File Name: animal rights and human morality .zip
- Ethics and Animals
- Animal research: a moral science. Talking Point on the use of animals in scientific research
- Animal ethics
Animal Welfare pp Cite as. Bernard E. Rollin has written several books on animal welfare and our moral obligation to respect it when using animals for research or for food related activities.
Ethics and Animals
Historically, the scientific community—at least in the USA—did not perceive the use of animals in research as an ethical issue. Anyone who raised questions about the way animals were kept and treated during experiments ran the risk of being stigmatized as an anti-vivisectionist; a misanthrope preferring animals to people; or an ingrate who did not value the contributions of biomedical science to human health and well-being.
To be fair, anti-vivisectionists were not much more sophisticated at the time—conceptually or morally. The day after I received the published review, abolitionists criticized the book, castigating me for accepting the reality of science, and scolding me for proposing regulations that would result in short-term improvements for animals, thereby retarding the complete abolition of animal research.
Although abolitionists argue that using animals in biomedical research produces no benefits for humans, the scientific community has adopted an equally extreme position.
The query in the title is uttered by a frightened child before undergoing surgery; the physician's response is that he will be all right if anti-vivisectionist extremists let scientists get on with their animal testing.
When I attended the premiere of the film at the annual meeting of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science in , before a putatively friendly audience of laboratory animal veterinarians, the only comment came from an attendee who said that he was ashamed to be associated with something pitched lower than the worst anti-vivisectionist propaganda.
Such extreme responses to the anti-vivisection movement date back to the famed physiologist Walter Cannon in the early twentieth century. Little changed after Cannon's writings and before the passage of the US federal laws in In the decade between and , I searched scientific journals for reasoned defences of invasive research on animals and found none. What I did find were variations on the theme orchestrated in the film described above. How can we explain this blind spot in what is an otherwise sophisticated and informed community?
In various publications, I have described what I call scientific ideology: a set of basic, uncriticized assumptions about twentieth-century science Rollin, In general, ideologies operate in many different areas: religious, political, sociological, economic and ethnic. Therefore, it is not surprising that an ideology about science would emerge—after all, science has been the dominant method of generating knowledge in Western societies since the Renaissance. The ideology underlying modern—post-medieval—science has grown and evolved along with science itself.
An important component of that ideology is a strong positivistic tendency, which is still dominant today, to believe that true science must be based on experience only, because the tribunal of experience is the objective, universal judge of what really happens in the world.
If one asks most working scientists what separates science from religion, speculative metaphysics or shamanistic worldviews, they would reply without hesitation that it is an emphasis on validating claims through experience, observation or experiment. The fact that Newton operated with non-observable ideas such as gravity or, more generally, action at a distance and absolute space and time, did not stop him from issuing an ideological proclamation that one should not do so.
This insistence on experience as the foundation for scientific research persists today, where it reaches its most philosophical articulation in the reductionistic movement known as logical positivism, which was designed to exclude the unverifiable from science. A classic and profound example of this attitude is Albert Einstein's rejection of Newton's concepts of absolute space and time on the grounds that such talk was not testable. Although logical positivism took many subtly different and varied forms, the message, as received by working scientists and passed on to students including myself, was that proper science should not tolerate unverifiable statements.
This was strengthened further by the British philosopher and logical positivist Sir Alfred Jules Ayer's vastly popular and aggressively polemical book Language, Truth, and Logic Ayer, ; it was first published in and has remained in print ever since. Be that as it may, the positivist demand for empirical verification of all meaningful claims became a mainstay of scientific ideology from the time of Einstein to the present day.
Through it, one could in good conscience dismiss religious or metaphysical claims or other speculative assertions not merely as false and irrelevant to science, but in fact as meaningless.
Only what could be verified or falsified empirically was meaningful. What does all this have to do with ethics?
Quite a bit, as it turns out. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who greatly influenced the logical positivists, once remarked that, if you took an inventory of all the facts in the universe, you would not find that killing is wrong Wittgenstein, You cannot, in principle, test the proposition that killing is wrong—it can be neither verified nor falsified.
Consequently, in Wittgenstein's view, ethical judgements are meaningless. From this, it was concluded that ethics—and all judgements regarding values rather than facts—are not part of the scientific universe.
The slogan that I learned in my science courses in the s, and which is still taught in too many places, is that science is value-free in general, and ethics-free in particular. This denial of the relevance of ethics to science was taught both explicitly and implicitly. The bottom line is that science might provide society with the facts relevant to making moral decisions, but it steers clear of any ethical debate.
That is not, however, the whole story. Positivist thinkers also felt compelled to explain why intelligent people feel inclined to make moral judgements. Therefore, a debate over the alleged morality of capital punishment expresses revulsion or approval, and any debate we can engender is really about factual questions such as whether capital punishment acts as a deterrent against murder.
It is therefore not surprising that when scientists are drawn into discussions of ethical issues, they are as emotional as their opponents. An ethical issue is one that challenges us to apply our concepts of right, wrong, good and bad to a new situation. Before the s, US society had a very limited ethic for animal treatment—it prohibited deliberate, sadistic, overt, purposeless cruelty to animals.
