Millions of animals are used every year in oftentimes extremely painful and distressing scientific procedures. Legislation of animalexperimentation in modern societies is based on the supposition that this is ethically acceptable when certain more or less defined formal (e.g. logistical, technical) demands and ethical principles are met. The main parameters in this context correspond to the “3Rs” concept as defined by Russel and Burch in 1959, i.e. that all efforts to replace, reduce and refine experiments must be (...) undertaken. The licensing of animal experiments normally requires an ethical evaluation process, oftentimes undertaken by ethics committees. The serious problems in putting this idea into practice include inter alia unclear conditions and standards for ethical decisions, insufficient management of experiments undertaken for specific (e.g. regulatory) purposes, and conflicts of interest of ethics committees’ members. (shrink)
The theory of evolution has beenused in arguments regarding animalexperimentation. Two such arguments areanalyzed, one against and one in favor. Eachargument stresses the relevance of the theoryof evolution to normative ethics but attemptsexplicitly to avoid the so-called naturalisticfallacy.According to the argument against animalexperimentation, the theory of evolution`undermines' the idea of a special humandignity and supports `moral individualism'. Thelatter view implies that if it is wrong to usehumans in experiments, then it is also wrong touse animals, unless there are relevantdifferences between (...) them that justify adifference in treatment. No such differencescan be found with regard to animals which lead`biographical lives'.The argument in favor of animal experimentationis based on evolutionary psychology. It statesthat humans, as all social animals, arespeciesist by nature and stresses that thisshould be taken seriously in normative ethics.This does not mean that animal interests shouldnot be considered, only that vital humaninterests may outweigh them.In order to assess the arguments, one has totake a stand on certain more basic issues: `is'versus `ought', impartiality versus specialobligations, and feelings/intuitions versusreason. Given the author's own position withregard to these more basic considerations, theevolutionary argument in favor of animalexperimentation is judged to be more convincingthan the one against but not decisive. It isalso maintained that not all animal experimentsare acceptable. Which animal experiments areacceptable and which are not has to be decidedon a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
Mark Rowlands argues that, contrary to the dominant view, a Rawlsian theory of justice can legitimately be applied to animals. One of the implications of doing so, Rowlands argues, is an end to animalexperimentation. I will argue, contrary to Rowlands, that under a Rawlsian theory there may be some circumstances where it is justifiable to use animals as experimental test subjects (where the individual animals are benefited by the experiments).
The concept of vulnerability is deployed in bioethics to, amongst other things, identify and remedy harms to participants in research, yet although nonhuman animals in experimentation seem intuitively to be vulnerable, this concept and its attendant protections are rarely applied to research animals. I want to argue, however, that this concept is applicable to nonhuman animals and that a new taxonomy of vulnerability developed in the context of human bioethics can be applied to research animals. This taxonomy does useful (...) explanatory work, helping to pinpoint the limitations of the 3Rs/welfare approach currently adopted in the context of animalexperimentation. On this account, the 3Rs/welfare approach fails to deliver for nonhuman animals in experimentation because it effectively addresses only one element of their vulnerability (inherent) and paradoxically through the institution of Animal Ethics Committees intended to protect experimental animals in fact generates new vulnerabilities that exacerbate their already precarious situation. (shrink)
Since emotions give contradictory signals about animalexperimentation in medical science, man's relationship to animals must be based upon reason. Thomas Aquinas argues that man is essentially different from animals because man's intellectual processes show evidence of an abstract mechanism not possessed by animals. Man's rights arise in association with this essential difference. The consequence is that only man possesses true rights by Aquinas's definition; animals have them only by analogy. However, cruelty to animals is illicit and they (...) should be protected, principally not because they have rights, but because he who is cruel to animals is more likely to be cruel to his fellowman. If there is a need for animalexperimentation in science for the good of man, this approach gives philosophical justification for experimentation, since man's well-being must come before that of animals because of his unique possession of rights. However, those experiments should be carried out in the kindest way possible, to promote kindness towards man. To see man as solely part of a biological continuum in competition for rights with those beings close to him biologically, detracts from man's dignity. (shrink)
