Animal Experimentation Research Paper

Animal Experimentation Research Paper-25
While the fundamental ethical issues arising in animal research are the same regardless of the country in which it is performed, considering such research in the global context does highlight a few specific ethical issues concerning its practice and regulation.For clarification, “research” and “experimentation” will be used interchangeably in this entry, as will “moral” and “ethical.” Because an individual must be conscious in order to have morally relevant interests (i.e., to care about what happens to it) (Singer 2002), this analysis will focus on research using sentient (i.e., conscious) nonhuman animals, which would include almost all animal species used in research.

While the fundamental ethical issues arising in animal research are the same regardless of the country in which it is performed, considering such research in the global context does highlight a few specific ethical issues concerning its practice and regulation.For clarification, “research” and “experimentation” will be used interchangeably in this entry, as will “moral” and “ethical.” Because an individual must be conscious in order to have morally relevant interests (i.e., to care about what happens to it) (Singer 2002), this analysis will focus on research using sentient (i.e., conscious) nonhuman animals, which would include almost all animal species used in research.

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This implies that in cases where animals are experiencing intractable pain or suffering, killing them does not harm them because their future lives would not be worth living (e.g., think of a veterinarian euthanizing a dog with a late-stage terminal illness).

However, it is important to consider the source of intractable suffering: if animals only suffer in the first place because they are harmed by humans, then it seems misleading to say that they are not harmed by death.

It is customary that animals used in research are killed at the termination of the research study, and research itself often involves the infliction of various diseases and physical or psychological injuries on the animals (Carbone 2004; Knight 2011).

Beginning in the early 1970s, philosophers and some theologians turned an increasing amount of their attention to the ethical evaluation of animal research, focusing principally on animals’ moral standing and the question of whether harmful animal research could be justified.

The moral relevance of harm to animals in research derives from the relevance of harm to morality more generally.

Essentially all ethical theories, as well as common morality, embrace a principle of nonmaleficence, which holds that we ought not to harm others (harm being generally defined as setting back another’s interests or making them worse off).

Rather, they are harmed by their death as compared to how they would have fared had humans not caused the harm of intractable suffering, which is what makes the release of death seem “merciful” (some philosophers describe this as “subjunctive harm”).

This point has important implications for research.

Over the past 100 years, scientific research using animals has expanded greatly in scope and complexity and now occupies a central place as an investigative tool in biomedicine.

Animals are used in basic research to generate fundamental knowledge about biological processes; in preclinical research to test the safety, efficacy, and quality of drugs, biologics, and medical devices; in toxicologic research to test the safety of industrial and consumer products; in research training and education; and in other areas.

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