Animal Rights - the Issue of Animal Experimentation

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The issue of animal experimentation is a widely debated topic in the United States. A fundamental question of this debate is whether the functions of animal testing and research are morally and ethically justified. In the viewpoint of the pro-research community, animal testing is a necessary practice. They support this position by stating that humans, instinctually, prioritize their own survival above other animals thus making any use of animals justifiable (Fox 5). The supporters of animal testing believe that it is illogical for humans to place anthropocentric values in animals citing that they can not be moral equals to mankind (Fox 3, 6). The animal rights faction holds belief in different viewpoints against the testing of animals in experiments. In the philosophy of the animal rights movement, it is asserted that non-human creatures are sentient beings and they are entitled to the same rights that humans have and that man has no place or authority to use these creatures as our means or modes of survival (Guither 9). They view the use of animals in experimentation as immoral and unethical and should be done away with. A compromise of these two conflicting viewpoints could be attained in stance of animal welfare. Animal welfare can be defined as a moderate stance of animal research where the quality of life and well being of animals in testing are considered while scientific progress is attained. An important theory in practice of this is called "The Three R's": reduce, refine, and replace. The supporters of animal welfare aim to reduce the amount of animals used in experimentation, refine the practices of testing in which they are more humane, and replace- to eventually find an alternative to animals in testing (Roush). By looking at the debate of the uses of animals in scientific research, one may suggest that the application of the animal welfarist's philosophy of "The Three R's" in testing practices would serve as a compromise between the animal rights and...
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