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An essential book for all those who conduct animal-based research or are involved in education and training, as well as regulators, supporters, and opponents alike. This fully updated third edition includes discussion of genetically altered animals and associated welfare and ethical issues that surround the breeding programmes in animal based research. The book discusses the origins of vivisection, the advances in human and non-human welfare made possible by animal experimentation, moral objections, and alternatives to the use of animals in research. It also examines the regulatory umbrella under which experiments are conducted in Europe, USA and Australasia. The author highlights the future responsibilities of researchers who will be working with animals, and offers practical advice on experimental design, literature search, consultation with colleagues, and the importance of the ongoing search for alternatives.
We all want to be healthy and safe. We want to have the means to prevent or cure the health problems and diseases that currently reduce the quality of life of millions of people around the world and condemn many to an early death … At the same time most of us would prefer animals not to be used to achieve these outcomes, particularly if they might be caused pain or harm in the process. The policy-maker's job is to find a way of balancing and satisfying each of these conflicting societal aspirations in the public interest, as far as current science and technologies allow.
Walsh and Richmond (2005, p. 85)
LAWS GOVERNING HUMANE USE OF LABORATORY ANIMALS
As already noted, animals are integral to many areas of modern science, education and product testing. Western societies insist on the thorough regulation of all such uses and this has been done, albeit in different ways in different countries, with considerable success (World Health Organization 1985). That does not mean of course that there is not room for improvement. Some countries lag behind other nations that have more progressive legislation that accords protection to a wider range of species (e.g. Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, UK and the USA).
While it is beyond the scope of this book to review all statutes in all nations that have laboratory animal welfare legislation, it is worthwhile to contrast three regulatory approaches: the British centralised government inspectorate system, the US self-regulation system, and the enforced self-regulation system of Australia and New Zealand that establishes Animal Ethics Committees (AECs).
Animal Experimentation is an important book for all those involved in the conduct, teaching, learning, regulation, support or critique of animal-based research. Whilst maintaining the clarity of style that made the first edition so popular, this second edition has been updated to include discussion of genetically modified organisms and associated welfare and ethical issues that surround the breeding programs in such research. It also discusses the origins of vivisection, advances in human and non-human welfare made possible by animal experimentation, principle moral objections to the use of research animals, alternatives to the use of animals in research, and the regulatory umbrella under which experiments are conducted in Europe, USA and Australasia. In addition, the book highlights the future responsibilities of students who will be working with animals, and offers practical advice on experimental design, literature search, consultation with colleagues, and the importance of the on-going search for alternatives.
It is just not adequate for scientists to argue that there is a quantum difference between the moral status of humans and [other] animals if they are unable to give reasons for such a belief and defend their reasons in the arena of modern philosophical debate.
Andrew N. Rowan (1984, p. 260)
ON THE MORAL STATUS OF ANIMALS
Shaping the moral line
It is doubtful that any issue in science has generated as much emotion as animal experimentation. In the previous chapter, readers were introduced to some of the historical reasons for the rise in opposition to vivisection. There were three major components to criticism. First, how applicable to the human condition was scientific knowledge gained from experiments on non-humans? Early experiments, particularly prior to the discovery of anaesthetics, were crude and the results obtained were questionable. However, the use of increasingly sophisticated physiological techniques led to a growing confidence in the reliability of experimental procedures. When this was coupled to a rigorous adherence to an evolving scientific method, the strength of this objection was reduced. Today, the dimensions and success of the biomedical industry attest to the acceptance and relevance of results gained from many species used as models of human conditions.
The second argument against vivisection was based on the notion that, despite a prevailing Cartesian view among some experimenters that animals were incapable of feeling pain, cruel experiments were considered an affront to civilised (and predominantly) English sensibilities.