Researchers, in turn, chafed at being grouped with psychopaths and were further alienated from approaching their critics rationally. During the s and s, a growing amount of literature in moral philosophy finally provided a rational approach to the ethics of animal treatment.
These books all discuss animal research from the point of view of moral theory, and argue for a higher moral status for animals. In particular, I pointed out that excluding animals from our moral machinery or concepts could not be justified logically for two reasons. Just as skin colour or gender cannot morally justify discrimination against humans, certain beliefs about animals … cannot morally justify their exclusion.
Most notably, what we do to animals matters to them—as Charles Darwin pointed out, they feel not only pain, but also the full range of emotions that feature in our moral deliberations about humans: fear, loneliness, boredom, frustration, anxiety and so forth Darwin, In addition, following Aristotle, I called attention to the nature or telos of an animal: the pigness of a pig; the dogness of a dog.
Their telos can guide our ethical obligations to animals just as human nature guides us in establishing human rights. When applied to animal research, this analysis has moral implications for invasive experiments. Our social ethic does not allow us to use humans invasively to advance our knowledge or cure human disease without their explicit and informed consent. General benefit does not surpass concern for the individual in Western democratic systems.
Indeed, the US Bill of Rights forbids sacrificing the interests of individuals for the general good. Whether this logic would forbid the painless killing of animals for research is another open question, because it seems that animals do not have the cognitive abilities to value life for its own sake; however, applying our ethical machinery to hurting something—even an animal—against its will forces us to conclude that such behaviour is at least highly problematic.
At the very least, the arguments for including animals in the moral arena should give those engaged in invasive research reason to pause and think. The first issue that arises is what morally justifies hurting animals for human benefit—or even to benefit other animals—when we would not feel morally allowed to do so to humans, even though we have done so.
The public decried Nazi medical experiments on concentration-camp inmates, even those that produced benefit, and equally condemned the US Tuskegee syphilis study during which doctors deliberately left African-American patients untreated to study the pathology of the disease. In response to the claim that humans can provide informed consent to participate in invasive experiments that benefit other humans, whereas animals cannot, Sapontzis has offered a very clever response: open the cages and we will know if they wish to participate.
Notwithstanding these arguments from philosophers and ethicists, little morally sound discussion has come from the research community. With respect to the first response, what does superior mean? Does it mean more powerful? If we follow that position, the mugger or rapist is justified in victimizing the weak, which is what much of ethics is designed to prevent. Does it mean intellectually superior? Why should that be morally relevant? Does it mean morally superior?
If so, victimizing a sentient organism hardly shows moral superiority. If one accepts the benefit argument … we are left with the conclusion that the only justifiable animal research is that which produces more benefit than harm …. The second common reply is tendered in terms of cost compared with benefit. Apart from the fact that our consensus social ethic does not accept hurting the minority for the benefit of the majority, this argument is open to a much more practical point: let us assume that invasive animal research is justified only by the benefit produced.
But there is in fact a vast amount of research that has not been shown to benefit humans or animals: much behavioural research, weapons research or toxicity testing as a legal requirement are obvious examples, but basic research also often has no clear benefits. Someone might respond that we never know what benefits might emerge in the future, and appeal to serendipity.
But if that were a legitimate point, we could not discriminate between funding research likely to produce benefits and that unlikely to do so; however, we do.
If we appeal to unknown but possible benefits, we are literally forced to fund everything, which we do not. Even if we disregard the general point about the morality of invasive animal research, we are still left with the fact that much of animal research does not fit with the researchers' own moral justification for it. If one accepts the benefit argument by appealing to utilitarian principles, we are left with the conclusion that the only justifiable animal research is that which produces more benefit than harm—however this is measured.
The two components of scientific ideology … worked synergistically to the detriment of laboratory animals …. But this is not all: another moral problem arises. Suppose we ignore both the cost—benefit criteria and the argument questioning the morality of all invasive animal research, which is of course what we do in practice.
Would it not then be morally required to treat the animals in the best possible manner commensurate with their use in research? The demand that we do our best to meet their interests and needs, minimize their suffering as much as possible and respect their telos seems to be a requirement of common decency, particularly if we are using animals in a way that ignores the moral problems recounted thus far. Sadly, this is not the case. When I helped to draft the federal laws for laboratory animals, I needed to know about the deficiencies in animal care to prove to US Congress the need for legislation, which was strongly opposed by much of the research community.
What I found could easily be chronicled in a book, but I will restrict myself to two paradigmatic examples: pain control and housing.
Common sense would dictate that one of the worst things one can do to a research animal is to cause unrelieved pain. As animals do not understand sources of pain—particularly the sort of pain inflicted in experiments—they cannot rationalize that it will end soon, and their whole life becomes the pain. This insight has led veterinary pain specialists Ralph Kitchell and Michael Guinan to surmise that animal pain might be even worse than human pain; after all, humans have hope.