Many people involved in the life sciences and related fields and industries routinely cause mice, rats, dogs, cats, primates and other non-human animals to experience pain, suffering, and an early death, harming these animals greatly and not for their own benefit. Harms, however, require moral justification, reasons that pass critical scrutiny. Animal experimenters and dissectors might suspect that strong moral justification has been given for this kind of treatment of animals. I survey some recent attempts to provide such a (...) justification and show that they do not succeed: they provide no rational defense of animalexperimentation and related activities. Thus, the need for a rational defense of animalexperimentation remains. (shrink)
The ethical treatment of animals has become an issue of serious moral concern. Many people are challenging long-held assumptions about animals and raising questions about their status and their treatment. What is the relationship between humans and animals? Do animals have moral standing? Do we have direct or indirect duties to animals? Does human benefit always outweigh animal suffering? The use of animals for experimentation raises all of these questions in a particularly insistent way. Donna Yarri offers an (...) overview of the current state of the discussion, and presents an argument for significantly restricted animalexperimentation. She points to the important similarities between humans and animals, arguing that the actual differences are differences of degree rather than kind. For that reason, she says, we must rethink our use of animals in experimentation. Animal cognition and animal sentiency together are the basis for the argument that experimental animals do have rights, which Yarri here enumerates. Christian theology, she shows, supports the existence of animal rights and contains additional resources within which a more humane animalexperimentation can be worked out. Animalexperimentation is not completely ruled out, and Yarri provides a model for what benign experimentation would look like. She concludes with a concrete burden-benefit analysis that can serve as the foundation for informed decision-making. (shrink)
Most discussions on animalexperimentation refer to domesticated animals and regulations are tailored to this class of animals. However, wild animals are also used for research, e.g., in biological field research that is often directed to fundamental ecological-evolutionary questions or to conservation goals. There are several differences between domesticated and wild animals that are relevant for evaluation of the acceptability of animal experiments. Biological features of wild animals are often more critical as compared with domesticated animals because (...) of their survival effects. An important issue is what is called here ``natural suffering'''': the suffering from natural circumstances. Should this type of suffering be taken into account when suffering from experimentation is evaluated? As an answer, it is suggested that ``natural functioning'''' should be considered as an additional standard in the evaluation of wild animalexperimentation. Finally, two topics related to the ecological context are considered. Firstly, the often inevitable involvement of non-research animals in wild animalexperimentation, and secondly, the eco-centric approach to nature conservation. According to the latter position, animals are subordinated to ecosystems. All these aspects make the evaluation of wild animal experiments much more complex than experiments with domesticated animals. Preliminary scores are proposed to deal with these aspects. It is argued that this should not lead to a more complex governmental regulation, since an effective maintenance and control are hard to realize and one may loose the cooperation of researchers themselves. In addition, non-governmental professional organizations such as research societies and funding organizations play a pivotal role. (shrink)
The use of other animals for human purposes is as contentious an issue as one is likely to find in ethics. And this is so not only because there are both passionate defenders and opponents of such use, but also because even among the latter there are adamant and diametric differences about the bases of their opposition. In both disputes, the approach taken tends to be that of applied ethics, by which a position on the issue is derived from a (...) fundamental moral commitment. This commitment in turn depends on normative ethics, which investigates the various moral theories for the best fit to our moral intuitions. Thus it is that the use of animals in biomedical research is typically defended by appeal to a utilitarian theory, which legitimates harm to some for the greater good of others; while the opposition condemns that use either by appeal to the same theory, but disagreeing about the actual efficacy of animalexperimentation, or by appeal to an alternative theory, such as the right of all sentient beings not to be exploited. Unfortunately, the normative issue seems likely never to be resolved, hence leaving the applied issue in limbo. The present essay seeks to circumvent this impasse by dispensing altogether with any moral claim or argument, thereby cutting the Gordian knot of animal ethics with a meta-ethical sword. The alternative schema defended is simply to advance relevant considerations, whereupon “there is nothing left but to feel.” In a word, motivation replaces justification. (shrink)
