Animal Testing: a Brief Account of the Ethical Issues Associated with It

Topics: Animal rights, Animal testing, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Pages: 5 (1659 words) Published: December 14, 2012
Give a brief account of the ethical issues associated with the use of animals in research (maximum 200 words or 2/3 if images of the correct injection sites are included pages)

“Open the cages and we will know if they wish to participate”-Sapontzis. Public concern over animal rights has led to many ethical controversies when it comes to research using animals. Science today has definitely benefited from experimentation on animals, especially the likes of biomedical sciences. Research on animals has led to many innovations and a finer understanding of mechanisms behind human medicines which may have been synthesized or discovered accidently. But of course, there’s has been a huge controversy over ethical issues of using living beings for research purposes. "Speciesism”: morally and ethically wrong to treat other species harshly/callously or even just differently on the bases that they are not (in this case) Homo sapiens. Speciesism is the main factor of such ethical issue being raised. Concerned people think rights of animals should be considered and also their consent must be counted i.e. don’t experiment on them. Many critics worry about losing humanity due to this universal issue, they have a theory that working with animals that suffer continuously can deaden emotions of many researcher and so say that this could be a step away from being comfortable with human suffering, they believe an individual could be ‘mentally’ affected when working consistently with lab animals. Also, pain would cause animal to be under stress so this can mess up experimental results. And It is the belief of many people that unnecessary lab animals for apparent educational purposes results in no respect of animal life and their rights as well as discouraging potential science students to select different fields of studies. Main reason of opposing animal research is of course the inhumane treatment of animals.

A quick historical overview: Ancient Rome is where the very 1st recorded animal experimentation took place, but it was near renaissance when anatomists like Leonardo da Vinci started analyzing and inspecting bone & muscle structures. Rene Descartes, a philosopher from France put forward his concept of animals unable to feel pain, thus allowing people, the likes of William Harvey, to carry out experiments on live deer for discovering blood circulation without being questioned. Over 100 years later Jeremy Bentham posed the question ‘can they (animals) suffer?’. Yet research carried on without big ethical issues, surgery and drug use was practised on animals by Claude Bernard & François Magendie for simply benefitting humans and advancing scientific knowledge, leading to “1876 Cruelty to Animals Act” in England. Public concerns eventually led to animal protection movement under Singer. And now animal right and welfare are being considered universally.

It is true that millions and millions of animals are sacrificed for scientific research each year with US using the most. Main reason for using animals for research is advancing human disease treatment and synthesising new drugs by understanding mechanisms/systems within animals i.e. research in biomedical. Another minor reason is for educational purposes. Many scientists believe that animals experimentations should be somewhat acceptable if the experiment being carried out investigates a paramount problem that has chances of being dealt with for example trying to discover a cure for HIV, also even though some might say there is nothing humane about killing an animal for human benefit it must be noted that decreasing the suffering of the animal is better than being completely ruthless. I believe there is somewhat ethical justification in ‘for the greater good’.

Because of UFAW, philosopher Russell and microbiologist Burch wrote the 'Three Rs'. Which helped scientific and animal concerned community to acknowledge each others’ concern and reach a somewhat...
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