The Ethics of Animal Research

From Basic Bioethics

The Ethics of Animal Research

Exploring the Controversy

Edited by Jeremy R. Garrett

A balanced, accessible discussion of whether and on what grounds animal research can be ethically justified.
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A balanced, accessible discussion of whether and on what grounds animal research can be ethically justified.

An estimated 100 million nonhuman vertebrates worldwide—including primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, birds, rats, and mice—are bred, captured, or otherwise acquired every year for research purposes. Much of this research is seriously detrimental to the welfare of these animals, causing pain, distress, injury, or death. This book explores the ethical controversies that have arisen over animal research, examining closely the complex scientific, philosophical, moral, and legal issues involved.

Defenders of animal research face a twofold challenge: they must make a compelling case for the unique benefits offered by animal research; and they must provide a rationale for why these benefits justify treating animal subjects in ways that would be unacceptable for human subjects. This challenge is at the heart of the book. Some contributors argue that it can be met fairly easily; others argue that it can never be met; still others argue that it can sometimes be met, although not necessarily easily. Their essays consider how moral theory can be brought to bear on the practical ethical questions raised by animal research, examine the new challenges raised by the emerging possibilities of biotechnology, and consider how to achieve a more productive dialogue on this polarizing subject. The book's careful blending of theoretical and practical considerations and its balanced arguments make it valuable for instructors as well as for scholars and practitioners.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262017060 356 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 2 figures, 3 tables


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262516914 356 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 2 figures, 3 tables


Jeremy R. Garrett

Jeremy R. Garrett, is a Research Associate at the Children's Mercy Bioethics Center at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.


  • The volume as a whole does a thorough job of arguing that the problem is a real one, given what our current practices of biomedical research on animals mean both for them and for us.

    Quarterly Review of Biology

  • As I complete my overview of the book's sixteen chapters, I find myself marveling at how much good work was included in a medium-sized anthology. This is an outstanding contribution. If there is a better, more helpful collection of essays on the ethics of animal research, I certainly have not encountered it.

    David DeGrazia

    J Value Inquiry


  • Blending new voices with more familiar ones, The Ethics of Animal Research breathes new life into an old debate. Jeremy Garrett has shown that it is possible to move beyond polemics and have a productive exchange of ideas about the ethics of using animals in research.

    Peter Singer

    Ira W. Decamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University

  • This is a critically needed resource for students, professionals in science and ethics, and the general public. Jeremy Garrett provides an exceptionally helpful framing of the issues and a rich selection of new work that will expand and elevate the debate in heartening ways. By illuminating empirical, epistemological, and moral dimensions of the problem, developing alternatives to classical approaches, envisioning ideal practices, and suggesting ways to pursue them, the volume paves the way for vastly more meaningful dialogue: itself an important form of moral progress.

    Kathie Jenni

    Professor of Philosophy and Director of Human-Animal Studies, University of Redlands

  • Current and future animal researchers need to know what leading philosophers and bioethicists are saying about animals used in research. The works collected inThe Ethics of Animal Research provide insights for new discourse, classroom discussion, and intellectual pursuits. If the positions contained within do not spark balanced discussion, some freedoms may become extinct.

    Mark E. Cook

    Professor of Animal Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • This collection brings together a few older articles with mostly new ones. Readers are asked to grapple with the ethical as well as epistemological challenges posed by using other animals in distressful, usually painful, and often fatal scientific research. It offers insightful discussions that represent a range of views on this controversial subject and will be particularly valuable for students in the sciences as well as in philosophy courses.

    Lori Gruen

    author of Ethics and Animals: An Introduction