The Ethics of Using Research Animals
The use of animals in research is a privilege that must be carefully guarded to assure human and animal relief from the specter of disease and suffering. To ignore human and animal suffering is irresponsible and unethical. Nearly every major medical advance of the 20th century has depended largely on research with animals. Developing preventions, treatments and cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, AIDS and cancer will also involve biomedical research using animals. In fact, research on animals is in many cases an obligation. According to the Nuremberg Code, drawn up after World War II as a result of Nazi atrocities, any experiments on humans “should be designed and based on the results of animal experimentation.” The Nazis outlawed animal experimentation but allowed experiments on Jews and “asocial persons.” The Declaration of Helsinki, adopted in 1964 by the 18th World Medical Assembly and revised in 1975, also states that medical research on human subjects “should be based on adequately performed laboratory and animal experimentation.”
It is crucial to distinguish between animal rights and animal welfare. The scientific community supports animal welfare, which means guaranteeing the health and well-being of these animals.
It is almost universally agreed that no one likes doing research on live animals, however, facing the realities of a world doubling in population the last forty years, we are dependent upon technology, research and animal testing. This, in the long run, benefits man, animals and the environment.
“To ignore human and animal suffering is irresponsible and unethical.”