Furthermore, pain is a source of stress, and can skew the results of experiments in numerous ways. Therefore, for both moral and scientific reasons, one would expect a crucial emphasis on pain control in painful experiments. If someone were conducting fracture research, for example, one would expect the liberal use of pre-emptive and post-surgical or post-traumatic analgesia—pain relief—because the pain is not the point of the experiment, and unmitigated pain actually impedes healing.
A central component of the legislation was to mandate control of pain in research animals. Although I knew anecdotally that pain control was essentially non-existent in research, Congress demanded that I prove it, as the vocal portion of the research community opposing the legislation proclaimed that pain was already being controlled—and they were a powerful political lobby. I did a literature search, and found only two papers on animal analgesia, and none on laboratory animal analgesia.
Of the two papers, one said, in essence, that there should be pain control, whereas the other described, in one page, what very little was known. Fortunately, this convinced Congress to mandate the control of pain and distress.
As I expected, the legislative mandate galvanized the research community, and a literature search today would uncover thousands of such articles. In the same vein, many veterinarians, typically trained before the mids, still equate anaesthesia with chemical restraint or sedation. Some of the neglect of pain in animals dates back to the historical roots of veterinary medicine as ancillary to agriculture, which was concerned only with the economic and productive role of the animal, not its comfort.
A textbook of veterinary surgery bemoans the failure of veterinarians to use anaesthesia even for surgery, with the episodic exception of the canine practitioner, whose clients presumably valued their animals enough in non-economic terms to demand anaesthesia Merillat, In the end, the counter-intuitive denial of pain can again be traced back to scientific ideology.
Animal research: a moral science. Talking Point on the use of animals in scientific research
Animal ethics is a branch of ethics which examines human-animal relationships, the moral consideration of animals and how nonhuman animals ought to be treated. The subject matter includes animal rights , animal welfare , animal law , speciesism , animal cognition , wildlife conservation , wild animal suffering ,  the moral status of nonhuman animals, the concept of nonhuman personhood , human exceptionalism , the history of animal use, and theories of justice. The history of the regulation of animal research was a fundamental step towards the development of animal ethics, as this was when the term "animal ethics" first emerged. Many did not support this act as it communicated that if there was human benefit resulting from the tests, the suffering of the animals was justifiable. It was not the establishment of the animal rights movement, that people started supporting and voicing their opinions in public. Animal ethics was expressed through this movement and led to big changes to the power and meaning of animal ethics.
Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. This implies that it is unethical to use animals as pets or for any other purpose, whether for food, clothing, recreation, or research. But most ethicists do not use the term so broadly. They generally ascribe rights only to members of societies that are capable of applying mutually accepted ethical principles to specific situations. In this light, they cannot be ascribed rights. The animal rights viewpoint also leads to some philosophically untenable conclusions.
Is there something distinctive about humanity that justifies the idea that humans have moral status while non-humans do not? Providing an answer to this question has become increasingly important among philosophers as well as those outside of philosophy who are interested in our treatment of non-human animals. For some, answering this question will enable us to better understand the nature of human beings and the proper scope of our moral obligations. Some argue that there is an answer that can distinguish humans from the rest of the natural world. Many of those who accept this answer are interested in justifying certain human practices towards non-humans—practices that cause pain, discomfort, suffering and death.
Беккер рванулся. Вобрав голову в плечи, он ударил убийцу всем телом, отшвырнув его на раковину. Со звоном разбилось и покрылось трещинами зеркало. Пистолет упал на пол. Оба противника оказались на полу. Беккеру удалось оторваться от убийцы, и он рванулся к двери. Халохот шарил по полу, нащупывая пистолет.
Беккер попробовал выбраться и свернуть на улицу Матеуса-Гаго, но понял, что находится в плену людского потока. Идти приходилось плечо к плечу, носок в пятку. У испанцев всегда было иное представление о плотности, чем у остального мира. Беккер оказался зажат между двумя полными женщинами с закрытыми глазами, предоставившими толпе нести их в собор. Они беззвучно молились, перебирая пальцами четки.
Клушар заморгал. - Я не знаю… эта женщина… он называл ее… - Он прикрыл глаза и застонал. - Как. - Не могу вспомнить… - Клушар явно терял последние силы. - Подумайте, - продолжал настаивать Беккер.
- Он пожал ее руку. - Примите мои поздравления, мистер Беккер. Мне сказали, что вы сегодня отличились.
Это был Дэвид, кто же. Без воска… Этот шифр она еще не разгадала. Что-то шевельнулось в углу.
Расстроенная, она подошла к шкафу, чтобы достать чистую блузку и юбку.
Он еще раз сжал его руку, но тут наконец подбежала медсестра. Она вцепилась Беккеру в плечо, заставив его подняться - как раз в тот момент, когда губы старика шевельнулись. Единственное сорвавшееся с них слово фактически не было произнесено.
Его жертва не приготовилась к отпору.
Вы можете сказать, откуда звонили? - Он проклинал себя за то, что не выяснил этого раньше. Телефонистка нервно проглотила слюну. - На этой машине нет автоматического определителя номера, сэр.
Все вокруг светилось ярко-красными огнями. Шифровалка умирала.