On justifying the exploitation of animals in research

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 13 (2):177-196 (1988)
In research employing animals we commonly do things to them which would be grossly immoral to do to humans. This paper discusses three possible justifications for so treating animals: (a) it is violating the autonomy of rational beings which makes actions immoral, and animals are not autonomous; (b) due to our participation in the human community, we have special obligations to humans that we do not have to animals; and (c) human life is morally more worthy than animal life. The conclusion of this discussion is that none of these three propositions justifies the routine sacrifice of animal interests for human benefit. Particular attention is paid to the idea that human life is morally more worthy than animal life, because I believe that to be the most common justification for our sacrifice of animal interests in research. The claim of greater worth is considered and criticized from both utilitarian and Kantian perspectives, and the inference from superior worth to being entitled to exploit one's inferiors is also criticized. The paper concludes by recommending a governing principle for research with animals which would bring that research into line with the rejection of hierarchical worldviews, social orders, and value systems which characterizes modern moral progress. Keywords: animal rights, animal research, moral worth, moral superiority, moral community, fairness CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    27 ( #54,521 of 1,089,047 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    5 ( #20,082 of 1,089,047 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.