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Ethical Controversies

Animal Research


Position One: Animal Research Is Immoral

The use of animals in medical research is unnecessary and immoral. It is unnecessary because Britain, which hasn't used animals in medical research for a hundred years, has demonstrated that it is possible to live without it. It is immoral because inflicting suffering on another species for our own benefit cannot be justified. It is no different than believing that it is justified to exploit another race or gender of human beings.

The three primary killers of humans – cancer, heart disease, and diabetes – are often lifestyle problems and can be prevented. We don't need animal research on these problems. There is no way to justify testing frivolous products like cosmetics on animals.

Animals are so different from humans that testing drugs on them to see if there are harmful effects is a waste of time. Several drugs, including thalidomide, have been tested on animals and mistakenly judged to be safe.

Defend your position.

Position Two: Animal Research Is Justified

Animal research is an acceptable way to test medical knowledge, surgical ability, and drug safety. Surgeons are trained on animals before they work on humans. We don't want them practicing on humans. Drugs have to be tested on living beings before we try them on humans, even if animals are different.

All species of animals live at the expense of other species. Humans have always eaten meat and used the resources of other species to improve their lives. Animal research is no different.

We do have an obligation to minimize suffering, but that doesn't mean we should not use animals at all. Animals do not have the same moral status as humans. They do not have "rights" in the same sense that people do.

Defend your position