Neuroethics and Animals: Report and Recommendations From the University of Pennsylvania Animal Research Neuroethics Workshop

ILAR Journal (00):1-10 (2021)
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Growing awareness of the ethical implications of neuroscience in the early years of the 21st century led to the emergence of the new academic field of “neuroethics,” which studies the ethical implications of developments in the neurosciences. However, despite the acceleration and evolution of neuroscience research on nonhuman animals, the unique ethical issues connected with neuroscience research involving nonhuman animals remain underdiscussed. This is a significant oversight given the central place of animal models in neuroscience. To respond to these concerns, the Center for Neuroscience and Society and the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society at the University of Pennsylvania hosted a workshop on the “Neuroethics of Animal Research” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the workshop, expert speakers and attendees discussed ethical issues arising from neuroscience research involving nonhuman animals, including the use of animal models in the study of pain and psychiatric conditions, animal brain-machine interfaces, animal–animal chimeras, cerebral organoids, and the relevance of neuroscience to debates about personhood. This paper highlights important emerging ethical issues based on the discussions at the workshop. This paper includes recommendations for research in the United States from the authors based on the discussions at the workshop, loosely following the format of the 2 Gray Matters reports on neuroethics published by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.



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Adam Shriver
Drake University
Tyler John
Longview Philanthropy

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