Animal Ethics

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  • Created on: 14-05-13 19:53
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Animal Ethics
A decision cube can be used when considering whether or not an experiment is worth
carrying out: i.e. whether the outcome benefit of the experiment justifies the cost of using
animals within the particular experiment. Bateson (1988) suggested using a decision cube
when carrying out a cost-benefit analysis
The three dimensions to the cube are:
- What benefits there are to society, are the findings likely to
have benefits for humans or animals?
- What costs there are of the study, in terms of pain and
- A rating on the scientific quality of the study ­ will its findings
be based on sound scientific methodology?
Ethical Advantages
Procedures - The use of animals instead of humans allows the use of procedures that
could not be used with humans. E.g. it would be highly unethical to take a human baby away
from its mother, in order to study the side effects of maternal deprivation.
Drugs ­ Green (1994) suggests that many drugs could not have been developed without
the use of non-human animals.
Practical Advantages
Evolutionary Continuity ­ studying animals can offer possible explanations of human
behaviour if we accept that humans and animals are basically the same but at different
stages of evolution.
Convenience ­ animals have a must shorter gestation period than humans so we can
study them across the life span more quickly, also making the study of genetics and changes
across a life span more practical. They are also much easier to control which means
experiments can be conducted easily.
Generates hypothesis for human research ­ studying animals has allowed
research into factors affecting behaviour giving us a better understanding of learned
behaviour and knowledge of the nervous system e.g. Pavlov and classical conditioning /
studying rats with absence of hypothalamus showed how bulimia is caused.

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Ethical Disadvantages
Animal suffering ­ we cannot assume that we know about different animal's wellbeing
or suffering. Dawkins (1980) observed that confinement may cause mental suffering even
when there is no physical suffering. Singer (1976) saw animal experiments as a form of
discrimination whilst Gray (1987) argued the suffering experience has to be weighed against
the possible benefits to humans.…read more


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