The first set of case studies on animal use, this volume offers a thorough, up-to-date exploration of the moral issues related to animal welfare. Its main purpose is to examine how far it is ethically justifiable to harm animals in order to benefit mankind. An excellent introduction provides a framework for the cases and sets the background of philosophical and moral concepts underlying the subject. Sixteen original, previously unpublished essays cover controversies associated with the human use of animals in a (...) broad range of contexts, including biomedical, behavioral, and wildlife research, cosmetic safety testing, education, the food industry, commerce, and animal use as pets and in religious practices. Scientific research is accorded the closest scrutiny. The authors represent a wide range of expertise within their specialized areas of research--physiology, public policy, ethics, philosophy, law, veterinary science, and psychology. The careful analysis of each case makes it possible to elevate the discourse beyond over-simplified positions, and to demonstrate the complexity of the issues. The Human Use of Animals will be welcomed by students and faculty in law, philosophy, ethics, public policy, religion, medicine, and veterinary medicine. It will also interest activists in the animal protection movement, and members of animal protection organizations and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees. (shrink)
: A major shortcoming of the Animal Welfare Act is its exclusion of the species most-used in experimentation-rats, mice, and birds. Considerations of justice dictate that extension of the law to these three species is the morally right thing to do. A brief history of how these species came to be excluded from the laws protecting laboratory animals is also provided, as well as discussion of the implications and significance of expanding the law.
Laboratory animals, being vulnerable subjects, need the protection provided by adequate ethical review. This review falls primarily to Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees. A review committee's first duty is to identify which procedures ethically are unacceptable irrespective of any knowledge that might be derived. Examples are provided. These projects should be disapproved. Then, "on balance" judgments are assessed that weigh the animal harms against the potential benefits to humans. Several countries (but not the United States) use a classification system (...) for ranking the degree of animal pain and distress. This type of assessment is essential for careful ethical analysis. Another way to enhance ethical discussion is to strive for a more balanced perspective of different viewpoints among members of decision making committees. Inclusion of representatives of animal welfare organizations and a greater proportion on nonanimal researchers would likely achieve this objective. (shrink)
The articles collected in this special issue were originally presented at two workshops entitled "Ethical Issues of Animal Research" sponsored by Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics and Indiana University's Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institution. Some of the most prominent and influential thinkers in the field present their diverse views.
In his challenging article, Steneck (1997) criticized the creation of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) system established by the 1985 amendments to the Animal Welfare Act. He saw the IACUC review and approval of biomedical and behavioral research with animals as an unnecessary "reassignment" of duties from existing animal care programs to IACUC committees. He argued that the committees are unable to do the work expected of them for basically three reasons: (a) the membership lacks the expertise (...) in matters relevant to animal research and care, (b) there exists an inherent and disabling conflict of interest, and (c) the committee's operational base of authority is alien to academic culture and violates essential aspects of academic freedom. In addition, he found that the system is burdensome, requiring enormous expenditures of time and money that inappropriately diverts resources away from the business of scientific discovery. We dispute several aspects of Steneck's historical account and the coherence of his proposals. We believe his proposals, if followed, would be a step back into a failed past. (shrink)