A Philosophical View On The Use Of Animals In Scientific Research

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A Philosophical View On The Use Of Animals In Scientific Research

The use of animals in scientific experiments is one of the major controversies facing the society today. It has led to the formation of many theories about the place of humankind in relation to animals and nature. There are many people who support the use of animals in scientific experimentation just as there are those who strongly oppose the practice. In my opinion unnecessary experiments that do not benefit humans or animals in any way should never be condoned. However, I strongly support the use of animals in research experiments that are beneficial to the health of either humans or animals, and which are conducted with great caution to avoid inflicting unnecessary pain or agony to the animals.

While arguing in support of animal experimentation, Fox (1986) states that “the fact that animals can suffer, although morally significant because it gives animals the status of moral recipients, is not by itself a sufficient ground on which to accord them equal moral status with humans” (p. 70). I absolutely agree with Fox on the premise that animals are not of the same moral status as human beings which means that we are not morally restrained from using animals for beneficial purposes. From a philosophical viewpoint, an act that is not morally wrong is, consequently, morally permissible. Therefore using animals in meaningful scientific experiments is morally acceptable. However, this moral argument should be approached with caution for it does not give us the right to abuse animals or treat them without moral concern for their suffering.

Opponents of animal experimentation accuse scientists of speciesism, which elevates humans to a higher level than animals. They however fail to extend this accusation to the use of plants for human sustenance. This is because if we were to refrain from using plants for nourishment and medicinal purposes on the grounds that such uses would cause them pain or suffering, then life would not be possible on this planet. A similar argument can be ap.............


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