Human beings have an interest in this property because of the pleasure and utility it affords them. The contractual aspect of this argument is between human beings who have obligations to treat each other's property as though it possessed inherent rights.
Tom Regan bases his assertion of animal rights on a moral theory called the "rights view." Regan concedes that animals lack many of the intellectual abilities of human beings; however, it is the basic similarity between the two that forms the crucial issue. The foundation of this basic similarity is that both human and nonhuman creatures are each the "experiencing subject of a life" whose welfare is important regardless of its utility to others (Regan, 1989, p. 111). Regan contends that the inherent value of animal life is equal to that of humans. This viewpoint is shared by animal rights organizations throughout the world.
Animal rights organizations estimate that approximately 500 million animals are killed annually as a result of their use in science. Although this figure accounts for 5 percent of all animal deaths by human intervention, clearly the impact of scientific research on animal mortality is significant. Estimates of the number of animals used annually for biological research alone range from 15 million to 120 million (Gendin, 1989, pp. 197-199).
Animals serve a wide variety of purposes in scientific research. Animals are used to test the safety of consumer products, e.g., the toxicity of pesticides or household cleaners. Test animals are injected with the product, force-fed it, have it rubbed on their skins, or have it dropped in their eyes. Animals used in behavioral research are usually subjected to psychological deprivation or distress as opposed to physical pain. For example, a baby chimpanzee might be taken from its mother to provide scientific observation of emotional stress. Some animals are used for instructional purposes, such as frogs in th...
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