Research Paper On Animal Testing

While animals in research are often killed because the experiment requires it (e.g., because tissues are needed for postmortem examination) or because the animals are simply no longer needed, some animals are killed because the experiment involves the infliction of harm causing intractable suffering.

For this subgroup of animals, it should not be assumed that because their death releases them from suffering, it is therefore not harmful.

“Unequal moral consideration” (UC) and utilitarian views would permit some harmful animal research, but with significant restrictions and qualifications that go far beyond the status quo.

These categories are suffering, confinement, and death. Second, even if it does not cause suffering, it prevents the confined animal from satisfying any number of “liberty-related” interests, such as interests in moving about, investigating new things in the environment, relaxing comfortably, playing, foraging, and so on (De Grazia 2002).

Suffering (defined broadly here to include pain, anxiety, distress, and other aversive mental states) is a harm because it is bad in itself; it is unpleasant and aversive to the individual experiencing it. The harm of confinement is especially significant when animals are confined in barren environments and/or environments preventing ample freedom of movement.

The moral relevance of harm to animals in research derives from the relevance of harm to morality more generally.

Essentially all ethical theories, as well as common morality, embrace a principle of nonmaleficence, which holds that we ought not to harm others (harm being generally defined as setting back another’s interests or making them worse off).

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  1. This paper supports Kant's theory that though man may incorporate personal and sometimes selfish considerations into the process of ethical determinations, this does not negate the moral applications of these choices.