Animals in Science

Ethical Problems

Animal experimentation, by its very nature, takes a considerable toll on animals’ lives as sentient beings.

In most cases, researchers attempt to minimize the pain and distress experienced by animals in laboratories; but suffering is, nonetheless, inherent to animal-based research and testing. Animals are held in sterile, isolated cages, forced to suffer disease and injury, and typically euthanized at the end of each study.

While the majority of scientists are well intentioned, focused on preventing and finding cures for disease, some biomedical researchers fail to recognize or appreciate that laboratory animals are not simply machines or black boxes that produce varieties of data. Once consideration of animals is reduced to this level, callousness and insensitivity to the animals’ pain, suffering, and basic needs can follow.

Indeed, animals in laboratories are frequently treated as objects, to be manipulated at will; and little value is ascribed to their lives beyond the cost of their purchase.

AAVS believes that animals have the right to not be exploited for science, and that we should not have to choose between helping humans and harming animals.

Read more about ethical concerns with animal research in the AV Magazine.

Some members of the biomedical research community, and its affiliated trade associations, routinely attempt to convince the general public, media, and government representatives that the current controversy over the use of animals is a life-and-death contest: pitting defenders of human health and scientific advancement against hordes of anti-science, anti-human, emotional, irrational activists.

Such a deliberate, simplistic dichotomy is not only false, but ignores the very real and well-documented ethical and scientific problems associated with the use of animal experiments that characterize modern biomedical research, testing, and its associated industries.