If human subjects were treated as badly and cavalierly as we have documented throughout the twentieth century, one can anticipate that, a fortiori, animals used in research or science education had little chance of proper treatment. In this area, also, scientific ideology militated against scientists even admitting that invasive animal use raised a moral issue. “Animal use in research is not a moral issue, it is a scientific necessity,” went a common dictum popular from the 1960s through the 1980s. With scientific ideology proscribing talk of subjective states in animals, common-sense acknowledgment of pain and other noxious states in animals was ruled out by fiat and was thus invisible, even to veterinary scientists. Ironically, ignoring pain and other mental states in animals led to bad science, as scientists disregarded the degree to which physiological, metabolic, reproductive, and immunological states in animals were affected by uncontrolled pain and distress, which had major physiological implications.
Though, by 1980, animal research was a major and controversial social issue, it had been defined in a way that admitted of no solution. The research community affirmed absolute entitlement to use animals as they saw fit; the opposition claimed that invasive animal research was tantamount to Nazi behavior. No middle ground was articulated.
By a series of fortuitous circumstances, my own career from the mid-1970s on has been linked to the issue of ensuring proper, morally based treatment of laboratory animals as a corollary of my philosophical interest in the moral status of animals in general and linked to the issue of how society would articulate its ever-increasing concern with animal treatment.