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.”

Wolves are what scientists call indicator species (like frogs, fish and prairie dogs). They act as a warning system for environmental problems because of their sensitivity to environmental conditions such as disease outbreak, air and water pollution, habitat fragmentation or climate change.
Wolves do not seem to be able to adapt as readily to human expansions the way coyotes do. In fact, coyotes have increased in numbers. Around the world, wolves are endangered and are protected under national Endangered Species Acts in many countries.

I was very shocked to learn that Norway has only 68 wolves left in their country, and the last wolf was shot in Denmark in 1813. In Norway, as in many countries, the wolf population is protected. Yet, in 2016 Norway had planned to eliminate twothirds of its population before the solution to offer compensation to farmers for livestock damage.


Why are wolves endangered? For one, they are misunderstood. People are afraid of them. Yet, it seems like people pose a bigger threat to wolve than wolves to people. Over many years people viewed them as pest and killed them by the thousands like rats or roaches. Also, wolves need a lot of land to travel, hunt, and breed. Today,
humans have expanded over much of the land they once roamed. Not only do wolves not have land for themselves, but the prey animals that they used to hunt for food have also disappeared.

Farmers raising livestock such as cows and sheep blame wolves for their disappearing farm animals. Even though evidence has illuminated that wolves killing farmer’s stock is rare, farmers often kill the whole pack. They don’t want to take any chances. What is sad for the wolf (and us) is that this long-feared animal once was our closest domestic partner. Without this partnership, dogs would not have branched off 15,000 to 40,000 years ago and became one of man’s best friends. Cocker Spaniels and Cairn Terriers may not look the part, but if you trace the lineages far back enough in time, all dogs are descended from wolves. There are many other reasons, but for this reason alone, I’ll argue that we owe the wolf species protection.