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The Ethical Justification of the Use of Animals in Research

" This justification is utilitarian in character, because it holds that the good outweighs the bad. It is an evaluation, however, that presumes that humans have a greater worth than do other animals, although some biomedical researchers emphasize that other animals also benefit from the use of animals in laboratory research.

Some of the actions involving the use of animals in medical and other scientific experimentation that are justified by biomedical researchers are difficult for most people to either understand or accept, regardless of the utilitarian arguments put forth to support the actions. Some examples are as follows:

1. Dogs were fed pesticides and bombarded with radiation until they lay bleeding from the mouth and anus. The purpose of this experiment was to determine safe dosage levels for human beings.

2. Emotional states were analyzed through the subjection of intelligent animals to fear or hopelessness. These experiments were designed to develop information for the treatment of human beings.

3. Baby monkeys were placed alone in stainless steel tanks to determine if the "well of despair" would lead to lasting psychological damage. This experiment purportedly was intended to develop information to facilitate the development of bonding therapies for human babies.

4. The effects of child abuse were investigated (a) through the use of mechanical surrogate mothers who ejected sharp brass spikes as young primates hugged them, and (b) by driving pregnant primates mad through social isolation, and then giving them access to their own infants. These experiments were held to be necessary to evaluate the behaviors of human beings.

Contemporary biomedical researchers contend that such practices no longer occur, yet abuses continue to come to light in scientific journals reporting study results. Further, biomedical researchers continue to balk at minimum requirements for cage sizes and other criteria that w...

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The Ethical Justification of the Use of Animals in Research. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:57, August 20, 2017, from
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