Accounting for Animal Experiments: Identity and Disreputable "Others"

Science, Technology and Human Values 19 (2):189-204 (1994)
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Abstract

This article considers how scientists involved in animal experimentation attempt to defend their practices. Interviews with over 40 scientists revealed that, over and above direct criticisms of the antivivisection lobby, scientists used a number of discursive strategies to demonstrate that critics of animal experimentation are ethically and epistemologically infenor to British scientific practitioners. The scientists portrayed a series of negative "others" such as foreign scientists, farmers, and pet owners. In this manner, they attempted to create a "socioethical domain" which rhetorically insulated them from criticism while simultaneously problematizing the critiques of the anti- animal-experimentation public. Some of the implications for relations between science and the public, especially regarding scientific credibility, are discussed.

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Lynda Birke
University of Manchester