Studying Psychology opens the doors to an abundance of knowledge sought to be learned. From the assessment of disorders and illnesses to environmentally acquired infections and deficiencies. From this knowledge arises questions that doubly perpetuate the need for further evidence and treatment tactics to aid patients and families alike. Besides scientific literature review of past experimental results, field work research is probably the most efficient way in which experts seek ways to treat illness, disease, and help patients recover from disorders and deficiencies. With the development of civilization came the elevation of technology, bringing with it advancements in scientific research through minimally invasive brain imaging and stimulation-a long way from bloodletting and lobotomies. Though such scientific advancements proved successful, as human beings we still are limited within our power to discover more information regarding unknown causes for unwanted illness. Therefore, experimentation on animal subjects is conducted to test possible human treatments for diseases and to gain more knowledge regarding diseases.
At what extent is subjecting animals to experimentation for human gain unacceptable?
To what extent do the needs of scientific advancement exceed that of non-human earth dwelling creatures and in any case is animal experimentation justifiable?
Arguments for and against animal research usually reside within two extremes: those for the use of animal research and those who find it morally wrong, though some do find themselves existing within a limbo of sorts. Advocates for animal research often cite the fact that animals do not withhold the same significance as humans due to their inability to “manipulate abstract concepts... and possess full autonomy” as stated within the article Animal Research: The Ethics of Animal Experimentation. In opposition to this point, many against animal research propose that animals, infants, mentally ill persons, and some elderly lack full autonomy and complex cognitive abilities which on paper leaves them as outliers of the realm of the moral community. Yet, such an argument can become distasteful as said individuals are human in their right and as such it is argued that they must still be included within the moral community.
Those against animal research argue that animals deserve and are entitled to the same treatment and respect for life as we uphold for humanity. Animals, like humans, experience strong emotions such as pain and pleasure and should be granted the right to enjoy life. Within society, there is a respectable approach to the treatment of animals. We look down upon animal abuse and mistreatment and the same should apply when using animals for research, as they are being used to fulfill the needs of humans without regard for their own physical or mental needs. As easy as it is to argue one side over the other, the obvious truth is that the situation is far more complex than a simple yes or no. Thus, a gray area arises in which many advocate for minimizing the use of animal experimentation by strongly reducing the amount of animals used for testing and restricting the extent to which experimentation is appropriately used. By focusing on literature searches, this allows for animal research to be conducted only when researchers are looking for information not already gathered from past experiments. From a philosophical standpoint, the “moral worth as richness of life” model should be implemented. This prefers the use of testing on less complex organisms such as fruit flies or bacteria instead of on rats, chimpanzees, or birds. In this case, more complex beings are regarded as more valuable on the hierarchy of life which places more complex beings at the top of the chain. Using a scale of sorts to measure life importance could still be argued against as well though. Above all else, a priority must be instilled to ensure that all information collected from a study will be used and has a purpose within the overall research project and suitable treatment facilities with properly trained personnel are provided. If animal experimentation is strongly required, these points should be the goal.
Animal Testing in Europe, 2005
An important afterthought of animal research is what happens to animals when research experiments are over. For animals bred for research such as rats, dogs, and primates, the best care following the end of testing would be releasing them to a sanctuary which cares for animals specifically used for experimentation. In this case, animals are not disregarded, euthanized, or kept in a research facility for the rest of their lives because they are unequipped to return to their natural habitat. Sanctuaries offer a second chance at life for these animals where they are cared for by trained professionals and can live out their days with dignity and respect.Overall, most will agree that animal research should be avoided when possible. Employing animals to experimentation that we humans wouldn’t want to subject ourselves to is enough of a reason for most to see that animal research is not fundamentally ideal, but rather a flawed alternative. Animals and humans are not entirely alike, but we all possess an innate right to life which makes arguing animal research morality and appropriation a cyclical routine with no perfect answer. Therefore, if testing must be conducted, it should be done so with the interest of the animals and the goal of the experiments at the forefront: not solely human fulfillment.