L’expérimentation animale consiste à tester chez l›animal des questions que l›on se pose chez l’Homme. En recherches appliquées, ces expérimentations nous fournissent des données essentielles dans la lutte contre les maladies humaines ainsi qu’en médecine vétérinaire. Em recherches fondamentales, ces expérimentations qui permettent de mieux connaitre l’Homme et l’Animal nous montrent que le fossé que certains voient entre l’espèce humaine et les animaux n’a probablement pas l’importance qu’on lui donne. Ces recherches nous montrent que certains animaux ont quelquefois (...) des capacités cognitives telles qu’ils n’ont rien à envier aux hommes et que ces animaux sont des êtres sensibles capables de souffrir. Toutes ces recherches nous informent sur notre nature, nos relations avec l’animal et notre place dans le monde animal. Ce constat sur la nature et la proximité de l’Homme et de l’Animal a mené à la création des comités d’éthique. Nous avons besoin de ces animaux mais ils méritent notre respect et les expérimentations nécessaires doivent être faites en obéissant à une certaine éthique. Ces comités s’assurent que les expérimentations animales respectent les règles éthiques dont la plus connue est celle des « 3 R » (Remplacement, Réduction et Raffinement). (shrink)
Claude Bernard, the father of scientific physiology, believed that if medicine was to become truly scientiifc, it would have to be based on rigorous and controlled animal experiments. Bernard instituted a paradigm which has shaped physiological practice for most of the twentieth century. ln this paper we examine how Bernards commitment to hypothetico-deductivism and determinism led to (a) his rejection of the theory of evolution; (b) his minima/ization of the role of clinical medicine and epidemiological studies; and (c) his (...) conclusion that experiments on nonhuman animals were, "entirely conclusive for the toxicology and hygiene of man". We examine some negative consequences of Bernardianism for twentieth century medicine, and argue that physio/ogy's continued adherence to Bernardianism has caused it to diverge from the other biological sciences which have become increasingly infused with evolutionary theory. (shrink)
Frey sets the challenge for the other authors: to explain why, morally, no humans can be subject to the kinds of experiments that animals are subject to and to explain how researchers can reliablyuse animal models to understand and cure human disease. He thinks that the first challenge has not been met; the second challenge is, unfortunately, not directly addressed in this book. Adrian Morrison states that he “abhors” positions like Frey’s, Peter Singer’s and Tom Regan’s. He asserts that (...) all “human beings stand apart in a moral sense from all other species” (51) and that all are worthy of “special consideration” (50). Regrettably he fails to defend his view by identifying the morally-relevant characteristics that all humans (even those with less intelligence, sentience and autonomy than animals) possess and all animals lack that might make his claim true. That omission prevents him from rationally criticizing opposing views. (shrink)
I come before you today at the invitation of your Colloquium Chair, Professor Claes Lundgren. It was his thought that a colloquium session devoted to some of the foundational questions, or presuppositions, of animal might prove interesting. Such an examination may have several aims. 1) It provides an opportunity to reflect on and review together a common activity that, in the perceptions of some concerned fellow citizens and in the history of the discipline of physiology, has had some highly (...) questionable periods and prima facie objectionable practices. 2) It allows us to become more articulate about what we do, that we may speak effectively on its behalf to our critics. 3) Similarly, it enables us to speak to the concerns of our students, both of medicine and of physiology, whom we may initiate into the uses of animals without clarifying to them our perceptions of those uses and their rationale and justification. 4) Finally, such a stock-taking may occasion our own self-evaluation of our practices, with a possible result being the improvement of those practices from a moral point of view. And I suppose that Professor Lundgren asked me to speak with some of those aims in mind. (shrink)
Animal rights and experimentation have become the focus of a major controversy in the United States, with acute implications for animal-related research in the laboratories and veterinary schools of many American universities. To date, efforts to reduce fundamental disagreements between animal researchers and animal welfare groups or to redefine their differences in ways that satisfy all concerned have by and large not been successful. In such situations where it is not possible to identify a middle (...) ground between conflicting positions, the best a policy analyst may be able to do is to accentuate the issue's manifest topsy-turviness and uncertainties. No one can afford or risk having an issue of such high uncertainty, inconsistency, and stakes defined in terms so stark that they feel compelled to choose between those who say they know that the future shall hold us accountable for our wholesale slaughter of animals and those who would blame us for the human deaths they say will surely follow when we do not allow that slaughter. (shrink)
Animals have moral standing; that is, they have properties (including the ability to feel pain) that qualify them for the protections of morality. It follows from this that humans have moral obligations toward animals, and because rights are logically correlative to obligations, animals have rights.
