Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Research on non-human animals

  1. Feb 15, 2004 #1
    Lately in a biomedical ethics class I am enrolled in, we've been discussing the underlying values and moral issues involved in testing on non-human animals.

    Most ethical theories advocating the use of animals in research run into trouble when they attempt to draw a line between humans, and other animals. When attempting to say that non-human animals are not conscious beings, or do not have the capacity for understanding rights, or whatever else you might attempt to say in this line of belief, you run into trouble when compared to the severly disabled or non-conscious humans who should fall into the same category. Is it then legitimate to test on the disabled? (I don't believe this, just want to know your thoughts and justifications)

    What are your thoughts on this, is there a line that can be drawn between the severly disabled and non-human animals such as primates, or even mammals in general?

    I myself am an immunology major, and as such I have tested on mice etc. in the lab. I also have mice that I keep as pets at home, which I tend to look at from a different angle than those I rely on in the lab for my studies. Do you believe this to be hypocritical?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2004 #2
    Actually, I do view it as hypocritical.

    I would condone experimenting on a brain-dead person, but not conscious animals (which includes conscious humans). It is not much different from when the nazis experimented on humans during the Holocaust.

    In addition to the direct suffering inflicted upon the subjects of the experiments, these experiments are often conducted when clinical information based on humans is in abundance, and experiments on animals are often fraught with inaccuracy, due to the biological differences between humans and other animals, and can lead to problems in humans (for example, when chemicals are dangerous/deadly to humans, but not to rats in the same quantities).
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2004
  4. Feb 18, 2004 #3
    My idea is that experimental testing should be voluntary. The only beings capable of communicating consent to a human is a human. Testing should be done on humans on a fully volunteered basis. Shouldn't it? This keeps testing in check. It ensures that the results of the testing might provide a real value to humanity. Curing aids for instance. This in turn would save alot of money, especially since testing drugs on rats intented for humans is not fully efficient.

    Just an idea
  5. Feb 18, 2004 #4
    There are two copies of this thread going on. I say keep the one in the General Philsophy forum.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook