Ethical issues non-human animals

  • Created by: gracepxx
  • Created on: 18-05-16 15:59

P1 - Intro

Animals often used as a way of studying behaviour and impact of drugs that would be unethical to test on humans

Also be used because they are fascinating in their own right and results of research may also benefit them

Animals allow for more control and objectivity in studies as the animals cannot withdraw or voice concerns over ethical issues

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P2 - Existing constraints

There are constraints in place to ensure limitation of ethical issues

The UK animals act (1986) states research should only take places in licensed labs by proper researchers

Lisence only granted if: potential for results are important enough to justify any potentioal harm to animals, the research can't be done using no animals, the mimimum number of animals are used and discomfort is kept to a minimum

Primates, cats, dogs and horses have additional protection to ensure humane treatment

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P3 - Advantages to use of animals

Can be morally justified and does have advantages

Humans and non-humans have enough of their evolutionary past in common for conclusions from one to be applied to other - advantageous for research into human behaviour although it is argued that if animals are tested under stressful conditions they may provide little info

Peter Singer (1975) - holds utilitatian view - whatever produces greatest good for greatest bumber is what should be ethically accepted - animal research can alleviate pain for large number of groups then it is worth completing

Some may argue that completing resarch goes against rights of animals but challenged - animals have no responsibilities as citizens in society so therefore have no rights that we need to consider so leads to greater oppertunities in research

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P4 - Against use of animals in research

Evidence found that animals respond to pain and emotion, they are sentient and self-aware, just like humans - therefore means use of them may be considered unethical

Harlow's attatchment study demonstrates how animals such as monkey's feel attatchment to the point where it leads them to being traumatised and unable to socialise with other monkeys

Some humans not sentient, such as infants and brain damaged individuals yet we still wouldn't justify using them in research

Peter Singer (1975) stated that discrimination on membership to a species is no differend from racial or gender discrimination; it is an example of speciesism 

Regan (1984) held an absolutist position - there are no circumstances where animal research is accepted and they have right to be treated with respect

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P5 - BPS guidelines

States that research must conform to current legislation, heed to the 3 Rs, choose species suited to the resarch purpose and be aware of the needs of the animals studied, including the need for compnaions on social animals

Any procedures causing pain evaluated and alternatives considered 

Intake of food carefully monitored 

Report from the House of Lords (2002) - increase in commitment to reccomendation made by Russell & Rex-Burch. Thet stated that researchers should reduce amount of animals used, repace with alternatice methods such as brain scanning and refine prodecdures to limit suffering

If followd, limited harm caused

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