Whether or not animal research should be conducted on various products has long been a matter of controversy. Some forms of animal research have become so controversial that they have been stopped by most companies, such as research using animals to test cosmetic products. Medical research, on the other hand, is more easily defended and has its proponents who claim that there is no other way to test certain products or procedures, though opponents dispute this and cite the possibility of using computer models instead of animals. The issue has become a rallying point for activists who challenge the use of animals in such research and who have at times undertaken to free lab animals as a protest. The issue is clearly not settled.
This is also not a new issue. In 1955 the Humane Society of the United States passed a resolution noting that at least 50,000,000 animals were used each year in American laboratories, many in ways causing great and prolonged pain and suffering, many inhumanely housed and cared for. The resolution stated that it was the moral duty of every human society to inform itself about these matters and to take all possible action to prevent cruelty to these animals. Because of this, the Humane Society undertook a systematic study of the use and care of animals in laboratories (Humane Society of the United States 1).
After the study by the Human Society, the group concluded that animal research was a problem and that efforts should be taken to stop it. The Society noted:
Most scientists (although not all) have asserted that research in medicine, surgery, physiology, biochemistry and other branches of science require the use of animals. Many scientists (although not all) have argued that morality permits infliction of pain and stress, to the most agonizing achievable degree, if there is even a hope that thereby knowledge can be advanced (Humane Society of the United States 313).
This view is echoed by...