The Benefits and Ethics of Animal Research; February 1997; Scientific American Magazine; by Rowan; 1 Page(s)
For the past 20 years, we have witnessed an intense but largely unproductive debate over the propriety and value of using animals in medical and scientific research, testing and education. Emotionally evocative images and simple assertions of opinion and fact are the usual fare. But we do not have to accept such low standards of exchange. Sound bites and pithy rhetoric may have their place in the fight for the public¿s ear, but there is always room for dispassionate analysis and solid scholarship.
When it comes to animal research, there is plenty of reason for legitimate dispute. First, one has to determine what values are being brought to the table. If one believes animals should not be used simply as means to ends, that assumption greatly restricts what animal research one is willing to accept. Most people, though, believe some form of cost-benefit analysis should be performed to determine whether the use of animals is acceptable. The costs consist mainly of animal pain, distress and death, whereas the benefits include the acquisition of new knowledge and the development of new medical therapies for humans.