Ethics in Non Human Animals

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Ethics in Non Human Animals

Examples of research with non human animals;

  • Harlow (1959) monkeys and early emotional infant attachment

  • Blakemore and Cooper (1970) kittens and visual learning

  • Medical testing of psychological drugs – must be tested on two mammals by law

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Value of using animals

  • Most research uses humans

  • Animals offer greater control and objectivity

  • Most mammals share much of our evolutionary past making them useful test subjects

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Moral Justification

  • Some animals have the capability of sentience – therefore they should have rights

  • Some humans aren’t capable of sentience, e.g. the young, the mentally ill, yet we protect these people the most within society

  • Singer (1975) specicism is no different to racism or sexism within psychology

  • Gray (1991) our responsibilities to humans are very different to those for animals, this is a utilitarian approach, we conduct research for the greater good

  • Regan (1984) animal research is never acceptable – this is absolutism

  • Rights vs responsibilities, animals have no responsibility and therefore no rights

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Existing Constraints

  • UK animal act protects vertebrates above half a gestation period and the octopus

  • Research permission is granted if the potential exceeds the cost, the study can not be done any other way, minimum numbers of animals are used and any suffering is minimised (using anaesthesia)

  • 3Rs- reduce, replace and refine

  • BPS – we must choose suitable species to gain results, consider the animals prior research experience and take good care of them outside studying

  • Dunayer (2002) the laws don’t protect animals but instead set standards for them to be harmed by

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