ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION: AN ETHICAL ASSESSMENT
This research assesses within an ethical context the practice of animal experimentation conducted as a part of medical and other biological research. The positions of ethicists Daniel Callahan, Charles Curran, and William May, and others are considered.
The issue of the ethics surrounding the use of animals in medical and other biological experimentation for purposes of research is linked inextricably to the animal rights movement, which provides the strongest and most vocal opposition to the practice. As is true of so many social phenomena in the United States, the animal rights movement appeared to most Americans to develop out of thin air in the 1980s (Burke, 1990). As is also true of most social phenomena in the country, however, the animal rights movement is not new. Animal protection organizations have existed in the United States for more than 100 years (Alperson, 1988), and the animal welfare movement has even earlier origins in Englandùthe Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded in 1824 (Zak, 1989).
The level of activism and the tactics employed in the pursuit of animal rights since the late-1980s, however, do represent changes (Holden, 1989; Zak, 1989). Both sides in the controversy demand moderation in the behavior of the parties in the opposing camp, and each side demands new laws to deal with either the protection of animals, or the protection of those who use (or abuse) animals (Ritvo, 1992).
Proponents of medical and other scientific experimentation involving the use of non human animals contend that prohibitions or restrictions on the use of such animals in medical and other experimentation will impede the development of new medicines, retard the refinement of surgical techniques and the training of surgeons, and increase the costs of medical care for human beings (Hoffheimer & Downey, 1991). Proponents of medical and other scien...