Serious questions have been raised about the ethical justification of the use of animals in research designed to benefit human beings. Moral condemnation for the use of animals to benefit humans, however, is not the principal point of such questions. The issue of the use of animals in research is an integral part of the framework of animal rights/animal liberation within the larger structure of environmental ethics. This research defends the ethical framework of animal rights/ animal liberation. The primary focus in this defense is on the use of animals in research designed to benefit human beings.
The Ethical Basis of Animal Rights/Animal Liberation
Animal rights/animal liberation has a belief system that is based in ecocentrism. Ecocentrism draws philosophical inspiration from Eastern philosophies based on conformance with the critical order of nature, indigenous reverence for life-giving earth, transcendental and preservationist movements, the land ethic, and the deep ecology movement that rejects human domination over nature.
Ecocentric ethics holds that the earth is the nurturer of life, a great interlocking order, and a web of life in which humans are but one strand. The earth, according to this philosophy, is alive, active, and sensitive to human action, and sacred. The governing metaphor is organic, with wholeness representing the basic principle of ecocentrism. Thus, all things are connected to all other things, and internal relations and process take primacy over parts. System structure is heterarchical, established by an egalitarian interplay of interconnected parts. Thus, Humans are both ontologically and phylogenetically unseparated from the rest of nature.
Ecocentrism rejects the premise that humans occupy a privileged place in nature. Non-human nature has intrinsic value, independent of human values and human consciousness; thus, limits are placed on the extent of human prerogatives to use and ...