The debate about the ethics of people engaging in animal research

Few in recent times are willing to make that kind of a claim.

Animal research ethics case studies

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals Regan and Singer, The humans who are causally responsible should, arguably, be blamed for this harm, even if it was unintended. McCloskey, H. Singer does not defend his first premise, but does not need to; the proponents of the view that all and only humans deserve a full and equal moral status rely on it themselves see the discussion of Direct but Unequal Theories above. With that in mind, the argument runs, it is best practice to act charitably and treat all humans as part of the moral community. The alternative to using animals in the lab would be to test new drugs in humans. We cannot separate it from her distress. If we accept that animals have rights then if an experiment violates the rights of an animal, it is morally wrong and any possible benefits to humanity are completely irrelevant. As with any system being scientifically examined, the research environment itself contains variables and constants. Darwin himself did not practice experimental research on animals; although he noted that the search for knowledge was critically important, he quite early on expressed concerns about the effects of this research on the animal. Frey, ; Francis and Norman, For this reason, much of the recent literature concerning animals and ethics focuses not so much on rights, but rather on whether or not animals have certain other properties, and whether the possession of those properties is a necessary condition for equal consideration Cf.

This idea is also found in contemporary contractualism. If we accept that animals have rights then if an experiment violates the rights of an animal, it is morally wrong and any possible benefits to humanity are completely irrelevant.

ethics in animal research pdf

In so doing, they were in tandem with the evolving thinking about human subjects in research, asking what are the dual perimeters of on one hand, being morally responsible and on the other, being certain that the knowledge gained be statistically valid.

Broomor quantifiable measures of animal welfare such as behavioural indicators e.

Animal research ethical issues

We have chosen this theory due to 1 its individualistic character, 2 the importance it gives to social abilities, and 3 its reliance on a pluralistic theory of well-being, all of which makes it a perfect candidate to use in support of our argument. It goes as follows: If a being is sentient then it has direct moral status. What characterises the form of welfarism that we are concerned with, and constitutes the focus of our critique, is the endorsement of a hedonistic account of the good, according to which the only intrinsic good is pleasure understood, in a broad sense, to encompass both physical pleasure and psychological enjoyment , and the only intrinsic bad is pain understood, in a broad sense, to encompass both physical pain and psychological suffering. At the other extreme are those who see nature as a virtual democracy, with all or most animals deserving rights that protect against unwanted intrusions by humans, no matter how beneficial to humans the intrusions might be. According to Singer, we are required to count every similar interest equally in our deliberation. It is a theory about what is prudentially valuable, what constitutes well-being, but it does not tell us anything about how this value ought to be pursued. So if this is what grounds a full and equal moral status, it follows that not all human beings are equal after all. The Hastings Center is a well-known research and educational organization that focuses on ethical problems in biology, medicine, and the social and behavioral sciences. The first step in making that argument is to show that humans are more important than animals. Regan relies on a version of the Argument from Marginal Cases in arguing for this conclusion. Since the animals we rear for food would not exist if we did not eat them, it follows that killing these animals can be justified if the animals we rear for food live good lives. From a purely welfarist perspective, Sustitia3 would not have been harmed by this disenhancement process, since she is, ex hypothesi, incapable of suffering. A cat?

But the argument has become much more complex, philosophically, legally and technologically in the 21st century. The key idea, for our purposes, is the following: Because the capabilities approach finds ethical significance in the flourishing of basic innate capabilities—those that are evaluated as both good and central […]—it will also find harm in the thwarting or blighting of those capabilities.

The debate about the ethics of people engaging in animal research

Early Scientific Research and the Role of Animals Many of the current widely used books on research integrity in general note how the scientist is part of the greater society in both activity and values. Descartes believed that both the complexity of human behavior and human speech requires the positing of such an immaterial substance in order to be explained.

Scholarly articles against animal testing

This behavior is not the result of simple responses to stimuli, but is instead the result of our reasoning about the world as we perceive it. Contractualist Theories Contractualist Theories of morality construe morality to be the set of rules that rational individuals would choose under certain specified conditions to govern their behavior in society. At the other extreme are those who see nature as a virtual democracy, with all or most animals deserving rights that protect against unwanted intrusions by humans, no matter how beneficial to humans the intrusions might be. Footnotes 1. The most obvious example here is that of fighting animals. Copernicus and Galileo began the paradigm shift, showing through observational data that instead of the earth being the center of the universe, the earth and thus human beings were only part of a much more enormous system. Regan, Tom. As with any system being scientifically examined, the research environment itself contains variables and constants. This was seen as scientifically important; if the data were skewed due to animal stress then the research was worthless. For this reason, much of the recent literature concerning animals and ethics focuses not so much on rights, but rather on whether or not animals have certain other properties, and whether the possession of those properties is a necessary condition for equal consideration Cf. There are certain moral problems with regards to which a welfarist approach provides us with a satisfactory analysis, for it is undoubtedly the case that pleasure and pain are, respectively, good- and bad-making properties of situations, other things being equal. Broom , or quantifiable measures of animal welfare such as behavioural indicators e. This is not meant as a way of lessening the importance of these ethical concerns. The harm involved in the thwarting of her moral capability adds to the harm involved in her loss of welfare. I cannot harm your pets because they belong to you, and by harming them I will thereby harm you.
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