].
But what about medicines. Even the simplest OTC medicines Advil [ ibuprofen ], Tylenol [ paracetamol ], Lasix [ furosemide ] were marketed after experimenting on animals. All of these names are 40 - 50 years old. Newer medicines being more complex are more tested on rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, chimpanzees. This kills the animals or at end of the experiment set the animals are killed to make way for fresh batch of animals for new experiment set. Thousands and thousands of animals are killed this way in great deal of pain.
Should a Buddhist take medicines ? What are the alternatives [ please no suggestion of homeopathy; it is fraud; I am a Buddhist but I also have great inclination towards science and homeopathy is fraud ]
If I have chicken pox and I take a medication standard for last few years acyclovir for which I am sure several hundred chimpanzees suffered terribly am I not guilty of causing harm. If I do not take it and take two months to be cured at normal rate I will lose my job.
How to answer these ethical questions - specially the one's on animal cruelty which are so complex.