Nonhuman animals are widely used in psychological research and the level of suffering and death is high. This is usually said to be justified by appealing to the scientific merit of the research. This article looks at notions of scientific merit, queries whether they are as clear-cut as commonly supposed, and argues that with contemporary conceptions it is too easy for any research to count as meritorious. A tightening of the notion of scientific merit is suggested, providing a ground for (...) rejection of certain psychological research. (shrink)
The field of bioethics is replete with applications of moral theories such as utilitarianism and Kantianism. For a given dilemma, even if it is not clear how one of these western philosophical principles of right (and wrong) action would resolve it, one can identify many of the considerations that each would conclude is relevant. The field is, in contrast, largely unaware of an African account of what all right (and wrong) actions have in common and of the sorts of factors (...) that for it are germane to developing a sound response to a given bioethical problem. My aim is to help rectify this deficiency by first spelling out a moral theory grounded in the mores of many sub-Saharan peoples, and then applying it to some major bioethical issues, namely, the point of medical treatment, free and informed consent, standards of care and animalexperimentation. For each of these four issues, I compare and contrast the implications of the African moral theory with utilitarianism and Kantianism, my overall purposes being to highlight respects in which the African moral theory is distinct and to demonstrate that the field should take it at least as seriously as it does the Western theories. (shrink)
This article discusses the use of nonhuman animals in three related aspects: 1) factual aspects about the treatment that we, humans, dispense to other animals, especially in meat and animalexperimentation industries; 2) evaluative issues about the ethics of this treatment as we see in the ethical arguments pro (Singer; Regan) and contra (Naverson; Cohen); 3) some practical aspects about what we should to do. The ethical evaluation gives fundaments to the practical aspects that we conclude, with suggestions (...) of actions, in particular the replacement of animalexperimentation (inherently harmful) for investigation with nonhuman subjects of research (inherently non harmful, or therapeutic). (shrink)
"This book . . . is everything a philosophical tome should be: timely, important, factually informed, responsive to the scholarly literature, analytical, scrupulously fair, and rigorously, vigorously argued. It is, if I may say so, a model specimen of practical ethics." Keith Burgess-Jackson Ethics and the Environment).
It is common to argue that animalexperimentation is justified by its essential contribution to the advancement of medical science. But note that this argument actually contains two premises: an empirical claim that animalexperimentation is essential to the advancement of medical science and an ethical claim that if research is essential to the advancement of medical science, then it is justified. Both claims are open to challenge, but in the logic of the case, only one (...) of them needs to be shown false or moot in order to refute the argument. I argue that the ethical claim does not withstand scrutiny. In addition, the main so-called “alternatives” to animal research do not merit that label since they still involve the use of nonhuman animals. (shrink)
The history of the regulation of animal research is essentially the history of the emergence of meaningful social ethics for animals in society. Initially, animal ethics concerned itself solely with cruelty, but this was seen as inadequate to late 20th-century concerns about animal use. The new social ethic for animals was quite different, and its conceptual bases are explored in this paper. The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 represented a very minimal and in many ways incoherent (...) attempt to regulate animal research, and is far from morally adequate. The 1985 amendments did much to render coherent the ethic for laboratory animals, but these standards were still inadequate in many ways, as enumerated here. The philosophy underlying these laws is explained, their main provisions are explored, and future directions that could move the ethic forward and further rationalize the laws are sketched. (shrink)
Animal research is a challenging issue for the animal advocate because of what, besides animal well-being, is considered to be at stake, namely, human health. This article seeks to vindicate the antivivisectionist position. The standard defense of animal research as promoting the overwhelming good of human health is refuted on both factual and logical, or normative-theoretical, grounds. The author then attempts to clinch the case by arguing that animal research violates a deontic principle. However, this (...) principle falls to counterexample. The author concludes, nevertheless, that the principle retains force as a presumption that the current state of affairs fails to overthrow. This does suggest, though, that the antivivisection movement would be well advised to keep ahead of the curve. The author proposes it do so by emulating the vegan movement against animal agriculture with the active promotion of alternatives to animal research. (shrink)
The experimental laboratory can be a horror house for rats, monkeys, and other nonhuman animals. Yet their use in this setting is usually reported in a routine manner in publications that discuss the results. These contentions are illustrated with an analysis of the way animal evidence is presented in David J. Linden’s recent book, The Accidental Mind: How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God (Harvard University Press, 2007). The article concludes with a call to science (...) authors to acknowledge formally in their written work the ethical significance of such use of nonhuman animals. (shrink)