On the basis of available information, however, it is clear that most animal research harms animals to a signiﬁcant degree, involving suffering, conﬁnement, and death.Philosophical work in animal ethics conducted over the past 40 years has cast signiﬁcant doubt upon the ethical defensibility of much and perhaps all harmful animal research.It is customary that animals used in research are killed at the termination of the research study, and research itself often involves the inﬂiction of various diseases and physical or psychological injuries on the animals (Carbone 2004; Knight 2011).
On the basis of available information, however, it is clear that most animal research harms animals to a signiﬁcant degree, involving suffering, conﬁnement, and death.Tags: Help With Odysseus EssaysBusiness Plan For A Car WashArgumentative Essay Topics For High SchoolPosition Paper And Research PaperBusiness Plan UsesHow To Start Writing A DissertationGrhs Essay ContestCreative Writing Prompts College
While animals in research are often killed because the experiment requires it (e.g., because tissues are needed for postmortem examination) or because the animals are simply no longer needed, some animals are killed because the experiment involves the inﬂiction of harm causing intractable suffering.
For this subgroup of animals, it should not be assumed that because their death releases them from suffering, it is therefore not harmful.
However, the fact that sentient animals have interests means that they are plausible candidates to be covered by a principle of nonmaleﬁcence; what we do to animals matters to them.
The general importance of nonmaleﬁcence in morality, coupled with the fact that research often harms animals, entails that such research requires justiﬁcation; it establishes animal research as a moral issue requiring discussion.
The moral relevance of harm to animals in research derives from the relevance of harm to morality more generally.
Essentially all ethical theories, as well as common morality, embrace a principle of nonmaleﬁcence, which holds that we ought not to harm others (harm being generally deﬁned as setting back another’s interests or making them worse off).Over the past 100 years, scientiﬁc research using animals has expanded greatly in scope and complexity and now occupies a central place as an investigative tool in biomedicine.Animals are used in basic research to generate fundamental knowledge about biological processes; in preclinical research to test the safety, efﬁcacy, and quality of drugs, biologics, and medical devices; in toxicologic research to test the safety of industrial and consumer products; in research training and education; and in other areas.While the fundamental ethical issues arising in animal research are the same regardless of the country in which it is performed, considering such research in the global context does highlight a few speciﬁc ethical issues concerning its practice and regulation.For clariﬁcation, “research” and “experimentation” will be used interchangeably in this entry, as will “moral” and “ethical.” Because an individual must be conscious in order to have morally relevant interests (i.e., to care about what happens to it) (Singer 2002), this analysis will focus on research using sentient (i.e., conscious) nonhuman animals, which would include almost all animal species used in research.Thus the moral legitimacy of harmful animal research cannot simply be taken for granted: if harms to animals are thought to be more permissible than harms to humans, some compelling reason(s) must be provided to substantiate this judgment.De Grazia (2002) has helpfully delineated three categories of harm to animals that apply across many types of animal use, including research.This implies that in cases where animals are experiencing intractable pain or suffering, killing them does not harm them because their future lives would not be worth living (e.g., think of a veterinarian euthanizing a dog with a late-stage terminal illness).However, it is important to consider the source of intractable suffering: if animals only suffer in the ﬁrst place because they are harmed by humans, then it seems misleading to say that they are not harmed by death.Some “equal moral consideration” (EC) views might judge all nontrivially harmful animal research to be indefensible, except perhaps in the most extreme and urgent circumstances.“Unequal moral consideration” (UC) and utilitarian views would permit some harmful animal research, but with signiﬁcant restrictions and qualiﬁcations that go far beyond the status quo.