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.